May 2, 2013, 11:51 AM EDT
Will a happy Alex Ovechkin translate into team success?
Last year, when the Capitals faced the Rangers in the second round, Alex Ovechkin — one of the NHL’s biggest stars — played just 13:36 in a 3-2 Game 2 victory. The reason? Then-Washington coach Dale Hunter didn’t trust his captain defensively, often leaving Ovechkin on the bench when the Caps held a lead. This year, Ovechkin has thrived under new coach Adam Oates, moving from the the left wing to the right and leading the league in goals, with 32. But Ovechkin has gone into the playoffs as the league’s top sniper before, and it hasn’t translated into anything better than a second-round defeat.
Will Rick Nash make his mark?
Rick Nash has scored lots of goals in his career, but he’s still only played four playoff games. In his first season with the Rangers after being traded from Columbus, Nash had 21 goals in 44 games. Now comes the opportunity for the 28-year-old to make his mark in games that count. “It’s something all the great athletes have done,” he said. “It’s time to step up now.” With his big body and ability to shield defenders, Nash will also be key for a New York side that will want to control the puck in the Washington end as much as possible.
Will Marc Staal be back?
The Rangers’ defenseman has been out of the lineup since being struck in the eye with a puck in early March. It’s unlikely he’ll be ready for Game 1, but the fact he’s been practicing with the team is a sign he may be ready to play soon. Not only is Staal a good defensive defenseman, his return would mean fewer hard minutes for Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh. Last year, two of the seven Caps-Rangers games went to overtime. By the time New York met the Devils in the conference finals, fatigue appeared to be a factor, even if John Tortorella refused to admit it.
Can the Rangers stay out of the penalty box?
Because the Capitals have the NHL’s best power play. Washington — armed with the likes of Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green — scored on an impressive 26.8 percent of its man advantages during the regular season. Meanwhile, the Rangers’ had only an average penalty kill (15th, 81.1%). Of course, the best way to negate a good power play has always been to avoid taking penalties. New York is normally a disciplined team, and would be advised to remain that way.
Holtby was rock-solid in goal for the Caps down the stretch. In April, the 23-year-old had nine wins against just one regulation loss, registering a save percentage of .937. Still, he only has one postseason of experience compared to Lundqvist’s six. What does he think about that? “There are things that you can gain from experience in terms of your play but when it comes down to it that stuff is thrown out the window,” said Holtby. “You just have to perform, you have to believe that we’re the better team and you go from there. You throw experience out the window and you just play.”
Jul 1, 2015, 12:18 PM EDT
Big d-man sticks for one more year in the ‘Peg.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:12 PM EDT
Chuck Fletcher takes care of business early on July 1.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:11 PM EDT
Led all Vancouver d-men with 11 goals.
Jul 1, 2015, 11:51 AM EDT
“I really didn’t get any indications of anything negative in exit meetings.”
Jul 1, 2015, 11:41 AM EDT
One year, at $575,000.
Jul 1, 2015, 11:01 AM EDT
Once again it’s him, Jonas Hiller and Joni Ortio in goal.
Jul 1, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT
The 35-year-old cashes in on a productive “last chance” season.
Jul 1, 2015, 10:54 AM EDT
Coming off a productive season, in which he scored 14 goals in 47 games.
Jul 1, 2015, 10:38 AM EDT
“He came on to the scene with Columbus last year with maybe not a lot of fanfare, but I think he impressed people.”
Jul 1, 2015, 9:53 AM EDT
Which will keep him in Anaheim through 2018.
Jul 1, 2015, 9:48 AM EDT
All the signings from what promises to be a busy day.
Jul 1, 2015, 9:39 AM EDT
Chicago acquired him in the Brandon Saad trade.
Jul 1, 2015, 8:59 AM EDT
Carolina plans to buy him out.
Jul 1, 2015, 8:06 AM EDT
That keeps them in a position to match a potential offer sheet.
Jul 1, 2015, 7:13 AM EDT
Wednesday’s collection of links.
Jun 30, 2015, 11:55 PM EDT
David Poile has made the 35-year-old an offer and given him a deadline.
Jun 30, 2015, 9:59 PM EDT
But this isn’t the first time such a scenario has been reported.
Jun 30, 2015, 9:33 PM EDT
San Jose acquired him from Boston earlier in the day.
Jun 30, 2015, 8:50 PM EDT
He was set to become a restricted free agent on Wednesday.
Jun 30, 2015, 8:27 PM EDT
Detroit’s creating an opportunity for one of its young forwards.
- Neely was ‘surprised’ that Hamilton didn’t want to sign with Bruins 4
- PHT’s 2015 free agent frenzy tracker 24
- NHL, Coyotes deny report that team is moving to Vegas 32
- Report: Richards’ border incident involved oxycodone 63
- Trade: Bieksa headed to California — but it’s Anaheim, not San Jose 25
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago 91
- Hamilton signs six-year deal with Flames 19
- Sharks get Jones from Bruins for first-round pick and unsigned prospect 42
- Hurricanes to buy out Semin 15
- Bruins are talking to teams about Savard, but not Rask 14
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (91)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks (75)
- Trade: Busy Bruins send Lucic to Kings (66)