Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
After pointing out that pundits have counted his group out all season long, he noted that Montreal has a recent history of squandering leads in the playoffs.
"We got home ice and didn’t deliver the way clearly we wanted to," Cooper said after Sunday’s morning skate at the Bell Centre. "So now you look in the room at those guys and (say) `What do we have to lose?’ Everyone thinks we’re supposed to lose. Now I’m hearing (we’re) done, (we’ll) be on the golf course by Wednesday, I’ve heard it all. But at some point they’re going to have to do that in front of their fans, try and knock us out.
"I’m sure they’ve never had a 2-0 lead on the road and come back and blown it."
Cooper was likely referencing the 2011 playoffs against Boston, but could also have been alluding to a 2006 series with Carolina or a 1996 series against the New York Rangers. On all three occasions, the Habs won the opening two games on the road but still lost the series.
from Mike Brophy of CBC,
The Blackhawks find themselves trailing their first round series with the St. Louis Blues 2-0, having blown two games they should have won. Chicago led 3-2 in Game 1, but gave up a goal to Jaden Schwartz of the Blues at 18:24 of the third period and lost when Alex Steen scored after just 26 seconds of overtime.
They came back in Game 2 with one of their most goofy and unglued performances in years. The defending Stanley Cup champs, who also won the championship in 2009-10, were uncharacteristically undisciplined from veteran defenceman Duncan Keith delivering cheap shots to Blues players with his stick and foolishly waving his stick in the face of Vladimir Tarasenko while lined up for a faceoff to fellow blue-liner Brent Seabrook delivering a horrible head shot check that knocked Blues captain David Backes out of the game and will probably result in Seabrook receiving a multi-game suspension.
The end result was the same. Chicago led 3-2 late in the third period, but the Blues forced overtime when Vladimir Tarasenko scored at 19:53 and then won it on an OT tally by defenceman Barret Jackman.
Keith's silliness was completely out of character. And so will the Blackhawks early departure from the playoffs be out of character if Keith and his teammates don't halt the foolishness and get back to playing sound, intelligent hockey.
read on for more playoff talk...
Below, watch the Keith incident Brophy'w meintions...
How about 4 games today, basically 12 1/2 hours of hockey with a nice break around dinner time in the eastern time zone.
Most of you would probably agree with me, the playoff games have been great and we have only started.
Sit back, enjoy and may the best teams win today.
BLUES OVERCOME LATE DEFICIT TO WIN IN OVERTIME (AGAIN)
Vladimir Tarasenko scored the tying goal with 6.4 seconds remaining in regulation and Barret Jackman tallied the game-winner at 5:50 of overtime to lead the Blues to their second consecutive come-from-behind victory in extra time.
* In Game 1, Jaden Schwartz evened the score with 1:45 remaining in regulation and Alexander Steen potted the winning goal 26 seconds into triple-overtime. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marks just the third time in Stanley Cup Playoffs history that a team has won consecutive games in one series when trailing in the final two minutes of regulation in each contest. The others: the Canadiens in Games 1 and 2 against the Bruins in the 1969 Semifinals and the Flyers in Games 3 and 4 versus the Maple Leafs in the 1977 Quarterfinals.
Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche had a four point night last night and now has 7 points (1-6-7) through 2 games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He is tied with teammate Paul Stastny (3-4-7) for the league lead in points.
Watch MacKinnon rack up the points last night...
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Craig Berube says his team isn't tired. The Flyers' third-period play recently suggests otherwise.
The long grind that had them play the final 17 regular-season games - many against elite teams - over the last 30 days seems to have caught up with the Flyers. They have been flat and outskated in most third periods lately.
If they don't awaken, they will soon have several months to catch up on their rest.
Berube doesn't buy the theory that the Flyers are fatigued, or that it played a role in their disastrous third period Thursday in New York, where the Rangers pulled away from a 1-1 tie and won the playoff opener, 4-1.
The Flyers should have been energized for the final 20 minutes, knowing they somehow were thisclose to taking the early control of the series. In Madison Square Garden, no less.
At around the :44 second mark...
Toews is confused...
from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins, their mind-set fixed that Detroit’s speed was too much to handle, spent the night like a bunch of flat-footed window shoppers, looking longingly through the glass, ready to purchase, the game never quite in their hands. The few times they appeared set to buy, they were denied entry to the store or they were essentially told, too bad, the model in the window wasn’t for sale. They landed a total 25 shots on net (one more than those blazing, too-fast-to-handle Red Wings), but few were of much value, and even fewer led to follow-up sustained pressure on goalie Jimmy Howard or even fewer to a second or third shot on net. One and done. At best.
Shift after shift, the Bruins were short on possession, presence, and patience. Give the Wings credit for that, too. But overall, the Bruins needed to display more faith in their game, one constructed all season on strong, confident, and physical play. Rarely, if ever, did they display that in Game 1. The Wings did not burn by them. The Wings did handle the puck very well in their end — better, in fact, than they handled it in Boston’s end — and that is where the Bruins will have to reestablish themselves in Game 2.
Now, that’s easier pointed out than it is implemented. To negate Detroit’s fine work and finesse back there, it will mean the Bruins increasing their possession, presence, and patience game. How to do that? With a faster forecheck, hand in hand with creating mismatches against Detroit’s defensemen, ideally by putting pucks into areas and fixing battles where Bruins forwards know they can regain those pucks and then do something with them — like, say, bring them to the net to create real, meaningful pressure on Howard. The ex-University of Maine goaltender saw far busier, hectic games in his Hockey East days.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Sabres. Panthers. Oilers. Islanders. Flames, Canes. Jets. The Welfare Class of an NHL whose administration promised the cap would mean anyone could win. Well not quite, no more so than the introduction of the cap meant ticket prices would become more affordable.
By the way, these teams are living proof bottoming out is not its own reward.
It’s time to revamp the system and get these perennial losers off the dole. In my perfect world, the draft would be eliminated altogether, with each team receiving a designated allowance for signing players to entry-level deals. Or, each player could be drafted by, say, five teams, and choose among them. But there’s less chance of the league adopting those suggestions than of Mike Gillis and John Tortorella sharing a meal.
So, I would suggest modifications to the draft of the following nature: Any team that drafts in the top seven for three straight years should not be eligible to select higher than eighth for the following three years. Any team that drafts in the top 10 for five straight years should not be eligible to select higher than 11th for the following five years.
I also would recommend two additional annual drawings, one for all playoff teams and one for all non-qualifiers, with the winner of the former replacing the “winner” of the latter in the Grand Losers’ Lottery for the chance to select first overall.
from Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
The Blue Jackets had no business getting back in this game. Bylsma left the screen door open. Columbus had been dangerous on the penalty kill all season and had scored a short-handed goal in Game 1. There was no reason to take a chance.
Sure enough, Malkin fumbled a puck at the right point. He escaped unscathed. He then was victimized at the left point, which led to a 2-on-1 and Matt Calvert's short-handed goal.
This was sheer Penguins arrogance — and it changed the game for good. They never recaptured control. After outshooting the Blue Jackets, 15-4, in the first period, they were outshot 41-27 the rest of the way.
Afterward, Bylsma explained that he went with four forwards because it worked so well during the regular season. That is true. The Penguins had the league's top-ranked power play. But the playoffs are a different animal. Coaching staffs have way more time to break down opponent's special teams. They look for weaknesses.
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.
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