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.
Alumni rosters announced for Bruins-Habs at Gillette Stadium
The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.
Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.
The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)
The hope was that the Columbus Blue Jackets would be jolted into a great, long winning streak, and their season would be saved.
The reality of John Tortorella’s first month behind the bench has been, well, reality. The Jackets are 8-7-0 since Todd Richards was fired. Better than 0-7-0, sure, but at 8-14-0 overall, they remain last in the Eastern Conference.
Fifteen games into his tenure, Tortorella is still trying to get his message across.
“A big reason why we bring them in (to practice yesterday and today) is because we don’t have a full understanding of the standard we need to be at in all areas of the game,” he told The Columbus Dispatch. “Some things you can’t control in our game, but it’s how hard you play, how hard you are with your bite as a team, and the pace you play with – you can control that.”
The Jackets play Wednesday in New Jersey, where they’ll look to shake off Sunday’s disappointing home loss to San Jose. Columbus held a 3-1 third-period lead in that one. The Sharks scored four straight to win 5-3.
The San Jose Sharks have signed forward Dainius Zubrus to a one-year, two way contract, the club announced today.
Zubrus was given a tryout with the Sharks last week.
The 37-year-old played 74 games with the Devils last season, scoring just four goals with six assists. His contract was then bought out.
According to a Mercury News source, the decision to sign Zubrus lay “mainly” with his former coach in New Jersey, now San Jose’s bench boss, Pete DeBoer.
“He looks good,” DeBoer said of Zubrus last week, per CSN Bay Area. “He looks close. It’s tough to find six-foot-four, 215-pound guys who can play. … He’s an easy guy to play because he’s defensively reliable. He plays a big possession, heavy game. There’s a lot to like there.”
In a related move, the Sharks have reassigned forward Nikolay Goldobin to the AHL.