Jackman to pass Sutter tonight for 2nd on Blues’ games played list

6 Comments

Tonight will be a special one for Barret Jackman.

Jackman will play in game No. 780 tonight, moving him past former Blues captain Brian Sutter and into second place on the franchise’s all-time games played list — trailing only St. Louis legend Bernie Federko.

“I think one-team longevity is uncommon now,” Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said of Jackman, per the team website. “I don’t think you see it very much anymore. It’s nice to see a guy that’s a good player get to stay with the same team for a long period of time.

“To have Jax here for this extended period of time, I think it helps you continuity-wise with your program. He can help a lot of the young players out. I think he’s established in the community, so, there’s a real identity with him and the St. Louis community.”

The Calder winner as NHL rookie of the year in 2003 — beating out Henrik Zetterberg and Rick Nash — Jackman has been a model of consistency during his 13 years with the Blues, and is the longest-tenured athlete in St. Louis professional sports.

More, from the Blues website:

When the Blues face the Dallas Stars tonight at Scottrade Center, Jackman will surpass Brian Sutter for second place on the Blues’ games-played list. Sutter spent his entire 12-year playing career in St. Louis, including nine seasons as a captain. The two are not only linked in longevity, they are mirrored in method.

Jackman and Sutter are two of four players in club history to have collected over 1,000 career penalty minutes. During his career, Jackman’s body-sacrificing style has produced 909 hits and 1,196 blocked shots – two numbers that only nine other NHL players have reached since those stats both began tracking in 2005-06.

“You couldn’t ask for a better teammate, a better leader,” said Blues forward T.J. Oshie. “He’s played a lot of games and gotten pretty nicked up. He’s definitely a warrior in every sense of the word.”

A pending UFA, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Jackman this summer. It seems unlikely he’d want to play anywhere other than St. Louis but, with the Blues carrying a relatively high payroll and salary cap uncertainty for next season, he might be forced to take a hometown discount from the three-year, $9.5M deal he’s currently on.

Rangers pull off late rally in hard fought battle of New York

25 Comments

If tonight’s game was any indication, a playoff series between the New York Rangers and Islanders would be quite a treat. The two battled fiercely tonight, but in the end the Rangers earned a 6-5 victory in the back-and-forth contest.

John Tavares found the back of the net just 11 seconds into the contest thanks to a errant pass from Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot. The Rangers consistently battled back after that, but the Islanders still managed to maintain their lead for most of the game.

It wasn’t until 15:28 of the third period that the Rangers got their first and only lead. Kevin Klein netted the winner, but it was the difference thanks to the efforts of Derek Stepan and Martin St. Louis, who started the rally with goals less than two minutes apart earlier in the final frame.

Stepan also recorded two assists to give him a team-high three points.

Markers seemed to come in bunches for the Rangers tonight as Chris Kreider and defenseman Ryan McDonagh also found the back of the net roughly 23 seconds apart in the second period.

That was blueliner McDonagh’s second marker of the night.

This was the fourth game against the two New York teams in 2014-15 and it’s the first time that the Rangers emerged victorious. That snapped the Islanders’ four-game winning streak and extended the Rangers own winning streak to four contests. The Islanders still have a two-point edge over the Rangers in the battle for the Metropolitan Division title, but the Islanders have also played in two more contests.

The two squads will complete their regular season series on March 10.

Video: Tavares scores on wide open net 11 seconds into game vs. Rangers

8 Comments

The New York Rangers have lost to the Islanders by wide margins in each of their three meetings this season. They’re hoping to get a little revenge in tonight’s rematch and there’s still plenty of time for them to accomplish that goal.

They couldn’t have had much worse of a start though. Mere seconds after the contest began, Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot left the crease to play the puck, flinging it behind the net to Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. The only problem is that McDonagh couldn’t complete the pass.

Instead Islanders forward John Tavares found himself with the puck and an open net:

It was Tavares’ 27th goal and his third versus the Rangers in 2014-15.

DeKeyser earns high praise from Babcock

3 Comments

If Danny DeKeyser were a car, he wouldn’t be flashy like a Ferrari or Lamborghini, or even that awesome car Homer built that played La Cucaracha with its horn.

Which is to say, DeKeyser isn’t P.K. Subban or Erik Karlsson, two past Norris Trophy winners with the ability to both put up points and bring the crowd to its feet. (Nor is he a defenseman that sings La Cucaracha.)

That said, DeKeyser will get you from A to B, and he’ll do it with the minimum amount of hassle.

And as with cars, there’s a lot to be said for reliability.

Per the Detroit Free Press, Wings coach Mike Babcock says DeKeyser “makes the least mistakes of anybody on our back end. He’s an elite skater, he’s got an elite mind, he’s ultra competitive, he comes every day ready to play.”

That’s high praise for a 24-year-old who wasn’t even drafted. DeKeyser, you’ll recall, signed with the Wings in March of 2013 as a free agent out of college.

In the short time since turning pro, DeKeyser has become yet another late-blooming d-man to make an impact in the NHL, joining the likes of current undrafted players Mark Giordano, Dan Boyle, Dan Girardi, Chris Tanev, and Torey Krug, as well as past stars like former Wing Brian Rafalski.

Related: Undrafted Giordano has some draft advice for NHL GMs

Goalie nods: Calgary sticks with Ramo versus Boston

2 Comments

All the latest from the blue paint…

Karri goes for Flames

Karri Ramo will make his second consecutive start for the Flames tonight when they host Boston at the Saddledome.

Ramo, a surprise starter against Vancouver on Saturday, played very well in his rare appearance, stopping 28 of 30 shots for just his ninth win of the season. The decision to start Ramo came after Jonas Hiller — Calgary’s goalie of record for eight straight games from Jan. 27 to Feb. 12 — had lost two of his last three starts, including a 5-3 defeat in L.A. in which he was hooked in the third period.

For the Bruins, Tuukka Rask is likely to start in goal.

Elsewhere…

Rangers at Isles: Cam Talbot vs. Jaroslav Halak

‘Canes at Sens: Cam Ward vs. Robin Lehner

Habs at Wings: Carey Price vs. Jimmy Howard

Oilers at Jets: Viktor Fasth vs. Michael Hutchinson

Coyotes at Avs: Mike McKenna vs. Semyon Varlamov

Wild at Canucks: Devan Dubnyk vs. Eddie Lack

Bolts at Kings: Andrei Vasilevskiy vs Jonathan Quick