Entries with the tag: stanley cup playoffs
As always, it is my pleasure to bring to you an e-mail interview I conducted with a host on NHL Home Ice.
This time around, Mercury and I “discussed” the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
PH: When you hear the words Stanley Cup Playoffs, what comes to your mind?
TM: Tradition. One of the few traditions that really unites Canadians across all lines….economic…..geographic….racial….religious. Want to find the Canadians in a bar in another country? Find anything about hockey on television and then check who starts watching. The Stanley Cup playoffs are our national glue.
PH: What separates the Stanley Cup Playoffs from sports’s championships?
TM: It’s been around the longest….and there are so many stories…and legends associated with it.
Over at RLD Hockey today, I look at five players who wll be under a considerable amount of pressure to step up their games to the next level to help their respective clubs in the playoffs.
Click here to read more or continue below.
Top 5 Players Under Pressure This Postseason
By Patrick Hoffman
When it comes to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, every single player needs to step up their game in order to try and get their team to the Finals for a chance to win the Cup. With that said, there are five players who will be under more pressure than others to perform when it matters most in this year’s playoffs:
1. Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks
For the last few postseasons, the pressure has always been on Vancouver Canucks’ goaltender Roberto Luongo to perform.
It will be no different this season as the Canucks, the league’s President’s Trophy winner, are the favorites to win the Cup this season. Luongo has not been exactly stellar in the last two postseasons, especially against the Chicago Blackhawks, but did put together a great regular season.
As it turns out, the Canucks will end up facing the Blackhawks in the first round; so hopefully for the Canucks and their fans, their star netminder will be ready to raise his game to the next level.
After two periods, it’s still 3-1 Flyers as they try to knot the series up at 2-2.
Here are some thoughts I had on the second period:
- Leighton is 5-0 at home in these playoffs. He’s one period away from making that 6-0 thanks to his terrific play between the pipes tonight.
- Speaking of home ice, the Flyers haven’t lost at the Wachovia Center since Game 3 in the Eastern Conference semi-finals against the Boston Bruins.
- From @DanTencer: “Who are the guys in white jerseys and what have they done with the Hawks?”
- Understatement from Mike Emrick: “Dustin Byfuglien has not been the same presence he was in games 1 and 2”. I’m sure the team and its fans think the same thing.
With the way the first period went, Paul may certainly be right with his 5-3 prediction.
Game 4 has certainly been a great one so far. Here are some of my thoughts after a first period which has the Flyers up 3-1 over the Blackhawks:
- How about that terrific Leighton blocker save on Toews in front of the net and then again on the wraparound? Leighton showed exceptional poise and did a great job in smothering the rebound.
- Got to admit - I was impressed with Richards’s goal. He made a great play to help turn the puck over and then slide a great low backhander through the wickets of Niemi. That’s the kind of leadership and offensive skill that Richards has shown throughout these playoffs.
- Ladd returns to the Hawks’ lineup and takes a penalty on his first shift. Talk about getting off on the wrong foot.
- Kopecky has to be feeling badly about that interference penalty, eh?
Good morning folks. I hope that everyone has been enjoying the Cup Finals this year because I certainly have been.
We have seen it all in this series: hard hits, big saves, timely scoring, big defensive plays, shutdown hockey, offensive hockey, goaltending dual, etc. It’s all been there so let’s hope it stays for the remainder of the series.
With that in mind, I wanted your thoughts on tonight’s Game 4:
- Who will score the first goal in tonight’s game? Why do you think that is?
- When will big “Buff” return to form?
- Who do you think has been the better coach in this series? Why?
As I am sure many of you knowledgeable hockey blog fans are aware, Justin Bourne, who we have interviewed here on Kukla’s Korner, runs the great http://www.jtbourne.com and his now contributing his musings on Puck Daddy.
Justin was kind enough to take time out of his busy blog schedule to give us his thoughts on the Western Conference Finals:
PH: So, the top two teams in the Western Conference will are battling it out to see who goes to the Cup final. Was this pretty much expected?
