It looks like we might be in for a long series. After the Devils’ third-period collapse on Monday, they bounced back nicely in Game 2. The Rangers burned them on two of the Devils’ four penalties, but New Jersey was resilient and found a way to come back and win in a nail-biter.
With the Devils’ 3-2 victory, the series is tied at 1-1 will head to New Jersey for Game 3 on Saturday (1pm ET, NBC).
Here’s some interesting notes:
There was a rather lengthy delay in the second period due to what I’m going to term as technical difficulties related to the penalty box door. Once they finally felt confident in their ability to open and close the door, New York’s Chris Kreider promptly scored a power-play goal.
Kreider and Eddie Mazur are the only two NHL players to net four playoff goals before participating in a single regular season game. Mazur took part in three playoff runs with the Montreal Canadiens from 1951-53 before making his regular season debut in the 1953-54 campaign.
The Rangers blocked another 16 shots on Wednesday. A lot has been made about their shot-blocking abilities, but it’s worth noting that their self-sacrificing efforts are nothing new. As John Shannon pointed out, we’ve seen an average of 31 blocks per game in the 2012 playoffs, compared to 33 per contest in the 2011 postseason.
Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.
OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.
It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.
Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.
In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.
It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.
The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?
“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”
Blame it on injuries if you want, or emphasize the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall hot finish to the season. Either way, Chicago scorched the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-1, a contest that felt more or less over by the time the first period ended 4-0 in the Blackhawks’ favor.
The Blackhawks scored by committee on Wednesday, with Artemi Panarin (goal, assist) and Patrick Kane (two assists) being the headliners. Meanwhile, former Penguin Marian Hossa has quietly climbed to 25 goals on the season.
Meanwhile, the Penguins limped through this one and have now lost four consecutive games.
With this result, the Blackhawks look like close to a lock to win the Central Division title. Meanwhile, the Metro crown is virtually unthinkable for Pittsburgh, and the Penguins might also need to accept the likelihood that they may not enjoy home-ice advantage in the first round.
They’d probably accept that more easily if they can get healthier and get back on track. Wednesday was a little worrisome in those regards.