Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
They say the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win in sports. Well, maybe it’s the hardest trophy to lose, too.
There is nothing like the grind of the NHL playoffs, and when you face a 3-0 or 3-1 series deficit in June, the motivation to keep going against the odds comes from ambition and belief and money and pride and pressure. It also comes from the physical, mental and emotional investment you’ve made over the past two months, not to mention the seven before that. You don’t want it to go for naught. When you’ve come this far, when you’re this close, it would hurt that much more to come up short.
“When you think about it and collect your thoughts and go through everything we’ve gone through this year – it started a long time ago – it’s nice to still get another chance,” said Brad Richards, the Rangers’ acting captain. “It’s all we wanted to do last night. It wasn’t the prettiest game. But we’re still here today, and if you go this long, you just keep fighting somehow and some way. You figure it out as a group to just fight another day.”
from Mike Keenan at the New York Post,
I expect the Stanley Cup finals to come back to the Garden for Game 6.
The biggest reason for the Rangers to believe is Henrik Lundqvist. As experienced as the Kings are, they’re up against a goaltender and maybe a team that has some resilience as well that might be able to take games away from them when they don’t expect it.
When I coached the Flyers in 1986, we played the Rangers in the opening round of the playoffs and we were beaten by John Vanbiesbrouck. We dominated our games, but we could not score on him. He stole a series for them, and that could happen in this series as well with Lundqvist.
I absolutely think Lundqvist has three more games like Game 4 in him.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
If the fourth game is indeed the hardest one to win, the Kings may be the poster boys for that saying as the NHL season refuses to end.
The Kings aren’t happy the Stanley Cup final has come to this. They have another chance to close out the New York Rangers on Friday night at the Staples Center and Los Angeles wants this overwith.
Rangers’ centre Derrick Brassard tossed the pressure card in the direction of the Kings following practice Thursday.
“The mindset is totally different because we have nothing to lose,” Brassard said. “We do, because we’re playing for the Stanley Cup, but at the same time it’s 3-1 and all the pressure is on them to close out the series.
“It’s never easy. We’ve felt as a team we’ve been playing right with them the whole series.”
The Kings have been here before, up 3-1 in the Cup final and unable to get it done easily. It happened in 2012 against the New Jersey Devils when the Kings weren’t able to close it out until Game 6.
“We’re not thinking about that,” defenceman Drew Doughty said. “We’re back home, that’s where won it last time, so that’s what we’re thinking about here.”
from Mark Whicker at the Los Angeles Register,
• Number of goals by Anze Kopitar in his past 18 games — One.
• Goals by Kings’ defensemen in the playoffs — 18.
• Goals by Kings’ defensemen in the 2012 playoffs — 9.
• Games in which Jonathan Quick has faced 40 shots in the playoffs — 5.
• Games in which he faced 40 shots in the 2012 playoffs — 3.
• Number of points for the Rangers’ Brad Richards in the past two series — 2.
• Shortest time-on-ice in any playoff game for Doughty this season — 23:29.
from Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star,
...in the first three games, the bounces mattered. Los Angeles had more bounces in Games 1 and 2, and in Game 3 the Kings scored on a deflection off a defenceman’s skate, a deflection off a Ranger leg, and a puck that came back to a stick off a defenceman’s skate.
The Rangers kept talking about bounces, luck, hockey gods, and got two bounces that led to goals in Game 4, plus those two pucks that wouldn’t cross their goal line.
And the hockey gods, as coach Alain Vigneault said, were back.
Few players have total control over what the puck does, every time. They can control getting a clean shot off, and sometimes they know where it’s going to go. But remember the goal Patrice Bergeron scored to tie Game 7 against Toronto in 2013? He let it fly from the blue line and it travelled into exactly the right spot, through a space about half the size of a mail slot. He didn’t mean to. He never even looked at the net. He just shot it. There was a screen. He happened to find the hole.
Is that luck? Yes, and no.
Part of hockey has always been trying to wrestle the game out of chaos, and once a certain amount of the chaos has been screened out, the luck — however it can be controlled — can loom larger.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
As you watched the New York Rangers’ season saved on Wednesday night by a soft mound of slushy springtime snow gathered in a heap behind goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, you probably rolled your eyes and wondered, are these the longest playoffs ever?
Officially, the answer as of Friday will be yes.
When the Los Angeles Kings get a second crack at clinching the 2014 Stanley Cup in the fifth game of their best-of-seven series with the Rangers, it will mark the 93rd game of the NHL’s 2014 playoff season, the most in history.
The previous high of 92 games was set back in 1991 and that year, the Pittsburgh Penguins had the decency to wrap up their series against the Minnesota North Stars on May 25 – practically winter by the standards of the current, never-ending NHL season.
For the Kings, up 3-1 in the series, Friday’s game at the Staples Center will be their 26th playoff game of the spring, tying the 1987 Philadelphia Flyers and the 2004 Calgary Flames for the all-time high. Darryl Sutter coached that ’04 Flames team and understands better than most how hard it is to close a team out.
continue for more on the Kings...
Darryl Sutter spoke with the media today for almost four minutes...
added 5:05pm, Just to clarify, the Kings arrived in LA early this morning, they flew home after the game last night.
STAMFORD, Conn. – June 12, 2014,
Last night’s Game 4 delivered a 2.8 overnight rating, ranking as the third-best Stanley Cup Final overnight on NBCSN ever. The overnight for the Rangers 2-1 win over the Kings trails only Games 2-3 of last year’s Stanley Cup Final between the Blackhawks and Bruins.
There is no cable comparison to Game 4 last year as that game aired on NBC, but the 2.8 overnight is up 65% from 2012 (1.7), which featured Devils-Kings, and up 40% from 2011 (2.0), featuring Canucks-Bruins.
Locally, Los Angeles delivered a 7.3 rating, the market’s best ever on NBCSN for an NHL game, surpassing 2012 Game 4 vs. the Devils (6.6).
New York scored its second-best NHL rating ever on NBCSN with an 8.1 rating, trailing only 2014 Game 6 vs. Montreal on the Eastern Conference Final (8.5).
Following are the Top 10 markets for last night’s game.
I am going out on a limb here and will state right now the New York Rangers will win game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Friday.
Most of you may disagree with me and although the odds are the Los Angeles Kings will win Friday, I say the momentum gained by the Rangers will carry over to game 5.
Allow me to explain. The Rangers did win their first game of the series but they know Henrik Lundqvist needs some help plus the luck the Rangers had won't be the same come Friday.
Therefore, the team itself must play better and they will.
from Bill Plaschke of the LA Times,
The puck squirted to the New York Rangers' goal line and halted dead in its vulcanized rubber tracks. Just stopped. Refused to move. Sat there alone and untouched. A shiny black hood ornament. A frozen omen.
Twice during big moments of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night, the only thing in giant Madison Square Garden that wasn't shaking or skating or screaming was a very rebellious three-inch puck.
How does it not move? How do the Kings not make it move? Both times, one nudge or swat or even a puff could have turned that puck into a Kings goal that could have given them a championship. But both times, the desperate Rangers found it, swatted it, saved it and their season.
The puck stopped here, and so did the Kings' first shot at kissing the Stanley Cup in a 2-1 loss that shortened their series lead to three games to one in a result that could be described as bittersweet. Or is that sweet-bitter?
Admit it, all you nuttily passionate Kings fans back in Los Angeles. Some deep part of you is not all that sorry that this series will move back to Staples Center on Friday for Game 5 and give you a chance to celebrate the sports world's most special trophy presentation with your heroes. You want to see and experience the Cup, and this loss by the Kings gives you that chance.
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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