Some quick thoughts from the NHL on TSN panel on Saturday:
Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick has had many nights when he's been a lot busier and faced many more shots with a greater degree of difficulty, but at the key moments of Game 1, he was outstanding.
In the opening minutes, Andy McDonald had three great opportunities. Then when the Kings were protecting the lead in the final two minutes, Quick came up with an amazing effort to see through that screen. He was literally lying on the ice and still managed to track the puck, find it, make the save, keep his team in the game and give them a chance to protect the lead, which allowed for Dustin Penner's empty net goal.
Twenty-nine shots on the night – I'm sure there's been at least that many nights when Quick has had a lot more to do, but still, he was really good when it counted.
Singing The Blues?
How serious is Alex Pietrangelo's injury? We won't know because injuries don't get disclosed during the playoffs.
Pietrangelo came out and played a shift in the third period, but wasn't able to play the rest of the way. It was obviously a critical loss for the Blues.
Dwight King got a two-minute minor for the hit, but Pietrangelo tried to lobby for more.
I'm sure the NHL will break down the video to determine whether it's an illegal play worthy of supplementary discipline. They'll look at all sorts of aspects: did Pietrangelo turn at the last second, was it strictly a push and is it worth looking at and pursuing beyond this?
Youth Is Served
In some ways it's funny how things work out. Under slightly different circumstances it's possible that New York Rangers rookie forward Chris Kreider wouldn't even have gotten into the lineup for John Tortorella.
It's tough to be a young kid and impress a veteran coach like Tortorella, but what if Carl Hagelin hadn't been suspended for the Game 2 hit on Daniel Alfredsson. What if when Hagelin came back, Brian Boyle hadn't been knocked out of the lineup by Chris Neil. Those two opportunities gave Kreider a chance to play and he's making the most of it.
It's kind of an interesting situation. Kreider signed his contract at the end of the regular season, so he was not entitled to a signing bonus. How did the Rangers get around that? They can give him games played bonuses for the playoffs.
Kreider received $25,000 for his first five games in the Ottawa Senators series. He's now working towards 10 games to get another $100,000. Ultimately, he's capped at 15 games played for $175,000. He can make up to $300,000 in games played bonuses in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Regardless of his contract, Kreider is getting a great hockey education and he's contributing a lot more than anybody imagined he might.