JT: No, before the playoffs I don’t think it would’ve been safe to say that the Sharks would find the will to get past a top team in a seven game series. Roster-wise it would have been easy to say, but most people are aware of their post-season crumblings, so them getting by Detroit was a heckuva feat. I’m glad they did - the West final is intensely interesting right now.
Good friend of the blog Brian Monzo previews the Conference finals for WFAN.com:
To say these NHL playoffs have been wild would be the understatement of the week. The Western Conference is a little easier to look at and understand why the Blackhawks and Sharks are the two teams remaining. Those were the best two teams and they are battling to go to the Stanley Cup Final. In the East, the expression ‘what the hell?’ never was so accurate. The Canadiens and the Flyers were the 7th and 8th seeds in the East, only to lock up playoff spots in the last week of the regular season.
You have seen some amazing things in the Eastern Conference. Not only did the Habs defeat the top seeded Capitals in seven games, they defeated the defending Stanley Cup Champion Penguins in seven. The Flyers inched their way into the playoffs on the last day of the season. They then made short work of the Devils, then made history by coming back from down 0-3 against the Bruins.
Click here for more from Monzo.
I for one am stunned that the Philadelphia Flyers managed to come back from a 3-0 series defecit to the Boston Bruins and make it to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they will take on the Montreal Canadiens. I was even more surprised that the Broadstreet Bullies came back to win the hockey game after being down three goals.
Great friend of the blog Russ Cohen had this to say in his most recent article for Sportsology.net:
I know that the Flyers are the third team to come back from a 3-0 deficit in a seven-game series but now it looks like they are the first to come back from a three-goal deficit in a Game 7 and if that’s the case, to me, it’s the greatest comeback in NHL history.
The Flyers have had a “never say die” attitude for the entire playoffs. I have covered a ton of games this season and they are reaching their peak at the right time. Goaltender Michael Leighton has come in and performed very well under tough circumstances. He hasn’t been stellar, but he’s been good.
Click here for more good stuff from my pal Russ.
Russ Cohen, owner of the terrific Sportsology.net and one of the authors of the tremendous 100 Ranger Greats, took time out of his hectic schedule to talk about tonight’s Game 7 between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers.
PH: Did you honestly think this series would be where it is now? Why or why not?
RC: No, I honestly thought when Boston had the series at 3-0 that they would finish off the Flyers in six. I give all the credit in the world to the Flyers coaching staff and players for never giving up in the face of adversity. It’s been an amazing run considering all that they have been through.
PH: What do the Bruins need to do to win tonight?
RC: They need to put players with size in the crease like Milan Lucic and Blake Wheeler. They need to get these players out on the ice, Mark Recchi included when the Flyers have their rarely used third pairing defenseman out there. The top two Flyers defensive pairings are logging incredible minutes and at times were a bit weary of the Bruins dump and chase tactics. The Bruins need to figure out if their strategy is dump and chase or defense first. That coaching message seems to be lost on the players right now.
Pierre was kind enough to take time out of his extremely hectic hockey coverage schedule to tell us about how he got into loving the game, how he got into covering the game for a living, and of course, his thoughts on the Stanley Cup playoff action.
PH: How did you get into hockey?
PL: Well, played hockey all my life (what else are you going do in Northern Ontario, right?) Played 24/7, eight days a week as they say, on the ice, on the road, in the basement, you name it. Was an average player but was lucky to be part of 1990 All-Ontario Midget B champion Hearst Lumberkins.
Russ Cohen, one of the authors of 100 Ranger Greats, a terrific hockey host on XM NHL Home Ice and owner of Sportsology, was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to do an e-mail interview regarding the Stanley Cup playoffs. Take it away Russ!
PH: What do you think of the Stanley Cup Playoffs up to this point?
RC: They’ve been unpredictable and very exciting. Plenty of star power, plenty of upsets, and a lot of intense games that have a physical compnent with some offense mixed in.
PH: Why were the Philadelphia Flyers able to upset the New Jersey Devils in the first round?
RC: Why were the Devils so disappointing when it mattered the most? The Devils defense wasn’t up to the task. The Flyers forwards had their way with them in the crease and in the corners. The Devils power play was horrendous and their main offensive players like Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk didn’t produce and Flyers goalie Brian Boucher rose to the occasion.
