Kukla's Korner Hockey
The game starts just after 8:00pm ET and is on NBC, CBC and RDS.
Will we have a game 6 on Monday night?
Yesterday I said the New York Rangers will win tonight and nothing has changed my mind.
I know I am probably in the minority, but I sense a Rangers team getting better and the Los Angeles Kings getting a bit frustrated.
Enjoy the game and feel free to discuss the game as it plays out.
from Tracey Myers of CSNChicago,
The Los Angeles Kings have another chance to hoist another Stanley Cup on Friday night, as they have a commanding 3-1 lead on the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final. If they do, it’ll be the second time in three seasons they’ve pulled off the feat.
The Chicago Blackhawks know how they feel, having been Cup winners twice in four seasons, the first team in the salary-cap era to win twice. With that winning comes the inevitable dynasty talk. The Blackhawks heard it last June, and there’s still a chance they could become that dynasty. The same goes for the Kings who, like the Blackhawks, have a strong core, great young players and a solid developmental system. A victory tonight – or in Game 6 or in Game 7 – enhances that talk that much more.
Yes, all that winning earns dynasty talk. It earns respect from others around the league. It also earns a big-old target on those winning teams’ backs that others will be aiming for over the next several years.
For the Blackhawks and Kings, the dynasty road is paved with hazards in the form of the competition. The opposition looks at where the bar is set and tries to reach it with big trades, drafting and better player development. So over the next few seasons, don’t be surprised if hitting that dynasty status – whether that means winning another Stanley Cup, two more Cups in a certain amount of time, etc. – gets a hell of a lot tougher.
Q. Darryl, you guys played so well last game and you don't get the win. Is the mentality going into this game to show up and play the same way or find another level?
COACH SUTTER: Find different ways every game. I don't think last game will have any bearing on this game, as Game 1 would be on Game 2 or 2 on 3.
Q. You said earlier in the series that Anze Kopitar never has a bad game. Has he always been like that for you or has that come as he's gotten older?
COACH SUTTER: I think he's been a really consistent player. (pause) Yeah, I would say that (laughter). Instead of going into it, I'd say that.
Q. You've dominated in the third period in this series and throughout the playoffs. How important is a strong start in the first?
COACH SUTTER: Well, I think domination in third periods is not the right way to look at it. I mean, there's different reasons that you have good third periods. Maybe you're down. Maybe you're up. Maybe you got penalties or power plays. Lots of different reasons for third periods, the way they are.
Quite honestly, you're probably saying that because of shots for and against, right? It's pretty much irrelevant. If you only had one shot and you needed that to score the goal and you did, then you'd take that, so...
It's not just the start. I mean, what does 'start' mean? Does that mean shift, period, till the first time out, O zone, neutral zone, D zone, faceoff? What does it mean?
If you would rather watch than read, you can do so below...
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...
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