Saturday, June 7, 2014

POST-GAME AUDIO: Alain Vigneault, Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider, Matz Zuccarello, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal







Rick Carpiniello, 26, was born and raised in Harrison and began working in The Journal News' sports department (back when it was The Reporter Dispatch and eight other newspapers) in October of 1977 after a year of covering high school sports as a stringer. For more than 20 years he covered the New York Rangers and the National Hockey League. Carpiniello has been writing columns on everything from local sports to the big leagues since 2002.




LoHud.com Copyright 2014 | Use of this site signifies your agreement to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, updated September 2010.



Video: Rangers livid about lack of goalie interference call


So far, the 2014 Stanley Cup Final has provided a lot of things for hockey fans, but it wasn’t until the third period that the series got its first bit of true controversy.


Henrik Lundqvist and the rest of the New York Rangers were incensed that Dylan King didn’t receive a goalie interference penalty on this goal:


There’s room for debate on that play, but the Rangers likely aren’t happy, especially since Benoit Pouliot received a goalie interference penalty in the second period.


To make this situation a little bit more controversial, Marian Gaborik tied the game up with a 4-4 goal a little less than six minutes later:


This post will be updated if the NHL provides an official reason why that 4-3 goal counted. Regardless, the Rangers need to suck it up or they could find themselves down 2-0 in this series despite having three different two-goal leads.



Video: Kings, Rangers combine for three in under four minutes


There was plenty of action in the first period of Game 2, yet there wasn’t a lot of the chaos seen in Game 1′s opening frame. Apparently the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings saved the wild stuff for a second period spree in which the two teams combined for three goals in less than four minutes.


Both Jonathan Quick and Henrik Lundqvist will likely wince (even more than usual) at one of the goals they allowed in the second period.


Before the blinding run of goals


A Brad Richards turnover opened the door for the Kings to quickly reduce the Rangers’ 2-0 lead to a 2-1 margin. Notice Lundqvist and Kevin Kline’s failed attempt to avert disaster:


That actually came early in the period, but things really kicked off midway through.


Trading power-play goals


The Rangers’ power play was starting to become a concern early in this series, yet they broke through in an impressive way. Derek Stepan made a great pass (including drawing a ton of Kings attention) to Martin St. Louis, whose off-balance finish was the kind of high-skill play the Rangers paid a big trade price for:


Down 3-1, the Kings needed some man-advantage success of their own. They got it thanks to Willie Mitchell‘s slapper, which came three minutes and 15 seconds after St. Louis scored:


A sloppy play for the Kings, too


Mitchell didn’t get much time to pat himself on the back after that power-play goal, which briefly drew the Kings within a goal of tying things up. Eleven seconds after that Mitchell goal, a mishap plus some great work from Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard opened the door for this 4-2 Brassard marker:


***


Overall, it was a four-goal second period that included both teams scoring a power-play goal and allowing a head-shaker. Ultimately, the Rangers remain up two (4-2) headed into the final frame.



Jarret Stoll scores Kings’ first goal after wild sequence (Video)


Repeating the start of Game 1, the New York Rangers took a 2-0 lead over the Los Angeles Kings in the first period of Game 2 Saturday night. And like Wednesday night, the Kings responded to cut the lead in half, with this one coming in wild fashion.


The Rangers tried to clear the puck around the boards, but Brad Richards flubbed a pass through the middle which was saved from leaving the zone by Dwight King. He then fired the puck Justin Williams' way in front of the net and caught Henrk Lundqvist sliding way out of his crease before dropping a pass back to Jarret Stoll, who sent a soft shot toward the net where chaos ensued:


Somewhere inside Staples Center Don Cherry was yelling at Henrik Lundqvist for getting his stick in the way, preventing Kevin Klein from stopping it.


It wasn't pretty, but at this point of the year that doesn't matter.


Martin St. Louis would score minutes later to extend the Rangers' lead back to two goals. Do the Kings have enough to mount another comeback?




Game 2: Rangers at Kings … It’s Go Time!



Game 2. kings logo

Rangers at Kings.

First of all … NOT a must-win. Big, very important game, yes, and going down 0-2 will be extremely difficult against this L.A. team … but NOT a must-win.


Some stats:


Teams winning Game 2 of the Final have gone on to win the Cup 55 of 74 times (74.3 percent) since the Final went to the best-of-seven format in 1939. That includes eight of the last 11 Game 1 winners.


Forty-eight teams have taken a 2-0 series lead in best-of-seven Final series. Of those clubs, 43 (89.9 percent) have gone on to claim win the Cup, including the Kings in 2012.


The all-time series record of home teams sweeping Games 1 and 2 of the Final is 32-3 (.914), but two of those losses have come in the last five years: Detroit, which won Games 1 and 2 before losing to Pittsburgh in 2009; and Alain Vigneault’s Vancouver Canucks, who won the first two at home and lost to Boston in seven.


The only other time the home team has won the first two games of the Final but did not ultimately win the Stanley Cup was in 1971, when Chicago took a 2-0 series lead and lost to Montreal in seven.


Every series since 2004, except last year’s Chicago-Boston series, was 2-0 after two games.


Within games, four of the last seven games in the Final were won by teams that led for fewer than 60 seconds. Los Angeles, which never led Game 1, was the third team to win in that fashion in that span.


Ryan McDonagh entered Game 2 on a four-game assist/point streak (0-5-5), the first Rangers defenseman since Sergei Zubov in 1995 to have assists in four straight.


Dan Girardi moves into sole possession of second on the franchise’s all-time list for games played (86), ahead of Dave Maloney, trailing only Steve Vickers (93). Girardi can’t catch Vickers until next spring.


