Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Barry Rozner of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
So now it will be a question of adjustments for both teams, and the Hawks have an advantage there with Quenneville vs. Boudreau, whose playoff history is not in his favor.
The Hawks' head coach has already started to look for better matchups by giving Patrick Kane more to work with, at times even using him on a line with Jonathan Toews and Teuvo Teravainen, and there will probably be lineup changes for Game 2.
Quenneville also, predictably, reunited Keith with Brent Seabrook for a good portion of the game, but the Hawks' top four averaged 24 minutes while Rundblad played 10 and Kimmo Timonen only five.
Anaheim continued to play three sets of defense with its top four averaging 21 minutes and its bottom pair playing 17 and 15.
"I think we're fine," Quenneville said. "When you're not playing much, keep it simple, keep it safe and work your way through it."
from Corey Masisak of NHL.com,
One of the storylines entering the Western Conference Final was the matchup between the best comeback team in the NHL, the Anaheim Ducks, and the best at protecting leads, the Chicago Blackhawks.
The roles were reversed Sunday in Game 1 at Honda Center, and the Ducks looked quite comfortable playing from ahead in a 4-1 victory that gave them a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.
Third-line forwards Nate Thompson and Kyle Palmieri had goals, and Frederik Andersen made 32 saves for the Ducks.
Game 2 is Tuesday in Anaheim (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).
Chicago dominated large stretches of the first period, but Anaheim defenseman Hampus Lindholm had the lone goal. Lindholm one-timed a Jakob Silfverberg pass from the Stanley Cup logo near the left point at 8:48.
Watch the game highlights below...
The Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks meet for the first time in the playoffs and the puck drops just after 3:00pm ET on NBC, CBC and TVA.
We also have the World Championship Gold Medal Game with Canada facing Russia. The game starts at 2:30pm and is on NBCSN and TSN1, TSN4 & TSN5.
Feel free to discuss the games.
from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,
Nobody doubts Chicago’s credentials; the Blackhawks do this like it’s nothing. This is the fifth time in seven seasons they’ve been in the West final — remarkable given their conference’s superior talent pool.
And the Ducks? Over that same seven-season span, they have missed the playoffs twice, lost in the first round another couple of times and been to the conference final just this once. They’ve swung and missed enough that Boudreau has been attempting to frame his team’s best players, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, as overlooked underdogs.
“Where do we play?” Boudreau was quoted as saying by NHL.com. “If (Getzlaf) was in any of the Eastern cities, everybody would know who (he and Corey Perry) are, and they’d be on national TV an awful lot.”
That’s laughable stuff, of course. That allegedly forgotten man named Perry was voted by members of the media (a good chunk of it Eastern) as winner of the Hart Trophy in 2011. It was only a season ago that Getzlaf finished second in Hart voting to Sidney Crosby. No matter that they play in palm-tree-shrouded obscurity, the hockey world is well aware of Anaheim’s stars.
But the hockey world is also well aware of this: The Ducks have yet to prove themselves as serious Stanley Cup contenders.
from Eric Stephens of the OC Register,
The perfect leader. The uncommon prototype. The willful scorer. The prolific showman.
Put all of that together and you might have the perfect hockey player. Each one on its own makes for something every NHL team covets. Possess two of them and you have a franchise that is in position to compete for championships.
In the star-studded Western Conference finals that begin today at Honda Center none shine brighter than four on display for what could be seven games – the Ducks’ Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry and the Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
The greatest honors in the sport sit comfortably among the four. Stanley Cups and Olympic gold medals. The Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player in the regular season and the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable in the postseason.
For the first time, these two dynamic duos will clash in the playoffs with the chance to play for another Cup on the line. It makes for appointment television if you’re a hockey fan.
“I think that’s pretty special,” Ducks winger Patrick Maroon said. “I think it’s good for hockey that they’re all going up against each other. You can even put Marian Hossa in that group. He’s a really good player. Even Ryan Kesler.
from Jeff Miller of the OC Register,
Chicago fans, please permit me to be the first to say it: You’re annoying.
