There was plenty of action in the first period of Game 2, yet there wasn’t a lot of the chaos seen in Game 1’s opening frame. Apparently the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings saved the wild stuff for the second period.
Both Jonathan Quick and Henrik Lundqvist will likely wince at the 2-1 and 4-2 tallies, in particular. Let’s begin with that 2-1 tally.
Before the blinding run of goals
A Brad Richards turnover opened the door for the Kings to quickly reduce the Rangers’ 2-0 lead to a 2-1 margin. Notice Lundqvist and Kevin Klein’s failed attempt to avert disaster:
That actually came early in the period, but things really kicked off midway through.
Trading power-play goals
The Rangers’ power play was starting to become a concern early in this series, yet they broke through in an impressive way. Derek Stepan made a great pass (including drawing a ton of Kings attention) to Martin St. Louis, whose off-balance finish highlighted why the Rangers gave up a big package for him:
Down 3-1, the Kings needed some man-advantage success of their own. They got it thanks to Willie Mitchell’s slapper, which came three minutes and 15 seconds after St. Louis scored:
A sloppy play for the Kings, too
Mitchell didn’t get much time to pat himself on the back after that power-play goal. Eleven seconds after that Mitchell goal, a mishap plus some great work from Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard opened the door for this 4-2 Brassard marker:
Overall, it was a four-goal second period that included both teams scoring a power-play goal and allowing a head-shaker. Ultimately, the Rangers remain up two (4-2) headed into the final frame.
There’s another Raffl in the NHL.
On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.
Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.
“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.
With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.
For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.
Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.
Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.
Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)
Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.
But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.
They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.
Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.
Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.
Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?
So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.