There are plenty of things you can attribute to the Rangers’ success in these playoffs. Timely goal scoring from guys like Chris Kreider or Marian Gaborik is one. Great goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist is a no-brainer as is their ability to block shots and defend like crazy.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post says the team’s heart is what really drives them, however. Brooks talks about how the Rangers keep finding ways to bounce back time and time again in the playoffs and they do it with aplomb.
You can quantify shots, attempts, blocked shots, turnovers, faceoff results and hits. You can account for possession time and zone time to the second.
But you can’t measure heart. You can’t even really see it. You can only feel it. And for 100 games, everyone has felt the heartbeat of the Rangers, who are down to their moments of truth entering tonight’s Game 5 at the Garden in a Battle of the Hudson that is even only in the scorebooks, even if that’s the only place that really counts.
Heart is admirable but it’s the ability to put teams away that will help get them to the Stanley Cup finals against the Kings. Lundqvist has been his usual stellar self but unless the Rangers find ways to fill the net, their amazing run this season could see them fall short of their ultimate goal. Can heart score goals? New York hopes so.
This fight between Tom Wilson, Chris Stewart got downright gory (Video)
For those who decry the decline in fighting – in “blood and guts” hockey – Tuesday presented a bloody moment, one fairly high on this season’s Muta scale.
Also, for some, seeing it happen to Tom Wilson specifically may provide additional pleasure.
Anyway, as you can see in the video above, Minnesota Wild winger Chris Stewart bloodied the Washington Capitals pest in a fight. Whether you’re for, against or neutral toward Wilson, it’s quite the sight.
Wilson may be hurt, by the way. He missed some time but returned later in the contest.
Auston Matthews likely ranks as the top reason that many Toronto Maple Leafs are starting to get the same feelings they had in better times, so it only makes sense that he broke a beloved Buds’ record on Tuesday.
With his 35th goal of a potential Calder season – but a brilliant debut either way – Matthews passed Wendel Clark for the Maple Leafs’ rookie record for goals in a season.
That goal was also meaningful for William Nylander, as he extended his point streak to 12 games with an assist. This team, fueled by young players, just keeps shattering first-year marks:
Leafs rookie record watch:
GOALS – 35 Matthews ASSISTS – 40 Marner tied with Bodnar POINT STREAK – 12 games Nylander SHG – 3 Hyman
The U.S. women’s national team voted in favor of accepting USA Hockey’s deal, so they’ll participate in the world championship tournament. USA Hockey recently made the news official with this press release.
The press release confirmed a report that the contract will last four years, while financial terms were kept confidential. (Team members had been seeking a living wage to represent USA Hockey.)
“Our sport is the big winner today,” Team captain Meghan Duggan said. “We stood up for what we thought was right and USA Hockey’s leadership listened. In the end, both sides came together. I’m proud of my teammates and can’t thank everyone who supported us enough. It’s time now to turn the page. We can’t wait to play in the World Championship later this week in front of our fans as we try and defend our gold medal.”
As much as many of us suffer during a trip to the dentist, few can fathom the horrors hockey players often go through when a puck, stick or fist finds their teeth/mouths. Consult this vintage PHT post from 2010 if you want to cringe, a lot.
Couture, Wilson said, did not need to have his jaw wired shut after a deflected puck caught him in the mouth on Saturday when the Sharks played the Nashville Predators.
“Hey, he can speak and eat … and his jaw isn’t wired shut!” Yeesh.
To little surprise, Couture isn’t playing on Tuesday. As far as the Sharks next three games (Thursday, Friday and Sunday), that remains to be seen.
As an aside, consider this: on the same day Jonathan Drouin‘s celebrating his birthday after helping the Lightning win, Couture is lucky if he can force down some birthday cake. Life: it isn’t always fair.