2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One

Rangers need to use their speed against Kings


The New York Rangers have been a force through three rounds in these Stanley Cup playoffs because of their speed.

It’s with that relentless pace that they knocked out the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Final, and they believe it’s what they’ll need if they’re to be successful against the L.A. Kings when it matters the most – in the Stanley Cup Final.

“Our speed definitely helped us in terms of creating good chances. We just need to continue doing that throughout the series,” said New York forward Carl Hagelin, who scored a short-handed goal late in the first period of Wednesday’s Game 1 loss for the Rangers.

“It’s hard to beat them. All their (defense) are pretty steady defensively. You have to make sure you get behind them and hopefully win races.”

The Rangers, including head coach Alain Vigneault, were still lamenting an opportunity that got away from them in the championship series opener. New York jumped out to a two-goal lead, but gave up three unanswered goals in the loss.

The Rangers registered 33 bodychecks compared to the 45 of the Kings. Although, they feel that, again, using their speed on the forecheck should be a benefit.

You don’t necessarily have to plaster an opposing player to the boards, but their ability to get in and pressure opposing defenders has been a major strength for New York during this post-season.

For the majority of the game, I felt we were matching them, too, physically. We had some big hits ourselves. We understand they’re going to be physical on us, and we’re not going to shy away from it for sure,” said Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh.

“We’ve got to look for opportunities to be physical on them for our forecheck, our speed. Doesn’t necessarily have to be a big hit, but utilizing our legs, getting on the right side of guys, creating turnovers that way is part of being physical, too. We feel we can play that game, as well.”

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?