NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the Washington Capitals host the New York Rangers at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. at 8:00 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.
It’s safe to assume the New York Rangers didn’t envision the start of the season like this. Through their first five games, all on the road, they have just one win (1-4-0). In those losses they’ve allowed an average of six goals per game including a 9-2 loss to San Jose that saw rookie Tomas Hertl score four times.
For new head coach Alain Vigneault, it’s been a rough introduction to life as the Rangers’ boss. More importantly, it’s been a disturbing start for star goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
Lundqvist sporting a goals-against average over 4.00 and a save percentage under .900 will give anyone’s head a shake and worse still, they’ll be hurting for offense with Rick Nash out with a concussion. That sets up for a potential rough night against a Capitals team that has reigning MVP Alex Ovechkin leading the way.
Ovechkin’s start to the season has been strong having scored six goals with nine points through the team’s first six games. Centers Nicklas Backstrom (8) and Mikhail Grabovski (6) have been right there with Ovechkin on the point production as well.
Goaltending hasn’t been Washington’s strong point to start the season either, but they’ve had better production with 17 goals compared to New York’s 10. If nothing else, that puts the onus more on Lundqvist to play strong tonight to save his team from yet another road loss. With Brad Richards and Derek Stepan providing the only consistent offensive punch, King Henrik will need to seize the throne.
These two teams have met in the postseason in four of the past five seasons. They should have each other’s strengths and weaknesses down pat.
Update (12:20 p.m. ET)
Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto is out with the flu. John Moore will reportedly take Del Zotto’s spot on the power play.
The Montreal Canadiens were a bit like Ben Scrivens (in his near-ideal state) this weekend: not always pretty, but they got the job done.
A day after Scrivens thwarted his former team in the Edmonton Oilers in a 5-1 win, the journeyed goalie was integral in Montreal scraping out a 2-1 shootout win against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Now, it’s easy to scoff at two wins against two teams who are – let’s be honest – pretty unremarkable.
The Canadiens aren’t really in a position to laugh off any victory, however. That’s especially true when you consider the fact that this is their first set of consecutive wins since late November.
Even through all this frustration, certain top Canadiens stand out as keeping the team afloat. Andrei Markov hit an impressive milestone:
… While Max Pacioretty scored his 20th goal in emphatic fashion:
As P.K. Subban‘s numbers argue, Montreal’s biggest problem has been getting results from more under-the-radar players. In Sunday’s case, Scrivens delivered.
Montreal still faces an uphill battle, but perhaps a weekend like this might serve as a catalyst for a nice climb?
The Boston Bruins updated Malcolm Subban‘s condition a day after the goaltending prospect was hospitalized after being struck in the throat with a puck.
“Malcolm Subban was struck in the throat with a puck Saturday night during pregame warmups. He was transported to Maine Medical Center and was diagnosed with a fractured larynx. He stayed overnight at Maine Medical Center and was transported to Mass General Hospital on Sunday for further evaluation. He is in stable condition and will be sidelined indefinitely. The team will provide additional details when they become available.”
Awful news, although at least he’s in stable condition.
PHT will stay tuned for further updates regarding the 22-year-old.
Subban did tweet a thanks for support:
A little context makes that a little sad, too.
P.K. Subban seems confident his brother will bounce back.
Pulling Anders Nilsson didn’t stop the bleeding for the Edmonton Oilers. Instead, it really just spread the “wealth.”
The New York Islanders are up 7-1, so don’t be surprised if there’s some ugly stuff in the final frame.
Zack Kassian is an author of at least one outburst, as he was tagged with 19 penalty minutes for a display that included fighting Brian Strait, as you can see in the video above.
It’s not the only fight stemming from the blowout, either, as Eric Gryba just tangled with Matt Martin.
Could there be more?
Update: The game ended on a muted note. The Isles ultimately won 8-1.
There was a time when Anders Nilsson seemed like the best bet in the Oilers’ net this season. This … is not that time.
Less than 12 minutes into Sunday’s game, the New York Islanders roared to a 3-0 lead, and that was enough for Edmonton to give Nilsson the hook.
He allowed those three goals on 10 shots, so to be fair, that’s a pretty impressive chunk of chances (almost a shot on goal per minute).
Still, the Oilers were likely hoping to give Cam Talbot a breather, and instead he was rushed into action. Nilsson hadn’t played since Jan. 19, and he’s only appeared in three games in 2016.
As if this didn’t sting enough for Nilsson, consider the fact that he began his NHL career with the Islanders, who eventually decided he wasn’t worth keeping.