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Before The Puck Drops Today

from Tracey Myers of NHL.com,

The San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues will each try to take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference Final when they play Game 5 at SAP Center on Sunday.

The Blues scored twice in the first period before holding off the Sharks for a 2-1 win in Game 4. It was the 10th victory of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for St. Louis, tying its record it set in 1986 and 2016.

When the conference final/semifinal is tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 has a series record of 19-8 (70.4%).

Here are 5 Keys to Game 5:

1. Binnington stays strong
Blues rookie goalie Jordan Binnington continues to handle the playoff pressure well. He's 10-7 with a 2.58 goals-against average and .908 save percentage, the first goalie in Blues history to win at least 10 games in a single postseason and the 10th rookie to do so in NHL history.

St. Louis expects the same steadiness from him in Game 5.

"He's been dynamite for us back there all year," Blues defenseman Colton Parayko said. "He's just doing his thing and just a lot of confidence in him from the whole team. Every single game he's given us a chance to win, so yeah, there's not much more to say. He's been unbelievable for us and such a huge part of our success."

2. Home sweet home
The Sharks didn't get off to a great start in Game 4, but they're confident they can find their game immediately at home Sunday. San Jose is 7-3 at SAP Center this postseason and has outscored its opponents 39-29.

"The series is tied up now, best out of three, and we've got home-ice advantage," Sharks forward Gustav Nyquist said. "We have to make sure we take advantage of that. We've been good at home and we'll be ready to play tomorrow."

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NHL Short Notes

Sharks, Blues deadlocked heading into Game 5 of Conference Finals; Couture, Hertl look to continue home-ice success; Pietrangelo sets sights on franchise benchmark.

NHL MORNING SKATE

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Hockey Notes On An Off Night

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- The Bruins may be on to something with the way in which they managed Tuukka Rask’s play during the regular season. Their version of Load Management. Rask started just 45 games, his lowest total in six years. And when you add the 17 playoff starts, that brings his total to 62 games. By comparison, Frederik Andersen started 60 games for the Leafs in the regular season and seven more playoff games. Anderson was brilliant in Game 6 against Boston and just average in Game 7. Rask is the leading contender for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

- If the Sens are interviewing Patrick Roy, what does that say for Marc Crawford, D.J. Smith, Rick Bowness and all the other candidates interviewed?

- It probably makes the Nashville Predators happy that Kyle Turris is captain of Team Canada. Preds want to move Turris, who has $30 million and five years left on a rare bad contract signed by David Poile. Maybe the captaincy ups his value.

a few more hockey topics...

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Afternoon Line- Larry Brooks

The answer to this officiating mess that has been a long time coming is not to dramatically expand video review, but to dramatically improve the performance of the referees and linesmen working the games. It is to provide them with better direction, perhaps a new protocol. It is to revamp the officiating department, and that means starting at the top.

-Larry Brooks of the New York Post where you can read more on this topic, plus a few additional notes.

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Report- Patrick Roy Will Be Interviewing For The Coaching Job In Ottawa

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Talk in league circles Saturday was that legendary NHL goaltender Patrick Roy is expected to be the final interview by Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion in a thorough search for the vacant post behind the bench.

It’s believed the Senators could speak to the 53-year-old Roy next week to discuss the possibility of being a full-time replacement for Guy Boucher, who was fired by the club on March 1. That would make Roy the mystery seventh candidate for the job, with six interviews already completed.

Roy also has a good relationship with Ottawa assistant GM Peter MacTavish, a former agent, who has been conducting the interviews with Dorion.

While Roy is best known for his Hall-of-Fame career with the Montreal Canadiens and the Colorado Avalanche, he has paid his dues as a coach and has had success.

continued

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  Tags: patrick+roy

Erik Karlsson’s Health Will Be A Concern For The San Jose Sharks

from Curtis Pashelka of the Mercury News,

Perhaps there was only one sight uglier than the Sharks’ start to Game 4 of the Western Conference Final against the St. Louis Blues on Friday.

It was the one of defenseman Erik Karlsson on the Sharks’ bench late in the third period, lurched over in obvious discomfort.

