New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game One

Rangers cough up two-goal lead, recover to beat Penguins in OT

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The New York Rangers have taken the first game of their second-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins, despite coughing up a two-goal lead.

The Rangers, coming off a seven-game series win over the Philadelphia Flyers in Round One, opened the scoring, beating Marc-Andre Fleury on just the third shot of the hockey game, but needed overtime to defeat the Penguins by a final score of 3-2 on Friday.

Derick Brassard scored the winning goal at the 3:06 mark of the extra period. His shot beat Fleury on the stick side, however, because the puck hit up near the crossbar, play was allowed to continue.  Benoit Pouliot buried the puck a few seconds later on a scramble in front of the Pittsburgh net, but, following a review, the goal was given to Brassard.

Here is an explanation from the NHL’s Situation Room Blog:

At 3:13 of overtime in the New York Rangers/Pittsburgh Penguins game, Benoit Pouliot’s shot appeared to end the game. However, video review determined that Derick Brassard’s shot at 3:06 of overtime hit the back bar of the net after it crossed the goal line. Therefore the official winning goal is credited to Brassard at 3:06. Good goal New York Rangers.

Make of this what you will, but that’s back-to-back games to begin the second round in the Eastern Conference, in which the visiting team has taken the first game of the semifinal series. The Montreal Canadiens stunned the Boston Bruins in overtime in their series-opener on Thursday.

The evening didn’t get off to a good start for Fleury, who was beaten twice on 13 first-period shots. New York’s second goal came just after a questionable offside call.

However, the Penguins managed to come back in the second period. Lee Stempniak got Pittsburgh on the board, before James Neal tied the game on a goal the Rangers protested – the thinking was that Pittsburgh forward Evgeni Malkin knocked the puck out of the air with a high stick.

Fleury finished the game with 24 saves, while Henrik Lundqvist, under siege at times through the final two periods, made 34 saves for the win.

Nugent-Hopkins trying to ignore trade rumors — ‘If it happens, it happens’

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 14:  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins #93 of the Edmonton Oilers skates against the Boston Bruins during the first period at TD Garden on December 14, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Ryan Nugent-Hopkins trade speculation may have died down since it peaked at the draft in late June, but it’s not entirely dead.

The 23-year-old former first overall draft pick was asked to address the ongoing rumors Monday at an Oilers charity golf tournament.

“I try not to pay attention too much,” Nugent-Hopkins said, per the Edmonton Journal. “If it happens, it happens. I know it’s definitely a different group than the one we finished with last season.”

Indeed it is. Most notably, Taylor Hall is in New Jersey now, traded for defenseman Adam Larsson. The Oilers also signed Milan Lucic and drafted Jesse Puljujarvi.

What’s still lacking is an offensive defenseman who can run the power play, which is why the names Tyson Barrie (Avalanche) and Matt Dumba (Wild) have been floated as potential targets.

The Wild in particular could use a good, young center like Nugent-Hopkins, and the expansion draft is looming for a Minnesota club that already has defensemen Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin, and Marco Scandella locked up in long-term contracts.

Barrie, meanwhile, has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday.

Blues d-man Kevin Shattenkirk is another name that’s come up; however, he can become an unrestricted free agent after next season, and whether he’d re-sign in Edmonton is in doubt.

Flyers reportedly avoid arbitration with Manning, sign him for two more years

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Chalk up another arbitration hearing that won’t be required. This time it’s Brandon Manning‘s. The 26-year-old defenseman has agreed on a two-year, $1.95 million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, according to CSN Philly.

Manning’s hearing was scheduled for next Tuesday. He was the last restricted free agent on the Flyers, after Brayden Schenn re-signed Monday.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the Manning signing.

Manning played 56 games for the Flyers in 2015-16, his first full season in the NHL. He had one goal and six assists while logging an average ice time of 16:32.

Report: Blackhawks, Rundblad agree to terminate contract

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 09:  David Rundblad #5 of the Chicago Blackhawks in the second period at American Airlines Center on October 9, 2014 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The Chicago Blackhawks are reportedly parting ways with defenseman David Rundblad. The two sides have agreed to a contract termination, according to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Rundblad, 25, was set to earn $1.1 million this season, per General Fanager. His cap hit was $1.05 million, meaning the ‘Hawks will gain $100,000 in cap space by not having to bury his contract in the AHL next season.

Rundblad was unlikely to make the Blackhawks in 2016-17 — not after the additions of Brian Campbell and Michal Kempny, and also the re-signing of Michal Rozsival.

It remains to be seen where Rundblad will end up. One possibility is back in Switzerland, where he spent part of last season before dressing three times for the ‘Hawks in the playoffs.

Sydor named assistant coach of Blues’ AHL affiliate

OTTAWA, CANADA - OCTOBER 11: Assistant coach Darryl Sydor of the Minnesota Wild looks up at the jumbotron during a video review in a game against the Ottawa Senators, during the NHL home opener to kick off the Senators' 20th anniversary at Scotiabank Place on October 11, 2011 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
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Darryl Sydor, after being let go by the Minnesota Wild, has joined the Chicago Wolves as an assistant coach.

The St. Louis Blues, the parent club of the AHL Wolves, made the announcement Monday. It was also announced that former NHLer Daniel Tkaczuk would join Sydor as an assistant on new head coach Craig Berube’s staff.

Sydor, who won two Stanley Cups as a defenseman, spent five years as an assistant on Mike Yeo’s staff in Minnesota. His time with the Wild was marred by an arrest in 2015 for drunk driving. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and sought treatment.

“I know now that alcoholism is a disease and I’m powerless over alcohol,” he told Kamloops This Week in January. “I can never have a drink again and I’m fine with that.”