Considering the bickering and finger-pointing that’s taken place during the past week, you’d think that the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers were hyping up a prize fight (if not the main event for “Wrestlemania”). Yet with all the jawing going on, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault acknowledged that it’s important to back up all of the talk.
“Tonight, without a doubt, for both teams it’s a huge game,” Vigneault said. “Both teams know the importance of it, and
I’m sure we’re going to have a great hockey game.”
It’s true that this isn’t an elimination game, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have a big impact on the series and the postseason as a whole. The Rangers could inch closer to getting more rest if they can close out the Habs quickly (certainly relevant after New York went through two seven-game series) while Montreal can regain home-ice advantage by tying this series 2-2.
As noted earlier, Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien indicated that all the big talk clouds the obvious truth: each team has a lot on the line.
Interestingly, Therrien noted that he believes that he’ll probably laugh this stuff off with Vigneault … in the offseason.
“Right now we’re battling for the same thing. The same thing he wants to get to the Stanley Cup Final with his team, it’s the same thing for me,” Therrien said. “We’ve got to put our friendship aside for, what, two weeks? But I’m sure when everything’s going to be done and everything’s going to be over, and as soon as we get a chance to see each other, we’re going to have a nice cold beer, like we did in the past, and nothing’s going to change.”
Then again, a lot can change in a week or two (especially when a trip to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final is on the line.)
There was no miracle comeback this time for the Winnipeg Jets. No heroics from highly touted rookie Patrik Laine.
Puck drop at the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field was delayed due to glare from the sun. When the game did begin, the Jets couldn’t get anything going, falling behind in the second period against the visiting Edmonton Oilers.
The Oilers leave Winnipeg with a 3-0 victory.
It started with Mark Letestu opening the scoring with a short-handed goal after a mistake from Dustin Byfuglien at the Edmonton blue line.
The Oilers continued to ruin the party with a goal from Darnell Nurse — in the box when Letestu scored — just 1:46 later. And Zack Kassian made it that much more difficult for the Jets to come back with another second-period goal for Edmonton. Three goals in just about eight minutes and it was game over.
The Jets’ record falls to 2-3 — a slow start that puts them at the bottom of a very difficult Central Division.
And their schedule likely won’t do them any favors, either, with home-and-home sets against Dallas and Washington, not to mention some back-to-back games on the road.
Meanwhile, the Oilers have had a completely different start to their season.
A week ago, head coach Todd McLellan blistered his team for a brutal performance on home ice against the Buffalo Sabres. Goalie Cam Talbot wasn’t good at all, allowing a goal from center ice.
A distant memory, it seems. Talbot stopped all 31 shots he faced for the shut out Sunday.
The message from that effort versus Buffalo — the lone blemish on Edmonton’s schedule so far — seems to have been received from the Oilers.
They went on to beat Carolina and St. Louis, and then they took control of Sunday’s contest in the middle period and didn’t give Winnipeg anything from there.
With a power play in the second period, the Winnipeg Jets had a good opportunity to take the lead on home ice in the Heritage Classic.
But instead, it was the Edmonton Oilers cashing in.
Mark Letestu opened the scoring with a short-handed goal, beating Connor Hellebuyck on the glove side on a breakaway after Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien whiffed on the puck at the blue line.
Letestu took advntage. That’s his second goal of the season, both coming on the penalty kill.
The Oilers were able to further silence the crowd in Winnipeg, as Darnell Nurse, right out of the penalty box, buried a Connor McDavid pass just 1:46 after Letestu’s goal.
Sam Reinhart has two assists through four games this season, and Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has made a move with the hope of getting the 20-year-old forward going offensively.
As per John Vogl of the Buffalo News on Sunday, Reinhart has been moved to the middle between Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons, while Matt Moulson was moved to the top line with Ryan O'Reilly and Kyle Okposo.
Reinhart, a 23-goal scorer from last season, had two assists through the first two games, but has been kept off the score sheet in Buffalo’s last two contests.
Outside of that six-goal outburst versus Edmonton last weekend, scoring has been an issue for the Sabres early in the season. So adjustments to the forward combinations is to be expected.
“Sam needs to get a little bit more feet moving, a little bit more speed to his game,” said Bylsma, as per the Buffalo News.
“He’s made some great plays for us early on – power play and five-on-five for the Okposo goal – but we need to get more out of Sam, moving his feet more, playing a little bit faster, a little bit quicker and providing a little bit more offense for our team.”
The Sabres, without two key forwards in Jack Eichel and Evander Kane with long-term injuries, which would help explain the team’s early offensive issues, conclude a four-game road trip Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Sabres also called up forward Hudson Fasching and defenseman Casey Nelson from Rochester in the AHL.
When P.K. Subban shows up at your event, you expect to be entertained. And he basically always delivers.
His trend of delighting Nashville Predators fans continued on Sunday, as he made a glorious appearance as the Tennessee Titans’ “12th Man.”
If you close your eyes and picture a scene, you probably wouldn’t be that far off; it still doesn’t make this any less fantastic. (Even if the Titans eventually dropped a 34-26 loss to the Colts.)
The photo he posted on his personal Twitter account was great:
This GIF of him using a sword feels like it will get some mileage on Twitter. After totally convincing other people about your sports/political/hot-dog-being-a-sandwich opinion, and then drop the P.K. dagger:
Was the Titans jersey not lasting for long predictable or unexpected?
Opinion: this was the Titans game to attend since they fell a yard short of beating the Rams.