Discuss: Rangers ride strong third period, top Devils


For the first two periods, neither the New York Rangers nor the New Jersey Devils managed to find the net. Still, there was a sense that for at least Game 1, the Devils might just be a little better. That changed in the third period, however, as the Rangers found an extra gear and ultimately won it 3-0. (Which is a little more one-sided than it really was because of an empty-netter.)

Let’s get chatting.

  • Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 21 shots while Martin Brodeur allowed two goals on 27 pucks that got to the Devils’ net. Can New Jersey win this series if it really comes down to Hank vs. Marty?
  • The Rangers fans turned from mocking Alex Ovechkin at the 8:00 mark to doing the same for Ilya Kovalchuk at the 17:00 minute mark. Who should they tease if they manage to make it to the Stanley Cup finals? Shane Doan at the 19-minute mark? Anze Kopitar at 11? Share your best choices.
  • New York blocked 26 Devils shots tonight. Can Peter DeBoer find a way to solve a system that New Jersey hasn’t really had to fight through in the playoffs yet?
  • Zach Parise showed arguably the most burst for the Devils, firing five shots on goal including some dangerous shorthanded chances. Should John Tortorella worry that Parise’s a few bounces away from being a problem for New York?
  • The Rangers got another game-winning goal from a blueliner; this time from Dan Girardi. Check it out below:
This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

With Jonathan Bernier sputtering, we’ll meet Garret Sparks

Garett Sparks
Leave a comment

You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.

With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.

Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).

In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:

Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.

Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

Leave a comment

So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.

Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

Carey Price
1 Comment

There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.

So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.

Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.

(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)

Lightning lament life as a .500 team

1 Comment

The Tampa Bay Lightning have plenty of time to rise above mediocrity, yet it still must be deserving to finish at .500 for two straight months.

After last night’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, that’s exactly where they find themselves:

Record at the end of October: 5-5-2

Record at the end of November: 11-11-3

As of this writing, the Lightning found themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It all stands as a pretty tough thing for the reigning Eastern Conference champs to swallow.

The uncomfortable-yet-vital question is: can the Lightning break out of this funk?

Looking at their schedule, it won’t be easy, at least not right away.

They crawl through California during a three-game road trip to start December, and they also face six of eight on the road from Dec. 2 – 18.

The Lightning soak up home dates to finish 2015 after that, but what damage will be done by then?

Frankly, the Bolts will need to dig deep to break this pattern. If nothing else, they’ve fought with their backs against the wall before.