After losing defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski to retirement in back-to-back summers, the big question for the Detroit Red Wings entering this season was if their over two decade long playoff streak would come to an end.
That wasn’t an unfair question to ask and in fact they were barely able to squeeze into the playoffs. At the same time, Detroit has demonstrated once again that what makes them a truly special organization can’t be summed up in the presence of individual superstars.
The Red Wings are more than holding their own in the second round and are doing so with a blend of veterans and youngsters that are doing an admirable job taking the torch.
You can read more about Detroit’s win yesterday here, but let’s turn our attention to tonight’s actions.
Please keep in mind that both games can be watched online in addition to what’s listed below.
New York Rangers host Boston Bruins (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
Boston leads series 2-0
The Rangers managed to overcome a 2-0 deficit against the Washington Capitals in the first round, but Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will need to lead the charge in order for them to do that again.
That might be a problem as Lundqvist’s left shoulder is an area of concern after he was stung by a Daniel Paille shot. He later said that the situation was “under control” and he’s expected to play, but it’s not clear if he’s truly 100%.
After allowing five goals on 32 shots in the latest Rangers loss, Lundqvist said that he needed to be better, but he would also need the guys in front of him to step up.
The Rangers have averaged just 2.22 goals per game in the playoffs. They have skilled forwards capable of stepping up, but they haven’t been reliable. Brad Richards in particular has been a disappointment and has logged 12:57 minutes or less in each of the Rangers’ last four games.
On top of that, New York still has a horrid 5.6% power-play success rate. With all that in mind, it seems unlikely that the Rangers will be able to keep up with the Bruins if Game 3 becomes a high-scoring contest.
San Jose Sharks host Los Angeles Kings (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
Los Angeles leads 2-1
Sharks forward Logan Couture came back from an injury to score the overtime game-winner on Saturday and keep San Jose in this series, but as Sharks coach Todd McLellan said, “We haven’t accomplished anything.” Not yet at least.
“If our intensity or urgency drops because we’ve won a single game, I would be disappointed in our group,” McLellan told ESPN.
Meanwhile Kings captain Dustin Brown pointed out that over the last two years, the Kings have both been down in a series 2-0 only to come back and have taken a 2-0 lead in series before.
“We know what they’re thinking,” Brown said. He added, “It’s a matter of having the killer instinct.”
There’s a lot of very talented players on both of these squads and both have a nice blend of young stars and veteran leadership. Couture was the hero in Game 3, but there’s a long list of players capable of stepping up and making the difference tonight.