PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 24: Sean Couturier #14 of the Philadelphia Flyers congratulates teammate Matt Read #24 of the Philadelphia Flyers on a goal as Derek Stepan #21 of the New York Rangers skates away at the Wells Fargo Center on October 24, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Get your game notes: Flyers at Rangers

4 Comments

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the New York Rangers hosting the Philadelphia Flyers starting at 7:00 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• The New York Rangers haven’t had a losing record in Madison Square Garden since the 2003-04 campaign, but they’re just 9-10-3 at home this season.

• Philadelphia forward Vincent Lecavalier hasn’t scored a goal since Nov. 27. He got off to a strong start this season, but has cooled down dramatically, in part due to injuries.

• On the Rangers side, Derek Stepan has also gone cold with no goals and just four assists in his last 10 games. After scoring 18 goals in 48 contests in 2013-14, he has now endured three goal droughts this season that have individually lasted at least 10 contests.

• The Flyers have lost six straight contests in Madison Square Garden. The last time they earned a victory while visiting the Rangers was Feb. 20, 2011 and Dan Carcillo netted the game winner in that game. Carcillo is a member of the Rangers now.

• The Rangers and Flyers both currently hold postseason spots despite the fact that they’ve each allowed more goals than they’ve scored. The Minnesota Wild, Washington Capitals, and Detroit Red Wings are the only other teams that can say the same.

• Philadelphia’s Nicklas Grossmann is just one of two players in the NHL with at least 100 hits and blocked shots in 2013-14. The other player is Calgary Flames defenseman Ladislav Smid.

• No member of the New York Rangers has at least 12 goals this season. They’re the only NHL squad that can say that, although the silver lining is that they have four players with 11 markers (Chris Kreider, Carl Hagelin, Brad Richards, and Mats Zuccarello). Philadelphia has three guys with at least 12 goals (Wayne Simmonds, Claude Giroux, and Jakub Voracek)

• In a similar vein, Simmonds and Kreider are two of just seven players in the NHL with at least 10 goals and 50 penalty minutes in 2013-14.

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

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray (30) deflects a puck over the net during the first period of Game 3 against the Washington Capitals in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals in Pittsburgh, Monday, May 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
AP
3 Comments

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

7 Comments

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.

Kris Letang may face suspension for hit on Marcus Johansson

87 Comments

Update: Reports indicate that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is indeed looking into the hit.

***

As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.

Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.

Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.

Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:

Things could get ugly in Game 3:

One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:

Also, lateness of the check:

The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.

Fleury suits up (but won’t start) and other Caps – Pens Game 3 notes

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who has been out of action with concussion symptoms, participates in a practice session for the NHL hockey playoffs against the New York Rangers, Monday, April 11, 2016, at their practice facility in Cranberry, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
AP
2 Comments

The Brooks Orpik hit on Olli Maatta isn’t the only factor in lineup changes for Game 3 between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Maybe the most interesting change starts on the Penguins’ bench … where they likely hope that tweak will stay for at least one night.

Marc-Andre Fleury is apparently healthy enough to suit up for the Penguins, although it appears as though Matt Murray will start:

That’s a clear sign that “The Flower” is healthy enough to play, as Murray would be an injury or a coach’s pull away from giving up the net to Fleury. (One would assume.)

Murray has been fantastic for the most part since taking over for Jeff Zatkoff during this postseason, yet you know how the playoffs can be; people may clamor for Fleury after a loss even if it’s not really Murray’s fault.

Circling back to that Orpik hit, the dominoes seem to fall this way:

Penguins: Derrick Pouliot replaces injured Maatta.

Capitals: Dmitry Orlov in for suspended Orpik.

PHT will make note if there are any swerves.