Sharks score

With six games left on road trip, Rangers could use bounceback in Anaheim

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Tuesday’s embarrassing performance in San Jose has the Rangers seeking redemption tonight in Anaheim against the Ducks.

But which New York team will we see? The one that got torched, 9-2, by the Sharks and allowed a 19-year-old rookie to score four? Or, the one that beat a good Kings team, 3-1, the night before in Los Angeles?

“(It’s) tough to understand at this point how we can play so well (Monday) night and play like this tonight,” Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said after the San Jose debacle. “We’ve got 48 hours before the next game, and we’ll come up with some answers.”

Vigneault had better hope so, because it doesn’t get easier any time soon. Counting tonight, the Rangers still have six games remaining on their nine-game, season-opening road trip as Madison Square Garden undergoes renovations. After Anaheim, there are visits to St. Louis, Washington, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Detroit.

Writes the New York Post’s Larry Brooks:

Three games. A minute sample size. A counter-productive training camp schedule. An unorthodox schedule to open the season. A pair of key players not yet in game shape.

We get it.

And yet, the 9-2 humiliation in San Jose on Tuesday that represented one of the worst beatdowns in recent franchise history means the clock is ticking on this team and this season.

Already.

And on top of all that, the Rangers may not have top forward Rick Nash in the lineup versus the Ducks as a result of Tuesday’s Brad Stuart hit that the NHL deemed was worthy of a three-game suspension.

Again, it’s only been three games. Teams have bounced back from early-season stinkers before. In fact, when Vigneault was head coach in Vancouver, the Canucks lost 6-2 in Minnesota and 7-1 at home to Chicago early in 2010-11, which was the same season they won the Presidents’ Trophy and got all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

But sometimes teams don’t recover from tough starts. And with the Rangers’ schedule being what it is, they could easily return to MSG well back of the leaders in the Metropolitan Division.

PHT Morning Skate: Adam Henrique wants to make NHL 17 great again

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Martin Jones is a calming presence in the Sharks’ net. (Sports Illustrated)

–The Rangers should go after Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. (The Hockey News)

–Some people have pretty wild hockey tattoos. (BarDown)

–Watch the highlights of last night’s game between the Penguins and Capitals. (Top)

–A great piece on how Bruce Boudreau impacted the Ducks and Capitals. (Sportsnet)

–It should be an interesting off-season for the Anaheim Ducks. (Daily Breeze)

Adam Henrique is a funny guy. He took to Twitter to try and get himself on the cover of NHL 17:

Capitals accuse Letang of leaving his feet, hitting Johansson in head

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Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.

(Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)

You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.

Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.

Letang told his side of the story:

The Capitals disagree:

While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:

No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.

Penguins ride Murray’s masterpiece to 2-1 series lead vs. Capitals

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If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.

The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.

(Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)

Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.

A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.

First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.

Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.

Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.

In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.

This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.

Yes, NHL is reportedly looking at Letang’s hit on Johansson

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It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.

(You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)

There are a few things we do know already.

For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.

Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.

In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.

There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.