Sure, you’re also knowledgeable, passionate and admirably devoted, dying harder than most organized religions.
But you are annoying, particularly in the way you’ll squeeze yourselves into Honda Center during this series and produce enough noise to seemingly split in half the allegiance inside the Ducks’ home.
It’s one thing to try to make your presence felt in an opposing building. It’s quite another to try to make the place your own. Visitors with a raucous, collective voice, you’ll overstay your welcome each game, by only three periods or so, give or take overtime.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with making whatever sacrifices are necessary to support your team in-person in an enemy arena.
For that, in fact, you should be applauded, even if rooting for the Blackhawks is obviously the easier option compared to the alternative, by which I mean rooting for the Cubs.
But I am saying that you do annoy, sort of like Red Wings fans, only with worse personal hygiene.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Burnside: When you go into that locker room Sunday and know that you’re now in the final four, a lot of the guys will not have been there, will you think about 2007, does it come up or is it one of those things that you have to push to the side?
Getzlaf: I think about what got us there. I draw back on ’07 all the time. Every story is either before the Cup or after the Cup. I think when you’re talking about playoffs, playoff runs, you always draw back on experience like that where you’re thinking about what it took to win. What we did differently than we did other years. And you draw back and you think about them. I try and use some of that information to share with the guys and other information I just save for myself.
Burnside: What’s the best thing about being the captain of this team?
Getzlaf: Oh, the pride. Being a captain is a tremendous honor in the NHL. It doesn’t happen to everybody. It’s not just given to you. It’s a sense of accomplishment. You’ve earned it. Sense of a pride. I think the whole thing is based on what you do as an individual, how you carry yourself and a good responsibility to have.
from Eric Stephens of the OC Register,
The Ducks are in the Western Conference finals and they’re one step away from playing for the Stanley Cup. They’ve got the formidable Chicago Blackhawks to deal with, needing to get four wins against them with their first chance in Game 1 on Sunday at Honda Center.
Kesler, 30, is the player Ducks general manager Bob Murray wanted badly to play against a team like this. He’s a legitimate difference maker for the postseason, and he’s delivered everything they hoped to gain.
Twenty goals and 27 assists were welcomed and appreciated over the 82-game schedule, but not the primary reason why Murray kept talking to Vancouver about acquiring him. He’s got four goals and five assists in the Ducks’ playoff games, but it’s more than that.
Kesler has been dominant in the faceoff circle, winning 63.7 percent of his draws. He’s an essential part of a penalty-killing unit that’s allowed only four power-play goals. And each of his scores has made a difference.
“There’s been a lot of moments like that,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Those are the things that probably stand out more for me than anybody scoring three goals or getting booed or any of those things.
“So far, what I’ve seen, he’s upped his game.”
NEW YORK (May 13, 2015) – The National Hockey League today announced the dates, starting times and television information for the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals.
NBC Sports in the U.S. and CBC and TVA Sports in Canada provide exclusive national television coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals. All times listed are ET and subject to change.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Both these teams have earned their way here. Chicago is 8-2 in the postseason, including a second-round sweep of the Minnesota Wild. The Ducks arrive with an 8-1 postseason record after sweeping Winnipeg and dispatching a plucky Calgary team in five games.
But the Blackhawks and Ducks have reached this point playing very different styles.
The Blackhawks rely on skill and speed up and down the lineup, which allows them to track down the puck and keep it. And they're a battle-tested lineup that has won two Stanley Cups (2010, 2013) and appeared in another conference finals (2014) in the past five years.
The Ducks, meanwhile, are a big, physical team built more in the image of the Los Angeles Kings. They're happy to dump the puck in and then punishingly retrieve it before, usually, heaving it into the opposing goal. The Ducks may not have the playoff experience of Chicago, but they have the hunger of a team that has been knocked down a time or two in recent playoff years and is ready for the final steps toward a championship.
This series should be a rollicking affair, and our guess is the winner will be the favorite to win the Stanley Cup.
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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