Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Noah Love of the National Post,
Can anyone beat the Nashville defence?
Before the playoffs, the Predators seemed a bit of a paper (sabre-toothed) tiger. After acquiring three key players — Andrei Kostitsyn, Paul Gaustad and Hal Gill — at the trade deadline and having prodigal son Alex Radulov return to the fold, they had a wildly inconsistent stretch run at the end of the regular season as new and old personnel struggled to gel. But there was no sign of dysfunction as Nashville dispatched of the Detroit Red Wings in five fairly ruthless games. Yes, goaltender Pekka Rinne faced 37 shots in Game 1, 43 in Game 3 and 41 in Game 4, but Nashville’s defence kept Detroit’s finesse forwards to the edges. Weak shots were routinely fired, without obstruction, from the blue line or the top of the circle. Rinne was rarely troubled by the long-distance onslaught. Having said that, Phoenix has a much bigger forward group that will likely test Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and company a bit more than the Wings did.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The many faces of Darryl Sutter are familiar to most hockey fans across Canada.
Those in Calgary have especially vivid memories of the man who arrived in 2003 as a saviour and departed nine years later on a cross, guilty of mismanaging the salary cap and leaving the Flames with an aging, overpriced roster.
Now, depending upon the day, you can run across Rustic Darryl, Charming Darryl or Sourpuss Darryl at the Los Angeles Kings training facility, where the NHL team is patiently awaiting the start of its second-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the St. Louis Blues.
Sometimes, you can find yourself face to face with Mumbling Darryl, Grumbling Darryl, or – during these past few days – Chatty Darryl or Gregarious Darryl. Engaging Darryl has made the occasional appearance.
Once play starts again in the Western Conference, you’re more apt to get Reticent Darryl or Confrontational Darryl or even Contrarian Darryl, depending upon the situation and message the head coach wants to impart.
NEW YORK (April 25, 2012) – The National Hockey League today announced the schedule for the first four games for both of the Stanley Cup Playoff Western Conference Semifinals.
The series between the Phoenix Coyotes and Nashville Predators will begin on Friday, April 27th, and will continue with Game 2 on Sunday, April 29th, with both games being played in Phoenix. Game 3, in Nashville, is scheduled for Wednesday, May 2nd and Game 4 will be Friday, May 4th, also in Nashville.
The series featuring the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings will begin on Saturday, April 28th, in St. Louis. Game 2 will be Monday, April 30th, also in St. Louis. Games 3 and 4 will be played in Los Angeles on Thursday, May 3rd and Sunday, May 6th, respectively.
The complete Eastern and Western Conference Semifinals schedule, including start times and television information, will be released upon conclusion of the Conference Quarterfinal round Thursday night.
Jarret Stoll with the OT winner, Kings win 2-1 and win the series 4-1.
Western Conference Semi-Finals picture…
St. Lous Blues/Los Angeles Kings
Phoenix Coyotes or Chicago Blackhawks/Nashville Predators (Nashville will have home ice if they face Chicago)
added 11:06pm, Added Stoll OT goal…
added 11:15pm, Game highlights are below…
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
If you don’t like the personality of Kings Coach Darryl Sutter, then simply wait five minutes for the cold front to swirl out the door….
Sutter was at his contrarian and charming best Thursday, all within about an hour on the day after the Kings’ first stumble in the playoffs this season, a 3-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. In between there was some vintage, “sarcastic-ness,” a word invented by defenseman Drew Doughty the other day, in an effort to explain Sutter’s impact.
The Kings hold a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven series against the Canucks. Game 5 is scheduled for Sunday in Vancouver but a start time has not been announced by the league….
“It’s only the Stanley Cup playoffs, only Game 5,” Sutter said. “But we don’t know what time we’re playing Sunday. And we have to set travel and practice plans. I hope it’s not interfering with anything else.”
Kevin Bieksa scored the game winner midway in the 2nd period and the Canucks would add an insurance goal to defeat the LA Kings 3-1.
Here is Bieksa’s goal.
from Rich Hammond at the LA Kings website,
Two years ago, a lot of zeros boarded the Kings’ flight to Vancouver for the start of the playoffs.
Dustin Brown: zero career playoff games. Drew Doughty: zero career playoff games. Anze Kopitar: zero career playoff games. Jonathan Quick: zero career playoff games. A quartet of young players, the core that had led the Kings to the playoffs for the first time in eight years, suddenly found itself on unfamiliar turf.
If experience is the best teacher, these Kings have been well-schooled. Back-to-back years of first-round playoff exits, coupled with the addition of some postseason-tested players, have put the Kings in a position to do what they couldn’t do in 2010: pull an upset of the highly-favored Vancouver Canucks.
The Kings lead 3-0 in the best-of-seven series heading into tonight’s Game 4 at STAPLES Center. If the Kings are able to win the series, it will be a big moment for a team that has been trying to take the next step since president/general manager Dean Lombardi began his slow, steady rebuilding project in 2006.
Of the 20 players who are expected to suit up tonight for the Kings, 10 have never won an NHL playoff series. The best players, and best teams, reveal themselves in the postseason, and the Kings know that only by winning in the playoffs can they truly validate their progress over the past few years.
The LA Kings defeated the Vancouver Canucks to take a 3-0 lead in the series.
Dustin Brown scored the only goal of the game in the 3rd period.
Here comes Dustin Brown.
added 1:07am, Watch the extended version below…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Just in case the Vancouver Canucks needed any reminding about which team was dealing with the most pressure in their opening-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings, defenceman Drew Doughty helpfully pointed it out early Saturday afternoon.
“They’ve got a ton of pressure,” said Doughty, “especially being in a market like Vancouver. They came in first (and) they’re expected to go all the way to the Cup final again, but we’re obviously the team that wants to stop them from doing that.”
Then there was this observation from Kings’ captain Dustin Brown, who freely conceded that the burden is far greater on the President’s Trophy-winning Canucks than the upstart Angelenos, who won twice on the road to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference semi-final series.
“They have to deal with a lot more than we have to deal with, just given the locale and the mentality there,” said Brown. “I mean, it’s Canada. So that’s a heavy weight.”
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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