A bad bounce was all it took for Rick Nash to give the New York Rangers a 1-0 lead just 26 seconds into Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins:
That’s Nash’s 27th goal of the 2014-15 season, tying Tyler Seguin for the NHL lead. If it wasn’t obvious enough that this season has gone much better for Nash than 2013-14, consider this: he now has more goals (27) than he did last season (26).
Nash was also on the ice for Derick Brassard’s 2-0 tally, although he didn’t draw an assist.
Just moments ago, the Penguins drew within one goal as Sidney Crosby collected a power-play tally.
You can watch all the action on NBC or by streaming the game via the link below:
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
When his St. Louis Blues blanked the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-0 on Saturday, Ken Hitchcock passed Pat Quinn for fifth all-time in wins for an NHL head coach with 685.
While shootout victories likely helped to some extent, it’s worth noting that Hitchcock reached this mark in 1,285 games while Quinn hit 684 wins in 1,400. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Hitchcock should finish the 2014-15 season in fourth place all-time, as Dick Irvin sits at 692 wins in 1,449 games.
Here’s the top five, via Hockey Reference:
1. Scotty Bowman – 1,244
2. Al Arbour – 782
3. Joel Quenneville – 734
4. Dick Irvin – 692
5. Ken Hitchcock – 685
As far as other active head coaches with a lot of wins (beyond Coach Q in Chicago, who isn’t that far off from second place), Lindy Ruff has 631 wins, Barry Trotz has 581 and these guys round out the top 30:
16. Darryl Sutter – 527
17. Mike Babcock – 509
18. Paul Maurice – 502
23. Alain Vigneault – 492
24. Dave Tippett – 480
26. Claude Julien: 453
29. Peter Laviolette – 419
Could be interesting to see where some of those coaches end up down the line.
NBC’s coverage of Sunday games during the 2014-15 season truly begins today as the Pittsburgh Penguins host the New York Rangers. You can watch the game on NBC and also by following NBC’s Live Stream via the link below:
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Check out this preview of the game and also note that J.T. Miller replaces Tanner Glass in the Rangers lineup.
Considering all the talk about a Dan Carcillo cross-check breaking his arm, it’s not a surprise that red-hot Winnipeg Jets forward Mathieu Perreault is out on Sunday and won’t play until at least after the All-Star break.
(The team is only labeling it an upper-body injury at this point. As usual with NHL injuries, it may be some time before we know the extent of his issues. It might not be a break after all, however.)
That doesn’t change the fact that it stings, though, as Blake Wheeler notes to the Winnipeg Sun’s Ken Wiebe.
“It hurts,” Wheeler said. “He’s a guy that is the definition of on-fire right now. He’s played awesome for us.”
Indeed, that’s a tough loss with how legitimate Winnipeg has been looking lately.
On the bright side, Evander Kane has been on a nice run of his own, and he looks to slide into Perreault’s spot alongside Mark Scheifele and Michael Frolik.
Still, there’s only so much you can sugarcoat losing a player who scored nine points in five games before being injured on Friday, especially if Kane struggles to find chemistry alongside linemates who may be better on paper.
That’s a bummer, but the league’s contenders learn to roll with injury punches. If the Jets want to gain that distinction, they’ll have to do it too … starting with tonight’s game against the struggling Arizona Coyotes.
The New York Rangers face an interesting test in the Pittsburgh Penguins on NBC this afternoon, and it sounds like head coach Alain Vigneault will be especially interested to track the progress of key defensive pairing Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi.
Vigneault called out McDonagh and Girardi in regard to their play in Friday’s 2-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets, as the Bergen Record’s Andrew Gross reports.
“They turned the puck over way too many times to what they’ve accustomed us to,” Vigneault said. “We need a better game from those two.”
(For what it’s worth, things didn’t look so great from the duo from a “fancy stats” perspective.)
As hot as the Rangers have been lately, the Penguins could really expose defensive deficiencies, so expect that duo to be challenged today.
In other Rangers news, J.T. Miller returns to the lineup to replace Tanner Glass. While some would like to see more of Miller in general, the young forward’s supporters would at least probably like to know that Vigneault has some positive words for him.
That said, the coach also said he wants to see him make “higher percentage plays” with the puck, so it’s a work in progress.