John Moore, back from his two-game suspension, replaced Raphael Diaz on defense. Cam Talbot (undisclosed injury) remained out. David LeNeveu dressed as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup again. Daniel Carcillo served the fifth of his reduced six-game suspension. J.T. Miller was available, but did not play.


**********************************************


After the game, vote for the Three Rangers Stars in the poll on the left.


Twitter: @RangersReport.


Also, during the playoffs, follow Josh Thomson, @jthomson22 .



Puck Daddy’s Stanley Cup Final Game 2 Live Chat!



A vendor sells patches outside the Staples Center before Game 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final hockey series between the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers on Wednesday, June 4, 2014, in Los Angeles.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)




It's the New York Rangers vs. the Los Angeles Kings in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final!


Join your friends at Puck Daddy for the kickoff to the championship round, starting at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. Can the Rangers even this series?


You bring the funny; we bring the abrupt changes in tone and Hamburger Women. That's how it works.




Stanley Cup Final Game 2 pre-game transcripts: Alain Vigneault, Darryl Sutter


This is riveting stuff:


From the NHL/ASAP Sports:


ALAIN VIGNEAULT


Q. No Cam Talbot?

COACH VIGNEAULT: No.


Q. You have a lot of experience with this West Coast, East Coast, the travel. What are the benefits of having the team stay overnight and traveling tomorrow instead of going right after the game?

COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, it’s just common sense. I mean, if we were to fly home after the game, we’d be leaving here, let’s say, 9:00 western time, which is 12:00 our time, we’d be getting home at 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning. You lose a full night’s sleep. Obviously you don’t sleep the same way on a plane than you do in your own bed, so we’re going to stay over and fly tomorrow.


Q. Is that something you had to learn or, like you said, you knew that from the get-go when you got to Vancouver?

COACH VIGNEAULT: I would just say it’s common sense. I think anybody knows it. When we were in Vancouver, we had a company that worked with us. Mike Gillis was always trying to be proactive in different areas. That was one of the different areas he was proactive.

He found some research, found a company, helped us with our schedule and our travel.


Q. Is there anything that you’re particularly in tune to early to confirm that guys have the ‘A’ game you talked about or is that something you don’t answer until the game is over?

COACH VIGNEAULT: You know, we’ve talked about it with our group. Our group knows the importance of today’s game. They’re going to try and put their best game on the ice.

They’ve been very professional in how they prepare. We got through the first game jitters. Obviously we don’t have the experience that L.A. does. We got them through that first game, took them to overtime, and I think we’ll be better tonight.


Q. Do you view this as a must-win, considering how strong a team the Kings are?

COACH VIGNEAULT: I mean, obviously it’s a real important game. Each game is important. Today, this is the second game of the series. I think we can play better, and that’s what we’re going to try and do.


DARRYL SUTTER


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Sutter.


Q. I think the expectation here is we’ll see the Kings be much more disciplined with the puck at the start of the game tonight. Would you expect that?

COACH SUTTER: Well, I think you get the two days, we talked about it lots, we were a tired team. I think yesterday was good for us, not just in terms of the on-ice stuff, but to be able to get a little more set in how we wanted to play against them.

We’ll be better, for sure. At the end of the day both teams will be better.


Q. How do you expect Robyn to play tonight? What is your expectation for him?

COACH SUTTER: We’ll make decision after warmup on our lineup.


Photo by Getty Images.



Sam Rosen’s diary: Throw caution to the wind


Sam Rosen has called Rangers games for 30 years on MSG Network. He is famous for his ” … and this one will last a lifetime!” call of the Rangers’ 1994 Stanley Cup championship.


Rosen, a New City resident, will provide diary entries throughout this year’s Stanley Cup Final.


By Sam Rosensam rosen photo


As a player, I think you think you know what it takes because they’ve been through three playoff series, tough battles, lengthy series.


But when you get to the final round, only the guys who have been there before can totally understand what’s necessary. There’s this final level. There’s regular-season level, there’s playoff level and then there’s Stanley Cup Final level. That final level is where everybody throws caution to the wind and puts everything they have into it.


I remember covering several Stanley Cup Finals for NHL radio and seeing the long line of players waiting to get into the trainer’s room, either to get ice, or to get shots, or to get taped up — whatever it took to make sure that they could play the next game, whether it was the next day or that night. Players did everything they could to play that game because they knew this was their one opportunity to win the big prize.


For the Rangers, the younger players — though some players handled it well; I thought Carl Hagelin was spectacular — but for younger players, I think it was an eye-opener. Players like Mats Zuccarello, players like Chris Kreider. I think they kind of realized that this was something different. Maybe even a player like Rick Nash, who has been in big games like the Olympics, this is something that’s more intense.


I know the Olympics are special, and you chase after that gold medal. But this Stanley Cup, this is what every hockey player that comes to the NHL dreams about. This is the lifelong dream. This is what all the work is all about — everything you put in from offseason work, training camp, regular season, playing through injuries, playing to make the playoffs, and then having success in the playoffs. This is it. This is the culmination of all that work and the greatest opportunity to have to win the big prize.


And for some players it’s their moment of glory. Marty St. Louis, Brad Richards. They realize it. They were young players in Tampa Bay in ‘04, but the older players like Dave Andreychuk helped them get through it and they won the Stanley Cup.


Here in 1994 you remember the young Russian players like Sergei Zubov and Alexei Kovalev, but they were guided by Mark Messier; even Brian Leetch was guided by Mark Messier. Adam Graves had been there before. You look to the players who’ve been there before, who’ve experienced it, who know that it takes a little bit more, that extra. They dig down deeper to get there, to bring out everything that you have.


