Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Five for Fighting,
Sergei Zubov skated, in full pads, with most of his teammates today. Dave Tippett said that it’s a big positive that he took the full practice. Yes, it sounds like Zubov is a go at some point in the second round. When that is, exactly, we’re not sure yet. But the potential of his return has to make Stars fans giddy.
Philippe Boucher, however, isn’t anywhere near skating.
From Mike Heika at The Dallas Morning News,
Co-general managers Les Jackson and Brett Hull say their role is limited in the playoffs and that they haven’t done anything spectacular. They actually credit former GM Doug Armstrong with doing a lot of the work to help create a team that knocked off the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks in six games in the first round.
Yet, just as it is with the forwards, it’s clear that the change at GM has produced positive results.
“I think there’s definitely a different feel,” said owner Tom Hicks, who fired Armstrong in November and made the highly-criticized move of naming two GMs to run the team. “I just think there was tension between the players and management, and something needed to change. You can feel a more positive attitude.”
from Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
I find it hard to find a better story in the first round of the NHL playoffs than goalie Marty Turco helping his Dallas Stars knock off the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks.
You know, the same Ducks I predicted would beat Dallas in seven games. Wrong, Pierre!
In the lead-up to that series between Pacific Division rivals, it was widely reported how J.S. Giguere had the highest playoff winning percentage among active NHL goalies. That would be the difference. Especially, some people added, given “Turco’s spotty playoff record.”
from Jim Reeves of the Star-Telegram,
Who knew that five years could feel like an eternity?
The Stars’ 4-1 triumph eliminating the Anaheim Ducks, the defending Stanley Cup champs, in six games, released a torrent of emotions for the Stars, some they’ve never felt before.
All of the above and then some.
“To see the look in our guys’ eyes, how important it was and how good it felt…,” said goalie Marty Turco. “It was gratifying. I personally had never won a series here at home….”
from Tracey Myers of the Star-Telegram,
The Stars-Ducks series is reaching its peak in terms of physical play. The games also have become more thrilling as the series has advanced. On Friday, the defending Stanley Cup champion Ducks played like a team clinging to its playoff life.
So with the series coming back to American Airlines Center, the pressure on the Stars to score that knockout punch is a bit heightened.
“The pressure is always on. It’s playoff time,” center Steve Ott said. “We’re up 3-2, and I think our confidence has to stay high. This is exciting, it’s intense. And that’s what you can expect in Game 6.”
from Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News (Sunday edition),
He’s slightly less imposing in the net than in 2003, no longer a Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man in oversized pads. In a crackdown on equipment, the NHL downsized Giguere and other goaltenders following the lockout.
He remains a significant obstacle, almost always in position. Giguere has stopped 71 of 75 shots in Anaheim’s two victories in this series. Stylistically, he represents the polar opposite of his athletic Stars counterpart, Marty Turco.
Stars forward Steve Ott called Giguere a “blocking-style goalie.”
Said Turco: “He knows how to take away as much as you can.”
from the Dallas Morning News,
Turco was at his sprawling, acrobatic best against the Ducks, stopping 27 of 28 shots, and coming within 7.6 seconds of a shutout as the Stars beat Anaheim, 3-1.
“If it wasn’t for him,” said Stephane Robidas, “we would’ve been out of the game in the first period.”
Turco’s performance gave Dallas control of the series – three games to one – while the Stars won at American Airlines Center for only the second time in nine playoff games.
From the AP via KTEN.com
Anaheim right wing Corey Perry said he probably will play in Game 4 of the Ducks’ playoff series against the Dallas Stars.
After a morning skate-around, Perry said he felt good but acknowledged it will be a game-time decision whether he will play Thursday night. The Ducks’ top goal scorer hasn’t played since March 6, when the quad tendon above his right knee was lacerated by the skate of Colorado goalie Jose Theodore.
Fellow right wing Rob Niedermayer did not make the trip to Dallas for Thursday night’s game, remaining home with concussion-like symptoms. He also missed Game 3.
From Eric Stephens at the LA Times,
In the first two games of their Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Dallas Stars, the Ducks saw a Chris Pronger they don’t want to see. The invisible one.
They prefer the hard-skating, occasionally nasty one who scored two goals in Game 3.
Good or bad, the 6-foot-6 Pronger always draws attention. And in his drive to win, he sometimes crosses the line, as evidenced by his eight career suspensions, including an eight-game punishment toward the end of the regular season.
But Pronger’s performance Tuesday night showed why such reprimands by the NHL are something to simply accept.
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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