Kukla's Korner Hockey
The Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers currently face uphill climbs in their respective series, if either want to return the Eastern Conference Final, they’ll need to step it up.
from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,
It took two wins this playoff series — seven wins, if you count the regular season — but the Lightning have rattled le Club de hockey Canadien into a whimpering, whiny mess.
To be continued?
A Tampa Bay sweep might be a public service. I mean, Canadiens pouty game misconductor Brandon Prust threw his smelly elbow pad into the Lightning bench near the end of the Lightning’s 6-2 Game 2 rout in Montreal. If this thing went seven games, Prust would be down to his skivvies, or less. No thank you.
The naked truth: The Lightning appear to be inside the Canadiens’ heads.
To be continued?
Just last season, on the way to being swept by the Canadiens, the Lightning put up a brave face as they headed to Montreal down 0-2. That lasted 11 seconds into Game 3, when Rene Bourque scored for the Habs.
Now the skate is on the other foot.
On to this Game 3.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
That’s coach Michel Therrien’s optimistic view as the Canadiens look to snap a seven-game losing streak against the Tampa Bay Lightning when the teams meet in Game 3 of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series Wednesday night at Amalie Arena.
The Lightning swept the five-game, regular-season season series against the Canadiens and won the first two playoff games at the Bell Centre. That puts the Canadiens in a must-win situation Wednesday night, but the players appeared upbeat after a fast-paced but short workout Tuesday afternoon.
Therrien said the confident attitude was genuine and was based on the team’s play in the 2-1 double- overtime loss in Game 1 and a strong performance in the first period of Game 2.
“We’ve played well 5-on-5,” said Therrien, who gave his troops a lecture on the importance of staying disciplined after allowing four power-play goals in the 6-2 Game 2 loss. “The guys came in today and they were upbeat and they know where we have to be better. We have to make some adjustments on the special teams, but this group has been through some tough times through the course of the season and they react the right way all the time.”
NEW YORK -- Montreal Canadiens forward Brandon Prust has been fined $5,000 for derogatory public comments directed toward Referee Brad Watson during his post-game media availability on Sunday, May 3, the National Hockey League announced today.
"Brandon Prust's post-game comments were both baseless and demeaning of a referee whose 20-year career in the League has been marked by professionalism, integrity and a high degree of respect from players, coaches and management," said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell.
Montreal Canadiens forward Brandon Prust apologized on Tuesday for the comments he made about referee Brad Watson following a Game 2 loss on Sunday.
Prust said he wishes he could take back what he said about the official.
"I was emotional," Prust told the media on Tuesday.
Prust said he figures he will be speaking with the league about his comments.
Prust, 31, said that Watson verbally assailed him following a roughing penalty late in the first period of Tampa Bay's 6-2 win over the Habs in Montreal.
"I thought the original call was kind of soft and I let him know on the way to the box," said Prust.
added 3:47pm, video of Prust talking to the media is below...
from Sean McIndoe of Grantland,
If you’re a Wild fan, you’re not in terrible shape. They almost certainly need to win tonight, and probably again in Game 4 on Thursday. That won’t be easy against a Hawks team that looks to finally be shifting into Stanley Cup mode right on time. But they’ve got a shot.
The Flames have a weaker case. They’ll no doubt get a boost from a loud crowd tonight, but the Ducks went into a raucous building in Winnipeg in Round 1 and did just fine. Calgary’s biggest problem is that they just don’t look like they’re good enough to keep up with Anaheim. They’ve still got a puncher’s chance here, but not much more than that.
And then there’s Montreal. The Habs certainly didn’t fare well in the various categories that made up this post, and after Sunday night they looked like a team that was closer to a full-scale meltdown than a comeback. So it’s tempting to write them off completely … until you remember Carey Price. The guy is going to be MVP for a reason, and if anyone can single-handedly steal a series his team has no right to win, it’s him. And the way they’re playing right now, the Canadiens might need exactly that.
Put all 60 of the NHL’s goalies together on the same ice, watch them move and make a few saves, and 59 look like accomplished variations of each other. Then there’s Price.
He moves only when he needs to move. At every other moment, crouched and coiled, his feet, his body, remain still. Even during pregame anthems, as teammates and opponents pump and rev, their skates bouncing from side to side, Price’s face, his skates, are unmoving. Quiet feet, quiet mind. But when the game begins, when a pass snaps from one stick to another in front of him, he shoots across his crease on his knees as if riding a cushion of air, ricocheting about like a disc in an air-hockey game; upright, his arms tight to his sides, the between-the-legs gap known as the 5-hole shut.
It is a sight to see. This year, Price is almost sure to win the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goalie, and the Hart Trophy as most valuable player. And yet, for this Canadiens team to win the franchise’s 25th Stanley Cup and first since 1993, it is not enough.
-Ken Dryden at the Wall Street Journal where you can read more on on Carey Price and the Canadiens.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
... Monday was a day to get on a plane and lick some wounds, now that Montreal is down 2-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning, with Games 3 and 4 set for Wednesday and Thursday at Amalie Arena.
"Today is not an easy day, especially when you end up losing those two games at home," Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien said Monday on a conference call. "We've traveled to Tampa, and tomorrow we need to have a good practice, stay upbeat and be ready for Wednesday. But [the two off-days] could be a good thing for us."
Habs forward Torrey Mitchell was part of the 2011 San Jose Sharks team that jumped out to a 3-0 series lead over Detroit, only to see the Red Wings push it to seven games. That's the kind of personal experience he can glean from right now.
"Absolutely, and even more recently, just in the last series, you saw how difficult it was to close out Ottawa," Mitchell said Monday on a conference call. "By no means do we feel like we're done. We're excited about the next game, and that's where our focus is at right now."
You never want to count out a team that has Carey Price in goal. He can single-handedly change the script, as he did with his 43-save, Herculean effort in Game 6 of the first round to finish off a rabid Senators team smelling blood.
The thing is, I just don't see the same team of a year ago, which had more pizzazz about it. Montreal had that "it" factor in sweeping Tampa and upsetting Boston in seven games.
from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,
Somewhere today, Jon Cooper should be penning a letter of thanks to those brain-cramped Habs. Not only did they help his team find its own struggling power play with four man-advantage goals on the night, they also helped Steven Stamkos climb down off the milk carton.
There’s no free pass for Prust and his mates on this one, although the veteran forward did his best to hand the blame to Watson as he stood under the “Pas d’excuses — No excuses” sign in the Canadiens room, making his excuses.
It all started with Prust (who was having a strong post-season until Sunday night) trying to goad Lightning defenceman Braydon Coburn into a fight in front of the Tampa Bay net. (It should be noted that the puck, at the time, was at the other end of the ice.) The roughing was pretty much routine: Prust grabbed Coburn’s jersey and gave him a couple of shoves. Coburn refused the invitation to dance. Watson made the call.
Now Brendan Gallagher endures worse a dozen times a night with no call but them’s the breaks. Given that the Canadiens were leading 1-0 and playing very well at the time, you have to wonder why Prust decided that was the moment to stir things up. Then he compounded the felony with an unsportsmanlike for saying (in his words) that the call was a little soft. It’s a safe bet that Prust didn’t phrase it quite that way but Watson’s reaction was still way out of line.
If you missed the comments by Prust, watch below...
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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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