Tag: Rick Nash

New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Four

St. Louis regains top-line spot with Rangers (Update: Nope)


As interesting a story as Martin St. Louis facing his former team the Tampa Bay Lightning in the playoffs for the first time may be, it won’t be as intriguing if the veteran winger is buried on the third or fourth line.

The 39-year-old found himself off the New York Rangers’ first line for a small chunk of Game 7’s overtime win against the Washington Capitals, but the Bergen Record reports that he’s back with Derick Brassard and Rick Nash.

For now, at least.

St. Louis only has four points in 12 playoff contests so far, a significant slump for a player with 87 points in 100 career postseason games. Still, he believes he’s had some strong moments, especially in the first few games against the Capitals.

“I thought I played some good hockey early on in that series but didn’t get rewarded,” St. Louis said. “Of course, coaches make decisions at key times in the game for whatever reason and I’ve never liked being left on the bench at certain times. But that’s reality. If I liked it, I don’t think I would be here today.”

Between the third period and overtime of Game 7, St. Louis only received about four of his 15 minutes of ice time, as J.T. Miller took his first-line spot. It sounds like St. Louis will get a chance to regain his standing on the top line, yet it’s a situation to watch.

It could be that much more interesting if St. Louis does get demoted, as the New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard discusses:

The question if Vigneault reshuffles his lines is where else St. Louis would fit. Dominic Moore’s bump into the top nine with Hagelin and Hayes has helped the forecheck immensely. Stepan’s line with Kreider and Jesper Fast had 13 points against the Caps. St. Louis is not a fourth-line player. It might seem safer to add an offensive element to the fourth line against Tampa than it would have been against Washington, but don’t let this matchup fool you. The Rangers want to make use of their speed, sure, but they don’t want to turn this into a track meet and give the Lightning turnovers in the neutral zone.

Update: St. Louis did not begin the game on the first line.

More on Marty

He won’t be sentimental facing the Bolts

Martin St. Louis wants to retire as a Ranger

Columbus to announce new captain on Wednesday

Buffalo Sabres v Columbus Blue Jackets

Two weeks ago, Blue Jackets president John Davidson revealed the club was ready to institute a captain for the first time since Rick Nash departed three years ago, adding the player had already been chosen.

Next week, we find out who it is.

In an email sent to ticketholders — later confirmed by the Columbus Dispatch — the Blue Jackets announced they’ll reveal the sixth captain in franchise history on Wednesday evening.

It’s expected that Nick Foligno will inherit the “C”. Earlier this month, the Dispatch suggested the 27-year-old is the favorite, especially after coming off a great campaign which he scored a career-best 73 points, signed a six-year, $33 million extension and was named a captain for the 2015 NHL All-Star Game — an event that Columbus hosted, and during which Foligno emerged as one of the faces of the franchise.

Others in the mix, according to the Dispatch, include Boone Jenner, Scott Hartnell, Brandon Dubinsky and Jack Johnson. Worth noting that Ryan Johansen wasn’t listed among the favorites.

Five team stats you may find interesting


2.00 — Goals per game for the Rangers in these playoffs. The reason they’re in the conference finals is they’ve only given up 1.67 per game, thanks in large part to Henrik Lundqvist (.944 save percentage). Remarkably, six of the Rangers’ eight wins have been by a score of 2-1. Derick Brassard and Chris Kreider lead the Blueshirts with five goals each, followed by Derek Stepan with three, while Rick Nash, Carl Hagelin, Kevin Hayes, Ryan McDonagh and Dan Boyle have two each.

55.4 — Anaheim’s faceoff percentage, the highest of the four remaining teams. The Ducks struggled in this area last postseason, but the addition of Ryan Kesler (63.7% this year), who replaced Nick Bonino (45.8% last year), has really helped them. Should be interesting to see how Kesler does against Jonathan Toews, one of the best faceoff men in the game.

10-1 — The combined overtime record of the four remaining teams, led by the Rangers (4-0). The only team that’s suffered an overtime loss is Anaheim (Game 3 versus Calgary).

48.31 — Tampa Bay’s Corsi close percentage, the lowest of the four remaining teams. Which lends credence to the notion that the Lightning haven’t really played up to their potential in the postseason. In a related story, Ben Bishop was excellent versus Montreal, registering a save percentage of .940 in six games, while outplaying Hart Trophy favorite Carey Price. Let’s see how Bishop does versus Lundqvist.

9 — Power-play goals allowed by Chicago. Six to Nashville, then three more to Minnesota. Poor penalty killing is not something that’s normally associated with successful playoff teams, so the Blackhawks will want to tighten that area up versus the Ducks, who’ve scored nine power-play goals in nine games.

Stepan up: Rangers best Caps in overtime of Game 7


Alex Ovechkin scored and made his presence felt in Game 7, but the New York Rangers got what matters: the win. Derek Stepan put home the 2-1 overtime game-winner, ending the Washington Capitals’ season and punching New York’s ticket to the 2015 Eastern Conference finals.

In the process, the Rangers became the first team in NHL history to rally back from 3-1 series deficits in consecutive postseasons.

With that, the two teams seem to fall into a narrative of success and failure:

The start seemed to point toward a minor Messier moment for Ovechkin. He scored a nice goal to put Washington up 1-0 and enjoyed plenty of chances throughout the game. Braden Holtby also made an impression by spurning Rick Nash on a shorthanded breakaway chance.

Things really swung in the second period, however, as they took advantage of a string of power-play opportunities to tie things up. Kevin Hayes punched in a beautiful J.T. Miller pass to make it 1-1, setting the stage for a nerve-wracking finish.

(The third period didn’t provide much action … but there was plenty of violence and personal dentistry.)

The overtime was fast and furious with both teams getting some golden chances. There was one scary stretch for the Rangers early on:

As strong as Holtby was in this series, Henrik Lundqvist & Co. move on. The legend of Lundqvist only continues:

The Rangers move on to what should be a fascinating conference final matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Capitals, meanwhile, face an offseason full of questions as they’re forced to digest yet another punch to the gut in the playoffs.

Even after a strong game, many will question Ovechkin, especially considering the guarantee and the disappointing outcome. The one thing we can’t debate: Ovechkin (and Barry Trotz) have never made it beyond the round two of a postseason.

Video: Brooks Orpik levels Dan Boyle


Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik has a reputation for landing bone-rattling hits. He did so against New York Rangers blueliner Dan Boyle during the third period of Game 7.

More than a few people believe Orpik should have received an elbowing or roughing penalty for the huge check, but there was no whistle:

Here’s the hit in GIF form:

It’s been a tough series for Boyle, who was shaken up by a Nicklas Backstrom hit just moments before the Capitals beat the buzzer to win Game 1:

Apparently Rick Nash isn’t happy about that hit: