5 — The number of power-play goals for the Anaheim Ducks in these playoffs. That’s been huge for them, especially after they struggled with the man advantage during the regular season (28th, 15.7%). On paper, the Ducks’ power play should be deadly. Corey Perry is one of the top snipers in hockey, Ryan Getzlaf is one of the top play-making forwards, and Sami Vatanen is the kind of creative blue-liner that can open lanes from up top. Those three have combined for 11 PP points in six games.
45.6% — Minnesota’s Corsi close, the lowest percentage of all 16 playoff teams. The Wild were one of the top possession teams during the regular season, but facing the Blues and Blackhawks in the postseason has been a challenge. The Wild, like the Ducks, have taken advantage of their power-play opportunities, scoring six times on just 17 opportunities. But they’ll likely need to control a bit more of the five-on-five play if they hope to get back in the series.
.922 — Montreal’s team save percentage, No. 8 out of 16. The Habs had the highest team save percentage (.926) out of 30 during the regular season. And while you can’t say Carey Price has been bad in the playoffs, because he definitely hasn’t been, the Canadiens simply don’t score enough for him to be anything but great.
6 — Times out of nine that the Washington Capitals have surrendered the first goal. They’re 2-4 in that situation and 3-0 when they score first. As a whole, the team that’s scored first in these playoffs has gone 35-20. So yeah, for the most part, it’s been pretty important to get that 1-0 lead.
6.3% — Five-on-five shooting percentage for the New York Rangers, 12th out of 16. The Blueshirts finished the regular season at 8.8 percent, fourth out of 30, with some arguing there was bound to be a regression. Rick Nash, in a related story, has just one goal on 25 shots.
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.
The Pittsburgh Penguins limped into the playoffs and that combined with the Penguins missing defensemen Christian Ehrhoff, Kris Letang, Derrick Pouliot, and Olli Maatta to a variety of injuries led to them being cast as the underdogs in their first round series against the New York Rangers.
Of course, as long as the Penguins feature Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, they can’t be ruled out entirely, but they weren’t able to take advantage of the fresh start that the playoffs afforded them.
The Rangers needed just 28 seconds to take a 1-0 lead as Derick Brassard took advantage of a big rebound created by Rick Nash’s shot:
The silver lining when it comes to falling behind early is there is plenty of time to regain the lead. That being said, the Penguins were 10-18-5 in games when they fell behind 1-0 in the regular season.
The Washington Capitals’ goal of staying ahead of the New York Islanders in the battle for the second seed in the Metropolitan Division just got easier. The Rangers announced that forward Rick Nash and defenseman Marc Staal will miss New York’s game against Washington, which starts at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello is being regarded as a game-time decision.
For Nash and Staal, this will be the second straight game they’ve missed while Zuccarello is in danger of being absent for his third straight contest. Although the Rangers’ decision to scratch all three of them on Thursday was seen by many as an effort to rest some of their players before the start of the playoffs, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault insisted that all three of them were held out due to injuries.
While many players are presumably less than 100% at this point, the question is if those three would have been able to play on Thursday or today if needed. The Rangers have already clinched the Presidents’ Trophy, so the fact that three of their top players might be out this afternoon doesn’t really hurt them. It becomes a big issue though if Nash, Staal, and Zuccarello aren’t available for Game 1 of the first round.
The chances of at least some of them being ready for the playoffs is good though given that Nash said he “felt normal” after Friday’s skate and Zuccarello reported that he was feeling better, per the Bergen Record. Staal didn’t skate on Friday though.
With the Presidents’ Trophy clinched, the New York Rangers are reportedly giving three of their top players — Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello, and Marc Staal — the night off tonight.
That’s great news for the Rangers’ opponents, the playoff-hopeful Ottawa Senators, and not-so-great news for the teams the Sens are chasing, like the Bruins and Penguins.
Boston, tied in points with Ottawa but holder of the ROW tie-breaker, plays in Florida tonight. Pittsburgh, just one point up, hosts the Islanders tomorrow.
The Red Wings and Islanders are the two other teams that have yet to clinch playoff spots in the East. Detroit, with a two-point cushion, is in Montreal tonight.
Related: Breaking down the East bubble after Boston’s big loss