The game was as crucial for the standings as for the psychological message. The Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers are odds-on favorites to meet as the 2-3 seeds in Round One, and a game at PPG Paints Arena was about gaining home ice and letting the other team know who is better. Marc-Andre Fleury turned in a gem for the Minnesota Wild and eliminated the Philadelphia Flyers from playoff contention. And NHL GMs look like they may keep the “Kucherov” loophole for their own gain.
Note to Twitter and message boards: you get no points for being the sourest and over the top negative. The doomsday Penguins fans had their moment last night. The sky is falling. Kris Letang is a bum. They should have traded Malkin, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. Relax–the Rangers have won two of three, and the Penguins are learning their way against a very good Rangers team. Better to lose now. The Round One series is still 0-0, and it’s not lost until it’s lost.
You can be sure the Penguins learned a few lessons on Tuesday.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now video: The 5-minute Pittsburgh Penguins recap and analysis.
PHN+: Some excellent Xs and Os from Mike Sullivan. If you want to know what lessons the Penguins learned and what they felt after the loss, here you go. Pittsburgh Penguins report card.
NHL News & National Hockey Now
Philly Hockey Now: Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis has just left the building. Marc-Andre Fleury was brilliant. The Minnesota Wild won and ensured no playoffs for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Sportsnet: After the hope brought by some reports leading up to the GMs’ meetings in Florida that the LTIR loophole–aka the ability to “Kucherov” a player until the playoffs–could be closed, the reality is far different. The general managers are content to leave well enough alone. Eric Engels has some inside dirt from the meetings.
TSN: Instead, the GMs discussed a registry for no-trade clauses (gee, why?) and the World Cup of Hockey. Some good stuff here from TSN.
Next year, National Hockey Now will have a national reporter in place to cover these events. I promise.
Montreal Hockey Now: The Canadiens want Carey Price to play this season–if he’s able. Montreal Canadiens news.
Florida: A sloppy win is still a win. The Canadiens gave the Florida Panthers all they could handle. It was entertaining, and the sunshine boys won 7-4. Florida Panthers recap.
Boston: The other big game of the night–Toronto vs. Boston. Atlantic Division playoff spot at stake. And, uh oh, Toronto well outplayed the Boston Bruins.
NYI: The league told NHL GMs the salary cap is going up to $82.5 million next season. So, how does that affect the suddenly in-flux Pittsburgh Penguins rival, the New York Islanders?
Colorado: Double uh-oh. Nathan MacKinnon dropped the gloves over the weekend with Minnesota Wild Matt Dumba. Pretty cool, yeah? MacKinnon missed the showdown with fellow Cup contender Calgary on Tuesday. Injured in the fight? Colorado Avalanche worries