Sorry that things have been quiet around here folks. Not too much is going on with the New York Rangers so there has not been much to report or even link to.
I will say that I’ve really enjoyed the playoff action up to this point. While it was disappointing to see the Red Wings get eliminated, it was nice to see the Sharks make it to the Conference Finals for a chance to get into the Stanley Cup Finals.
I’ve also come away disappointed by Roberto Luongo’s play. Where is this great goaltender that we all thought we knew?
Overall, it’s been great hockey and I hope these rounds go nice and long because I do not want the hockey season to end!
From great friend of the blog Brian Monzo at Wfan.com:
4) Penguins vs. (8) Canadiens:
You would think the Canadiens are on the high of all highs here, taking out the top seed in the East. But let’s get back to reality here. It is going to be very tough to prevent the Penguins now from getting back to the Finals. I understand Halak played out of his mind, but Sid the Kid, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal are just getting started. Unfortunately for Scott Gomez, Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta, their run is going to come to an end. The Pens will have the Mellon Arena whited out every game, and perhaps playing the best hockey of his still young career, Crosby will be lighting the lamp over and over. Prediction: Pens in five.
(6) Bruins vs. (7) Flyers:
The Flyers got away with an easy one. They somehow snuck right by Devils without the Devils even knowing it. Veteran goalie Brian Boucher is playing perhaps the best he has ever played. However, the injury bug has hit and Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne are out. For the Bruins, it is the opposite. Star youngster Tuukka Rask didn’t to be overly briliant against the Sabres. He was good, not great. The Bruins now get back Marc Savard, who has been out for months with a concussion. This should be a long series, but the Bruins will get it done. Prediction: Bruins in seven.
Click here for more great stuff from Monzo!
Good morning folks. Sorry for not having posting much in the last few days. Things are busy at work and unfortunately, things are slow Rangers’ news wise.
With that in mind, what are your thoughts on Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:
- Can Jaroslav Halak keep up his strong play?
- Can the Pittsburgh Penguins advance to the Conference Finals for the third straight year?
- How will Brian Boucher’s play hold up against the Boston Bruins?
- Will the San Jose Sharks get past round 2 by defeating the almighty Red Wings?
- How will Roberto Luongo play against the Hawks?
From great friend of the blog Scotty Wazz at The Strangest One of All:
The Eastern Conference has all their series with one team up three games-to-one. While it seems that all hope is lost, the only redeeming quality is that it’s nothing too insurmountable. In fact, all the teams who are up 3-1 have had a history of collapse when in that position. There have been 21 comebacks when a team was down 3-1, eight from the Conference Quarterfinals, last one coming last season. Buffalo and Ottawa are the only two teams in the East to not be involved in any lost deficits.
We’ll start with a team from tonight that could clinch, and the first team in the modern era to blow a 3-1 lead, the Pittsburgh Penguins. Now, the Penguins are up 3-1 on the Senators, but the Penguins were the first to blow the big lead when they did it against the New York Islanders back in 1975. In fact, the Pens were up 3-0 on the Islanders and couldn’t put them away. On the flip side, the Penguins have twice comeback from the 3-1 deficit.
Click here for more great stuff from Scotty!
Good afternoon folks. I hope you’ve all been enjoying the playoffs thus far. I certainly have!
As always, I’ve had a bunch of hockey-related questions sitting in my head and wanted to get your thoughts on them:
- Who is the real Roberto Luongo? Is he overrated?
- What about Marc-Andre Fleury - is he overrated?
- Will the San Jose Sharks advance to the second round? Tough question, right?
- Who has been the MVP of the playoffs so far?
Shawn Lavigne, better known as “Big Country”, of Hockey This Morning on XM 204 Home Ice was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to discuss all things Stanley Cup Playoffs:
PH: Which teams do you think will surprise in the playoffs? Why?
SL: After game one this seems like a loaded question with all of the early upsets. I look at Buffalo although a 3 seed in the East as a very dangerous team. They have the league’s best goaltender in Ryan Miller and suddenly Thomas Vanek is scoring in bunches. They are a team without many stars but they have hard working depth players which can play any style of game you want.
