Kings Devils Hockey Stanley Cup Finals

Bryce Salvador is having one rich playoff run

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Of all New Jersey’s surprise success stories in the playoffs, Bryce Salvador’s scoring prowess probably ranks as the least expected.

Salvador’s game-winning goal on Saturday night was his 14th point of the playoffs, tying Drew Doughty for the lead among NHL defensemen. Adam Kimmelman points out how rare game-winners have been for Salvador; apparently, it was his first GWG since Jan. 2010 and his second career playoff game-winner.

(His other one came on April 19 … 2001).

Salvador wasn’t coy about how unusual scoring has been for him, either.

“I went 82 games without scoring, so I’ll take any goal I can get,” he said.

Scoring this often in the playoffs is rare enough for the Devils defenseman, but he isn’t far from matching career highs for a season’s worth of work. His two best career outputs were 16 points (in 76 games in 2008-09) and 14 in 79 games in 2009-10.

Apparently Salvador’s Fernando-Pisani-of-defensemen act is so unusual that it actually broke a record. His 14 points is the highest postseason point total ever for a player who produced 10 points or less in a regular season with at least 70 games played.

(Salvador failed to score a goal and had nine assists in 82 games during this regular season).

Salvador’s career stats are likely to be blissfully ignored by some NHL general manager during the off-season. The 36-year-old defenseman will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, so this postseason output isn’t just record-breaking and unlikely.

It’s also probably going to be very lucrative.

There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

Connor McDavid
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Jack Eichel didn’t disappoint in the preseason, finishing with six points in four games, including two shorthanded goals.

Tonight in Buffalo, his NHL career will start for real when the Sabres host the Ottawa Senators in regular-season action.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, stepping foot on that ice and making the NHL,” Eichel said, per “It’s kind of been a whirlwind, but you’re finally playing hockey for a living and everything you’ve done your whole life is to get to this point. It’s pretty special.”

The 18-year-old’s debut was front-page news this morning in Buffalo, where the Sabres have been among the NHL’s worst teams since last making the playoffs in 2010-11.

Eichel front page

Granted, even with the additions of Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane, Robin Lehner and Cody Franson, expectations for 2015-16 remain modest for the new-look Sabres. Certainly, a spot in the playoffs would count as a surprise.

But for the fans of a team that’s barely possessed the puck the past couple of years, it’s night and day.

“People are excited,” GM Tim Murray said earlier this week. “It’s great. They think we’ve improved, and there’s a real positive vibe, I believe.

“That’s what I said to our coaches, ‘I want everybody to be positive. I’m the only guy in the organization allowed to be negative.’ That’s the way I wanted it. If I’m the most negative guy in the city about the team, that’s pretty good.”

Sutter: Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

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Lost in the various controversies (see here and here) of last night’s game in Los Angeles was a pretty dismal performance by the Kings, a team that should’ve been especially motivated to start the season after missing the playoffs last year.

The Kings were hammered, 5-1, by the visiting Sharks. They were outshot, 32-20.

“If you don’t check, you don’t have the puck enough,” said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter. “If you don’t have the puck enough, you can’t score.”

“We were pretty sloppy. Sloppy on our rushes, sloppy in our D-zone,” said forward Dustin Brown. “That’s probably most of it, but the other part is compete – in the corners and making hard plays coming out of our zone, going in. We didn’t play very well.”

Obviously, much credit has to go to the Sharks. Like the Kings, they missed the playoffs last year and came into 2015-16 looking for redemption. But the Sharks haven’t won two Stanley Cups in the last four years, and they weren’t the home team.

“Gotta check,” said Sutter. “You don’t check, you can’t score. We had a lot of guys, especially top guys that weren’t interested in that part of the game.”

The Kings get a visit from the Arizona Coyotes on Friday. If they don’t dominate that team…