Following an ugly 6-2 loss in Colorado, Ruff deflected criticism of his young, inexperienced defense by saying he needed to do a better job of preparing them.
“Our defense were a step slow — they were a step slow on the coverage,” Ruff said postgame. “I’m going to work with them. They’ve got to play in big situations against big players and they’ve got to make those plays for us.
“It really falls on my shoulders to get them there. Because they’re the guys that are going to have to play.”
Without injured veterans Trevor Daley and Stephane Robidas, Dallas leaned heavily on the likes of Jamie Oleksiak (20 years old) and Kevin Connauton (23), more so after another veteran — Aaron Rome — was lost to injury after playing just 2:36 in the opening period.
Things blew up in the second period, as Colorado scored four times in an 11-minute span to put the game out of reach. All four goals came at even strength with Oleksiak on for one and Connauton on for two.
In protecting his youngsters, Ruff re-iterated that it’s on the coach to get them ready for the speed and pace of the NHL.
“We got some young defense that are playing in some bigger places,” he explained. “I’ve got to get them in a better spot.”
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger