Category Archives: Hockey

CRAWFORD: PACK LOSE BUT WIN DIVISION & THIRD SEED IN EAST

rp_hartfordwolfpacklogo_thumb1.jpg      VERSUS      Albany Devils

Albany Devils 4, Hartford Wolf Pack 2

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

Albany, NY, April 18, 2015 – The Hartford Wolf Pack had a season-high, six-game winning streak snapped Saturday night at the Times Union Center, in a 4-2 loss to the Albany Devils.

Despite the defeat, the Wolf Pack still clinched the Northeast Division title, as the Syracuse Crunch lost 4-2 at home to Bridgeport on Saturday.  The Wolf Pack will be the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference and will meet either the Providence Bruins or the Worcester Sharks in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs.

Mike Sislo scored a pair of power-play goals, including the game-winner with 5:58 remaining in the third period, for Albany Saturday, and Joe Whitney and Reece Scarlett assisted on both of Sislo’s goals.  Chris Bourque had a goal and an assist for the Wolf Pack, and Oscar Lindberg scored his 28th goal of the season. Continue reading

CANTLON: THE “FIND-A-WAY” WOLF PACK GET IT DONE AGAIN

Hartford Wolf Pack      VERSUS      Bridgeport Sound Tigers

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – April 17, 2015... The Hartford Wolf Pack (42-23-5-4) behind timely goaltending from Yann Danis and a two point night and strong overall effort from Oscar Lindberg, upended the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 3-2 in front of a boisterous and loud crowd of 6,388 at the regular season home finale at the XL Center Friday night.

Danis was superb all night stopping 30 of the 32 shots he faced, but was particularly sharp when he needed to be. His most important save came early in the third period when the one-time Sound Tiger stopped Johan Sundstrom on a shorthanded breakaway bid at the 1:34 mark.

“That was the big turning point tonight,” Head Coach Ken Gernander said. “We would have liked to generate more on the powerplay, but (the shorthanded breakaway) would have been a bit of a punch in the gut if they scored there, but Yann came up with the big save.” Continue reading

BELL: PACK TOP BRIDGEPORT IN HOME FINALE

rp_hartfordwolfpacklogo_thumb1.jpg      VERSUS      Bridgeport

BY: George Bell, Hartford Wolf Pack

Hartford, CT, April 17, 2015 – The Hartford Wolf Pack earned their sixth straight win, and eighth in their last nine games on Friday night, capturing their regular season finale at the XL Center by a score of 3-2 over the visiting Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Oscar Lindberg had a goal and an assist to lead the Wolf Pack, and Marek Hrivik’s goal at 14:45 of the second period was the game-winner.  Yann Danis made 30 saves.  Dustin Jeffrey and Matt Carkner scored the Bridgeport goals, and C.J. Motte stopped 13 shots.

“We’re finding ways to get it done,” said Wolf Pack coach Ken Gernander of the team’s recent hot streak. “It’s not the same cast of characters night in and night out getting on the scoreboard. We’re getting it from all sources.”

Forward Joey Crabb credited a solid defensive effort, particularly the play of Danis, as the reason for Hartford’s success. “Our main focus is to try and shut the other team down and play a defensive game,” Crabb said. “It’s awesome to have Yann step in and do such a great job.” Continue reading

RANGERS: HOPING PITTSBURGH ONLY BROUGHT DRY/ERASE “PENS” TO MSG

Henrik    VERSUS    Marc Andre Fleury

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Saturday, Apr. 18, 2015, 8:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square GardenNew York, NY
Penguins: 0-1
Rangers: 1-0

BY: The New York Rangers

TONIGHT’S GAME

  • The Rangers play Game 2 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden (8:00 p.m. ET — TV: NBC Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM).
  • The Rangers lead the best-of-seven series, one game to none, following a 2-1 victory in Game 1 of the series on Thursday, Apr. 16 at MSG.
  • Tonight is the Rangers’ 481st all-time playoff game. The Blueshirts enter the contest with a 227-245-8 all-time playoff record.

RANGERS VS. PENGUINS – 2014-15 REGULAR SEASON IN REVIEW

  • The Rangers posted a 3-0-1 record (2-0-0 at home, 1-0-1 on the road) against the Penguins in the regular season in 2014-15.
  • Henrik Lundqvist appeared in all four games of the season series, posting a 3-0-1 record, along with a 1.69 GAA and a .950 SV%.
  • Twelve different Rangers tallied at least two points in the season series.
  • Rick Nash led all skaters with four goals, seven points, and a plus-five rating, and tied for first among all skaters with three assists.
  • Derick Brassard and Martin St. Louis each tallied five points (two goals, three assists) in the four contests.

RANGERS VS. PENGUINS – PLAYOFF HISTORY

  • The Rangers and Penguins are playing against each other in a playoff series for the second consecutive season, and for the sixth time overall.
  • The Rangers have posted a 1-4 playoff series record against Pittsburgh, and defeated the Penguins, four games to three, in the Metropolitan Division Finals last season.
  • New York is facing Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs for the first time since the Patrick Division Semifinals in 1989.

RANGERS-PENGUINS CONNECTIONS

  • Tanner Glass (2012-13 – 2013-14) and Dominic Moore (2006-07) both played for the Penguins.
  • Moore and Craig Adams both played college hockey at Harvard.
  • Derek Stepan and Sidney Crosby both attended Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Minnesota.
  • Kevin Klein and Patric Hornqvist were teammates with Nashville for parts of six seasons (2008-09 – 2013-14).
  • Klein was teammates with Nick Spaling for parts of five seasons (2009-10 – 2013-14).

INDIVIDUAL CAREER STATISTICS VS. PENGUINS (Regular Season)

  • Martin St. Louis – 54 GP, 19-33-52 – St. Louis tallied a point in all four regular season games against Pittsburgh in 2014-15 (two goals, three assists) and recorded a point in eight of his last nine regular season games against the Penguins (two goals, nine assists).
  • Derick Brassard – 14 GP, 5-11-16 – Brassard registered a point in each of the last eight regular season games he played against Pittsburgh and nine of 10 regular season games against the Penguins since he made his debut with the Rangers against Pittsburgh on Apr. 3, 2013 (five goals, eight assists in the 10 contests).
  • Mats Zuccarello – 14 GP, 3-9-12 – Zuccarello notched a point in seven of his last eight regular season games against the Penguins (three goals, six assists).

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • The Rangers have posted a 1-0 record when outscoring its opposition on special teams in the playoffs this year.
  • New York posted a 17-1-1 record when outscoring its opponent on special teams during the regular season in 2014-15.

Power Play:

  • The Rangers were 1-for-5 (8:43) on the power play in Game 1 vs. Pittsburgh
    New York has tallied a power play goal in each of its last two games (regular season and playoffs), three of its last four games, and five of its last eight games

Penalty Kill:

  • The Rangers were 1-for-1 (2:00) on the penalty kill in Game 1 vs. Pittsburgh
  • The Rangers have not allowed a power play goal in 10 of their last 13 regular season and playoff games (28-for-31; 90.3%) and in 13 of their last 17 regular season and playoff games (37-for-41; 90.2%).
  • The Blueshirts are 47-for-52 (90.4%) on the penalty kill over the last 20 regular season and playoff games and are 54-for-60 (90.0%) on the penalty kill over the last 23 regular season and playoff contests.
  • The Blueshirts have not allowed a power play goal in 23 of the last 31 regular season and playoff games (73-for-82; 89.0%) and they are 135-for-156 (86.5%) on the penalty kill over the last 59 regular season and playoff games.
  • The Blueshirts ranked sixth in the NHL on the penalty kill during the regular season (84.3%; 198-for-235)
  • New York tied for third in the NHL in shorthanded (nine) during the regular season.
  • Over the last two seasons (including playoffs) the Rangers have tallied more SHG (22) than any other NHL team.

HOME ICE

  • The Rangers have won 17 of their last 26 playoff games at MSG, dating back to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. Ottawa on Apr. 26, 2012.
  • The Rangers have won eight of the last nine playoff series in which they have had home-ice advantage, dating back to the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 1994.
  • The Blueshirts have also posted a 22-6 playoff series record when they have won Game 1 of a series at home.
  • By winning Game 1 vs. Pittsburgh, New York has now earned at least one win at home in 16 consecutive playoff series, dating back to the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 2007.

WINNING WAYS

  • The Rangers lead all Eastern Conference teams in playoff wins (29) since the start of the 2012 Playoffs.

