New York Rangers v Montreal Canadiens - Game One

Habs need to put Game 1, Price injury, and Boston series behind them

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Somewhat lost in all the speculation and controversy surrounding Carey Price’s injury (culminating with today’s announcement that he’ll miss the rest of the Eastern Conference Final) has been the fact that the Montreal Canadiens were downright bad in losing Game 1 to the Rangers, by a score of 7-2.

Consider: not only were they beaten by five goals, the Canadiens were outshot, 28-22, on home ice, and actually got increasingly worse throughout the game in terms of puck possession.

From Extra Skater:

source:

Now, full credit to the Rangers for keeping the pedal to the metal (so often teams go into a defensive shell when they get a lead), but this will be a short series if the Habs don’t regain their focus.

“Good thing it’s a seven-game series and we have a chance to get back in it on Monday,” Habs forward Ren Bourque said. “I think we had a little bit of an emotional letdown after the Boston series.

“We talked about that to going into the game. Obviously, it didn’t click.” (Note: We talked about it too, last week in PHT Extra.)

On the bright side, according to Montreal’s Thomas Vanek, “when you lose 7-2 like we did,” it’s “easy” to put the loss in the rear-view mirror and get ready for the next game, which goes tonight at the Bell Centre.

“If you lose a close one, that one stings maybe a bit longer,” said Vanek.

Still no word on who will start in goal for the Canadiens; Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston thinks Dustin Tokarski should get the nod over Peter Budaj, but we’ll have to wait and see what coach Michel Therrien thinks.

Lastly, even without knowing who will replace Price, gamblers have been all over the Rangers, according to online bookmaker Bovada.

“Today’s news of Montreal Canadiens’ goaltender Carey Price being out for at least the entire series against the Rangers has had a profound impact on the odds,” said a spokesperson for the sports book. “In the Rangers game tonight, New York has gone from +110 underdogs to -120 favorites and we are seeing money pouring in on the Rangers regardless. The Rangers also have gone from 9/4 (+225) to 9/5 (+180) to win the Cup.”

Blues, Capitals to play exhibition game in Kansas City

Pedestrians walk past the Sprint Center, Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. The city was preparing for the third round of the NCAA college basketball tournament at the arena after the region received 6-10 inches of snow overnight. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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Kansas City is going to host another NHL exhibition game.

The St. Louis Blues announced today that they’ll take on the Washington Capitals on Oct. 5 at Sprint Center. Both Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Ovechkin will be there, at least according to the press release.

The Blues last played in K.C. a couple of years ago when they took on the Stars in exhibition play. In 2011, a sellout crowd watched the Penguins and Kings at Sprint Center.

A market once considered a candidate for expansion or relocation — particularly after Sprint Center opened in 2007 — the NHL-to-Kansas City buzz has since died down. Last year, there was no interest from Kansas City when the league called for expansion applications.

Sensing an opportunity to make their team a favorite of all Missourians, not just the ones in St. Louis, the Blues have said they’d like to cultivate their fan base across the state in Kansas City.

Report: Pens won’t make Fleury (talks too much) available to media

at Pepsi Center on December 9, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.
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Don’t expect many updates on Marc-Andre Fleury‘s health over the next little while.

Well — don’t expect them to come from Fleury, anyway.

Per TVA Sports, Fleury has been shut down from speaking with reporters until he’s fully recovered from the concussion that’s sidelined him since Apr. 2.

A translation of Renaud Lavioe’s piece for TVA, per PHT’s Joey Alfieri:

Fleury practiced with his teammates this morning at the Verizon Center.

What I can tell you is he’s feeling better, but the Penguins have decided not to make Fleury available to the media because he says too much.

The next time Fleury talks to the media, it’s because he’ll be ready to return.

Not to be mean, but Matt Murray has given up three goals or more in back-to-back games.

Earlier this week, Fleury told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that — despite participating in on-ice workouts — he’s still dealing with concussion symptoms.

“It’s one of the toughest things I’ve been through,” he explained. “Some good days, when you think you’re back, and some bad days, when you think it’s never going to get fixed.”

The Fleury situation seems to have rankled some within the Penguins organization — like head coach Mike Sullivan, who took issue with questions about the club’s handling of Fleury.

Here’s a related series of tweets from DKonPittsburghSports’ Josh Yohe:

Game 2 of the Pens-Caps series goes tomorrow from Verizon at 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN). Matt Murray, who allowed four goals on 35 shots in the Game 1 loss, is expected to start in goal.

North Dakota loses another d-man as Kings sign LaDue

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 09:  Paul LaDue #6 of North Dakota skates against the Boston University Terriers during the second period of the 2015 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Championship semifinals at TD Garden on April 9, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Keaton Thompson, Troy Stecher and now, Paul LaDue.

On Friday, the Kings announced that LaDue — the junior d-man that helped North Dakota win the Frozen Four — agreed to a one-year, entry-level deal, forgoing his senior season in the process.

LaDue, 23, was part of a talented UND blueline that also featured fellow juniors Troy Stecher — who since signed with Vancouver — and Thompson, who inked with the Ducks.

So yeah, bit of an exodus.

Thankfully for North Dakota, freshman scoring sensation Brock Boeser has already committed to returning for his sophomore campaign, while junior defenseman Gage Ausmus — a San Jose draftee — vowed to go back to school as well.

As for Frozen Four MOP Drake Caggiula — a senior that was already leaving school — he’s already begun his tour of interested NHL suitors.

Per TSN, Caggiula has shortlisted six clubs: Philadelphia, Edmonton, Ottawa, Vancouver, Chicago and Buffalo.

Wilson fined for kneeing Sheary

Wilson hit
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No suspension for Capitals forward Tom Wilson. Only a fine.

That’s what the NHL’s Department of Player Safety decided after Wilson kneed Pittsburgh’s Conor Sheary last night in Washington.

The fine of $2,403.67 is the maximum allowable under the CBA, and, at the very least, it puts Wilson on official notice.

Wilson was not penalized on the play, and Sheary was able to leave the ice under his own power and remain in the game.

“We’re just going to play hockey, and the refs are going to call it the way they see it,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told reporters afterwards. “Our guys are going to play.”

This morning, Capitals coach Barry Trotz reportedly said of the play, “It was OK, but it wasn’t I would say necessary.”