Marc-Andre Fleury helped the Pittsburgh Penguins steal a point (or two?) on Friday night, stopping 34 out of 35 shots in a 2-1 shootout win against the New York Rangers. That intense game could be costly for both teams, though.
James Neal looked groggy and glassy eyed after a third period hit by Michael Del Zotto. Meanwhile, there’s a chance Henrik Lundqvist might have tweaked something while stopping an Evgeni Malkin shootout attempt.
(Lundqvist stayed in net and made more saves, but cameras caught him grimacing, opening up questions about a possible groin pull.)
The Rangers dominated large chunks of play, out-shooting the Penguins 35-27 overall (including 14-4 in a heated third period).
Fleury was game, though, and that makes things uncomfortable for Pittsburgh’s division rivals. The Rangers moved back ahead of the New York Islanders for seventh place with 40 points, but that extra point could have been handy in holding off the likes of the New Jersey Devils (39 points in 37 games played), Winnipeg Jets (38 points in 39 GP) and Philadelphia Flyers (37 points in 37 GP).
Things could really be interesting if these two would-be contenders meet in what few would have expected would be an opening round clash. The Rangers still have a way to go before they can guarantee a seventh or eighth seed, though.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.