FAST START

The Rangers opened the scoring 28 seconds into the contest in Game 1 vs. Pittsburgh. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the goal was the second-fastest goal the Rangers have scored at the start of a playoff game in franchise history (Ed Hospodar tallied a goal at 0:27 of Game 2 of the Preliminary Round on Apr. 9, 1981 at Los Angeles).

TOP OF THE HEAP

The Rangers posted a 53-22-7 record this season and earned the Presidents’ Trophy as the 2014-15 Regular Season Champions. In the process, the Blueshirts established single-season franchise records in wins (53) and points (113), eclipsing the previous records established in 1993-94 (52 wins and 112 points). The Rangers have now won the Presidents’ Trophy three times in franchise history (1991-92, 1993-94, 2014-15) and have finished the season with the league’s top record four times (1941-42, 1991-92, 1993-94, 2014-15). New York is the second NHL team to have won the Presidents’ Trophy at least three times since it was first awarded in 1985-86 (Detroit – six), and is the only Wales/Eastern Conference team to have won the Presidents’ Trophy three times.

AV SQUAD

Alain Vigneault enters the contest with 51 career playoff wins, and is tied with Hockey Hall of Famer Roger Neilson for 21st on the NHL’s all-time playoff wins list. Vigneault is one of 17 head coaches in league history who have earned at least 500 career regular season wins and 50 playoff wins.

KING HENRIK

Henrik Lundqvist has won six of his last seven regular season and playoff appearances, posting a 1.85 GAA and a .937 SV% over the span. In his last seven playoff appearances at MSG, the Rangers’ all-time wins and shutouts leader has posted a 5-2 record, along with a 1.56 GAA, a .942 SV%, and 1 SO. Lundqvist ranks third among active goalies in career playoff wins with 44.
Entering tonight’s contest, Lundqvist has appeared in 93 playoff games with the Rangers in his career. When he makes his next appearance, Lundqvist will become the Rangers’ all-time leader in playoff appearances (skaters and goalies included).

RANGERS’ ALL-TIME PLAYOFF APPEARANCES:

  • T-1. Walt Tkaczuk – 93
  • T-1. Henrik Lundqvist – 93
  • 3. Dan Girardi – 90

RICK ROLLING

Rick Nash was named the Rangers’ MVP and the winner of the Players’ Player Award for the 2014-15 season. He is the eighth Ranger who has won both awards in the same season since 1958-59. Nash, who established career-highs in goals, plus/minus rating, and even strength goals this season, led the NHL in even strength goals (32), ranked second in goals per game (0.53), games with a goal (35), and shots on goal (304), tied for second in shorthanded goals (four) and shorthanded points (five), ranked third in goals (42), tied for third in game-winning goals (eight), and ranked sixth in plus/minus rating (plus-29) and takeaways (74). Nash was the only player who ranked sixth or higher in the NHL in all of those categories.

Nash has registered a point in all five regular season and playoff games he has played against the Penguins in 2014-15, tallying eight points (four goals, four assists) in those contests.

DAN’S THE MAN

Dan Girardi skated in all 82 games of a season for the fifth time in his NHL career in 2014-15. He is now tied with Brian Leetch for the most seasons in which a Ranger has played all 82 games since the NHL adopted an 82-game schedule in 1995-96. Girardi leads all NHL players in games played (regular season and playoffs) since he made his NHL debut on Jan. 27, 2007 (741).

BRASS BONANZA

Derick Brassard has registered at least one point in all five of the Rangers’ regular season and playoff contests against Pittsburgh this season (three goals, three assists). Since he made his debut with the Rangers in a game against the Penguins on Apr. 3, 2013, Brassard has tallied 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) in 18 regular season and playoff games against Pittsburgh. He ranks sixth among NHL centers – and leads the Rangers – in points (25) since the start of the 2013 Playoffs.

CAPTAIN MAC

Ryan McDonagh has tallied 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in his last 16 playoff games, dating back to Game 4 of the Rangers’ second round series against Pittsburgh in 2014. The Rangers captain has recorded nine points (two goals, seven assists) in his last nine regular season and playoff games in 2014-15.

