Tag: Martin St. Louis

Green feels Caps are more comfortable in one-goal games


The first three games of the New York Rangers and Capitals’ second round series have been determined by one goal and Washington has won two of those contests. Since the playoffs began, Washington is 5-2 in one-goal games, putting them ahead of every team but the Chicago Blackhawks (5-0) in that regard.

The ability to win close contests can be vital in the playoffs and Washington’s success in this area is in contrast to its playoff runs from 2008-13 when it posted a combined 18-22 record in one-goal games.

“The pressure definitely gains during the games when it’s only one goal. Every mistake or mishap can go in the back of your net. And you obviously don’t want to think that way, but the pressure’s there,” Capitals defenseman Mike Green noted, per the Associated Press.

“But I think we’ve done a good job of handling it, really. You don’t really feel that panic out on the ice or on the bench that maybe in recent years you felt.”

Green thinks there could be a lot of different reasons for that, including maturity and experience, but it could also be the influence of new Capitals coach Barry Trotz. Rangers forward Martin St. Louis has noticed a change in them.

“They play a heavier game, probably, now. They probably get pucks in deep a little more. They’re allowed to sustain offensive zone time. It’s a team that’s good off the rush and heavy down low,” St. Louis said.

Even still, Washington’s edge over the Rangers has been thin thus far. New York has an opportunity to even the series tonight (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for tonight

Carey Price,

A quick look at what games will be on what channels in tonight’s Stanley Cup playoff action …

Canadiens at Lightning, 7:00 p.m. ET on USA

Montreal is down 2-0 in its second round series after also losing all five of its regular season games against Tampa Bay. The Canadiens just can’t seem to figure the Lightning out and time isn’t on their side. It certainly doesn’t help Montreal that Steven Stamkos ended his postseason goal scoring drought in Game 2. Given what Tampa Bay accomplished while he was struggling, the squad should be very dangerous if he gets hot.

The silver lining for the Canadiens is that they will likely get David Desharnais back tonight. The 28-year-old forward had the flu and was hospitalized at one point to get re-hydrated. However, after initially staying behind when his teammates traveled to Tampa Bay, he was able to rejoin them on Tuesday. He’s been averaging 16:40 minutes per game in the playoffs, so Montreal had a significant hole to fill when he was absent for Game 2.

Rangers at Capitals, 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN

The first three games of this second round series have been decided by just one goal, so it’s fair to say that these squads have been evenly matched. In Game 3, the difference was a somewhat fluky marker by Washington’s Jay Beagle. That being said, Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby had the best game out of anyone with 30 saves to post the shutout. He now has a 1.54 GAA and .949 save percentage in the playoffs and is one of the main reasons Washington has its 2-1 series edge over the Rangers.

Netminder Henrik Lundqvist has been great too, but he hasn’t gotten much help from the Rangers’ top forwards. Rick Nash has just one goal in eight playoff contests while Martin St. Louis hasn’t found the back of the net in the 2015 postseason. If Nash and St. Louis don’t bounce back then the Rangers will have a lot of difficulty getting past Washington.

Rangers try to take ‘tough’ loss (and finish) in stride

Washington Capitals v New York Rangers - Game One

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:

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.

Report: Zuccarello won’t play in second round

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game Five

Citing “several sources,” the New York Post is reporting that Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello “will not be available” for the entire second-round series versus the Washington Capitals, and that his availability beyond the second round “is in doubt.”

The Rangers announced earlier in the week that Zuccarello, with a suspected concussion suffered in Game 5 versus the Penguins, was out indefinitely.

If the report is accurate, Zuccarello’s speed and play-making ability will be missed by the Rangers. The 27-year-old finished the regular season with 15 goals and 34 assists.

Veteran winger Martin St. Louis is expected to take Zuccarello’s spot on the Rangers’ first line, centered by Derick Brassard with Rick Nash on the left side.

Tight Calder Trophy race down to Ekblad, Gaudreau, Stone

Johnny Gaudreau

This year featured a tight race for the Calder Trophy with several candidates worthy of being called the Rookie of the Year. However, only one can win and tonight we learned that the three candidates are Florida’s Aaron Ekblad, Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau, and Ottawa’s Mark Stone.

At this point it’s not surprising to see Gaudreau’s name on the list of Calder Trophy finalists, but going into the season there was a lot of skepticism about him. He was the 2014 Hobey Baker Award winner after scoring an incredible 80 points in 40 NCAA contests with Boston College, so obviously he had potential offensively, but there were concerns about the 5-foot-9 forward’s ability to adjust to the NHL given his size. Aware of that perception, he reached out to other undersized forwards like Martin St. Louis before the start of the season to get their advice.

“I’ve just got to make sure I follow in their footsteps and do what they’ve been doing,” Gaudreau said back in July. He’s taken a great first step by scoring 24 goals and 64 points in 80 contests with the Calgary Flames.

Out of all the rookies that stepped up this season, Mark Stone was perhaps the biggest surprise. Originally taken in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Stone had to hone his game in the minors before being able to earn a regular spot with Ottawa. He got off to a solid start this season, but it wasn’t until Dave Cameron took over as the team’s bench boss that his playing time grew substantially. He repaid Cameron’s trust by scoring 15 goals and 38 points in 36 contests after the All-Star break. No other rookie even came close to matching Stone’s pace during that stretch and if the NHL season was just a few weeks longer, he might have been regarded as the undisputed favorite for this year’s rookie honors.

As it is Stone still ended up tying Gaudreau for first place in the scoring race.

Unlike Stone or Gaudreau, Aaron Ekblad managed to jump straight into the NHL after being drafted. While that’s pretty much the standard for a first overall selection, it is still very rare to see a defenseman be this effective as a teenager. He had 12 goals and 39 points in 81 contests while also leading the Panthers with a plus-12 rating. Perhaps the most impressive thing about him though is the level of trust he earned with the Panthers, as evidenced by his average of 21:48 minutes per contest.

Of course in a year with this many strong rookie seasons, there’s bound to be snubs and Filip Forsberg arguably tops that list.

The Nashville Predators have been hurting for a top-end skilled forward for a while and their search seems to be over. Although Forsberg needed to spend the 2013-14 campaign adjusting to North America hockey after playing predominantly in Sweden prior to that, he hit the ground running this season with 14 goals and 35 points in 36 contests by New Year’s Day. At one point he looked like the heavy favorite to win this year’s Calder Trophy, but he slowed down somewhat in the second half and consequently finished a close third in the scoring race with 63 points in 82 contests.

John Klingberg is another big snub. He didn’t make his NHL debut until Nov. 11, but he still led all rookie defensemen in scoring. The 22-year-old had 11 goals and 40 points in 65 contests while making the transition from Sweden. Stars GM Jim Nill was so impressed by Klingberg that he handed the blueliner a seven-year, $29.75 million contract despite the relatively small sample size. So while he won’t get the Calder, his efforts were far from unrecognized.