After the Rangers’ 2-1 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final, the question of if New York could keep this up was raised
. To that point the Rangers had been averaging just two goals per game and while they had been getting results with that minimal offensive output, there hasn’t been a team dating back to 1998 that’s won the Stanley Cup with an offense that anemic.
The three contests that have followed have been wild and a complete deviation from the type of games that we saw in the Rangers’ first two rounds. The sheer number of offensive weapons at the Lightning’s disposal has made them hard for the Rangers to contain even after their strong showings against Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins and Alex Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals. However, the Rangers were able to nearly match the Lightning blow-for-blow in Game 3 and then in Game 4 everything worked out for New York in a 5-1 victory.
The fact that the Rangers are scoring is big by itself, but it’s the players that stepped up that has to be particularly encouraging for them. Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis are star forwards, but they haven’t been major factors offensively in the playoffs. That changed in Game 4 when they combined for three goals and four points.
That has to be a relief for both of them.
“The games keep piling on, you get chances — of course you’re pressing,” said St. Louis, per the Tampa Bay Times. “The guys who tell you they don’t press, they’re lying.”
He also admitted that ended a goal drought gives him “a second wind,” per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.
The question now is if Nash and St. Louis can build off of Friday’s strong showing. If they can, then Tampa Bay will have a tough time winning this series. However, the Lightning remain a dangerous team and if two of the Rangers’ top forwards immediately go cold again, then that could be a serious problem for New York.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Before Todd McLellan officially became the Edmonton Oilers’ bench boss and while he was still coaching Team Canada in the 2015 Worlds, he took it upon himself to pick Sidney Crosby’s brain about what life was like as an 18-year-old superstar so that McLellan would have a better idea of how best to handle Connor McDavid. (Edmonton Sun)
While on the subject of McLellan; he still thinks very highly of the San Jose Sharks. (NHL.com)
Los Angeles Kings director of player personnel Michael Futa opened up on a number of subjects, including the Kings’ offseason outlook and top prospect Adrian Kempe’s transition to North America. (LA Kings Insider)
Here are the highlight’s from Chicago’s triple-overtime victory last night:
New Philadelphia Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol might be able to better communicate with his players about why they’re being scratched or getting less playing time, compared to how Craig Berube did things. (Broad Street Hockey)
NHL Numbers had an interesting piece on the risk and potential reward of draft prospects. (NHL Numbers)
Dennis Seidenberg isn’t sure what the future holds for the Boston Bruins, but he hopes he’ll be able to stay with the team. (CSN New England)
Once again, Canada put together the best bunch of world-class players it could manage and overwhelmed the rest of the world.
This time around, their gold medal came at the 2015 World Hockey Championship, as they absolutely throttled Russia by a score of 6-1. The finish was fittingly lopsided, too, as the shot count was 37-12 in Canada’s favor.
Sidney Crosby factored into the win – including a goal assisted by best buddy in the world Claude Giroux – and now joins the “Triple Gold Club.”
HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman lists some other members of this made-up but impressive group:
It had to be a refreshing period for frustrated NHL players on Team Canada, particularly guys like Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.
Russia finishes up with the silver medal while the U.S. edged the Czech Republic earlier on Sunday for a hard-fought bronze. There were obviously some missed feelings for Russia after such a drubbing in the gold-medal game.
In other tournament news, Jaromir Jagr took home the tournament MVP.
With Canada already up 1-0, Tyler Ennis gave the Canadians a two-goal cushion on the Russians scoring a highlight-reel wrap-around goal for his fourth of the tournament.
The Buffalo Sabres’ forward beat Andrei Mironov around the net and got his shot past Sergei Bobrovsky less than two minutes into the second period.
Sidney Crosby and Tyler Seguin have since scored giving Canada a 4-0 lead.
Russia will look to take home their second straight gold medal this afternoon when they faceoff against the Canadians in the gold medal game at the World Hockey Championship.
It’ll mark the first time in a decade that Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin face one another in international competition.
Canada cruised through the preliminary round with a perfect 7-0 record before beating Belarus 9-0 in the quarterfinals and the Czech Republic 2-0 in the semifinals to earn a berth in today’s final.
Russia finished the preliminary round third in the Group B standings. The defending champions beat Sweden 5-3 in the quarterfinals and shutout the Americans 4-0 on Saturday.
Puck drop this afternoon is at 2:45 p.m. ET. You can watch the game on NBCN and also by following NBC’s Live Stream via the link below:
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE