It looked shaky, but the Ottawa Senators will have Mark Stone in the lineup against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 2 tonight.
The Senators were concerned that a micro-fracture injury suffered from P.K. Subban’s infamous slash might have sidelined him for the entire series, but he instead will gut it out. The potential Calder candidate didn’t look great in warm-ups, as multiple reporters observed, including ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:
Stone isn’t the only possibly banged-up sniper in this one, as Max Pacioretty is making his 2015 postseason debut for the Habs tonight.
If either player can contribute anywhere near their normal level, it could very well be a difference-maker in this series or at least in Game 2. Then again, there’s also the threat of re-injury, particularly in a series that’s already very testy:
It’s remarkable how far Stone has come for Ottawa, isn’t it?
The Montreal Canadiens managed to win a contentious Game 1 against the Ottawa Senators without him, but with tempers rising, they’re likely glad to see Max Pacioretty in the lineup for Game 2.
That said, a player sidelined with an upper-body injury since April 5 would be wise to “keep his head up” even more than everyone else though, right?
It’s always a little nerve-wracking to place a seemingly vulnerable player into the playoff pressure cooker, yet if Pacioretty is anywhere near full-strength, the Canadiens regain a key component.
The 26-year-old set a new career-high for points with 67 and continues to come close to the 40-goal mark, capping out this time at 37.
Montreal will definitely be without one of their top-10 scorers tonight in Game 2 against Ottawa, as P.A. Parenteau has been ruled out with an upper-body injury.
The Habs might be without a second as well.
Max Pacioretty, who missed Game 1 with a lingering ailment from the regular season, is questionable for tonight’s tilt. The Habs’ leading goalscorer this season with 37 tallies, Pacioretty did participate in today’s morning skate.
“He had a good practice yesterday, and this morning I know he felt really good,” head coach Michel Therrien told reporters on Friday. “But I can’t confirm if he’ll be there tonight or Sunday.”
Parenteau, who had 22 points in 56 games this year, had been playing on a line with Devante Smith-Pelly and David Desharnais. The trio went scoreless in Wednesday’s win over Ottawa.
Prized Ottawa rookie Mark Stone — who suffered a microfracture in his right wrist courtesy a P.K. Subban slash in Game 1 — will be a game-time decision for tonight’s tilt in Montreal, per head coach Dave Cameron.
The 22-year-old took a brief twirl during this morning’s skate before exiting. If Stone doesn’t play, it’s possible that veteran tough guy Chris Neil will draw into the lineup as the extra forward — but even if Stone does play, Neil could still get on the lineup card as well, with another forward getting dropped.
Talk of Neil playing — and this morning’s Ottawa Sun front page — led to the inevitable discussion of Ottawa exacting revenge for Subban’s slash.
The bench boss’ take?
Referees will undoubtedly be on high alert this evening. In that light, it’s unsurprising the NHL assigned a pair of veteran officials in Gord Dwyer and Eric Furlatt. Both have worked over 550 career games.
Related: PHT Extra: Sens need to control their emotions after Subban slash
A quick look at what games will be on what channels in tonight’s Stanley Cup playoff action…
Senators at Canadiens, 7 p.m. ET on CNBC
Montreal earned a 4-3 victory in Game 1, but the big story was P.K. Subban’s slash on Mark Stone. The Senators wanted to see Subban suspended over that one, but it looks like that won’t happen. Now tempers are running high going into Game 2. As previously noted, the Senators need to control their emotions though before this series gets away from them.
Islanders at Capitals, 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN
The Islanders secured a 4-1 victory over Washington in Game 1 with Josh Bailey, Ryan Strome, and Brock Nelson leading the charge. If John Tavares gets hot in Game 2, then New York might find itself in a commanding position by the end of the night, although we might end up seeing Alex Ovechkin respond instead. Meanwhile goaltender Jaroslav Halak now has a 2.23 GAA and .941 save percentage in seven career playoff games against Washington.
Blackhawks at Predators, 9:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN
It took 87:49 minutes to settle Game 1, but in the end Chicago completed its comeback from a 3-0 deficit. Along the way Patrick Kane recorded two power-play assists in his return from a broken clavicle. Chicago struggled to convert on its power-play chances after the All-Star break, but the return on Kane might have ended that issue, which is yet another thing Nashville has to worry about.
Flames at Canucks, 10:00 p.m. ET on CNBC
Down 1-0 going into the second intermission, the Flames rallied in the final frame and Kris Russell scored the winner with just 30 seconds remaining in Game 1 on Wednesday. The Flames were one of the best teams in the league when it came to battling back from a deficit in the third period over the course of the regular season, but they obviously don’t want to make a habit of it in the playoffs. The Flames might not be so fortunate this time around if they fall behind again.