In the Western Conference, I’m looking at the Canucks. Like Buffalo they have a strong goaltender in Roberto Luongo who has struggled in the latter stages of the season. He was brilliant in game one against the Kings. The Sedin twins have been tremendous all season long and I just love the depth of this team.
Tim Rosenthal of Inside Hockey was kind enough to answer a few questions via e-mail regarding the Stanley Cup Playoffs:
PH: Which teams do you think will surprise in the playoffs? Why?
TR: Well, to start off with a bold prediction for this would be an understatement. I said it before the playoffs started so I should try to be true to my word. My pick for the Western Conference finals was Kings and Wings and the reason being is the Wings playoff success and the Kings youth movement are two things I really enjoy seeing on a daly basis. You can never count a team like Detroit out even if they aren’t one of the top four teams in the West and the Kings are a very talented bunch on both sides of the puck and have had Vancouver’s number recently. I can also see Phoenix making a surprise run with so much uncertainty with that franchise.
Scott Laughlin of NHL Home Ice was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to do an e-mail interview regarding the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Here is what we “talked” about:
PH: Which teams do you think will surprise in the playoffs? Why?
SL: My two first-round upsets are: Philly over NJ in 7 (Mike Richards will be the best player in the series and the Flyers won 5 of 6 from Jersey in regular season) and LA over Vancouver in 7 (not sold on Luongo who’s had a mediocre season by his standards).
PH: Which teams do you think will disappoint in the playoffs? Why?
SL: See above: Jersey (a handcuffed Kovalchuk and average Brodeur) and Vancouver (still lacking offensive punch on the blue-line).
Good evening ladies and gents. Sorry I’ve been MIA but I recently moved into my new apartment so things have been quite hectic. Things will be that way for a bit but I will do my best to drop a post in every once in awhile.
It certainly looks like the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins are destined to meet again in the Stanley Cup Finals. I’m sure that many of you die hard hockey fans out there were hoping for something different but with the way these two teams are playing right now, it only seems right that one of them take the Cup home when all is said and done.
It is obvious that the Detroit Red Wings are a well-oiled machine. They can score at will, they have tremendous puck possession, they put up a wall defensively and when needed, they get timely saves out of their goaltender Chris Osgood. What’s even more amazing is that when their best defenseman and captain Nicklas Lidstrom is out of the lineup, the team still finds a way to dominate.
The Penguins may not dominate games the way the Wings do but they still find ways to control hockey games and score when they need to. They’re getting scoring from their stars in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, playing solidy defensively and getting the big saves from their goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
Will they meet again come June? Will it be the same result?
What are your thoughts?
That was quite a Game 1 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes last night, wasn’t it? It’s safe to say that this series could go at least six games and for hockey fans, that means nothing but good news as hockey will continue to roll on sometime into June.
As per usual, here are some questions I would like to get your thoughts on regarding the world of hockey:
- Who is better - Penguins’ goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury or Hurricanes’ netminder Cam Ward? Why?
- Will Patrick Roy take the Colorado Avalanche head coaching job? Why or why not?
- Quick, who are your five Conn Smythe trophy nominees?
- Will the Boston Bruins have better luck next year or was this their year to win the Stanley Cup?
- If Chris Osgood and the Detroit Red Wings win the Cup again this season, will Osgood finally get the respect he deserves? Why or why not?
- Would Pierre Maguire really be the right choice for general manager of the Minnesota Wild? Why or why not?
Let’s hear your thoughts!
Good afternoon folks. I apologize for not having posted this week as I was busy packing up my things and getting ready to move into my new condo next weekend. Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about Kukla’s Korner.
As you’re all aware of, the NHL Conference Finals are officially under way. Yesterday’s Game 1 between the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks showed that the Blackhawks still have a lot to learn about what it means to be a successful playoff team. Sure, they were able to stay in the majority of the game but there are so many things they can learn just from watching the Wings and how they compete with consistency on a nightly basis.
