Brassard, Rangers even series with Penguins

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

Derick Brassard scored and added two assists and Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 29 shots as the New York Rangers evened the best-of-seven series with the Pittsburgh Penguins at 1-1 with a 4-2 win on Saturday.

With the Rangers trailing 1-0, Keith Yandle and Brassard scored 18-seconds apart in the second period. After Mats Zuccarello gave New York a 3-1 lead, Brassard set up Chris Kreider giving the visitors a 4-1 lead.

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Penguins should not start Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 2, no matter what

Marc-Andre Fleury (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Penguins could not have wished a better Game 1 result into existence than what occurred Wednesday night versus the New York Rangers. The Pens won on home ice, Patric Hornqvist notched a hat trick, and captain Sidney Crosby exploded the highlight reels with a beautiful breakaway goal.

And between the pipes is where things really broke Pittsburgh’s way. Third-string goaltender Jeff Zatkoff was forced into duty for Game 1 with Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion) and Matt Murray (head) unavailable. Zatkoff had a strong case for jitters considering he’d never played a minute of NHL playoff hockey before. To make matters worse, he’d start opposite future Hall of Famer Henrik Lundqvist.

But the adage, “that’s why they play the games” rang true Wednesday. Lundqvist lasted one period. A stick in the eye through his mask forced him out of the game after he returned briefly. Zatkoff was superb in the Pittsburgh net, turning aside 35 of 37 shots and making several bookmark-worthy saves.

Game 1 was a basket of puppies for the Penguins – and it creates a conundrum for Game 2. Starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury practised Friday and has a chance to return for Game 2. But have the Penguins suddenly gained the luxury of resting Fleury at least one more game, even if he’s cleared to play?

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Team speed and goaltending give Penguins decided advantage in Game 1

Patric Hornqvist, Antti Raanta, Phil Kessel  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Going into their first round playoff series, the New York Rangers had two decided advantages over the Pittsburgh Penguins. One of them was in goal and the other was that Sidney Crosby hadn’t exactly been a force in the playoffs against the Rangers.

Funny how things go in the playoffs. It took almost no time for things to be turned on their ear and for those two advantages for the Rangers to be extinguished by the Penguins. Jeff Zatkoff, a 28-year-old minor leaguer who has a 3-8-0 record and a 4.26 goals-against average in the American League playoffs, is the second-last player listed in the NHL Guide and Record Book. And he was probably the last player anyone would have expected to emerge as a hero in Game 1 of the NHL playoffs.

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Report: Derek Boogaard played after failed drug tests, failed 14 times in final six months of his life

Jared Clinton
Derek Boogaard. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

A complaint filed against Dr. David Lewis by Len Boogaard, the father of deceased former NHL winger Derek Boogaard, has led to an investigation by the California Department of Consumer Affairs, according to a report.

TSN’s Rick Westhead reported Friday evening that Lewis, who was one of the co-founders of the NHL and NHLPA’s joint Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH), is being investigated because Boogaard’s father believes doctors “failed in their medical and ethical obligations” to Boogaard after allowing him to continue playing after he failed or missed multiple drug tests. Westhead’s report states that following Boogaard’s release from a rehab facility in 2010, he was repeatedly in violation of the terms of an agreement he signed upon his release.

“Boogaard’s repeated violations included testing positive for opiate and stimulant drugs, admitting to making illegal purchases of narcotics, and for missing randomly scheduled drug tests, according to copies of Boogaard’s medical records obtained by Len Boogaard through the U.S. federal law known as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act),” Westhead wrote. Read more

Suspend him or not: Glass gets major, misconduct for late hit on Namestnikov

Jared Clinton
Tanner Glass hits Vladislav Namestnikov (Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

New York Rangers winger Tanner Glass has made his living in the NHL by throwing his weight around, dropping the gloves and getting in opponents’ faces, but he’s done well to stay on the right side of the law.

Glass, 32, has only met with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety once in his career, incurring a fine late in the 2014-15 season for a butt-end thrown on Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid. Since then, though, the veteran tough guy hasn’t been in trouble with the league. That may change as soon as Wednesday.

In the final minutes of the first period Tuesday night, Glass lined up and rocked Tampa Bay Lightning center Vladislav Namestnikov well after the 23-year-old had moved the puck. The hit sent Namestnikov to the ice, and got Glass thrown out of the game: Read more

Ryan McDonagh injures hand. Can Rangers survive in playoffs without him?

Matt Larkin
Ryan McDonagh (Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Another night and, quite possibly, another significant injury to an Eastern Conference playoff contender.

New York Rangers captain and workhorse defenseman Ryan McDonagh left Monday’s game versus the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first period with a yet-to-be-disclosed injury, and the Rangers announced via their Twitter account he would not return. Multiple beat writers attending the contest appeared to pinpoint the source of the injury, however, and it doesn’t look good. McDonagh blocked a Brandon Dubinsky shot with his right hand. It’s too early to know how serious the injury is, but it doesn’t bode well that the Rangers ruled him out so quickly. A look at the play that likely caused the injury:

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Prospect Need to Know: Boston’s latest shutdown threat

Brandon Carlo (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

Everything is happening right now, as Bob Cole would say. You’ve got the Jimmy Vesey saga in Nashville, Zach Werenski signing with Columbus and Pittsburgh grabbing college free agent Ethan Prow out of St. Cloud State. Plus, the CHL playoffs are in full swing, with a couple upstarts threatening the top seeds. In the OHL for example, Sarnia is in trouble thanks to a surging Sault Ste. Marie squad, while Edmonton is giving powerhouse Brandon fits in the WHL. Oh, and the Frozen Four is set, with Quinnipiac, Boston College, North Dakota and Denver all in the mix for April 7. Let’s keep the prospect party going:

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Eric Staal scores one-handed one-timer in first multi-goal game as Ranger

Jared Clinton
Eric Staal (Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

Former Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal is still trying to find his way as a New York Ranger, and he may have finally broken through Sunday night with both Blueshirts’ goals in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Heading into Sunday’s game, Staal, 31, had suited up for all 13 games since coming over to New York from Carolina, but he had found the score sheet in just two games for a total of three points. And for a player who was one of the trade deadline’s hot commodities, that’s hardly a dazzling stat line, especially given the Rangers traded two picks and a prospect to land Staal. He showed he can be the type of power forward the Rangers need come playoff time in the opening minutes of Sunday’s game, though.

Less than five minutes into the contest, Staal and Kevin Hayes broke through the neutral zone on a 2-on-2. After Staal made a short pass to Hayes, the veteran center turned on the jets and created a gap between himself and Penguins defenseman Trevor Daley. Hayes laid a perfect saucer pass into the slot area, and Staal muscled past Daley and managed to one-time the pass with one hand on his stick: Read more