Karlsson returned late the third after the Sharks had pulled Martin Jones, attempting to tie the game with the extra attacker on the ice. But the Sharks couldn’t beat Blues goalie Jordan Binnington a second time and lost 2-1, setting up a pivotal Game 5 at home on Sunday with the series now tied 2-2.

Sharks coach Pete DeBoer didn’t have a health update after the game on Karlsson, who missed a handful of shifts after he left the ice at a stoppage in play with 9:24 left in regulation time. Karlsson came back with just under two minutes left, a good sign for the Sharks that he was able to gut it out for one final push.

Still, for a player who missed 27 of the Sharks’ final 33 games due to groin and leg injuries, there has to be some concern for how effective Karlsson might be for the rest of this series.

continued

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  Tags: erik+karlsson

Goalie Needed

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

Here, in order of sheer panic, is a look at the seven NHL clubs most in need of solidifying their crease in the 2019 off-season. Let that carousel spin.

Carolina Hurricanes

As remarkable as the Canes’ playoff run — three series deep! — was this spring, and as much cap space as budget-conscious Carolina has to manoeuvre (approximately $20 million), next year’s roster is going to look much different.

Regulars Sebastian Aho, Justin Williams, Michael Ferland, Brock McGinn and Greg McKegg are all headed to free agency, and the prices at the Jerk store just went up.

Think the forwards are a puzzle? Carolina was the only NHL club operating without a goalie under contract for 2019-20. Scott Darling’s future as a professional goalie is in question, and the overachieving tandem of Mrazek and McElhinney — who made a paltry $2.35 million combined — is headed toward the open market and significant pay raises.

Behind them is impressive but unproven 23-year-old prospect Alex Nedeljkovic — and he’s an RFA.

We can see Mrazek getting lured by bigger bucks elsewhere, while McElhinney could re-sign short-term for a pay bump.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Did impending UFA Bobrovsky even unstrap his pads before he listed his Columbus condo for sale?

Goalie Bob’s weave out of Ohio to become the most desirable netminder on the open market leaves the Jackets without a sure-shot No. 1 for the first time in eight years.

Complicating matters, neither backup — deadline insurance Keith Kinkaid (UFA) and the underwhelming Joonas Korpisalo (RFA) — has put pen to paperwork for 2019-20....

more

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Craig Berube Had His Team Ready Last Night

from Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet,

The most important coaching Craig Berube did this series wasn’t even during a game.

It wasn’t finding a way to wring more from Vladimir Tarasenko or changing the St. Louis Blues’ power play or tweaking the defence pairings. It was walking into the dressing room late Wednesday to tell his players, emotional and vibrating with anger about a non-call that decided a playoff game against them, that everything was going to be alright.

“He comes in and says: ‘Forget about it, move on,’” St. Louis centre Ryan O’Reilly explained Friday. “He said: ‘We’re going to be alright, we’ll respond the right way.’ And we did.”

“We went home with the right mentality,” winger David Perron said. “I really believe it made a difference.”

O’Reilly said Berube believed in his players, and on Friday they earned more trust by dominating the San Jose Sharks at the start of Game 4 and hanging on to win 2-1 to even the Western Conference Final at two games apiece.

continued

Watch the game highlights below.

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NHL Short Notes

Blues even Western Conference Final at two games apiece; Rookie Binnington joins rare company with 10th playoff win; Stanley Cup Final to begin on May 27.

NHL MORNING SKATE

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Stanley Cup Final Will Start May 27th In Boston

NEW YORK (May 17, 2019) – The National Hockey League today announced the dates, starting times and television information for the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, which will begin on Monday, May 27, in Boston. Additionally, Stanley Cup Final Media Day will be held on either Saturday, May 25 or Sunday, May 26, in Boston.

The Stanley Cup Final will match the winner of the Western Conference Final, either the San Jose Sharks or St. Louis Blues, against the Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins.

The Bruins collected 107 points during the regular season, most among the remaining teams, followed by San Jose (101) and St. Louis (99). Boston will have home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Final, and will host Games 1, 2 and, if necessary, Games 5 and 7. The Western Conference champions will host Games 3 and 4 and, if necessary, Game 6.

The start time for all Stanley Cup Final games will be 8 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Group has exclusive coverage of the Stanley Cup Final in the U.S., while Sportsnet, CBC and TVA Sports have exclusive coverage throughout Canada.

SCF game dates below.

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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