No holding back. When it’s all over, you have to say you left everything on the ice. And it starts for the Rangers in Game 2.


Photo, top, by Getty Images.


Sam Rosen photo by Rebecca Taylor/MSG photos.


Twitter: @rangersreport.



Game 2: Rangers at Kings … pre-game notes


Pre-game notes courtesy of the NYR:

NEW YORK RANGERS at LOS ANGELES KINGS

Saturday, June 7, 7:00 p.m. ET

STAPLES Center- Los Angeles, CA

Rangers: 12-9 (0-1)*

Kings: 13-9 (1-0)*

*Record in the playoffs (record in the series)


TONIGHT’S GAME

The Rangers will face off against the Los Angeles Kings at STAPLES Center (7:00 p.m. ET — TV: NBC Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7), in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Blueshirts trail the best-of-seven series, 1-0, following the Kings’ 3-2 overtime win in Game 1 on Wednesday night at STAPLES Center. New York enters the contest with a 225-242-8 record all-time in 475 playoff contests (126-93-2 at home; 99-149-6 on the road).

The Rangers entered the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the second seed in the Metropolitan Division, having posted a 45-31-6 record (20-17-4 at home; 25-14-2 on the road) for 96 points. The Blueshirts are one of four teams, along with Detroit, Pittsburgh, and San Jose, to make the playoffs in eight of the last nine years.


ALL-TIME PLAYOFF RECORDS – RANGERS vs. KINGS

The Rangers and Kings are meeting in the playoffs for the third time, and the first time since the Preliminary Round in 1981. The Rangers have posted a 2-0 playoff series record against Los Angeles, and are 5-2 all-time in seven playoff contests against the Kings following Game 1. New York is facing Los Angeles for the first time in the Stanley Cup Final.


STANLEY CUP HISTORY

The Rangers have advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the 11th time in franchise history, and for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup in 1994. New York has posted a 4-6 series record in the Stanley Cup Final, and is 22-29 all-time in 51 Stanley Cup Final contests following Game 1.


RANGERS vs. KINGS (Regular Season):

• All-Time: 66-44-16-1 overall (37-19-6-0 at home; 29-25-10-1 on the road)

• 2013-14: New York was 1-1-0 overall (0-1-0 at home; 1-0-0 on the road) this season. Both contests were separated by two goals or less, and the Rangers held the Kings to one goal in each of the two games. Brad Richards led all skaters with two goals, while Rick Nash led the team and was tied for first among all skaters with two assists. Henrik Lundqvist posted a 1-1-0 record with a 1.01 GAA and a .966 SV% in the two contests.

• New York was 25-14-2 on the road during the regular season (6-5 in the playoffs); Los Angeles was 23-14-4 at home (6-4 in the playoffs)

• New York lists two former Kings on its roster: Brian Boyle (2007-08 – 2008-09); Daniel Carcillo (2013-14)

• Los Angeles lists one former Ranger on its roster: Marian Gaborik (2009-10 – 2012-13)


INDIVIDUAL CAREER LEADERS vs. KINGS (Regular Season):

• Henrik Lundqvist – 8 GP, 3-4-1, 2.47 GAA

• Rick Nash – 35 GP, 15-16—31

• Brad Richards – 26 GP, 9-20—29

• Martin St. Louis – 15 GP, 6-9—15

• Dan Girardi – 8 GP, 0-3 —3


SPECIAL TEAMS:

• Power Play: The Rangers were 0-3 (6:00) in Game 1 at Los Angeles. The Blueshirts are 11th in the NHL overall (11-84, 13.1%), and are eighth on the road (8-46, 17.4%) in the playoffs. New York has allowed two shorthanded goals in the playoffs: 5/7 vs. PIT (Sutter); 5/17 at MTL (Eller). The Rangers have tallied a power play goal in five of their last 10 games (8-40; 20%), and in five of their last six road games (8-25; 32%). New York ranked 15th in the NHL overall (48-264, 18.2%), and seventh on the road (28-132, 21.2%) during the regular season.

• Penalty Killing: The Rangers were 4-4 (8:00) and tallied a shorthanded goal in Game 1 at Los Angeles. The Blueshirts are second in the NHL overall (59-68, 86.8%), and arethird on the road (32-37, 86.5%) in the playoffs. The Rangers are 46-49 (93.9%) on the penalty kill over the last 15 games and 38-40 (95%) over the last 12 games. The Blueshirts have recorded two shorthanded goals in the playoffs: 5/25 vs. MTL (Hagelin); 6/4 at LAK (Hagelin). New York ranked third in the NHL overall (198-232, 85.3%), and third on the road (109-127, 85.8%) in the regular season.

• Four-on-Four: New York did not tally/allow a goal in one four-on-four situation (2:00) in Game 1 at Los Angeles. The Blueshirts are -1 in 26 four-on-four situations in the playoffs (32:26), allowing a goal in Game 3 at PHI on 4/22 (Streit). The Rangers were -2 in 85 four-on-four situations (131:26), and even in one three-on-three situation (1:03) during the regular season.


KING HENRIK

Henrik Lundqvist has established numerous franchise and league records during the regular season and playoffs this year. Lundqvist became the Rangers’ all-time wins leader with his 302nd career victory on Mar. 18 at Ottawa, and the team’s all-time shutouts leader with his 50th career shutout on Mar. 22 at New Jersey. Lundqvist appeared in his 77th career playoff game in Game 3 of the Metropolitan Division Finals on May 5 vs. Pittsburgh, passing Mike Richter for first on the team’s all-time playoff appearances list. The Rangers goalie set an NHL record with his fifth consecutive win in a Game 7 on May 13 against Pittsburgh. Lundqvist stopped all 18 shots he faced in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on May 29 to record his 42nd career playoff win and his ninth career playoff shutout. With the victory, Lundqvist passed Richter for first on the team’s all-time playoff wins list and tied Richter for first on the team’s all-time playoff shutouts list. The Rangers goalie has started a franchise-record, 87 consecutive playoff games, dating back to Apr. 26, 2006 vs. New Jersey. Lundqvist is the third goalie in NHL history to start at least 80 consecutive playoff games with one team (Martin Brodeur – New Jersey, Patrick Roy – Colorado).


