The New York Rangers are going to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final after a fantastic all-around effort in defeating the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in Game 6.
That score might honestly be a little misleading. The Rangers limited the Canadiens to 18 shots on goal, including just five apiece in the first and third period. The Habs have a lot to build on in the future, yet they went out with a whimper … or at least couldn’t overcome a smothering performance from the Rangers.
A measured Game 6
After two nights of wild action, the Rangers and Canadiens played a tighter, more focused game. New York really carried the play in the first period, out-shooting the Habs 11-5 in the opening frame. The Rangers dominated puck possession for big stretches of Game 6 even if the scoreboard didn’t really illustrate that point.
Oddly enough, the Rangers took a lead in the period that was most even in overall play. Henrik Lundqvist made a save that seemed straight out of “The Matrix.”
… Opening up the door for Dominic Moore to score the 1-0 goal:
Lundqvist stopped all shots in gaining his 42nd career playoff win, setting a new franchise record. No doubt about it, “King Henrik” wants to chase down Mike Richter by winning a Stanley Cup of his own, though.
Montreal failed to mount much of an attack in the third period. Really, the Rangers actually seemed like the team with its postseason on the line. Maybe they felt that way as going through a third Game 7 – in Montreal, no less – would be taxing to say the least.
They avoided that tension-filled scenario and now await either the Chicago Blackhawks or Los Angeles Kings. They’ll likely be the underdog in either scenario, yet it would be foolish to count a Rangers team that clearly has a lot of fight left.
Mathew Barzal has agreed to terms with the New York Islanders on an eight-year extension, a move that keeps the franchise’s top forward under contract for the balance of his prime.
The deal is worth $73.2 million with an annual salary cap hit of $9.15 million, according to a person with knowledge of the contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce terms.
Barzal has led the team in scoring, or been tied for the lead, every season since he became a full-time NHL player in 2017-18. He has 349 points in 411 regular-season and playoff games for the defensively stingy Islanders, who qualified for the postseason three consecutive times before an injury- and virus-altered last year.
“We feel recharged,” Barzal said recently. “We feel like everybody had good summers and worked hard, and we got that excitement back.”
Barzal, now 25, is coming off putting up 59 points in 75 games. The offensive star will now be asked to round out his game.
“I’m a fan because Mat has the ability to raise his game and to be a special player,” general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters at the team’s practice facility on Long Island. “And now, with this contract and our faith in him, (it) puts that responsibility on him. We’re trusting that. It’s up to him to respond to that.”
OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.
The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.
Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.
The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.
Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.
CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.
The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.
The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.
The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.
The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.
The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.
Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.
The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.