Los Angeles Kings sniper Marian Gaborik admits it: returning to Madison Square Garden – in Game 3 of the 2014 Stanley cup Final, no less – is a big deal.
“Yeah, that gives you extra jump. It’s my first time coming back to the Garden after I got traded,” Gaborik said. “I’m going to see the Garden after all the renovations for the first time, as well. You know, they have great fans. They’re going to be supporting them. We’re going to come out hard.”
He hasn’t played a game at Madison Square Garden since he was a member of the New York Rangers on April Fool’s Day in 2013. The Rangers traded him to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2012-13, who then flipped him to the Kings before he got the chance to play a road game against New York.
Of course, Gaborik also mentions that he’s never met anyone who doesn’t enjoy playing at the famous arena, so perhaps the entire Kings team will get an “extra jump.” Justin Williams backs that thought up, for one.
“The Garden is one of my favorite places to play,” Williams said. “I know a lot of guys feel the same way, as well. It’s fun. Cup Final. Should be loud and exciting.”
During the regular season, the Rangers were 20-17-4 at home and 25-14-2 away while the Los Angeles Kings sported identical 23-14-4 marks at home and on the road. With all that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising if a shift to Madison Square Garden doesn’t make a big difference on the ice.
Then again, considering the slender margin between victory and defeat so far in this series, a little extra jump could make a big difference.
There were great choices for player of the night, but ultimately, Bergeron’s return to the Bruins lineup stands tallest. He scored a goal and three assists, soothing injury-bummed Bruins fans as part of Boston’s victory against Vancouver.
Bergeron didn’t ease right in. He won half of his draws, fired six shots on goal, and almost logged 21 minutes of ice time. Maybe he can hold things together for Boston?
Update: The Edmonton Oilers ended up needing every bit of Connor McDavid‘s brilliance, as goals weren’t coming easily against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.
(Even though, as you can see with that highlight-reel assist, McDavid often makes it look easy.)
McDavid also managed a secondary assist on Mark Letestu‘s overtime-winner, ending the Edmonton Oilers’ losing streak at four games. The Blackhawks continue to be resourceful in getting standings points, in this case falling 2-1 in OT.
Anton Forsberg made 40 of 42 saves, but it wasn’t enough against a driven group led by number 97.
If you haven’t seen the more amazing of McDavid’s two helpers, do yourself a favor and check it out. You won’t regret it.
Connor McDavid’s speed and skill are glorious, but the thing that makes him extra-sensational is just how unstoppable he seems. Even against some of the NHL’s best.
To start the season, McDavid made very-solid Calgary Flames defenseman T.J. Brodie look downright permeable during the most impressive goal in his opening-night hat trick.
If that wasn’t impressive enough, the superstar tore through the Chicago Blackhawks – including certain future Hall of Famer Duncan Keith – and then sent absolutely obscene pass to Patrick Maroon for an easy goal.
You know how people used to say that a fire hydrant could score 50 goals with Mario Lemieux? We might need to bump that down to 30 for modern hockey, but either way, Maroon might laugh uncomfortably at such jokes.
If you prefer your jaw-droppers in GIF form, drop away:
The roller coaster isn’t slowing down for the Boston Bruins.
With Tuukka Rask‘s concussion looming over the proceedings, the Bruins gave fans some reason to celebrate; Patrice Bergeron scored a goal and three assists in an impressive 6-3 output by the B’s top guns against the overmatched Vancouver Canucks.
Even Anders Bjork enjoyed some measure of redemption after bowling over Rask in practice, as the young player scored two goals and an assist despite being limited to 12:29 TOI.
Other big guns like Brad Marchand did their increasingly reliable damage, with David Pastrnak probably providing the most exhilarating goal of the contest:
Yeah, that might get some attention from Canucks coach Travis Green in film sessions, assuming he doesn’t just burn the tape.
Bergeron broke down his night to Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy after the game:
The Bruins really made Erik Gudbranson and the Canucks pay for boarding Frank Vatrano, as they scored three power-play goals on the major penalty. Vatrano’s another health situation to watch, although it’s heartening that he returned during the game.
So … solid stuff overall, as the Bruins provided ample evidence that they might have the weapons to scrap through all this bad luck.
Then again, if opponents can slow the top-end guys, you wonder what kind of supporting cast the Bruins will have left through this run of attrition. David Krejci is the latest name to land on Boston’s troubling list of walking wounded.
Update: David Krejci will not return with an upper-body injury.