Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull,
In Sunday’s loss, Atlanta goalie Ondrej Pavelec (44 saves) outplayed a shaky Brian Boucher (28 saves), moving ninth-place Atlanta to within four points of the Flyers in the Eastern Conference.
The Flyers have 79 points, the same number as Montreal and Ottawa. All three teams are tied for fifth (excluding tie-breakers) and have 10 games left.
The Flyers play at struggling Ottawa Tuesday, host Minnesota on Thursday, and then travel to Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Ottawa, which has lost five straight, plays at Montreal on Monday. That means the Flyers will drop to sixth or seventh before their next game.
Suddenly, the playoffs aren’t a lock.
from Dave Vest of PhoenixCoyotes.com,
The Coyotes, a team many observers in and around the NHL community left for dead before the season started, have climbed into first place in the Pacific Division standings and are tied for the most points in the Western Conference.
That’s right. Phoenix has officially risen.
Adrian Aucoin – aka ‘The Closer’ – and Radim Vrbata scored shootout goals to lead the Coyotes to a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Sunday at the American Airlines Center. Vrbata’s goal came with Phoenix down 1-0 in the bottom of the third round and Aucoin, per usual, ended the game by scoring his goal in the fourth round.
The victory was Phoenix’s ninth in a row and it enabled the Coyotes to set a new franchise record for points in a season (97). The Coyotes will look to set another franchise mark – 10 consecutive wins – on Tuesday against the Chicago Blackhawks, the only team above them in the conference standings.
from Damien Cox of the Spin at the Toronto Star,
The Thrashers swept the stumbling, goaltender-less Flyers over the weekend after beating both Buffalo and Ottawa last week and are hot on the trail of eighth place Boston. While ex-Leafs may be killing the Calgary Flames — could you believe Vesa Toskala got the start last night in Minny? — they’re powering the Thrashers’ playoff drive as Nik Antropov and Pavel Kubina play key roles.
GM Don Waddell took the public hit for not signing Kovalchuk, but the reality was this wasn’t a team that could pay one player $9- or $10 million a season and hope to flourish. Now, without Kovalchuk, they’re playing better hockey.
So much for star power.
Meanwhile, Kovalchuk’s future as an unrestricted free agent will be fascinating to watch. He didn’t exactly light it up last week when he came to town with the Devils. Despite all the talk that the KHL will come calling with an offer of $15 million a season, some attendance numbers out of the IIHF this morning provided some sobering news about just how big the Russia-based league actually is.
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
The decision to start Vesa Toskala Sunday might’ve sounded like a good idea two weeks ago when the Flames backup beat Minnesota on the road.
It would’ve appeared to be a solid gamble when it was revealed he had a lifetime 4-0 record with a 1.44 goals-against average against the Wild.
Even ten minutes into Sunday’s contest, it appeared Brent Sutter’s gamble was a good one.
However, the reality is it cost the Flames two points.
Two of the three goals Toskala allowed on 12 shots were questionable efforts — the type a Vezina candidate like Miikka Kiprusoff hasn’t made in a long time.
from Brahm Resnik of KPNX News,
The Biased Canadian Media that Coyotes fans love to hate stirred the pot again Saturday night.
ESPN’s Pierre Lebrun told “Hockey Night in Canada” viewers that Jerry Reinsdorf, the Coyotes’ one-time savior in bankruptcy court, was back in the game, elbowing aside the Ice Edge investors who’ve been negotiating to buy the team from the NHL.
I had been hearing the same thing in recent days from sources I’ve been talking to for more than a year on this story.
Here’s what Ice Edge CEO Daryl Jones had to say about a Reinsdorf rerun:
“Jerry Reinsdorf would be an incredible owner in the National Hockey League. My sense from his public statements is he’s not interested in the Coyotes. The fact that he’s even rumored to be interested validates our (interest).”
Selanne camped-off at the side of the net, puck,stick, goal.
600th career goal on the power play against the Avalanche.
added 9:32pm, I have a release the Ducks just sent out regarding Teemu below the video.
from Wayne Fish of PhillyBurbs,
Earning consideration for the Norris Trophy as hockey’s best defenseman is nothing new for Chris Pronger.
The Flyers’ backliner has won one – 1999-‘00 – and been a finalist a number of other times.
At 35, Pronger is still going strong. In his first season with the Flyers, he’s put together one of his finest campaigns.
He’s tied for third among NHL defensemen with 52 points (the first Flyer defenseman to hit the 50-point plateau since Eric Desjardins in 1999-’00), third in plus-minus (plus-22) and third in ice time (25:54).
But perhaps most of all, he’s made a good young defenseman, 25-year-old Matt Carle, even better.
Daymond Langkow was hit with a shot today and was taken of the ice on a stretcher/body board today in Minnessota.
The shot came from the Flames point, Langkow, facing the blue line, sort of was hit and then bent from the waist as the shot went off.
The puck hit him right above his name on the back of the sweater and then his head hit the ice,
A very strange set of circumstances and I will update when more news is available.
added 4:37pm, Flames TV crew just updated and said he seems to be OK, taken to hospital for observation but has full movement, etc.
added 5:07pm, Russo’s Rants has the story on how the play developed.
added 6:57pm, Video of the Langkow incident can be watched below…
from Ted Leonsis of Ted’s Take,
We have won our division and are up 33 points over our nearest division competitor with 10 games left to play.We lead the Eastern Conference by 16 points with 10 games left to play.
We lead the 8th place team in the Eastern Conference by 32 points. If the season ended today we would play Boston in the first round of the playoffs.
We lead Chicago by 9 points for most points in NHL although they have one game in hand.
We just completed a tough week road trip - four games in seven days - and we were successful and gained ground in the standings.
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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