May 2, 2014, 8:20 AM EST
There’s no rest for the weary in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Two of the four teams playing tonight got their pass to the second round on Wednesday night after Game 7 wins. The New York Rangers slipped past the Philadelphia Flyers and are rewarded with a trip to the other side of Pennsylvania to face the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Out West, the Minnesota Wild needed overtime to dispose of the Colorado Avalanche in Game 7 and now they head east for a date with the Chicago Blackhawks for the second consecutive season. This time around it’s in a later round of the playoffs and, oh yeah, they may not have their top goalie of the postseason. No one said the playoffs were easy.
Game 1: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers (7:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN)
The Penguins getting by the Columbus Blue Jackets in six games ended up working out just fine for the team to get a little bit of rest heading into the second round. With the added time off, it gives Marc-Andre Fleury an opportunity to reset himself after a series that was a bit more exciting than he’d like.
While the schedule for this series is a bit unkind, the Penguins have to be wary of the team that’s still rolling in game mode. It might seem like the Rangers are coming in tired, but the way this schedule works out it’s no different than how tight the regular season schedule was.
Each team is 2-1-1 against the other this season and there’s pressure on guys on both sides.
For the Rangers it’s on Rick Nash to pick things up. Nash had no goals and four assists against the Flyers and getting him to pot a goal in this series would get a big monkey off his back. In 23 career playoff games he has just two goals.
You could say there’s pressure on Sidney Crosby to score, but with how he’s played in the postseason it’s just a matter of time. The focus, instead, is on Fleury. There’s always pressure on goalies in the postseason, but with him it’s at a higher level. That may not be fair, but it’s just how it is.
Game 1: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild (9:30 p.m. ET — NBCSN)
Perhaps the most curious stat between these two teams this season is the head-to-head record. Minnesota went 3-1-1 against Chicago this season and despite the difference in record, the final three games they played were one-goal games.
Of course in the playoffs you can throw out what happened in the regular season as situations have changed. The Wild may be down three goalies as this round starts as Darcy Kuemper left Game 7 against Colorado with an injury. They’re already without Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding and that puts Ilya Bryzgalov firmly in the spotlight if Kuemper can’t go.
Facing a Blackhawks team that found their mojo beating the St. Louis Blues in six games with your No. 4 goalie doesn’t sound like a plan for success. Chicago got great performances from all their top players. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Marian Hossa were all at their best against the Blues and if that continues into this round, Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin will have their hands full.
The pressure of containing all those guys shifts to the forwards as well meaning Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise‘s ability to defend will be tested. The Wild will need to see more out of Jason Pominville and hope rookies Mikael Granlund and Charlie Coyle continue to do what they showed against the Avalanche.
Feb 26, 2015, 6:32 PM EST
Canucks requested the league take a closer look, but no evidence was found.
Feb 26, 2015, 6:27 PM EST
Feb 26, 2015, 6:18 PM EST
Head coach Joel Quenneville said it’s “all news to me.”
Feb 26, 2015, 5:30 PM EST
A familiar face goes back to the Toronto organization.
Feb 26, 2015, 4:49 PM EST
Buy hey, you never know.
Feb 26, 2015, 4:39 PM EST
Bold move from Florida GM Dale Tallon.
Feb 26, 2015, 4:35 PM EST
Looking forward to playing “a better role.”
Feb 26, 2015, 4:31 PM EST
Joining the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Chick Hearn and Oscar De La Hoya.
Feb 26, 2015, 4:06 PM EST
Former “CPR Line” line member is headed back to St. Louis.
Feb 26, 2015, 3:42 PM EST
A lost campaign for the veteran Sharks forward.
Feb 26, 2015, 3:04 PM EST
“People are getting excited for mid-range players.”
Feb 26, 2015, 2:31 PM EST
A couple of tweets are causing a stir in Chicago.
Feb 26, 2015, 2:24 PM EST
News and notes from around the crease…
Feb 26, 2015, 2:02 PM EST
But, his agent says the organization has “respected our position of leaving negotiations until after the season.”
Feb 26, 2015, 1:42 PM EST
“We would love to have him as an Av for a long time.”
Feb 26, 2015, 1:09 PM EST
Willie Desjardins, playing it safe.
Feb 26, 2015, 1:02 PM EST
The two teams meet again, just 48 hours after the incident.
Feb 26, 2015, 12:43 PM EST
Just days after he said he’d report to AHL Norfolk.
Feb 26, 2015, 12:12 PM EST
Has 16 goals and 21 assists this season.
Feb 26, 2015, 11:48 AM EST
According to GM Dean Lombardi.
- Trading baggage: Blue Jackets grab Clarkson, send Horton’s contract to Leafs 12
- Panthers acquire Jagr from Devils 22
- Trotz doesn’t see a ‘big, sexy, difference-maker guy’ on the market 15
- What’s up with the reports of problems in the Blackhawks’ room? 40
- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight 72
- Lombardi happy to get ‘one of the better defenseman on the market’ in Sekera 3
- NHL on NBCSN: Wild need two points from NHL-leading Preds 20
- Video: Potential No. 1 overall pick Connor McDavid goes end-to-end, top shelf 9
- Video: Penguins hold on to beat Capitals for first time this season 28
- Video: Fight erupts between Penguins and Capitals inside Pittsburgh’s bench 40
- Leafs’ Rielly apologizes for insensitive remarks (86)
- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight (72)
- Chiarelli understands scrutiny on GM and coach, but says, ‘It’s unfortunate that we’re under review for one year’ (69)
- ‘I don’t know why we’re so comfortable,’ says Toews after loss to Avalanche (69)
- Report: Alex Petrovic avoids discipline after injuring Patrick Kane (65)