New York Rangers v Montreal Canadiens - Game Five

Get your game notes: Canadiens at Rangers

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the New York Rangers hosting the Montreal Canadiens at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

— Despite erasing a 4-1 deficit by scoring 3 goals in a span of 4:24 in the 2nd period of Game 5, the Rangers could not close out the series as Montreal scored 3 unanswered goals after that to stave off elimination.

  • The 7 goals scored were the most in a playoff game by the Canadiens since 1992 & the most in a Conf. Finals (or NHL Semifinals) for them since 1975.
  • The 7 goals allowed were the most in a playoff game by the Rangers since 1996.
  • The 11 combined goals marked the highest scoring game of this postseason.
  • Montreal led for 55:34 of Game 5 compared to leading for only 2:50 total in the first 4 games of the series.

— Montreal is averaging 3.19 goals/game in these playoffs (L.A. is tops at 3.42). The Canadiens opened the postseason as the only team to score 3+ goals in their first 7 games (3.86 average, 6-1 record) but, prior to Tuesday night’s scoring outburst, Montreal had not found the back of the net with the same consistency:

  • Montreal scored 8 total goals in Games 1-4 of this series & 7 in Game 5.
  • New York is currently averaging 2.37 goals against/game this postseason – best of the remaining teams & the second lowest total behind Boston’s 2.17 for these playoffs.

— Montreal is 3-0 in games when facing elimination this postseason. In NHL history, only 1 team, the 1999-2000 Devils, has won a Conf. Finals (or NHL Semifinals) series when down 3-games-to-1 (66 tries). Montreal is 0-6 all-time in that situation & 2-14 all-time in postseason series when trailing 3-1. The Canadiens have never forced a Game 7 in a Conf. Finals series in which it trailed 3-games-to-1. Elias Sports Bureau

— Henrik Lundqvist, who will extend his franchise record of consecutive postseason starts to 86 tonight, was pulled in the 2nd period of Game 5 after allowing 4 goals on 19 shots. He had previously been pulled in 3 playoff games (NYR lost all 3), & holds a 1-2 record, 3.00 GAA & .887 SV% in the game following being pulled:

source:

— Lundqvist in the last 5 postseason games in which the Rangers have a chance to clinch the series but do not face elimination (no Game 7s) has not fared well: 0-4 record, 5.52 GAA, .808 SV% (NYR have lost all 5 games, Cam Talbot took loss in Tuesday’s game).

— Rene Bourque tallied his first career postseason hat trick in Game 5 & first by a MTL player in a Conf. Finals (or NHL Semifinals) since 1975 (Guy Lafleur). Elias Sports Bureau

  • Bourque has 8 goals in 16 gms this postseason (t-2nd in playoffs); he had 9 goals in 63 gms during the reg. season.

— In Game 5, the Rangers’ top line of Chris Kreider (1 goal, 3 assists), Derek Stepan (2 goals) & Rick Nash (1 goal, 1 assist) combined for 8 points. Kreider, Stepan & Nash have combined for 20 points (9 goals) in this series.

— Montreal scored on the power play for the second consecutive game in Game 5 going 1-4 with the man advantage while the Rangers went 1-7 in the game. The Canadiens have gone 2-21 (10%) in the series on the PP while New York has scored on 5 of its 22 (23%) PP opportunities in this series.

Devils’ Merrill undergoes shoulder surgery, out four months

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 04: Jon Merrill #7 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Detroit Red Wings at the Prudential Center on January 4, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. The Red Wings defeated the Devils 1-0.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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New Jersey d-man Jon Merrill, who struggled through an injury-riddled campaign, has undergone successful shoulder surgery with an expected recovery time of four months, the club announced on Wednesday.

Merrill, 24, only appeared in 47 games this year, first missing time with an arm injury, then suffering a shoulder ailment late in the year.

There was no clear indication if the two ailments were related, but Merrill’s arm injury was on the right side, and surgery was on his right shoulder.

A former University of Michigan standout taken 38th overall in 2010, Merrill enjoyed solid rookie and sophomore campaigns in New Jersey. His second year was especially solid — 14 points in 66 games, averaging over 20 minutes per night — and he boasts good size, going 6-foot-3, 205 pounds.

Based on the four-month timetable for recovery, Merrill will likely miss parts of New Jersey’s training camp and preseason action.

Max Talbot mulling European options for next season

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After a 10-year career with over 700 games played and one Stanley Cup, Maxime Talbot could be done in the NHL.

Per RDS, Talbot — who’ll hit unrestricted free agency on July 1 — has “some options in Europe” for next season, and is contemplating a move overseas.

In his prime, Talbot was a gritty, hardworking forward with decent touch around the net. He scored double-digit goals four times, including a career-high 19 in ’11-12.

The 32-year-old split last season between Boston and its AHL affiliate in Providence, scoring seven points in 38 games at the NHL level.

Talbot did acquit himself very well with the P-Bruins — 21 points in 26 games — and has some experience playing abroad, having suited up for Finnish League club Ilves Tampere during the lockout.

Based on how things went last year in free agency, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Talbot land in Europe.

The likes of Maxim Lapierre, Curtis Glencross and Marcel Goc all failed to score NHL contracts last summer — Lapierre and Goc proceeded to sign overseas, while Glencross opted to retire.

 

Ex-‘Hawks coach Suhonen takes Austrian national team job

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 13:  Thomas Raffl #5 of Austria celebrates with his teammates after Thomas Hundertpfund #27 scored a goal in the first period against Tuukka Rask #40 of Finland during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group B game on day six of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Alpo Suhonen, who became the first European-born NHL coach in over 50 years upon taking the Chicago gig in 2000, has been named the new bench boss of the Austrian men’s national team, per IIHF.com.

Suhonen, 67, takes over from former NHL defenseman Dan Ratushny, who was splitting duties between Team Austria and Lausanne of the Swiss League.

Suhonen takes over the national team at a critical juncture. Austria finished a disappointing fourth at the 2016 World Hockey Championship Division 1 tournament — meaning the country finished 20th overall. As the IIHF websites notes, that’s the worst finish for Austria in 86 years of WHC competition.

Looking forward, Austria does have a chance to make amends this summer, when it will play a series of contests to prep for Olympic qualification.

Suhonen inherits a roster with decent NHL pedigree as Thomas Vanek, Michael Raffl and Michael Grabner are all eligible to participate.

That said, Vanek was named to Team Europe’s initial 16-man roster for the World Cup of Hockey, and it remains to be seen how that will impact his national team commitments.

Datsyuk’s agent acknowledges offer from KHL’s SKA, but no deal yet

Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk (13) celebrates his empty net goal against the Edmonton Oilers in the third period of an NHL hockey game in Detroit Monday, March 9, 2015. Detroit won 5-2. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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Gennady Timchenko, the billionaire chairman of KHL club SKA Saint Petersburg, reportedly believes there’s a “good chance” that Pavel Datsyuk will be playing for his team next season.

But according to Datsyuk’s agent, Dan Milstein, there’s only been an offer from SKA. Nothing has been signed yet. There could still be offers from other KHL teams for his client to consider.

And at any rate, Milstein insisted once again that Datysuk won’t be making any decisions until he speaks with the Detroit Red Wings in mid-June, after the 37-year-old returns from a family vacation.

Milstein passed along that update to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press, plus a few other Wings reporters.

Related: Datsyuk ‘wants to make sure the Wings have options’