The Anaheim Ducks are obliterating the Calgary Flames in Game 1, and it appears as though the Flames lost some players to injury, too.
Calgary updated that Jiri Hudler and Michael Ferland won’t return tonight after suffering … whatever injuries they are dealing with. (It’s the playoffs, this is about as robust as updates are going to get while a team is still active.)
As bad as the Flames are looking, this Game 1 loss would be more significant if these players miss time, especially Hudler. The 31-year-old topped all Calgary scorers with 76 points in the regular season and has been a key part of a fantastic line with youngsters Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.
Every series will have ups and downs, and the Flames haven't been good tonight, but the greater concern right now is no Hudler and Ferland.
The New York Rangers aren’t denying the bitterness that comes from their buzzer-beating Game 1 loss to the Washington Capitals.
Even so, they’ve generally said all the right things – or nothing at all – about the way things ended. Interestingly, Martin St. Louis provided the most critical take while admitting that he hasn’t seen a replay.
“I haven’t seen the replay but knowing Boyler, my guess is it was bad, and that allowed them to get that chance,” St. Louis said. “If Boyler doesn’t go down, they don’t get that chance. It’s tough to take, the late goal, but it’s how it happened that’s tough to take.”
Here Marty, check out the replay:
It’s likely that Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault has seen the replay, but he was probably wise to hold his tongue, as the Bergen Record’s Andrew Gross reports:
AV, asked about no-call on Backstrom: "I'm not going to comment on referees. Don't ask me about it."
Beyond those comments about the goals, the Rangers supplied the usual “race to four” platitudes, which you really can’t begrudge them for (considering the jarring way they lost). It seemed like everyone also used the word “rough” or “tough” to describe the defeat.
Anyway, whatever way they feel, the Rangers must dust this off and get ready for Game 2 on Saturday.
If Jonas Hiller manages to foil his former team in the Anaheim Ducks, that bit of revenge won’t come with the Calgary Flames in Game 1.
For the second straight game, the Swiss-born goalie didn’t avoid the hook very long, as he was replaced by Karri Ramo after the Ducks took a 3-0 lead. Hiller at least made it through more game time tonight, as he was pulled 22:13 in after allowing three goals on 14 shots after not even making it through eight minutes of Game 7.
Flames fans can at least keep a little hope alive in remembering that their team seems to play best with its collective backs against the wall, as they did last time Hiller didn’t make it through a full contest.
Here’s the Perry goal that ended Hiller’s night early:
That’s about the only positive spin Calgary can put on another shaky start, though.
New York Islanders GM Garth Snow ended any offseason suspense about head coach Jack Capuano’s future on Thursday, telling New York Newsday that they’ll keep him around heading into 2015-16.
Going further, Snow confirmed that other staff members will return, from assistants Doug Weight, Greg Cronin and Bob Corkum to goalie coach Mike Dunham.
“Our coaches did a great job, whether it was preparing our players or with the communication between coaches and players, which was outstanding,” Snow said. “There were some aspects of our game, whether it was with our penalty-kill that struggled early on and became a strength for us by the end, or our power play, which was a strength at times early on and we didn’t have one in the playoffs. That’s an area of concern. We’ll analyze all different areas of our team and try to get better.”
Assuming everything goes as Snow says it will, Capuano would enter his sixth season as the head coach of the Islanders. In that time, the Isles have made the playoffs twice, falling in the first round each time.
To his credit, the Islanders battled the Capitals hard even as their defense corps was decimated by injuries.
While the old regime seems like it will stay in place, it won’t all be familiar for the Islanders, as they’ll play their first season in Brooklyn next season.
Burning question: are these sufficient hipster glasses?
New York second: Capitals stun Rangers for 1-0 series lead
The Washington Capitals grabbed a Game 1 win against the New York Rangers with the kind of buzzer-beating sequence that won’t be forgotten for some time.
Nicklas Backstrom delivered a questionable hit on Dan Boyle before Joel Ward managed the 2-1 game-winner with less than two seconds remaining.
Boyle immediately left the ice, so we’ll see if the Rangers lose more than just the contest. The two teams brawled after the whistle, and one could assume that it had much to do with that Backstrom hit, Tanner Glass being sent sprawling onto Henrik Lundqvist and Chris Kreider’s collision with Braden Holtby.
Of course, it might have just been about the staggering series event that ended the contest.
The Capitals leaned heavily on Holtby in this one, as it seemed like he would make Alex Ovechkin’s first-period laser stand as the lone tally of the night. Instead, Jesper Fast was credited with a deflection goal with a little more than four-and-a-half minutes remaining in the third, giving the impression that we’d get the first overtime squabble of the second round.
Obviously, that was not to be, as Ward found the net for another big goal. The guy just seems to have a knack for playoff scoring … especially when a new contract is on the line.
This loss really has to hurt the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Rangers, but if previous Ovechkin/Lundqvist-era series are any indication, we could see many twists and turns before one team advances to the Eastern Conference finals.