Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Imagine Dustin Tokarski's reaction had someone suggested to him seven days ago that he'd be leading the Montreal Canadiens to an overtime playoff victory at Madison Square Garden in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.
"I'd think they had a little too much to drink," the humble kid from Humboldt, Saskatchewan, said with a laugh. "But you know, that's what the sport is all about. You never know what can happen and I'm just taking it all in right now."
Channeling his inner-Steve Penney circa 1984, Tokarski inserted his name into NHL playoff lore Thursday night, stopping 35 of 37 shots with Montreal's season, for all intents and purposes, on the line as the Habs prevailed in a thrilling 3-2 OT affair, cutting the New York Rangers' series lead to 2-1.
"Dustin Tokarski was phenomenal tonight," said Habs head coach Michel Therrien. "He's a battler, and most important thing, he's a winner."
With each impressive save Thursday night, Tokarski gave his teammates more and more reason to believe they can still win without injured star goalie Carey Price.
No penalty on the play.
No doubt about it, Montreal needs to win tonight in New York in order to have any chance to win this series.
Down 0-2, the Habs will need to play desperate hockey tonight and also try to solve the goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist.
It certainly can be done but the Rangers may have to say something about it.
Enjoy and as always, feel free to comment on the game or anything hockey related.
The puck drops just after 8:00pm and you can watch on NBCSN, CBC or RDS.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
When times were good in Montreal, there was some talk that the Canadiens might actually consider bidding for Vanek in free agency. Now, it seems highly unlikely, given what a negligible impact he’s had on their run to the semi-finals.
But will Minnesota welcome him now, after making inquiries at the deadline, but ultimately settling for Matt Moulson, because the acquisition cost and the dollars out were more affordable? Moulson wasn’t a great fit in Minnesota and the New York Islanders would do well to try and kiss and make up, after dealing him for Vanek in the first place. Minnesota has the great good fortune of having Dany Heatley’s $7-million cap hit disappear after this season, but committing that money to Vanek, a player of questionable playoff pedigree, seems ill-advised at this stage. The Wild seem to have a good thing going, with the group they’ve assembled now. Sitting out free agency this summer makes the most sense for them.
more hockey topics including the Pittsurgh Penguins and Mike Ricards...
from Dave Stubbs of Hockey Inside/Out,
Here is my talk with Geoff Molson, edited only for clarity:
• If your team’s season ends in the next few days, after three rounds in the playoffs, would you classify it as a success?
A: Success comes in phases. During the regular season, there are periods when you want to be successful so you can make the playoffs. That’s Step 1. Once you make the playoffs, well, two of the four teams still playing had fewer points than us.
If we get to the Stanley Cup final, and if L.A. gets to the final, we’d have home-ice advantage. Once you make the playoffs, anything can happen. I’ve seen it twice in my short tenure here.
The way Marc is building this organization gives me more confidence. My definition of success is the confidence that we’re building one heck of an organization here. Building is the key word. Building and developing. (Three rounds in) 2010 was awesome. It was a great ride. People were falling in love with the team.
But we all sort of knew deep down inside that, even though it was amazing, it wasn’t really meant to happen. Our organization, the way it’s being built now, we’re going to be a team that’s going to be able to make the playoffs every year and it’s going to be less amazing if they do really well because it’s going to be a strong organization, strong with the people who are building it.
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
When Lundqvist plays like “The King,” as he did Monday night in Game 2, making a whopping 40 saves to lead the Rangers to a 3-1 win and 2-0 series lead, there is little hope for an opposing team.
That sense of futility was on display after the game, when Habs coach Michel Therrien essentially threw up his arms in recognition of Lundqvist’s postseason prowess.
“The reason we lost the game was Lundqvist,” Therrien said. “Lundqvist was phenomenal. Phenomenal. [He] stole the game.”
The 32-year-old Lundqvist was superb for the Blueshirts, especially when the team was swarmed in their own end by a Canadiens team that came out with the sort of desperation and desire that was conspicuously absent from Game 1. He allowed the Rangers to escape the first period with a 2-1 lead. He was again flawless in the third, preserving a two-goal lead when the Habs buzzed the net on a 6-on-4 in the final five minutes of the game.
To think, it was only a few days ago that Lundqvist was getting peppered, not with shots, but with persistent questions about his struggles at the Bell Centre.
Those questions have since ceased.
The puck drops just after 8:00pm ET in Montreal and the game can be seen on NBCSN, CBC and RDS.
With Carey Price (Dustin Tokarski will be the starter tonight) out for the series, winning 4 out of 6 becomes more difficult for the Canadiens.
They need to win this game to swing the momentum in their favor, they certainly do not want to go into New York for game 3 down 0-2.
It will be interesting to see if Montreal goes to a more defensive style of play while the New York Rangers will want to put as many puck on net as possible.
via NBC Sports Group release,
Yesterday’s Western Conference Final Game 1 between Los Angeles and Chicago (3-6 p.m. ET) delivered a 1.9 overnight rating on NBC, up 90% from the comparable game two years ago (Phoenix-Los Angeles, 1.0). There was no comparable game last year.
Chicago drew a 15.9 HH rating, its second-best Conference Final rating ever on NBC, behind only last year’s primetime game (Los Angeles-Chicago, 19.6, 6/8/13). Los Angeles posted a 2.1 HH rating.
On Saturday afternoon, Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final between the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens (1-3:45 p.m. ET) drew a 1.2 overnight rating. New York delivered a 3.2 HH rating.
NBC was the No. 1 market during the respective games in Chicago and New York, and No. 2 in Los Angeles.
Viewers consumed 2.87 million minutes of yesterday’s game, the most ever for a Conference Final, up 43% vs. last year’s CF average, and the best for an unauthenticated game this season. Nearly 63,000 uniques streamed the game.
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.
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