HOT HAGS

Carl Hagelin tallied a shorthanded goal and was tied for the game-high with five shots on goal in Game 1 on Wednesday. The Rangers forward leads the NHL in shorthanded goals (two) and is tied for first in the NHL in shorthanded points (two) in the playoffs. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Hagelin is the fifth Blueshirt in franchise history, and the first since Mark Messier in 1992, to record at least two shorthanded goals in one playoff year. Hagelin has registered four points (three goals, one assist) in the last five games, and leads the team in goals (seven) in the playoffs.


MAC TRUCK

Ryan McDonagh enters the contest with a playoff career-high, four-game assist/point streak (five assists), and has tallied a point in six of his last seven games (two goals, nine assists). McDonagh is the first Rangers defensemen to register a four-game assist streak in the playoffs since Sergei Zubov did so from May 14, 1995 at Quebec to May 22, 1995 at Philadelphia. The Rangers’ 2013-14 MVP ranks third among all defensemen in the NHL in assists (11) and is tied for third among NHL defensemen in points (14) in the playoffs. McDonagh led all skaters with eight assists and 10 points in the Eastern Conference Finals against Montreal. He became the first defenseman to register eight assists in one playoff series in franchise history, and also became the second defenseman to record 10 points in one series in team history (Brian Leetch – 11 points in the Stanley Cup Final in 1994 against Vancouver).


DAN’S THE MAN

Dan Girardi leads the team in hits (70) and blocked shots (51) in the playoffs. The Rangers defenseman also ranks second in the NHL in blocked shots and fifth in the NHL in hits in the playoffs. Girardi is tied for second on the team’s all-time playoff games played list:


NYR ALL-TIME PLAYOFF GAMES PLAYED LIST

1. Walt Tkaczuk – 93

T-2. Dan Girardi – 85

T-2. Don Maloney – 85

4. Ron Greschner – 84


WORKING OVERTIME

Three of the Rangers’ last five contests have been decided in overtime. The last time the Blueshirts played three games that ended in overtime over a five-game stretch in one playoff year was from May 12, 1995 vs. Quebec to May 22, 1995 at Philadelphia. New York has played at least one overtime game in 12 of its last 14 playoff series, including nine of its last 10 playoff series.


GOING THE DISTANCE

The Blueshirts are one of the first two teams in NHL history, along with Los Angeles, to advance to the Stanley Cup Final after playing seven games in each of the first two rounds of the playoffs.


TEAM EFFORT

Eight different Rangers have tallied at least 10 points in the playoffs this year. It is the first time in franchise history that eight Blueshirts have recorded at least 10 points in one playoff year.


FIRST TIME IS THE CHARM

Four of the last six Rangers teams that have reached the Stanley Cup Final, including each of the last three Blueshirts squads, have had a head coach in their first year with the team (2013-14 – Alain Vigneault; 1993-94 – Mike Keenan; 1978-79 – Fred Shero; 1939-40 – Frank Boucher). Lynn Patrick also guided the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final in his first full season as the team’s head coach in 1949-50 after beginning his tenure as the head coach of the Blueshirts in the middle of the 1948-49 season.


INJURIES (17 Man-Games Lost – Playoffs):

• J.T. Miller – upper-body injury on 5/25 – 3

• Cam Talbot – injured – 1


RECENT TRANSACTIONS:

• June 2 – Signed Mackenzie Skapski to an entry-level contract

• June 2 – Signed Calle Andersson to an entry-level contract


Photo by Getty Images.


Twitter: @RangersReport.



Maple Leafs, others kick tires on Joe Thornton and his no-move clause



Apr 26, 2014; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) controls the puck against the Los Angeles Kings during the third period in game five of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. The Kings defeated the Sharks 3-0. (Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports)



Live Stanley Cup Final Chat begins at 1 p.m. (EST)





If you cannot view the chat above, find it here.?






Rick Carpiniello, 26, was born and raised in Harrison and began working in The Journal News' sports department (back when it was The Reporter Dispatch and eight other newspapers) in October of 1977 after a year of covering high school sports as a stringer. For more than 20 years he covered the New York Rangers and the National Hockey League. Carpiniello has been writing columns on everything from local sports to the big leagues since 2002.




LoHud.com Copyright 2014 | Use of this site signifies your agreement to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, updated September 2010.



Martin Brodeur Could be Heading to Pittsburgh (e4) to be a ”1A” w/ MAF

























June 7, 2014, 12:03 PM ET [9 Comments]








Eklund

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This is a very hot rumor today. With the Penguins new GM Jim Rutherford in place we can expect many changes and surprises in Pittsburgh...and the first change could be in net, as I am told the GM is looking to stabilize the position quickly.

Martin Brodeur will not be back in NJ but wants one more shot at a Cup. It isn't about money with Marty at this point. It is clearly about a last shot. Brodeur wants to be around a winning team and I am told wants to stay in the East, preferably the Metro division.


The source I spoke to today told me the thinking was to bring Marty into the fray in Pitt to split the starting role with Fleury and try and mentor him a bit. Crosby apparently absolutely LOVES this idea.


