Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
The Habs are still a long way from being out of hockey’s proverbial woods. But their ridiculous 7-4 victory over the Rangers — the game was ridiculous, not the win — has dramatically changed the complexion of this series.
The pressure was on the Canadiens Tuesday to stave off elimination, the third time this postseason, twice on home ice, that they’ve had their backs to the wall. The pressure is still on, of course, Thursday’s game at Madison Square Garden another win-or-go-home tilt (8 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
But the heat felt by the Habs might not be as severe as that which now bakes the Rangers. On MSG ice, the Blueshirts will have little forgiveness from their fans who want nothing to do with a seventh and deciding game in this best-of-seven and who, for the love of Mark Messier, can probably feel their heroes’ collars tightening.
Win now, Rangers fans are saying, and let’s get to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in 20 years.
“How,” veteran centreman Brad Richards was asked Wednesday, “do you build from game to game in terms of belief and not feeling the pressure?”
“It has nothing to do with us right now,” he replied, turning the question around. “You’re asking how the Montreal Canadiens are going to do that. You can ask them. I’m not going to tell them how they should feel.”
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
If Carey Price is the face of the Montreal Canadiens franchise, then P.K. Subban is its poster child.
With his trademark chapeaux and swank threads, the young Habs defenceman has been a magnet for the television cameras every time he’s sauntered into an NHL arena during these Stanley Cup playoffs.
Yes, when it comes to making a fashion statement, Subban has very few peers.
The same can be said for his production on the ice.
Add it all up, and the conclusion is obvious: It is imperative that the Canadiens sign Subban to a long-term deal this summer, even if it puts a significant dent in the team’s wallet.
This is the type of blue-line building block almost every team in the National Hockey League covets. And if general manager Marc Bergevin wasn’t sure of that at the beginning of the 2012-13 season, he should be now.
“Everybody talks about how (Lundqvist) is a great goalie. Has he been better than (Montreal goaltender Dustin Tokarski) this series? I don’t think so. (Tokarski) made some big saves for us too.”
-Rene Bourque of the Montreal Canadiens via Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star.
Tomas Plekanec gets caught and is called for diving.
In game 4 of the series, almost the same type of play, but Plekanec sold it just enough to get the call on Brian Boyle. Watch it below...
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
There's playoff hockey — the tight-checking, goal-pinching, palm-dampening, heart-pounding stuff that tests your cardiac health and makes you wonder why your team bothers playing 82 NHL games in regular-season slush.
And then, there's the guilty-pleasure, exhibition free-for-all stuff of sloppy and loose play, training-camp timing, sometimes dubious goaltending and piles of goals, a puck in the net with seemingly every third shot.
With the Canadiens' entire season riding on Tuesday's game against the New York Rangers, a berserk Bell Centre crowd paid buckets of money to watch the latter, a blend of ball hockey, broomball, probably croquet and heaven knows what else.
It was many things, but playoff hockey was not among them. And those fans who watched might all be happily scarred for life.
To say nothing of the coaches who witnessed this unnatural disaster unfold and might not sleep for days because they did.
"A gong show," was how Rangers defenceman Dan Girardi put it.
"It was, to say the least, a strange game," said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Brad Richards had played in 111 playoff games before, but never had he played in one quite like this one.
“Nope. I don’t even know if I’ve seen one like this,” the Rangers’ de facto captain told The Post after the Rangers mangled and bungled away a potential Game 5 Eastern Conference clincher with their chaotic 7-4 defeat on Tuesday to the Canadiens. “We’ve all seen playoff games where it gets out of control physically, but this was something else.
“It was just crazy stuff. Completely out of control in every way. Out of whack. It didn’t even seem like a playoff game.”
Potential clincher or not, desperate opponent or not, late May or not, the Rangers simply were dreadful. They looked like the group that needed to close the door for postgame meetings in San Jose and Anaheim the very first week of the season.
They looked like a team, in fact, that had experienced a collective cerebral absence.
Puck drops just after 8:00pm on NBCSN, CBC and RDS.
Making it short and sweet, game 6 will be played in NYC on Thursday.
But do watch, I may be wrong.
Darlene Tokarski on her son Dustin...
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
The Canadiens will scratch and claw and do whatever else is necessary to extend this series during which they have led for a sum of 2:50 of the 244:46 the clubs have been on the ice. But now is the time for the Rangers to drop the hammer on this Montreal squad that doesn’t seem to have the requisite weapons to advance.
Fans of a certain vintage who cringe at the memory of roadrunner Yvan Cournoyer torching the Blueshirts at the old Forum will recognize and delight in the irony that the faster, better ice in Montreal should prove beneficial to the Rangers, whose up-tempo game was muffled on the Garden rink on which the puck took more bad hops than the World Series grounder that hit Tony Kubek in the throat.
The Rangers want pace; they live on it. Carl Hagelin, the latter day descendent of Roadrunner Cournoyer, has emerged as a force against Montreal, all flash and dash and if only that long blonde hair were free to wave in the breeze the way that Gene Carr’s did so many years ago.
The better ice should benefit all of the Rangers, who seemed frustrated — but not defeated — by all of the bounces of pucks left in front of the net by goaltender Dustin Tokarski, whose aggressive style has at times flummoxed opposing shooters. In Game 3, how many times were the Rangers in alone, only to see the puck roll at the last moment? Rick Nash, who scored in each of the first two matches in Montreal, seemed particularly cursed at home.
By Tom Murray,
I know it took place way back in the early stages of Game 3 between the Rangers and Canadiens.
I also know the repercussions of the incident may have been rendered moot because the Rangers won Game 4 on Sunday night and with a 3-1 lead in the series are on the verge of advancing to the final round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since they won it all exactly 20 years ago.
But, sorry gang, I still can’t comprehend yet another laughably toothless verdict that was handed down by the NHL to the Canadiens Brandon Prust for what, in the exact words of the Department of Player Safety, was described as a “late, violent hit to Rangers forward Derek Stepan, causing an injury.” [Specifically, a broken jaw, which the league was aware of by the time it rendered its decision and which has sidelined Stepan indefinitely.]
Two games, for a hit, again quoting directly here, that was delivered “well past the point when a player should have to remain on guard for an opponent finishing a check.”
Two games, for a hit by Prust, who “drives his left shoulder up and into Stepan’s chest and jaw well after he releases the puck.”
Two games, despite the fact “Prust is in complete control of this play” and “the onus is entirely on Prust to avoid contact completely.”
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