Tonight, the Eastern Conference finals hits the ice as the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Carolina Hurricanes. Many pundits and fans see this as going six games in favor of the Penguins but let’s not forget that the Hurricanes have not lost a playoff series since 2002 in the Cup finals to the Red Wings. Sure, they’ve only made the postseason twice since 2002 but nevertheless, they’ve been pretty successful so far - wouldn’t you say?
I want to hear your predictions folks:
- Who’s going to win the East? Why?
- Who’s going to win the West, Why?
As all you hockey nuts are well aware of, there were two Game 6’s tonight in the Stanley Cup playoffs - one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals and the other between the Vancouver Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Capitals were able to once again extend a series to a seventh game (third straight series the team has done that) with a 5-4 in overtime on a goal by David Steckel while the Blackhawks put the Canucks in their place with a high-scoring 7-5 win, thanks to three goals and an assist from youngster Patrick Kane.
With that in mind, was Kane’s hat trick the best individual performance in this year’s playoffs? What do you folks think?
As you all know, there are currently eight teams remaining in the playoffs, which could change as soon as tonight depending on the outcomes of the Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins and Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks games tonight.
With that said, this means that there are eight goalies remaining. Out of curiosity, which goalie would you want to have lead your team to the Stanley Cup? Why?
- Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins
- Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes
- Simeon Varlamov, Washington Capitals
- Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Chris Osgood, Detroit Red Wings
- Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks
- Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks
- Nikolai Khabibulin, Chicago Blackhawks
Good morning/afternoon folks. I just wanted to let everyone know that I am taking a min-break from the blog this weekend as I will be in Canada for a relative’s wedding.
In the meantime, feel free to use this thread to post your thoughts on all things hockey:
- Stanley Cup playoffs
- Jim Basille
- World Championships
- Potential Free Agent signings
Use this as your sounding board for the next three days or so! I’ll be back on Monday.
In another short blog I penned for MaxHockey.com, I mentioned how a Versus analyst called the Vancouver Canucks’ play methodic and how the term suited them for tonight’s 3-1 victory, giving the boys from British Columbia a 2-1 series lead heading into Game Four.
Also, click here to check out Stan Fischler’s thoughts on the same game.
You can find my thoughts on the second round over at MaxHockey.com. Click below to find out my opinions on each series:
Also feel free to check out Zach Weinstock’s excellent NHL Playoff page.
In his Puck Daddy blog this morning, Greg Wyshynski blogs about eight guys who need to step up in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs since they failed to do so in the first round.
With that in mind, which eight players need to continue rolling in order to help their team advance to the conference finals?
Let’s hear your thoughts!
From Dave Lozo at NHL.com:
There are four possible outcomes to Tuesday night’s games, which means there are four possible sets of second-round matchups in the Eastern Conference. Let’s take a look at each scenario and what it means for the next round:
Scenario 1: Capitals and Devils win
Some might say this is the most-likely scenario, since both teams have home-ice for their Game 7s. If Washington and New Jersey hold serve at home, then Boston would host Pittsburgh in the second round and the Capitals and Devils would open a second-round series in Washington.
Click here for more.
From James Mirtle at From the Rink:
The Ducks and Red Wings will meet in the Conference semifinals (schedule TBA)…the Ducks and Wings are the two most successful teams in the NHL since the lockout (start of 2005-06 season). The clubs have each won one Stanley Cup, while leading the league in playoff rounds won (7) and appeared in (9). The two clubs have met four times in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with each team winning twice. Detroit swept Anaheim in 1997 & 1999, while Anaheim beat Detroit in 2003 (sweep) and 2007 (six games).
The Ducks became the fifth team to upset the NHL’s best regular season team (by standings points) in the first round since the Expansion Era began (1967-68 season). The previous four teams to upset the NHL’s regular season points leader (officially referred to as Presidents’ Trophy winner starting in 1986-87):
2006: Edmonton defeated Detroit (56-18-8, 124 pts.), 4-2
2000: San Jose defeated St. Louis (51-19-11-1, 114 pts.), 4-3
1991: Minnesota North Stars defeated Chicago (49-23-8, 106 pts.), 4-2
1971: Montreal defeated Boston (57-14-7, 121 pts.), 4-3
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