Kukla's Korner Hockey
For all the magic of this Avs season – and no matter what happens Wednesday, it’s been a fun one – this team still has no real killer instinct. They should have finished that team off tonight, but got a little self satisfied after that great second period. They need to find a way, in the future, of winning games easier. You can’t wait ’til you’re down in games all the time before you really start playing. You can’t pull the goalie late in games and get away with it all the time.
-Adrain Dater on the Colorada Avalanche after losing game 6 to the Minnesota Wild. Read more from Dater on this topic at All Things Avs.
from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post,
Matt Duchene, the Avs' dynamic center and leading scorer in the regular season, was the last player off the ice Sunday at the team's practice facility and is likely to make his postseason debut vs. the Wild at Minnesota in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series Monday night.
Colorado coach Patrick Roy said a decision on playing Duchene will be made after the morning skate Monday, and if he plays for the first time in a little more than a month he will begin on the fourth line and be used primarily on the power play.
"But don't tell anybody," Roy joked about how he intends to utilize Duchene.
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
The Wild must move on. Must-win Game 6 Monday night at 8 at the X.
That’s why Mike Yeo absolutely took the right tack in his postgame presser after the Wild’s back-breaking 4-3 overtime loss tonight in Game 5 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.
Nathan MacKinnon, held to no points and three shots in Games 3 and 4, capped another 3-point night by becoming the second-youngest player in NHL history (18 years, 237 days) to score a playoff OT winner (Don Gallinger was 17 years, 339 days when he scored an OT winner for Boston on March 21, 1943 against Montreal.) He now has 10 points in three home games.
The Wild coach could have come in screaming and yelling about Paul Stastny looking offside (eerily for the second time this season against the Wild on a Colorado goal), this time leading to P.A. Parenteau’s tying goal with 1:14 left to force overtime.
Below, watch the questionable tying goal by Parenteau and the OT game-winner by MacKinnon...
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy on Friday was frank about the deficiencies in his team's showing in Games 3 and 4 against the Minnesota Wild, but equally defiant in assessing the state of the first-round series that is tied 2-2 going into Saturday night's Game 5.
Roy noted that that Western Conference home teams so far are 15-1 in the first round of the playoffs, and that has been the pattern in his series, too, with Colorado winning twice at home and losing twice while looking punchless at St. Paul.
Then he added: "I know we love to say we're Stanley Cup contenders, bingo, like this. Even you guys as reporters need to be positive. It's important. I know you love winning as much as I do. You know that I love winning. But we need to be patient with our group. This is a young team. This is a team that, let's not forget, finished 29th last year. These are huge steps and this is a learning process."
continued or if your like your Roy on video, watch his post-practice conference below...
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
What a lost week that was for this team. The Avs came to St. Paul up 2-0 in this series, against a team that just made a goalie change, with grumbling about the coach and all those underperforming big-money stars and…now the Wild are looking like the greatest team on earth, while the Avs look like a shabby jalopy belching exhaust, just trying to get to the gas station for a few bucks of unleaded.
What’s going on? The Wild adjusted their defense, that’s what. They are “tracking” the puck carriers of the Avs much better, going at them with a couple checkers, with a third forward just on the outside ready to take away the puck if the other two teammates get it loose. The Wild defensemen hung back a bit too much in the first two games, but now they are higher in the neutral zone, getting to Avs puck carriers higher in the ice and making it an obstacle course for Avs forwards to fight through just to get the pucks on their dump-ins — many of which don’t get through because the lead dump guy is being challenged right at the red line.
There are so many other problems hurting the team right now, most having to with injuries. Damn injuries – they always spoil all the fun. Matt Duchene still isn’t ready yet. John Mitchell can’t do much more than just stretches with a long rubber band. He has not attempted to skate since getting hurt at the end of the year.
Of course, no Tyson Barrie anymore. That 6-on-4 at the end sure would have been a good place to use a Barrie, eh? He’s not here anymore, though, because of gutless puke Matt Cooke.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
In hockey parlance, Cooke’s wires crossed. He was late on the hit, and refused to abandon it. This wasn’t one of those plays where a defenceman is the last man back, and either he takes the puck carrier down or it’s a breakaway. There were three, perhaps four Wild teammates between the puck and the goal, but give the industrious Cooke credit here. He still likes to finish what he starts.
Barrie, the kind of player who actually sells tickets in the National Hockey League, is on the shelf for some period of time. (We won’t believe the Avalanche time line during a playoff series, any more than we’ll buy whatever defence Cooke brings to NHL disciplinarian Stephane Quintal’s office.) And, of course, the NHL Players’ Association will send out a representative or two in defence of Cooke, when what they should be doing is acting on behalf of Barrie and the other 885 union members and hide Cooke’s skates for good.
Of course, we’ve written that before too. It never really changes, does it?
Why should it? Matt Cooke never does.
Adrian Dater of All Thins Avs turns this incident into more about himself, than Cooke...
Some times you can take a person out of the environment where bad habits were created and new habits will take that place; then there are times that those old habits return.
Tonight in the Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche Game Three this was exactly what happened with Matt Cooke.
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
The Wild was in the driver’s seat, up 4-2 in Game 1 until with less than 13 minutes left, Kyle Brodziak burps up a puck to Ryan O’Reilly, Jamie McGinn scores and the rest of the night was pandemonium. The Wild, 5-10 all-time at home in the playoffs, went from potentially being up 1-0 in the series to now being in a 2-0 hole with Game 3 tonight (6 p.m.) at the X.
For the first time in his Wild career, Brodziak will be a healthy scratch tonight. Justin Fontaine and Dany Heatley draw in, Stephane Veilleux and Brodziak come out.
Darcy Kuemper will make his first career playoff start and fourth playoff appearance against Semyon Varlamov. It’s Kuemper’s first start since a concussion and first start since March 27 in St. Louis. Before the injury, the second-half savior won once in his final eight starts, allowing three or more goals in six of those games. He stopped all 14 shots he saw in relief of Ilya Bryzgalov in Game 2, but starting in the playoffs is a different mentality than just getting thrown in. He’s got all day to think and … not freak out.
Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche had a four point night last night and now has 7 points (1-6-7) through 2 games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He is tied with teammate Paul Stastny (3-4-7) for the league lead in points.
Watch MacKinnon rack up the points last night...
First, Alex Steen with a goal early in triple OT...
Then below, some magic from Paul Stastny...
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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