INJURIES (1 Man-Game Lost to Injury):

  • Kevin Klein – day-to-day

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

  • Apr. 12 – Reassigned Ryan Bourque to Hartford (AHL)

THIS DAY IN RANGERS HISTORY

  • Apr. 17, 1994 – The Rangers won Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, 6-0, against the New York Islanders at MSG. Mark Messier and Sergei Zubov each tallied one goal and two assists, and Mike Richter made 21 saves to record the shutout.
  • Apr. 17, 2007 – Michael Nylander recorded a hat trick and Henrik Lundqvist made 21 saves to earn his first career NHL playoff shutout as the Rangers defeated the Atlanta Thrashers, 7-0, in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at MSG.
  • Apr. 18, 1995 – Brian Leetch tied a single-game franchise record with five assists, and established single-game franchise records for assists and points by a defenseman in a game (five) against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
  • Apr. 18, 1999 – Wayne Gretzky skated in his final NHL game, which took place at Madison Square Garden against Pittsburgh.

CANTLON’S CORNER: UPCOMING PACK WEEKEND AND NEWS

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

Seems like training camp opened yesterday, but sadly the opposite is true as the AHL regular season for the Hartford Wolf Pack comes to a close this coming weekend. But don’t be blue, because after a two year absence, there will be spring hockey at the XL Center.

The 2014-2015 regular season wraps up with the home finale Friday night against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Saturday, the Pack head to Albany for a face-to-face with the Devils and then the last game comes Sunday afternoon in Bridgeport against the Sound Tigers.

“There’s lot to play for. It’s a part of the equation (seeking home ice for the first round), but we want to keep playing good, sound hockey and peaking at the right time,” head coach Ken Gernander remarked. Continue reading

CANTLON’S CORNER: MORE AHL AFFILIATION SWITCHES

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

The AHL affiliation, “Wheel of Fortune,” continues.

Despite public denials of what we first reported a month ago, those things have  happened.

The Springfield Falcons indeed have a new affiliation and it’s with a previous partner.

The Falcons announced today they have entered into a multi-year affiliation agreement with the Phoenix Coyotes. The Coyotes and the Falcons had an eight year relationship from 1996-2004.

The Coyotes do not yet own their AHL franchise.

Hockey sources familiar with the situation in Arizona say the team is working on a possibility of putting a franchise in Arizona in the coming year or two. They want to work with the Arizona State University Sun Devils hockey program, scheduled to start next season as the 60th NCAA Division I program.

The team would partner with ASU on building a new arena in Tempe from its on present campus facility, the very small, Oceanside Ice Rink. No agreements have been signed, but discussions are ongoing.

ASU will play a hybrid NCAA-ACHA (college club) schedule the next two years before going full fledged D-I in a conference in two years.

The Columbus Blue Jackets, the current affiliate who brought the most competitive on ice product to Springfield during in their five year arrangement  from 2010-2015 will go to Lake Erie (Cleveland) as we first reported back last July. A five year deal was announced.

The Blue Jackets will not own the Lake Erie franchise which is still under the ownership of Dan Gilbert, owner of the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers, the other major tenant in the Quicken Loans Arena.

This move was expected to be made next week after the regular season concludes.

The Colorado Avalanche presently in Lake Erie announced this afternoon that it’s moving its farm team from Lake Erie to San Antonio, a team owned by the NBA San Antonio Spurs, also under a five year agreement.

The other move that MAY be announced next week, is that the New York Islanders announce the relocation of the Sound Tigers to the Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders are vacating that facility for the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in the fall. At that time, the New Jersey Devils will relocate from Albany to Bridgeport.

There has been conflicting information as to when the move will be done, but not the principals involved. The Nassau Coliseum indeed may be closed for a year for renovations, but it has also been said the building would remain open during a portion of those renovations. More will be known very soon.

There will be other relocation moves announced during and after the 2015-16 season as the wholesale restructuring of the AHL continues.

RANGERS: ONE DOWN, FIFTEEN MORE TO GO

new-york-rangers_thumb13-150x150      VERSUS     pittsburgh1-150x140

NEW YORK RANGERS -2 vs. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS -1
Thursday, Apr. 16, 2015, 7:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Penguins: 0-1 
Rangers: 1-0

BY: The New York Rangers

TEAM NOTES:

  • HOME SWEET HOME – The Rangers have won 17 of their last 26 playoff games at Madison Square Garden, dating back to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. Ottawa on Apr. 26, 2012. The Rangers have earned at least one win at home in 16 consecutive playoff series, dating back to the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 2007.

Continue reading