Kukla's Korner Hockey
We’re not sure the playoffs are a better place this morning, with the highly entertaining Washington Capitals packing their gear and the shot-blocking Habs game-planning on how now to grind the Pittsburgh Penguins to a halt. But everyone loves a No. 8 seed — and we do too.
Pittsburgh has played the maximum nine rounds over the past three post-seasons. They’re ripe, and the Canadiens are hot. We’ll take the Habs in seven.
-Mark Spector of Sportsnet where more hockey topics are discussed.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
The challenge is to assign the correct amount of responsibility to both the conquerors and the conquered.
Do you praise the valiant Montreal Canadiens for a remarkable and historic playoff comeback?
Or do you analytically dismember the Washington Capitals for not only blowing a 3-1 series lead, but for falling flat on their faces in the first round of the playoffs after dominating the league during the regular season?
A share of both is probably fair. Maybe the fact that the Habs have all that wonderful history and all those Stanley Cups and the Caps have precious little of the former and none of the latter factored into a result that few anticipated.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
There are going to be a lot of people who say the Montreal Canadiens upset over the Washington Capitals was just a goaltender getting hot, but that does a disservice to a lot of other players on the Canadiens.
In particular, big Hal Gill with his Stanley Cup pedigree from the Pittsburgh Penguins and little Josh Gorges, who teamed up top be absolutely tremendous in a lot of different areas.
Gill and Gorges were terrific on the penalty kill, helping the Canadiens hold the most vaunted power play unit in the league to only one goal on 33 power play attempts.
They did a very good job, along with the rest of the Canadiens, at taking Alexander Ovechkin out of the games, playing almost a man-on-man with him then playing four-on-three on the rest of the power play.
from Sidhartha Banerjee of the CP at News880,
Following an improbable, come-from-behind seven game series win against a far superior opponent, Montreal Canadiens fans couldn’t help but put their faith in a little divine intervention. Fans were in a frenzy following Wednesday’s razor thin 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals.
Thousands spilled out of bars cheering and hooting, dancing in the streets and snarling traffic in the downtown core.
“Go Habs Go!” chants could be heard for blocks between car horn blasts and the “Ole! Ole!” war cry.
And they were toasting the man who has brought their hockey team - the unheralded Canadiens - a Game 7 victory, ousting the much-favoured Washington Capitals.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Now that the Montreal Canadiens have vanquished the best team in the NHL’s 2009-10 regular season, the question is whether or not this is the greatest playoff upset of all time.
The answer is entirely subjective, of course, and the Canadiens have a few other upsets in their history, aside from last night’s big win over the Washington Capitals, to throw into the argument.
Thanks to goaltender Jaroslav Halak’s heroics, the most common comparison is to the 1971 shocker, when Habs relied on rookie goaltender Ken Dryden to knock off the first-place Boston Bruins and went on to win the Stanley Cup.
Top four seeds in the Eastern Conference have now been eliminated.
added 9:40pm, Kill me, how could I forget about the Pens as the fourth seed.
If Montreal wins, they will play Pittsburgh in the conference semifinals.
If Washington wins, they will face Philadelphia in round 2.
update: Can’t get much closer than this so I am moving it to the top of KK so we can see if the voting will sway in one direction or will it remain tight until game time.
When moved to the top of page, there were 389 votes with 51% saying Montreal will win.
Original post time was 8:45am.
added 7:10pm, When the puck dropped, the voting was 344 Montreal, 340 Washington.
from Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,
So what happens in an all-the-marbles game seven between a team with an unfortunate history of blowing big occasions and another coached by a man who hasn’t won the big one at the first four times of asking?
The Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens are only hours away from game seven, and as they try to get some pre-game rest, they may be contemplating a pair of opposing trends.
The Caps players will be mindful of the fact they have won only one of the four game seven tilts they have played in the past three years, and that six times their club has gagged on two-game leads in a playoff series.
And the Habs will surely be aware that their coach, Jacques Martin lost all four seventh games he coached in Ottawa – against Buffalo in 1997, the Maple Leafs in 2002, the Devils in 2003 and the Leafs again in 2004.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
As good as Halak has been in the past two games, there is also the Caps’ firsthand knowledge that he can be had. They lit him up in Game 2, a 6-5 victory, and chased him in Game 3, scoring three times on four shots in the second period of a 5-1 win. So, the debate of whether Halak is in their head will be moot if he plays like he did earlier in the series.
“I bet if you ask Alex [Ovechkin], he still thinks he’s going to score a goal. He thinks he’s going to score every game. [Halak] has played great the last couple of games, there is no disputing that. But every game is a different day,” Boudreau said.
read on for reasons why each team could win tonight…
from Mike Boone at Habs Inside/Out,
On paper, this team was never a serious contender for a 25th Stanley Cup.
But on the ice, the guys wearing blue-blanc-rouge this season gave everything they had to give.
But no floaters.
A year ago in Boston, Milan Lucic and his teammates were laughing at the dispirited, rag-tag group of losers the Bruins were punching out in four games.
Think any of the Washington Capitals are laughing?
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org