Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jeff Patterson of TSN,
So this much is clear: the series is tied -- and the series is on. Oh, it’s on alright. Friday’s late-game fireworks at Rogers Arena signalled the return of the rivalry between the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames. How any of the five-on-five brawl carries over as the scene shifts to the Saddledome on Sunday remains to be seen, but there is no question that a healthy amount of dislike has been introduced into this Western Canadian showdown. And that’s exactly as it should be at this time of the year, especially between two long-time rivals.
Coming into the series, much was made of the high-end youth on the Calgary Flames – Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and 18-year-old Sam Bennett, but through the first two games of the series, it’s Canucks' prize rookie Bo Horvat who has set the bar for the first-time playoff participants. Horvat nearly blew the roof off Rogers Arena with an electrifying first period end-to-end dash that resulted in a Dennis Wideman delay of game penalty for knocking the puck out of play. The Canucks scored on the ensuing power play to take a 2-0 lead. Horvat later fed fellow freshman, Ronalds Kenins, for the 3-0 goal early in the third period to give the Canucks some breathing room. Horvat, who turned 20 earlier this month, has a point in each of his first two Stanley Cup playoff appearances and sits atop the Canucks post-season scoring derby at this early stage of the proceedings.
NEW YORK (April 18, 2015) – Calgary Flames Head Coach Bob Hartley has been fined $50,000 for his responsibility for the incident that took place with 1:17 remaining in regulation of the first-round playoff game in Vancouver on Friday, April 17, the National Hockey League announced today. The fine was issued in accordance with By-Law 17.3 (a) for conduct prejudicial to or against the welfare of the League.
In addition, the National Hockey League announced that the game misconduct assessed to Calgary Flames defenseman Deryk Engelland for instigating a fight in the last five minutes of regulation has been rescinded.
Hartley was fined $25,000 for a similar incident during the 2013-14 regular season.
The fine money goes to the NHL Foundation.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Bob Hartley, who has a knack of making the story about him even after his team has been drilled like a molar, tried to turn the after-conversation into what happened in the last minute of Game 2 instead of what happened in the first 59 minutes.
But after all the he-said, she-said this one was pretty simple. In a comprehensive beat down, the Vancouver Canucks evened their opening round series with the Calgary Flames 1-1, setting the stage for the long and fierce battle which was predicted all along.
Sure the other stuff is entertaining.
But, in the final analysis, it's mostly meaningless.
"Regardless of what people are talking about, we got a big win tonight," said Kevin Bieksa. "We got a win where we felt like we outplayed them for the whole game."
Below is an extended version of the line brawl between Calgary and Vancouver...
from Eric Duhatshek of the Globe and Mail,
Calgary’s fortunes will depend heavily on how they handle the Canucks’ dynamic offensive duo of Henrik and Daniel Sedin.
“Year after year, they’re very offensively powered,” Flames forward Mason Raymond said of the Sedins, with whom he played for the first six years of his NHL career. “The power play is definitely where they do a lot of their work, but all over the ice, they can be dangerous, so you’ve got to be aware of them, and make their lives as miserable as possible.”
With team captain Mark Giordano still out indefinitely because of a biceps tendon injury, it will fall to Calgary’s shutdown defence pair of Dennis Wideman and Russell to neutralize the Sedins.
Hartley put Wideman and Russell together as a defensive pair in the third game of the regular season and they’ve been lights-out good for Calgary ever since, developing the sort of chemistry that matters as much – or more – to defence pairs as it does to forward lines.
“With us, with D pairs, you have to know what the other guy is going to do and where he’s going to be, especially if you’re under pressure with the fore-check,” said Wideman, who has previously played in 44 NHL playoff games. “A lot of times, I know where Russ is or where he’s going to be, so I can just put a puck there and have confidence that he’s going to get it out, or make a play.”
Young teams that make playoff breakthroughs often falter in the opening round. On the night the Flames eliminated Los Angeles from playoff contention, Kings captain Dustin Brown compared the Flames to last year’s Colorado Avalanche, a team that unexpectedly won the tough Central Division, but couldn’t carry regular-season success into the playoffs.
