When asked what the New Jersey Devils greatest challenge would be in their upcoming series against the New York Rangers, Zach Parise provided an obvious, yet nonetheless accurate analysis.
“Probably getting some pucks by (Henrik) Lundqvist,” Parise said. “They’re a very defensive team. They pressure you all over the ice. They do have breakdowns from time and most of the time he’s there to bail them out.”
The Rangers defense has been great in the playoffs are Lundqvist has been superb. The Devils were able to best the offensively gifted Philadelphia Flyers in just five games, but the Rangers offer an entirely different challenge. They have plenty of talented forwards, but unlike the Devils’ first two playoff opponents, New York’s best player is its goaltender.
Of course, even being able to challenge Lundqvist isn’t a simple task. The Rangers are known for their shot blocking abilities. Still, Parise thinks the Devils have a solution to that problem (which they would have also used against the Washington Capitals had they beaten the Rangers in Game 7 on Saturday).
“It will be important when we get possession of the puck in the zone to not throw it away and not necessarily look for a play right away,” Parise said. “They both come back and collapse pretty low and put five guys right in front of the net and they’re waiting for you to turn it over, so you can jump up in the rush. So, for us, either way we have to protect the puck well in the offensive zone.”
Lundqvist had a 1.41 GAA and .940 save percentage against the Devils in the regular season. We’ll see if he can be just as dominant against them in the playoffs.
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.