After finishing Game 2 with an ugly minus-8 rating, the trio of Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis and Carl Hagelin know things have to improve for tonight’s crucial Stanley Cup Final Game 3 at MSG.
And if they don’t know, head coach Alain Vigneault will remind them.
“I’m sure Brad, with his experience, knows that their whole line needs to be better,” Vigneault said during Monday’s media availability. “If you look at the stats on that night, it obviously wasn’t one of their better nights.”
Aside from St. Louis’ power-play marker (which came on assists from Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider), the unit was largely quiet on Saturday. Richards had an evening to forget, coughing up the puck via an ugly turnover on Jarret Stoll’s early second-period goal while Hagelin, who was so effective in Game 1 by utilizing his speed and skating ability, didn’t match that same effectiveness level and was largely a non-factor, recording just two shots on net.
If the Rangers have any chance of getting back in this series, that’s going to have to change.
The trio has been highly effective throughout New York’s run to the Stanley Cup Final. St. Louis and Hagelin share the team goalscoring lead, with seven, while Richards has 11 points through 22 games and is one of the few Rangers to have won a championship during his career. As such, Vigneault is expecting the entire group to play much better in what amounts to a must-win game in Game 3.
“They’re veteran guys. They’ve been around,” Vigneault said. “They can evaluate their game real well. I’m sure they’re going to have a good bounce-back game tonight.”
Thomas Greiss will be between the pipes for the New York Islanders when they host the Blackhawks tonight in Brooklyn.
Greiss was signed this offseason to back up Jaroslav Halak, who skated this morning but remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
“Jaro’s not 100 percent right now, so it was an easy decision,” coach Jack Capuano told Newsday. “Jaro’s progressing well and we’ll see how he is moving forward.”
Greiss will be backed up by J-F Berube, who was claimed off waivers from Los Angeles earlier in the week.
Corey Crawford will be in goal for Chicago.
These two teams meet again tomorrow at United Center.
— Michael Hutchinson goes for the Jets in New Jersey after Ondrej Pavelec got the win last night in Boston. Cory Schneider for the Devils.
— Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers. Sergei Bobrovsky for the Blue Jackets in their opener.
— Jonathan Bernier for the Leafs. Jimmy Howard for the Red Wings in their opener.
— Mike Smith for the Coyotes. Jonathan Quick likely for the Kings, who will need a better effort than the one they had Wednesday against San Jose.
Related: Mike Smith seeing benefit from sports psychologist
Winnipeg forward Alex Burmistrov isn’t in line for a disciplinary hearing for his elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron on Thursday night, an NHL spokesman confirmed to PHT.
Burmistrov was tagged with an illegal check to the head minor late in the first period. Bergeron received a minor roughing penalty for retaliating on the Russian forward, but was able to finish the contest.
Afterward, B’s head coach Claude Julien expressed frustration with the hit.
“It will be interesting how that is being reviewed, and especially to an elite player in the league who’s had some [concussion] issues in the past,” Julien said, per WEEI. “I hope they look at it seriously. In my mind, I don’t see why there wouldn’t be further consequences [for] that.”
Bergeron said that, while it was “definitely a hit to the head,” Burmistrov did come up to him afterward and apologized.
According to sources of CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty, Burmistrov received a warning from the Department of Player Safety.