ROUND 2 Injury Primer: Brian Boyle, Halak, Clifford, Josefson
(4/27/12) With Round 1 done and Round 2 set to commence Friday night, there is no rest for the weary (although New Jersey will wait until Sunday before facing the Flyers).
In Phoenix, the Nashville Predators (#4 seed) will take on the Phoenix Coyotes (#3). Going into the series, Hal Gill (NSH) had missed the entire first round and, although his status was reportedly "uncertain," Gill did play in game 1. Gill is certainly an asset to the Preds, albeit from a purely defensive perspective. In 105 career playoff games he has just 6 points, but he was a part of both Penguins' Stanley Cup runs in 2008 and 2009. For Phoenix, both Klesla and Roszival are banged up, but both played in the series opener. Of course, Raffi Torres is out due to suspension.
In New York on Saturday, the Rangers (#1) welcome the Capitals (#7) to Manhattan in what will be a terrific series for NHL exposure in the US. The Rangers' only major injury note continues to be Brian Boyle, the early Round 1 hero who continues to be out with a concussion. There is currently no new update, although we suspect Boyle could return for the second round given his tough-guy status. Boyle had 2G and 1A in 4 games against the Caps during the regular season. For the Capitals, Tomas Vokoun remains on the shelf with a serious groin injury. With the great play of Braden Holtby, and the presence of Michal Neuvirth, Vokoun's tenure in Washington is most likely over.
In St. Louis, the Blues (#2) will host the LA Kings (#8) in Game 1 of their second round series on Saturday. For the Blues, Jaroslav Halak remains out with a LBI, so Brian Elliott continues to shoulder the load. Even when Halak does return, we doubt there is enough room for him to squeeze back in between the pipes. The #1 job appears to be Elliott's until he falters. Kyle Clifford (LA) remains out with a concussion that he suffered against the Canucks. He is reportedly day-to-day (USAToday.com).
Finally on Sunday, the Devils (#6) will start the second round in Philadelphia (#5) against the Flyers. The teams split the season series 3-3. For the Devils, Jacob Josefson (broken wrist) has an outside chance of returning. He has been out since the beginning of April and his initial recovery time was set at 4-6 weeks. For Philly, there are no new injury notes to pass along; they should be a well rested bunch come Sunday.
Enjoy the start of the second round.