Kukla's Korner Hockey
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
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Andrew Cogliano glanced over during pregame at the 20-year-old goalie about to start in their biggest game yet of the season, and the Anaheim Ducks forward was amazed.
John Gibson had the look of a kid who could have just as well been anywhere else in the world but at Staples Center before his first-ever NHL playoff game.
"I've never seen a goalie like him, really," Cogliano said. "He's really calm. Before the game, it looked like he was getting ready for a preseason game.
"You get a little scared when you're looking at him preparing," Cogliano said, chuckling. "And then he goes out and plays like that."
And then he goes out at 20 years, 330 days old and becomes the youngest goalie in NHL history to record a shutout in his playoff debut and the youngest to win a playoff game since Montreal Canadiens star Carey Price did back in 2008, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
continued and below, watch Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau talk to the team after the 2-0 victory...
from Mark Masters of TSN,
Ryan Getzlaf breaks into a big grin when asked about the agitating antics of his longtime linemate Corey Perry.
"What? You want me to talk about that?" the Anaheim Ducks captain asks chuckling.
After some gentle prodding Getzlaf opens up.
"That's part of Perry's game. I mean, he's always going to play hard, play hard between the whistles and, you know, there's always a little extra stuff going on and it's stuff he's been doing his whole career. It's part of his makeup and things that fuel him to be a better player on the ice and I thought he was unbelievable [in Game 3]."
On the ice, Perry is in the middle of everything. Rarely will a shift go by without him getting engaged physically with someone.
"He is what he is," said Getzlaf. "He's not out there chirping at every guy that skates by or anything like that. He's just a bit of a rat out there, I guess, if you want to call him [that]. He stirs the pot and he does the things that he does and that helps make him a better player."
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
The Anaheim Ducks took the day off Friday to rest up and wait for the goalie to arrive who wasn’t officially coming, but actually was.
In fact, as we write this, John Gibson is probably finding out from Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau whether or not, after getting off the flight from Norfolk, Va., where he’s been lighting it up in the nets for Anaheim’s farm team, he’s going to be starting in goal in a pivotal Game 4 against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday evening at Staples Centre.
The forecast is “unlikely”, but gusting to “with Boudreau, you never know.”
He has done it before, benching Jose Theodore and starting rookie Semyon Varlamov in Game 2 of the Washington Capitals’ playoff series against the New York Rangers, which the Caps rallied to win in seven.
He has already started a rookie, Frederik Andersen, over veteran Jonas Hiller for most of these playoffs, though Hiller played the first two games vs. the Kings, both losses, and came off the bench for the third time in the post-season Thursday night when Andersen appeared to wrench his knee in the third period of the Ducks’ 3-2 series-salvaging victory.
from Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun,
It has been said the definition of insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results.
In many cases, it holds true.
Yet, the Anaheim Ducks would be crazy to overhaul their approach heading into Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinal series against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, despite being down 2-0 in the series.
The Ducks are looking to replicate what they’ve done in the first two games of the series, hoping the law of averages kicks in and changes the final result.
“That’s exactly the way it is,” said Ducks winger Corey Perry after a spirited practice Wednesday. “We talked about a couple of different things that we wanted to do differently going forward into Game 3. There are a couple of things that we need to work on. But, for the most part, if we do a lot of the similar things in our D-zone and working our way out, we’re going to be all right.”
from Rich Hammond of the Los Angeles Register,
Kings coach Darryl Sutter, noted hockey sage, once broke down a best-of-7 playoff series this way: “You don’t get nothing for three.” Wins, that is, and in a technical sense, he’s correct.
The fourth victory is all that matters – just ask the San Jose Sharks – but under the proper circumstances, three can be soul-draining. Two years ago, on their way to the Stanley Cup, the Kings won the first three games of every series, including Games 1 and 2 on the road. Now they’re up to their old tricks.
The Kings lead the Ducks, 2-0, in this second-round series, going into Thursday’s Game 3 at Staples Center. Having won two tight games on the road, the Kings don’t want to cede any of the turf they won at Honda Center.
“We know how quickly a series can change,” defenseman Drew Doughty said Wednesday. “It just takes one moment sometimes. It could be a fight or a big goal or anything. So we’ve got to keep our foot on the gas pedal. We can’t let them back in the series.”
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.
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