The New York Rangers still need to win eight more playoff games to win a Stanley Cup this year, but Henrik Lundqvist already shook a monkey off his back. The Washington Capitals bounced his Rangers out of the playoffs twice before – once in a Game 7, then last year – so Lundqvist told Andrew Gross and others that it probably added a little extra urgency.
“Losing two series against them, it felt like we needed to get this one,” Lundqvist said.
(One cannot help but wonder if Lundqvist used the wrong pronoun and instead should have said “I needed to get this one.”)
With this win, the Rangers are now 5-0 in franchise history when they play Game 7 contests at Madison Square Garden. John Tortorella might have captured the vibe best – and as only he can – by calling home ice advantage “garbage” until that deciding contest comes along. Torts admitted that having those matches at MSG made a difference.
Brian Boyle described how it felt to play a Game 7 at MSG (and most importantly, win).
“It’s an accomplishment,” Boyle said. “We’re not satisfied yet. But it was a lot of fun to play in that one.”
If the Rangers keep winning, then the fun’s only about to begin.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.