For the first two periods of Game 1, the New York Rangers looked like they were equal to the task of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. Their team speed even seemed to leave the Los Angeles Kings overwhelmed at times in the early going. Ultimately the Kings clearly flipped the script, especially in the third period and on, eventually winning 3-2 in OT.
More than a few people wonder if the Rangers eased off the accelerator at some point during a process where a 2-0 lead dissolved into a tough overtime loss.
Chris Kreider backed up the notion that some of the Rangers’ wounds were self-inflicted.
“I think we obviously expected them to have their surges but I think there were times tonight when we probably shot ourselves in the foot and got away from the type of game we wanted to play,” Kreider said.
Kreider expressed regret over passing up some opportunities, but the numbers indicate that it was a team (lack of) effort. That’s especially true of the third period where the Kings dominated possession by way of a 20-3 shot advantage.
Then again, many will point to Dan Girardi’s turnover in overtime (which opened the door for Justin Williams’ overtime-winner) as the true “shoot yourself in the foot” moment:
“I like the way we played in the first two periods, I thought it was a hard fought first 40 minutes by both teams,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “I’m not sure what quite happened in the third – if it was them being that good or us stopping moving the puck and skating. They definitely took it to us in the third. They were the better team.”
“We’ve got 48 hours to make some adjustments before we play Saturday.”
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.