More to come prior to Game 2 tonight.



Join the Discussion: » 9 Comments » Post New Comment


Friday, June 6, 2014

Rangers’ Moore eager to return with suspension over


John Moore has done his time. He’s now eligible to return to the New York Rangers lineup. Whether that happens Saturday against the L.A. Kings in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final remains to be seen at this point.


Moore, New York’s 23-year-old defenseman, was suspended two games for a blindside hit that concussed Montreal Canadiens forward Dale Weise in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final.


“I’m more than ready,” said Moore, as per Newsday. “It’s tough to watch, no matter what time of year. But the Stanley Cup Final, it doesn’t get any bigger than that. To not be out there, to be watching in the stands is a tough pill to swallow. But you make your bed, you’ve got to sleep in it.


“It’s unfortunate it happened. I don’t think it’s part of my game to be a reckless player. I’m not going to talk too much about that, but I’m certainly not going to see it affecting my game much.”


Rangers’ head coach Alain Vigneault didn’t tip his hand as to whether Moore would be back in the lineup Saturday.


Said the bench boss to reporters: “Like I’ve told you all along, I mean, I’m not going to discuss lineup. You watched practice today, so…”


Maybe he did tip his hand ever so slightly after all? Maybe not? We’ll see tomorrow.



Rangers need to find another gear for Game 2 … Live Stanley Cup Final Playoff Chat today at noon


We’re on a roll with these chats, so let’s keep ‘em going. Our fourth Stanley Cup Final Playoff Chat will commence at 1 p.m. today. Be there. Or else.


Here’s my column from The Journal News and Lohud.com:


By Rick Carpiniello


LOS ANGELES – Game 1 opened some of the Rangers’ eyes.


So as they head into Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final Saturday night, they feel better prepared.


“There’s another gear in the Stanley Cup Final,” Derick Brassard said after practice Friday. “It’s really hard to win the Cup, and I think we realize how hard it was in Game 1. It was pretty intense, really fast game, high-paced.


“And the bottom line is, we lost the game. We need to play better as a team.”


The Rangers’ focus, whether because of the newness of the experience for all but two of their players — Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis, neither of whom actually played very well either — was sidetracked after two pretty solid periods. They were dominated by the Los Angeles Kings in the third period, though not as much as the 20-3 shot count would indicate, and lost a game they led 2-0 early, and still could have won late, on a bad hop in overtime.


“We’ve been playing hockey for such a long time now, and everyone’s so on top of their game, that everything’s magnified,” Chris Kreider said. “If you make a mistake, they’re going to capitalize, and vice versa. So in that regard, I guess there’s a different gear, yes.”


The Kings, most of whom played when the franchise won its first Stanley Cup in 2012, were obviously ready for whatever new level the Final would bring.


“Well, probably till you’ve lived it, you know, coaches and guys that have been there can say what they want,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “Like I mentioned prior to the series, sometimes experience is hard to get. When I mentioned (Thursday) … that we need everybody’s ‘A’ game, it’s not just because it’s a great opponent, but it’s the time of the year.


“You know, if you’re in the Final, and your expectations are to win, you have to bring your best game to the table. Our guys are aware of that. Our guys are talking (among) themselves about it. We’re all looking for a better response.”


Though the play might get ramped up in the last round of the marathon, the Rangers were not surprised about the way the Kings played.


“They played exactly the way we expected them to play,” Henrik Lundqvist said. “We had meetings going into this game. We talked about what to expect.


“After the first period, I think A.V. asked us if we were surprised, didn’t expect that. We all looked around the room and realized this is what we’ve been preparing for, this is the way it’s going to look. They’re pretty consistent the way they play. That’s why they’re here.”


But it can go quickly, either in your favor or against you, if you’re not prepared for more, faster, harder and better in the next game.


“It’s pretty obvious,” Richards said. “If we win that game in overtime, we’re still having the same meeting probably today, the way the game went. Sometimes you don’t win a game, you have to realize where you are.


“We have to expect they’re going to be a lot better. We have to be better or you’re going to be down 2-0. You know, that’s normal. We recognized that right when the game was over. You know, it’s this time of year. You get one crack at it. You got to raise it. There’s no other option.”


***********************************************


NASH KNOWS THE SCORE … BUT CAN HE?


LOS ANGELES – Rick Nash remains polite through it all, especially now that the number of people surrounding him has quadrupled, or more.


He’s not scoring. He’s done other things, and done a lot of those things well, and he says those are important, and they are.


But he’s not scoring, as if he doesn’t know it. It’s 33 playoff games in a Rangers uniform now, and four goals — one in a loss to Boston last spring, three in the Eastern final against Montreal this May.


“I’ve got to find a way to finish some of those chances,” Nash said about his Game 1, when he was one of the players, most likely, that coach Alain Vigneault said “need to bring their ‘A’ game.”


“Just get to the inside, try to get some better opportunities, better chances,” Nash went on. “I think our line has to establish more of a forecheck. I thought we had a good first period, had some chances. After that, we just had too many turnovers.


“We spent the second half of the game in our end, and me and (Chris Kreider), we have to be better in their end.”


Moore back in: Vigneault wouldn’t say, but based on Friday’s practice, defenseman John Moore will return from his two-game suspension and replace Raphael Diaz in Game 2 Saturday night.


Vigneault said that nothing has changed with goalie Cam Talbot’s undisclosed injury status, that he remains out day-to-day. So David LeNeveu will back up Henrik Lundqvist in Game 2. Forward J.T. Miller, who suffered what appeared to be a shoulder injury in the Montreal series, is available, though he’s not expected to be in the Game 2 lineup.


