If not for Henrik Lundqvist, we might already be previewing a New Jersey-Los Angeles Stanley Cup finals.
That’s not necessarily a shot at the Rangers – no team should apologize for having a great goalie. King Henrik’s performance in the Eastern Conference finals is exactly why he’s paid the big bucks and gets to drives a cool Maserati. (Also, why he gets a nickname like King.)
Still, it’s safe to assume the Rangers would like to get off to a better start in Game 5 tonight at Madison Square Garden. They’ve already spent enough time on their heels in the first period, relying on Lundqvist and other clutch defensive plays to keep things close.
In Game 4, Lundqvist finally broke. The Devils scored twice in the first 12 minutes and went on to win, 4-1.
“There’s no question Jersey right on through the playoffs, not just our series, they have blitzed teams and gained momentum,” New York coach John Tortorella said today. “Momentum is a big part of playoff hockey. There’s no question we like to get that on our side right away.”
Devils coach Peter DeBoer doesn’t disagree his team’s been able to dominate the Rangers early.
“We break down scoring chances by period and game,” he said. “I usually concentrate more on the final number, which has been very good through the series for me. So I haven’t looked closely enough at the individual period. I imagine it’s pretty good. Our first periods have been great.”
New Jersey is 6-2 in the playoffs when it scores first and 4-4 when it doesn’t.
New York is 9-2 and 1-6, respectively.
Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp
It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.
Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.
He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.
Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.
The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension
The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.
It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.
Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.