Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Max Pacioretty, one of hockey’s true concussion survivors, sat on the Montreal Canadiens’ bench looking out through the fog. His head had just been bounced off the Bell Centre glass by a Jarome Iginla check and after lying prone on the ice for a while, a member of the training staff had led him woozily to the Canadiens bench.
We do not know that Pacioretty was concussed, but that is not the issue.
Here is the real issue: The Canadiens didn’t know either.
Head coach Michel Therrien did not know. Head athletic therapist Graham Rynbend did not know. Head team physician Dr. Vincent J. Lacroix did not know of the severity of Pacioretty’s condition, nor was he granted an opportunity to assess the player before Pacioretty hopped the boards for another shift.
If you missed the hit last night, watch it below...
1 1/2 minutes of game highlights, all in slow motion...
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
... the much bigger focus was getting back to the style of play that has seen this organization reach the Stanley Cup Final two of the last three seasons. More physical, more focused. There was every reason to expect it to happen.
“Keeping things simple (is important) in life, guys,” said Julien. “Last time I looked I think it was 2-1 in the series and there’s hockey to be played here. We’re not overconfident, we’re just saying we’re in a good series here – we’re in a big series – and we do things our way that we feel is right for our team.”
There has been a much different mood around the Habs this spring. They are unburdened; a team without too many expectations, at least as few as you can have while playing in Montreal. And they have played great while compiling a 6-1 record and seldom even trailing in a game.
For them, Game 4 offers an important opportunity. They could put the Bruins on the ropes.
“I’m convinced one of their goals was to win a game at the Bell Centre,” Habs coach Michel Therrien said Thursday morning. “So the game tonight is important for them, but for us as well. We want to continue on our roll.
from Allan Muir ofSports Illustrated,
I can’t help but think this is a series that Jarome Iginla will take to his grave if the B’s don’t pull it out.
It might not eat away at him quite like Calgary’s seven-game loss to Tampa Bay in the 2004 Stanley Cup Final, but he probably had a sense back then that there was still plenty of time to get his name on the mug.
There’s no way he’s feeling that security now. Iginla has to know that this could be his last chance for a ring.
So where’s the urgency? He scored a late goal in Game 3 on the deflection of an Andrei Meszaros point blast, but that was his only shot on net in the contest, matching his total from Game 2. He’s been ineffective because he’s chasing the puck instead of winning the battles and daring Montreal’s overmatched defense to stop him. Iginla has more to give…but he’s running out of time to give it.
more on both the games tonight, Boston/Montreal and Anaheim/LA....
from Chris Villani of the Boston Herald,
No one questions whether Tuukka Rask is among the NHL’s best goaltenders. He’ll likely win the Vezina Trophy this year and, believe it or not, his 1.87 goals against average is the best of any goalie in the postseason. Still, if the Bruins are going to make this a long spring for Hub hockey fans, he needs to be better.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of blame to assign as the Bruins get set for Game 4 of their conference semifinal series, trailing the Canadiens 2-1. The top line has been absent, the B’s have not created enough quality chances or buried the ones they’ve had, and the inexperience of a young defense corps has started to show. Oh, and I suppose we need to give some credit to the Habs somewhere in there as well.
But that’s where having the best goaltender in the league comes into play. A college hockey coach told me that nearly every goal in hockey is the result of two or three mistakes, and a great goaltender has to be, literally, that last line of defense. In Game 3, all three Habs scores while Rask was on the ice were the result of defensive breakdowns. Kevan Miller lost Tomas Plekanec on the first one, everyone forgot about P.K. Subban coming out of the penalty box on the second, and the back line let Dale Weise get behind them on the third.
Three times, Rask was put in the unenviable spot of having to bail out his team and make a big-time save. Three times, he came up empty.
from Damien Cox of The Spin at the Toronto Star,
The most antagonizing, annoying player in the series so far?
The most reckless and physically punishing player?
The most surprising physical force?
The nastiest hit?
Travis Moen on Jarome Iginla late in Game 4.
The Habs aren't the NHL's most physical or intimidating team, and let's remember, they're just a season away from being rag-dolled by the Maple Leafs one sad night on home ice.
But they have showed up with an edge in these playoffs, a Michel Therrien-inspired edge, and haven't backed off an inch.
read on and below, watch two examples of the Habs pushing back...
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
The Bruins have dominated much of this series. They’re outshooting the Habs 114-87; they’ve had 76 additional pucks blocked with 38 having missed the target, compared to the 48 and 30 by Montreal. The Bruins hold a 54-46 per cent edge on faceoffs and they’ve been lethal in the third period, having scored eight of their 10 goals, one into an empty net, in the final frame.
But goalie Carey Price, with a .912 save percentage, has largely outplayed Rask, who’s at .874. Lars Eller has come alive in a big way with a goal and two assists and big plays all over the ice. The Habs’ Tomas Plekanec has a goal and two assists, while countryman David Krejci, with an assist, has been almost invisible for Boston.
Forward Dale Weise and defenceman Mike Weaver? Two inspired late-season acquisitions by Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin.
And then there’s Subban, who has pretty much grabbed this series by the scruff of the neck and given it a good shake.
The larger-than-life defenceman has three goals and three assists vs. the Bruins, another five assists to show for the Habs’ four-game sweep of Tampa Bay.
Sportsnet's Hockey Central at Noon panel believes he is...
from Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins are the better team. This is what the hockey folks keep saying. This is what the regular-season record shows. The Bruins won the Presidents’ Trophy, earning home ice advantage throughout the playoffs. The Bruins are better than the Canadiens at the five-on-five game. The Bruins play a heavy game. They will overwhelm Montreal with Maximum Heaviosity....
So why did Montreal win, 4-2, Tuesday night? Why are the Bruins trailing this series, 2-1? In three playoff games, why have the Canadiens led for 107 minutes, while the Bruins have led for only 11½ minutes? When do the Hub’s Heavy Hitters take control of this series? Where is the Bruins first line? Where in the world is David Krejci?
Sorry for asking. I guess this is the time to have faith in the battle-tested Bruins. They trailed the Canadiens in the first round of the magical Cup run in 2011. They trailed Toronto by a couple of goals late in the third in Game 7 last year. They know how to handle this situation.
Still, there is something nagging about this series. If not for three goals in six minutes of the third period Saturday, the Bruins would be staring down the barrel of a 0-3 deficit going into Thursday night’s game at the Bell Centre.
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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