Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,
We’re only a week into the playoffs and already there have been an assortment of twists and turns to deal with. The Habs are through to the second round, while the Kings are almost through, period. And while goaltending can’t explain every result, it has been prominent – as Pittsburgh found out last night. With that in mind, I present the Stanley Cup faith-o-meter. Adjust your rosaries accordingly.
Tuukka Rask, Boston – gave up one goal and somehow lost the opener, but still 2-1 with 0.67 goal-against average.
Carey Price, Montreal – Stared down Steven Stamkos and the Kids in four games and said “meh.”
Antti Niemi, San Jose – Just doin’ his thing while his Sharks light up the Kings.
Jimmy Howard, Detroit – Has given up just three even-strength goals in three games to powerful Bruins.
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers – Hasn’t been busy, but getting the job done.
Semyon Varlamov, Colorado – Regular season set a high standard, but his one loss came in OT after a 60-minute shutout.
Super, But Human
Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus – Gave up three on 11 shots last night, but then shut the door the rest of the way versus Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
from Damien Cox of The Spin,
If the Stanley Cup playoffs continue as they are, they may have to build bigger buildings.
As has always been the case, lead changes and games that aren't over once one team jumps ahead by a goal or more make for tremendous hockey whenever it happens, and these playoffs are delivering those kinds of contests by the bushel.
--Teams have overcome two-goal deficits to win eight times in the first round so far this spring, and the St. Louis Blues almost made it nine before falling in OT to Chicago on Wednesday night.
That total of eight equals the total of the entirety of last year's post-season.
--All four games of the Columbus-Pittsburgh series have had the winning team behind by two goals at some point, the first time that's happened in NHL history.
The Penguins actually led 3-0 in the first period on Wednesday night, then allowed four consecutive Blue Jacket goals to lose 4-3.
--The Anaheim Ducks, No. 1 in the west, looked set to jump ahead of the No. 8 seeded Dallas Stars three games to one when they jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Wednesday night. Instead, the Stars scored four straight goals to tie the series.
from Rich Hammond of the Los Angeles Register,
How does a strength become a weakness, seemingly in a matter of days? That’s the riddle the Kings are trying to solve in this first-round series against San Jose, and they’re running out of time.
The Kings, who allowed the fewest number of goals in the NHL in the regular season, have given up 17 in this series, and face a 3-0 deficit going into Thursday night’s Game 4 at Staples Center.
“Anything is possible,” Kings center Mike Richards said Wednesday. “If you’re still playing hockey, you still have a chance. You just can’t look at the mountain and expect to do it all at once. … You can’t win four unless you win one.”
Can the Kings slow the Sharks? Consider that the Kings haven’t allowed more than 17 goals in any three-game span since early in the 2007-08 season, when they allowed 18. The Kings also allowed 17 goals in Games 4-6 of the 2010 first round against Vancouver and lost all three games and the series.
What’s the problem? Well, it’s more of a flood than a leaky faucet. Goalie Jonathan Quick has been OK, but not great. The defense has been flat-footed at times. The forwards have turned the puck over excessively.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Another Boston win here Thursday would be the de facto series closer. The difference in these two teams is as obvious as it is stark for the Wings. Their alleged speed has been neutralized, if nonexistent. Their goaltending less than average. Their will, sense of urgency, and pushback just not there.
True, it’s the playoffs, and crazy things do happen, but right now it would be crazy to think this ends well for the Wings. Their feet have failed them, and when that happens, everything else usually follows.
note- moved to the top of page, original post was 4/23/14 at 9:32am
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So however many offences you want to include on Cooke’s rap sheet – and technically, he does not qualify for repeat-offender status because he has no fines or suspensions on his resume the past 18 months – the fact is, he represents a clear and present danger to NHL opponents whenever he is on the ice. The sooner he follows the Patrick Kaletas and Sean Averys of the world into obscurity, the better off everyone will be.
-Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail where you can read more on Cooke.
NHL.com followed both the Dallas Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets into the dressing room after their wins last night.
It is not often you get to see a coach talking to his team post-game.
The Dallas Stars are up first...
Then the Columbus Blue Jackets...
Stars Head Coach Lindy Ruff
On the Stars’ resiliency tonight:
“Obviously we didn’t play our best first period. I thought we were slow to move the puck and didn’t quite get our feet moving. We had a couple of good offensive chances that we were just a little bit slow to. We talked about trying to get a little more speed through the neutral zone and getting more pucks in behind their defense and then that was probably one of the better second periods we’ve played.”
On his comments to the team in the first intermission:
“I just said I wasn’t happy. I thought we got outworked. I thought we weren’t playing smart enough and it was our turn to answer and that group in there answered the bell. It’s not often that we get outworked but I thought after that, the last forty was as hard as the boys could go, they emptied the tank.”
On the physical nature of tonight’s game:
“That’s just playoff hockey. It was fun for everybody I think. It’s just playoff emotion. I really feel like we’re in a playoff series now.”
On the series going forward:
“It’s starting from scratch. We’ve got to go there and win a game. We’ve got to win a game in Anaheim. We’ve got to be better and I have to do a better job with the team. I thought in Game two we played, in my eyes, a real good game but we didn’t finish and we made some big mistakes. We eliminated some of those big mistakes here and it’s now just focusing on one game…no more. We’ve done it all year.”
from Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Fleury's toast now. He's a train wreck that not even a team of the planet's most advanced sports psychologists could cure. He'll give up floater after floater in Game 5 and beyond, right up until the Penguins are eliminated and, then, spend their summer searching for another franchise goaltender.
If I know my city, the invectiveness sprayed at TV sets across Western Pennsylvania was all that and a whole lot uglier.
Well, count me out.
Don't misunderstand, please. Fleury blew it. He blew it big-time. He had no business straying from his net or conceding Foligno's shot from somewhere south of Cincinnati. He let the team down when it needed him most.
But sorry, this just doesn't come with the same feel of the Fleury we've seen flop in years past.
I remember Fleury on Long Island last spring, ramming his forehead against a cement-block wall at the back of the locker room. He was a mess of the worst kind. Dan Bylsma didn't want to turn to Tomas Vokoun, but he had no choice.
This just isn't that. Not yet, anyway.
more and below, watch the game tying goal and OT goal by Columbus to even the series at 2 games...
Patrick Kane goes short-side on Ryan Miller to even up the series at two games...
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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