Kukla's Korner Hockey
fromm Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
A team that was poised, relentless, blessed with timely (and reasonably proficient) scoring, defensively sound play and soundly physical play in eliminating Nashville in five games seemingly has chucked all of the things it did well in that series. The Sharks haven’t just lost their bite; they’ve gone belly-up in the face of a Detroit attack that has been neither withering nor relentless.
In fact, the Red Wings have pretty much been fortunate given the number of injuries they’ve had before and during this series.
more... plus some Sabres/Sens talk…
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Next up for Drury and the Sabres: the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference finals.
Run the oft-advanced theory past Drury, now 30, that the Avalanche’s regression began the day he was traded, and that Colorado has yet to recover, and he is genuinely embarrassed.
“Oh, I don’t know about that.” Pause. “That’s a pretty strong statement.” Double pause. “I guess I don’t really have a comment.”
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun via the Toronto Sun,
The Sabres-Senators final will be the fourth time these teams will meet in the playoffs with the Sabres having been victorious the previous three times.
The Senators were 5-2-1 against the Sabres in the regular season, which was punctuated by a tough hit by Senators forward Chris Neil on Sabres centre Chris Drury Feb. 22.
“I’m not going to say much about it,” Sabres forward Daniel Briere said.
“Everyone knows what happened this year. We expect a battle.”
added 8:47am, from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
From this neck of the woods in southern Ontario, at least, there is no Stanley Cup tournament matchup still on the horizon that seems likely to match the drama, sheer quality and excitement we should expect from the Sabres and Senators when they begin what seems likely to be a seven-game slugfest later this week.
The two teams that once played in the Bankruptcy Bowl only a few years ago are now in a showdown for the right to play for the Cup. Amazing.
from E.J. Hradek at ESPN,
“When you have a team like the Sabres down, you have to get them out,” said three-time Cup winner and Rangers winger Brendan Shanahan, referring to his team’s Game 5 meltdown. “We left the door open, and they walked through.”
In Game 6, when the Sabres found themselves on the right side of a one-goal lead in the dying seconds, they did what the Rangers couldn’t do—lock it down.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
After beating the Rangers 4-2 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final, the Sabres will face the Ottawa Senators, who are back in the conference final for the first time since 2003. The series may not begin until next Saturday in Buffalo in order to accommodate NBC, the NHL’s primary U.S. television network.
“That line deserves a lot of credit,” Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff said of Hecht and linemates Drew Stafford and Dainius Zubrus. Their primary task was to shut down the Rangers’ big line of Jaromir Jagr, Michael Nylander and Martin Straka. Ruff had them changing constantly on the fly to get that matchup.
more on the game today…
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
First, there’s the New York Rangers, guaranteed to come out scrapping down 3-2 in the series with Henrik Lundqvist having surrendered just four goals at home. But the Sabres also will have to overcome the nuances of Madison Square Garden, “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” a potential minefield for visiting teams and a contributor to the Rangers’ 4-0 record in these playoffs.
“I bet if they ever move, they’d like to take their boards and glass with them,” Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller said jokingly yesterday as the Sabres held an optional workout.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
But as each minute expired Friday night, as the clock ticked into the final 10 seconds, there was no avoiding that sinking feeling that the Sabres had no escape. Really, anybody who thought the Sabres would come away unscathed again was drowning in fantasy. It defied the laws of probability, which had been gaining ground.
Don’t worry, it wasn’t a dream.
Buffalo’s hockey god, Chris Drury, answered all prayers, resuscitated the Sabres once again and carried them within one victory of reaching the Eastern Conference finals for the fourth time in nine seasons under Lindy Ruff. Even the eternal optimists and strongest die-hard would agree that this is getting a little ridiculous.
VERSUS, the U.S. national cable television home of the NHL, garnered top ratings for Game 4 of the Buffalo Sabres-New York Rangers series on Tuesday, May 1 according to Nielson Media Research and VERSUS.
Among the highlights:
from Mark Herrmann of Newsday,
Don’t be fooled by the fact that there are long stretches when nothing seems to happen and that the score of just about every game is 2-1, or when teams really go on a scoring binge, 3-2. This still really is the “new” National Hockey League.
You can tell because the Rangers and Sabres still are alive.
Those two teams, who will continue the most exciting conference semifinal series with Game 5 tonight in Buffalo, are Exhibit A and Exhibit B for the new NHL. They both ought to lead the “thank you” handshake line for the overhaul that the league made after the lockout waved off the 2004-05 season as if it were one of those playoff goals rejected by a committee of TV-watchers in Toronto.
from Bucky Gleason at the Buffalo News,
The Sabres are a long way from being the cream of the crop after four games against the Rangers in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Ottawa had a 3-1 series lead over New Jersey. Anaheim was dominat-
ing Vancouver. You could argue Buffalo isn’t even the best team in the state now that it’s tied with New York.
Fans are pulling their hair out wondering what’s wrong with the lovable and supposedly unbeatable Swords, the so-called darlings of the new NHL. Granted, Buffalo didn’t play well in Madison Square Garden, but folks around here have been slow to recognize there’s another team on the ice in the Rangers.
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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