“At every party that has been organized in the NHL this year, we always get the last invitation and by the time we got there, there was no more sandwiches. We’re used to (being doubted). We’re OK with this. We’ll come in and try to pick up the crumbs."
-Bob Hartley, head coach of the Calgary Flames via the Twitter account of Kristen Odland.
from George Johnson of the Calgary Herald,
“It was crazy,” said Flames’ coach Bob Hartley, following the 3-1 playoff-cementing victory. “Guys were jumping. Sticks were flying everywhere. We could almost feel fans going through the glass … It’s a great feeling. To pull through in front of our fans was a classy way to do it
“The most important thing about was we did it in front of our fans. That was unbelievable. What a welcome from our fans. Throughout the game, we felt their support.
“Everyone that was coming in the rink this afternoon before the game was commenting that they were on MacLeod or downtown and there were busses that had ‘Go Flames Go.’ Plenty of flags and jerseys. Hey, there’s a fever out there.”
Capping a superb regular season, right winger Jiri Hudler, the silent one, scored twice (Nos. 30 and 31), including the second into an empty L.A. net at 19:10 of the third period with the champs furiously trying to push the game into OT and salvage their season, to book Calgary passage into their first playoff in six years.
Below, a video montage from last night...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Will the real Los Angeles Kings please stand up? Are they the team running on fumes we saw Tuesday night in Edmonton, or are they the side with a championship heart that has one last flurry of swings in them?
The beauty of this time of year is that the answers will become crystal clear. The Kings are in Calgary tonight and must register a regulation victory to tie the Flames on points at 95, and then hope they can finish a point ahead of Calgary after the Flames head to Winnipeg and the defending champs host the San Jose Sharks.
Tonight's contest in Calgary will be revealing in many ways, with the champ on the ropes and the upstart Flames having a chance to book their ticket to the postseason, easily the most surprising development of the year if it comes true for Bob Hartley's men. And don't forget, they've been doing it without team MVP Mark Giordano since Feb. 26, going 11-5-3 without their capatin. Unreal.
Does the clock strike midnight tonight? We shall see.
read on for notes on the Bruins, Capitals, Jamie Benn/Sidney Crosby and the Canadiens from the ESPN hockey crew...
from George Johnson of the Calgary Herald,
There is no remaining wiggle room for the reigning Stanley Cup titans. No more mulligans. No more Get Out of Jail Free cards.
There is nothing beyond this game. No White House visits. No parades. No champagne.
Just 60 minutes against a foe that is neither in fear nor awe.
One loss, either here or against the San Jose Sharks come Saturday, or two Flames’ points over Calgary’s final pair of games, and the Kings go from hockey aristocrats to afterthoughts.
They are, in reverse, a storyline every bit as compelling as the Flames.
from the CP at GlobalNews,
There is now a quick and straightforward path to the NHL playoffs for the Calgary Flames.
A win in regulation over the Los Angeles Kings in Calgary’s final home game of the season Thursday will put the Flames in the post-season for the first time since 2009.
Calgary’s 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes combined with the Kings’ 4-2 loss up the highway to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday gave Calgary 95 points in third place in the Pacific Division — two points up on the Kings.
The Flames can put insurmountable distance on the defending Stanley Cup champions with a victory in regulation Thursday.
“We’ve been trying to take care of business leading up to this game,” Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman said.
“We knew just the way everyone seems to be winning, we knew it would come down to this game as long as we won ours. And we have been. So here we go.”
from Kristina Rutherford of Sportsnet,
SN: Has anything about being an NHL player surprised you?
Gaudreau: The amount of free time I have. After practice, I have the whole day to figure out what I’m gonna do.
SN: Did you expect your rookie season to go so well?
Gaudreau: No, not at all. I’m really fortunate I got to make the team right out of camp. I’ve been playing with some really good players here who helped me my first season.
SN: Even you underestimated yourself?
Gaudreau: Yeah, I think so. You always gotta believe in yourself, but there’s that thought that you may not make it. I wanted to make sure it was in the back of my mind so I wouldn’t get too upset if I didn’t make the team right out of the gate.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
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