Kings coach Darryl Sutter said that defenseman Robyn Regehr, who has missed 14 games with an injury, will probably play Game 2.


Gone, but not forgotten: When you have masses of media in one spot, a story line never seems to die. So it was with Dan Girardi, who was cast as the goat in Game 1 when a puck bounced over his stick, he fell down and had his pass picked off, ending up in the winning goal in overtime.


On Friday, Girardi said it was great the way his teammates rallied around him, and that it would have been the same for anybody on the team.


“That’s the type of team we are. Everybody’s got each other’s back,” he said.


He was asked if he had been able to put the moment behind him.


“Well,” Girardi said, “it was gone until this morning. Until right now. … You’ve got to move on.”


Twitter: @RangersReport


*****************************************


Series schedule


Wednesday: Los Angeles 3, Rangers 2, OT


Saturday: at Los Angeles, 7 p.m., NBC


Monday: at Rangers, 8 p.m., NBCSPO


Wednesday: at Rangers, 8 p.m., NBCSPO


x-Friday: at Los Angeles, 8 p.m., NBC


x-June 16: at Rangers, 8 p.m., NBC


x-June 18: at Los Angeles, 8 p.m., NBC


x-if necessary


Photo by Getty Images.



Sutter: Jeff Carter a ‘perfect role model’ for younger Kings forwards


The L.A. Kings are loaded with depth, a fact we’ve all been once again reminded of during these Stanley Cup playoffs. They’re loaded with reliable players throughout their lineup, with four players in the top five right now in post-season scoring.


Jeff Carter, with nine goals and 23 points, is second in that category, behind teammate Anze Kopitar. His numbers have been impressive, but Kings head coach Darryl Sutter praised Carter for his leadership as well, a mentor to younger, up-and-coming players like Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson.


Sutter also compared the big center to his teammate Mike Richards, subject to buyout speculation even though the Kings are three wins away from a Stanley Cup championship. Together, Carter and Richards were also part of L.A.’s 2012 team that took the silver chalice in dominating fashion.


Carter’s production during the regular season was well below a point-per-game average – a mark he hasn’t matched or gone over since 2008-09 in Philadelphia. He’s had individual success in each of the previous two post-seasons, but has broken out in a big way in 2014. And it’s not over yet.


“I think he’s sort of like Mike, where they just win. You can count on them all the time,” Sutter told reporters.


“Really great practice player. Well-trained guy. Takes care of himself. It’s funny, when you ask about that for Toffoli and Pearson, that’s a perfect role model for them.”



Video: What is the coach’s role with his players in Stanley Cup Final?


Veteran New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi was the subject of criticism following his Game 1 giveaway that led to the L.A. Kings overtime winner.


His teammates have defended him, however what occurred has prompted the question about what a coach’s role is in this situation – does Alain Vigneault himself sit down and talk with Girardi about the gaffe, or does that responsibility fall to others on the team?



Report: Panthers GM called fired Penguins coach Bylsma


Earlier today on PHT, it was asked: Where does Dan Bylsma go from here?


That’s because even earlier in the day, it was officially announced that the Pittsburgh Penguins fired Bylsma just a few weeks after another disappointing and underwhelming playoff performance that resulted in a second-round elimination.


It’s difficult to imagine Bylsma, a Jack Adams Award winner from 2011 and Stanley Cup champion as Pittsburgh’s coach in 2009, not behind the bench in the National Hockey League next season, with vacancies in Vancouver, Carolina and Florida.


From the Harvey Fialkov of the Sun Sentinel:


The Panthers wasted little time in reaching out to ex-Penguins coach Dan Bylsma as part of their ongoing coaching search after newly hired Pittsburgh General Manager Jim Rutherford fired the 2011 Coach of the Year Friday morning.


No definitive plans for an interview with Bylsma have been made, however, Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon called him shortly after he was let go to touch base, according to a team source.



‘Big summer for me to get in shape,’ says Blackhawks’ Bickell


He cashed in last summer after a standout playoff performance for the Chicago Blackhawks.


This time around, Bryan Bickell appears more focused on getting into better shape, with the goal of being a more consistent offensive threat not just in the post-season, but the regular season as well.


“I think this is a big summer for me to get in shape and to be more of a regular-season guy, not just a playoff guy,” Bickell said earlier this week, as per ESPN Chicago.


After nine goals and 17 points in 23 games during the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, which ultimately ended with a championship for Chicago, Bickell re-signed with the Blackhawks for four years at $16 million and an annual cap hit of $4 million. His breakout playoffs combined with a huge raise in salary left Bickell as one of the players under pressure heading into this past regular season.


But his numbers during 59 games this past regular season didn’t even match up to what he the previous spring. Just 11 goals and only 15 points. His decline led head coach Joel Quenneville to call him out, saying the Blackhawks needed more out of the big and now 28-year-old power forward. He was eventually made a healthy scratch.


A knee injury midway through the season certainly could’ve played a substantial part in his low contributions, although when the playoffs began in April, he once again seemed to thrive, with seven goals and 10 points in 19 games.


Said Quenneville to ESPN Chicago: “We’d like to see more consistency out of him.”



Kings forward Lewis recalls his path to the NHL


Los Angeles Kings forward Trevor Lewis will be blogging for NHL.com throughout the Stanley Cup Final, offering his insight on what is happening inside the walls of his team's locker room and within the confines of the rink.


EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, and so I guess I had what might be considered a non-traditional path to the NHL.


My dad and his family were Canadian and he played hockey growing up. We also lived across the street from an ice rink in Salt Lake City, so when I was 2 years old, he took me over and I started learning to skate.


