Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Stephens of the OC Register at the Los Angeles Register,
There have been dueling car flags on the streets and battling billboards along the freeways. Perhaps some split households, too, with Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf enjoying the sight of a strolling couple adorned with opposing jerseys.
The back-and-forth series is at its logical conclusion. The Kings came into Orange County and won twice, while the Ducks answered with two in downtown L.A. The Ducks set to advance after winning Game 5, the Kings staying alive by capturing Game 6.
Four games decided by a single goal. The other two separated by just two goals. The Kings with 13 goals in all, the Ducks’ total the same.
It is down to one dealing a heavy dose of disappointment to the other for the right to face the reigning Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference finals that will begin Sunday.
“I think we knew what kind of team they were, coming from 3-0 down the previous series,” Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said Thursday. “We knew things weren’t going to be easy or quick, and we’d have to fight for everything we got. So Game 7 is pretty fitting.
“It’s one game, in our building, and we’ve played well here and we’re comfortable here. It’s going to be a great atmosphere.”
from Rich Hammond of the Los Angeles Register,
They play in the shadow of Hollywood, and would make stellar slasher-film villains.
The Kings just won’t go away. Drop them to the bottom of the pond, and they come back seeking vengeance. With their season on the line again, the Kings came through with their best effort of this second-round series and beat the Ducks 2-1 in Game 6 on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
Five times in the last 21 days, the Kings have played a game that could end their season. They went 4-0 against San Jose in the first round, and Wednesday’s victory forced a Game 7 on Friday in Anaheim.
The Game 7 winner plays Chicago in the Western Conference Final, which starts Sunday afternoon.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” Kings captain Dustin Brown said. “It’s great that we have that ability to dig our own grave and climb out of it, but we have one (more) game to take care of here. From then on, we have to try and not put ourselves behind the 8-ball.”
Below, two videos, the first is game highlights and the second a short video of both coaches, post-game.
First up is Bruce Boudreau followed by Darryl Sutter below...
"The challenge of staying on top and consistently competing with the big boys, the challenge for the club is very different than building. I said that two years ago, for all of us, general manager, coach and players … I talked to all those people. They said, 'You're not going to understand it until you go through it.'
"We've got to all learn from it, to get that consistency."
"I never lose faith in them. That's the one thing I come back to when we're in this. I know deep down they care. Even when we were down 3-0 or whatever. They've shown me too many times that they'll figure it out."
-Dean Lombardi, GM of the Los Angeles Kings. More from Helene Elliott of the LA Times.
from Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,
Are the Kings growing weary of The John Gibson Saga?
“Kind of, yes,” Marian Gaborik answered.
Judging from several responses at the team’s facility today, and from Justin Williams’ “let’s not anoint him yet,” comment before yesterday’s game, there’s the sense that the Kings are aware of the level of talent possessed by the first year pro while acknowledging that he’s still John Gibson, not Kirk.
“You know what? We know we can beat him,” Drew Doughty said. “We know he’s a very good goalie. At the same time, they’re good shot blockers. That doesn’t mean that a lot of times we’re screening him. We just need to get pucks by those guys. We got a lot of shots last night. He made some big saves. But at the same time, we haven’t done everything we can. We can get more bodies in front of him. We can get more tips, more rebounds.”
Though Doughty was cut in the mouth yesterday – “I didn’t lose any teeth thankfully,” he said – he was still able to articulate his opinion on the NHL’s goaltender hierarchy.
“As good as [Gibson] is, he’s not impossible to beat. I’d take Quickie over him any day, still.”
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The Kings fended off elimination four times in their first-round playoff series against San Jose, sticking together when it would have been easy to fracture, playing an ever-tighter defensive game that complemented Jonathan Quick's confident goaltending while they picked apart the emotionally fragile Sharks.
The Kings' 4-3 loss to the Ducks on Monday at Honda Center in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinal series left them facing elimination for the fifth time this spring. They know the territory, certainly, but the Ducks are not the hollow-hearted Sharks and aren't likely to fumble under pressure as the Sharks did.
So, somehow, some way, the Kings must formulate a way to make another comeback in Game 6, to be played Wednesday at Staples Center. And then, they hope, return to Anaheim for a seventh game Friday.
"That's the plan," Kings center Anze Kopitar said Monday in the subdued locker room. "Now we've got to go home and win a home game. That's the bottom line. There's no secret. We want to come back here and give ourselves a chance."
The Anaheim Ducks hear from coach Bruce Boudreau and the hard hat is passed on to the player of the game...
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The Kings see their mission as the same no matter whom they face: create traffic in front of the net, get more shots through than they did in being blanked Saturday in Game 4 by Gibson, and turn up the heat on the precocious rookie who radiated an unshakable poise in his first NHL playoff assignment.
"I know he's calm and cool or whatever, but it's our job to make his job a lot harder," Kings forward Mike Richards said Sunday.
"It's a tough situation that he's put in, with [Saturday] night maybe, possibly, their season on the line. It's now a best-of-three series, so it's a lot of pressure to put on a young kid."
Whether that's wishful thinking or reality will become apparent Monday.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Officially, the nickname “Johnny Hockey” belongs to John Gaudreau, the Boston College star and Hobey Baker award winner, who signed a pro contract with the Calgary Flames just before the regular season ended and scored a goal in his NHL debut. Gaudreau is a five-foot-seven, 150-pound scoring dynamo, a pint-sized talent who conjures up longing memories of Joey Mullen for breathless Flames’ fans.
But here on the Left Coast, way back in training camp, the scribes started calling goaltender John Gibson “Johnny Hockey” too – a riff on Johnny Manziel of course, but mostly as a nod to how Gibson carried himself. He was calm, sure. He was confident, unquestionably. But there was an unmistakable swagger there as well, even with his NHL career still in its infancy. Watch Gibson answer questions and he will immediately conjure up images of Nuke LaLoosh, the Tim Robbins character in Bull Durham, who eventually learns how to say all the right things in the predictable, three-sentence sound bites so common among the media-savvy young athletes.
Talent was never going to be the issue with Gibson. The Ducks always figured his time would come eventually. They just couldn’t predict it would happen so soon. With unprecedented goaltending depth in their system – Jonas Hiller, Viktor Fasth, Frederik Andersen, Gibson and Russian prospect Igor Bobkov – the plan was to move Gibson through the pipeline slowly.
continued plus more hockey topics...
With Mother’s Day weekend many were out with family. I, myself, spent yesterday at my mom’s house getting asked by my family for hockey updates and being asked to recap the playoffs thus far. Here are some hockey highlights (or low lights depending on what way you look at it).
In case you missed it Friday kicked off the start of the preliminary round for the IIHF World Championship taking place in Minsk, Belarus.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, NHL Talk, NHL Playoff Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
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 email@example.com