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:
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- 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.
- Marian Gaborik’s bad clearing attempt late in the second period led to the New Jersey Devils’ second goal of the game. It’s probably not a coincidence that Gaborik didn’t get a shift in the third period until there was only 8:40 remaining in regulation time.
- 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.
Nolan Patrick will miss the upcoming World Juniors due to an injury that has kept him out of game action since mid-October.
Hockey Canada made the announcement Monday evening.
Patrick is a potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. He was recently named to Canada’s selection camp, however the 18-year-old forward has only played in six games with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings this season.
He has four goals and nine points, his season reduced because of this upper-body injury. Per Hockey Canada, Patrick hasn’t been medically cleared to attend the camp, so therefor he will miss the entire tournament.
Patrick has already missed the annual series last month between Canada and Russia. He also underwent sports hernia surgery in July.
Related: Pre-game reading: Some advice for Nolan Patrick
Roberto Luongo was on his game in the first period versus the Boston Bruins on Monday.
The Florida Panthers goalie was called upon to make 14 saves in the opening 20 minutes, and none better than this glove stop on Ryan Spooner.
Spooner appeared to have the wide open net on a cross-ice pass, but Luongo threw up the glove in spectacular fashion to deny the Bruins forward less than three minutes into the game.
The Philadelphia Flyers have had their share of good news lately. They’ve won five in a row and goalie Steve Mason has been solid in that span, being named on Monday the NHL’s first star for the week.
But it hasn’t all been positive.
Forward Matt Read is out of the lineup for at least four weeks with an upper-body injury, the Flyers announced Monday. The injury occurred during Sunday’s game against the Nashville Predators.
It’s been reported the injury is an oblique muscle pull.
With Read out, the Flyers have recalled Taylor Leier from the American Hockey League.
Leier has been very productive in the minors. In 22 games this season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, he has six goals and 20 points.
The topic of a possible Wild Card play-in game being added to the NHL’s playoff format isn’t new.
General managers around the league have talked about it before. The idea recently seemed to gain traction with at least the small majority, too.
Hockey insider Bob McKenzie once polled all 30 GMs to get a sense of how many would be in favor of such a thing — and 16 of those GMs were. You can count Ken Holland with the Detroit Red Wings as someone who would like to see a Wild Card play-in game.
Holland is also a baseball fan and likes the way MLB has created must-watch play-in games. In baseball, there are three division winners in each league. Those three teams qualify for the division round of the postseason. Two wild-card teams in each league square off in a one-game play-in to decide the fourth divisional qualifier on each side.
“I’m all for an extra team in each conference qualifying for the playoffs and having a wild- card play-in game,” said Holland. “It would add excitement down the stretch for many more teams fighting for the additional wild-card spot and two extra teams would be involved in the playoffs. Those play-in games would be dramatic.”
Of course, the interesting thing about that is the Red Wings have a streak of 25 consecutive playoff appearances on the line.
But their best days — when Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg led them to a Stanley Cup in 2008 and the final the following year — are long behind them. The organization has undergone substantial change with Zetterberg getting older, the loss of Datsyuk to the KHL and Mike Babcock joining the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Red Wings could be in real danger of missing the post-season under its current format in 2017.
Detroit is two points out of the second Wild Card spot in the East, with New Jersey and Boston still ahead of them, although not currently in a playoff spot.