I just loved it. I played every sport growing up, but it always seemed like hockey was my favorite. I always seemed to gravitate toward hockey.


We played in a travel league, but there were a few years where we only had about 12 guys on the team. We would travel all over, to Arizona and California and Las Vegas and Wyoming -- places like that.


It put a lot of miles on the cars for the parents. A lot of times we could only get on the ice at like 5 a.m., so it was great for our parents to really put that dedication in for us.


Growing up there wasn't a lot of hockey around in Utah, but once the Olympics came [in 2002], it started to grow a little bit more.


I was 15 years old when the Olympics were in Utah. I went to about four or five hockey games at the Olympics, whether they were exhibition games or real games. It was awesome. That was kind of the time that I was like, 'I want to do this. I want to play hockey.' That was a great experience for me. It really made me know I wanted to take the step to the next level.


We played a lot of teams from Colorado when I was younger. Two of my friends who were a year older than me went over to Colorado Springs and played a year there. They ended up loving it, so the next year I went and tried out for the team.


I ended up making the team, the Pikes Peak Miners, and living with a billet family there. I played there for two years, and it ended up being one of the best decisions I've ever made.


We played a lot of bigger tournaments when I lived in Colorado, and I was drafted in the United States Hockey League by Cedar Rapids. I ended up getting released from their camp, so I went down to Texarkana, Texas, to play in the North American Hockey League.


I had gone to Texas to start school, but the season wasn't supposed to start for a couple of weeks when I got a call from Des Moines in the USHL. I had just got settled in down there, but I got that call and packed up my stuff and took off for Iowa.


Des Moines was awesome. My first year we weren't very good, but in my second year we got Kyle Okposo and we ended up winning the league.


It was a lot of fun. It was the first time in my hockey career that I really took everything seriously on and off the ice. I had a great billet mom, Barb Stewart, while there. She was the best ever. She had every meal for us, a great ping-pong table. It was a great experience.


I was actually planning on going to Michigan and I had committed to play college hockey there. I was drafted by Los Angeles and after I talked to the Kings, we decided it would be better for my development to go to Owen Sound and play more of a pro-type schedule and get used to more of a pro-type atmosphere.


I had a great year with Owen Sound, but we lost in the first round of the playoffs, so I went to Manchester and finished up the season with the Monarchs and turned pro after that.


My first NHL game was in Buffalo, and we ended up losing like 5-0. It was a tough first one, but my favorite team growing up was the Detroit Red Wings and we played there two nights later. I ended up scoring my first NHL goal in Joe Louis Arena, so that was really a cool moment for me.


It was a long road to the NHL. When I go back to Utah now in the summers, it is unbelievable how much it has changed and how much hockey has grown there. There are so many more ice rinks now and better quality of training for kids and all of that kind of stuff.


It is great to see, and I hope that we can have a lot more kids from Utah make it to the NHL.



Done with Devils? Brodeur ‘definitely’ going to free agency


Big news out of New Jersey on Friday as face of the franchise and surefire Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur has announced he’s going to hit free agency.


“I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m definitely going to be available July 1,” Brodeur told ESPN.com. “I want to play one more season and I want to see what’s out there.”


The news comes on the same day New Jersey’s other goalie, Cory Schneider, said he wanted assurances he’d be the clear-cut No. 1 for the Devils after splitting games with Brodeur this year.


Schneider also holds some leverage, given he’s an unrestricted free agent following this season.


“It’s a discussion about if they want me to be the guy going forward, we have to figure out that part of it,” Schneider said, per the Star-Ledger. “I’m probably 50 or 75 games short of where I would have liked to be as far as career games-played. That’s a result of splitting the time in goal in Vancouver as well as last year.


“I was hoping to step into that (No. 1 role) maybe a little earlier.”


Brodeur, 42, has spent his entire 23-year career with the Devils, winning three Stanley Cups and four Vezina Trophies. He’s also the NHL’s all-time leader in games played, wins and shutouts.


In light of all that, it’ll be very interesting to see who takes a chance on Brodeur this summer — or, if someone takes a chance. Brodeur hasn’t ruled out a return to the Devils entirely, but feels the club needs to move forward with Schneider and his presence in New Jersey could make that difficult. As for other teams, Brodeur said he’d accept a No. 2 gig on a team “that has a really good chance to win a Stanley Cup,” and didn’t rule out the possibility of challenging for a starting job elsewhere.


“If I go for a No. 1 job, it’s going to depend on the situation,” he explained. “I think there are teams that can use me.”


Worth noting that teams could be leery of bringing Brodeur on as a No. 2. His presence might make the starter’s life much more difficult, in the sense of fans/media calling for a switch in goal at the first sign of the No. 1 struggling. (This is a variant of the always-popular “put in the backup QB” shout, which is often followed by the “oh, that’s why he’s the backup” shout.)


Regardless, the Brodeur-going-to-market narrative will be a fun one to monitor over the next three weeks.



Dorsett glad for two-day break in Stanley Cup Final


New York Rangers forward Derek Dorsett will be blogging for NHL.com throughout the Stanley Cup Final, offering his insight on what is happening inside the walls of his team's locker room and within the confines of the rink.


LOS ANGELES -- The two days off between games gave us a chance to unwind yesterday away from the rink and everything.


Earlier this season we stayed down at a hotel called Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, and after the game the other night we went down there again. It's a beautiful hotel, right on the beach, on the water. There's a lot of stuff you can do during a day off. It was good for us.


Some guys enjoyed some time on the beach. Some guys went for a bike ride. There are some good restaurants down there too.


I've been watching "Magic City," the show on the casino era back in Miami back in the day. I got it on iTunes not that long ago. So in the morning I went for a bike ride, then I had lunch and went and chilled out in my hotel room to watch some shows.


