The latest Stanley Cup odds, per Bovada:
New York Rangers — 13/4
Chicago Blackhawks — 4/1
Anaheim Ducks — 9/2
Minnesota Wild — 11/2
Montreal Canadiens — 13/2
Tampa Bay Lightning — 15/2
Washington Capitals — 9/1
Calgary Flames — 12/1
Gotta be honest, nothing looks too tempting there. I picked the Lightning to win it all, and I guess 15/2 isn’t a terrible payout. But did anyone think Tampa Bay looked great against Detroit? I didn’t.
If I absolutely had to make a bet — taking into consideration both the team and potential winnings — I’d go with Washington at 9/1. Heading into the playoffs I wasn’t sure how Evgeny Kuznetsov would fare as a second-line center. Well, we all know what he did against the Isles. To be sure, the Rangers will be a really tough out, but I think they’ll miss the speed and play-making ability of Mats Zuccarello.
Related: PHT’s Round 2 picks, once again featuring The Coin
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.
After missing over a month with an arm injury, New York Rangers’ defenseman Kevin Klein is expected to make his return tonight.
According to Andrew Gross of The Record, Klein will play in Game 1 against the Washington Capitals.
Klein has been out of the lineup since March 11 after being hit in the arm by an Alex Ovechkin shot.
The 30-year-old was having a career year prior to being sidelined.
In 65 games this season Klein had nine goals and 17 assists while averaging 18:29 in time on ice.
Puck drop on Game 1 between the Capitals and Rangers is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
A quick look at what games will be on what channels in tonight’s Stanley Cup playoff action…
Capitals at Rangers, 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN
For the fourth time in five years and fifth time in seven the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals are meeting in the playoffs. The last two playoff meetings between the clubs have gone seven games with the Rangers winning both. The Rangers won three of four meetings between the two teams during the regular season. John Forslund and Pierre McGuire have the call of Game 1 from Madison Square Garden.
Flames at Ducks, 10:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN
The Anaheim Ducks are looking to avoid another second round loss as they play host to the Calgary Flames in Game 1 tonight. The L.A. Kings bounced the Ducks from last spring’s playoffs in seven games. Meanwhile the Flames are in the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2004 when they came one win shy of capturing the franchise’s second Stanley Cup. Jonas Hiller, who spent parts of seven seasons with the Ducks, will be Calgary’s Game 1 starter. Dave Strader and Brian Engblom will be on the call from the Honda Center.
Keith Yandle didn’t join the Rangers for their practice on Tuesday and hasn’t taken part in a morning skate with the team since Game 2 of the Rangers’ first round series against Pittsburgh. He absorbed a hard hit from Blake Comeau in that contest.
The reason given for his absences was described as an illness at one point, but on Monday overall body soreness was cited as the cause. And today?
“Sniffles,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told the Bergen Record.
He’s expected to be on the ice Wednesday and even if he doesn’t skate, it’s worth emphasizing that he hasn’t missed a single playoff game. Yandle had two assists and a plus-two rating while averaging 18:24 minutes per contest in the first round.
If he has been playing through something significant, then the Rangers’ quick work of Pittsburgh likely helped matters. This is the Rangers’ fourth straight day off and their breather will continue tomorrow.