It was relaxing. It's nice to soak in the sun and just disconnect from the game for a little while.


After watching some of my shows I went to dinner with Rick Nash, J.T. Miller and Cam Talbot at Del Frisco's. We then went back, relaxed and played some Xbox. We play the Tiger Woods game. There's a bunch of guys who play. Then there's usually a poker game or another type of card game going on in our hospitality suite as well.


But yesterday it was me, Nasher, Millsy and Talbs, and we played alternate shot. It was me and Millsy versus Nash and Talbot. I'm not the best player. I don't play many video games. Millsy got stuck with me because he's the best, and we still ended up losing.


Today I felt energized when I woke up. I was ready to get back to work, to have a good practice, to try to build that excitement up.


We didn't talk about the loss in Game 1 or what we have to do in Game 2 too much yesterday. We watched the highlights and what not, but you can't get too into it. That's the kind of day that allows us to get away, to disconnect, forget about what happened so we can regroup and get ready for Game 2 (7 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).


So today we had a video session that showed us some areas where we can get better and some areas where we did some good things.


For example, we have to get a better forecheck going. For the first two periods it was pretty good, but obviously we're playing a team with size, skill and speed, so we have to do the things we've done in our system all year to break them down and get more opportunities.


We didn't do that in the third period. We got caught on our heels. L.A. is a big team; they clog the middle of the ice, and we had trouble getting through the neutral zone. We have to keep getting pucks deep and using our speed to get around them.


After the video we had an intense practice. It was great.


With that day off guys have some energy and we're still obviously disappointed to lose Game 1. We want to make sure we're sharp and ready and need it to be an intense practice to make sure we're pushing each other to get better to make sure we're coming out with a sharp effort.


Tonight we'll have a team dinner and there will be more Xbox. I can't wait to play Game 2.



Pearn: Kings must contend with Rangers' speed


For additional insight into the Stanley Cup Final between the New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings , NHL.com has enlisted the help of former NHL coach Perry Pearn to break down the action. Pearn will be checking in throughout the series.


Pearn has spent the past 18 seasons as an assistant coach in the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets , Ottawa Senators , New York Rangers , Montreal Canadiens and a second tenure with the Jets in 2012-13 and 2013-14.


EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings did not play up to the standard they've set during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs for much of Game 1 of the Final against the New York Rangers, but they did take a 1-0 series lead.


After a sloppy first period and a so-so second, the Kings were much stronger in the third before winning in overtime. Game 2 is Saturday at Staples Center (7 p.m.; NBC, CBC, RDS), and there will be a couple of things Los Angeles will be trying to clean up.


"Certainly I think they want to be better on special teams," longtime NHL assistant coach Perry Pearn said. "Giving up the shorthanded goal, that's certainly something. You have to be conscious against the Rangers because not only do they have the speed, but they have an attacking mentality when they are killing. I think being prepared for that will be big. I mentioned it before, but I think the special teams battle is really important for the Rangers, especially if they can win it.


When things did start going well for the Kings, they were dominant. Los Angeles outshot New York 20-3 in final 20 minutes of regulation before winning on Justin Williams' goal 4:36 into overtime.


"If the Kings are going to look at anything, it will be that third period and what exactly did they do to create what they created," Pearn said. "I think in the third period the great pressure they put on the Rangers came from the forecheck and the fact that they started to get pucks at the net from every direction.


"One of the keys against a guy like [Rangers goalie Henrik] Lundqvist is if you let him get in your head, then you hesitate a split-second and try to take the perfect shot. To me, that just works into his favor and his strength because that gives him that split-second to get into position and get set. That makes him much tougher to score on. I think just firing it quick at the net and making sure you're going there for rebounds is a really, really good way to attack them. It's not going to be easy to beat him, but you might find that you catch him where he is not in quite as good of position and a rebound comes out that you can really do something with."


The Rangers spent a lot of time without the puck in the third period. When they did have it in the first two, there seemed to be a concerted effort to possess it below the goal line and try to create offense from there.


New York put several weird-angled shots toward Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick, and the Rangers were also looking for one-timers.


"Whether that was the game plan or not, but to me with watching the Rangers, they get into what I consider to be funks where they over-pass the puck," Pearn said. "They pass up better opportunities to shoot. The game plan may have been to get the puck behind Quick and attack him from different angles, but I also wonder if some of it was the Rangers thinking that he's one of the best goalies in the League and they were passing too much and not creating second- and third-chances for themselves.


"If you're going to have success against L.A., you need to create second- and third-chance opportunities. It forces them to defend against different kinds of pucks, and I think they are vulnerable and will take some penalties when you do that. Whether the Rangers can create that or not, I'm not sure."


One problem area for the Kings was the Rangers' speed, particularly on the wings. New York was able to beat Los Angeles in the neutral zone at times by not letting the Kings get set up.


Carl Hagelin had a couple of breakaway chances, one of which turned into a shorthanded goal, and other odd-man opportunities were keys to creating a way past the Kings. When the Rangers had to carry the puck through bodies after the Kings were set up or dump it into the offensive zone, they struggled to generate offense, particularly as the game wore on.


"I don't think the Kings will continue to have as big of a problem with that," Pearn said. "It's really, really hard to go from a Game 7 against such a great opponent and come right back and be on top of your game in that first game of the next series. From my prospective, if you look at it from L.A.'s point of view, that's a terrific first step toward the Cup.


"It's been their way the whole playoffs. They are just so resilient. They just seem to find a way to get it done when they have. They didn't play great, but they cleaned some stuff up and the next you know they're walking away with a win when it looked like there was no chance."