Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Corey Masisak of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
The Caps will need to find a way to move past a potentially psyche-damaging defeat Saturday at Verizon Center. If yielding a third-period lead only to salvage overtime but still lose wasn’t enough, the fluky circumstances in which Evgeni Malkin was credited with the winning goal made it a night to forget for the franchise.
Still, there is reason for optimism if the Caps can overcome the mental strain of the defeat.
“It was the best game of our series for sure, but it is not as good as we can play,” Boudreau said. “It’s not like we’ve reached the pinnacle, and they didn’t have (top defenseman Sergei) Gonchar and dressed seven defensemen and they still beat us. We can go better, and I know the character on this group. It is always, no matter who you play, the hardest game to win is the last game.”
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
The Hawks head into Monday night’s Game 6 with a 3-2 advantage in the best-of-seven series and can advance to the conference finals with a victory over the Canucks at the United Center.
“It’s going to be a chance for us to close it out and go to a place maybe we didn’t think we could get to in the conference finals,” winger Patrick Kane said. “We’re excited for it. We’re going to bring our best game, and I’m sure they will too.”...
“We have to come ready to go knowing they’re going to come [hard] right off the bat,” said Hawks winger Dustin Byfuglien, who had two goals Saturday. “It’s not going to be an easy win. They’re going to battle right to the end. They’re more than capable of coming in with a great game. We just have to weather it.”
from Mark Whicker of the OC Register,
No, the Ducks really were paying attention. They proved it after Game 5. If not during.
Todd Marchant: “At times it looked like we didn’t want the puck.”
Teemu Selanne: “We had no business being in that game. We weren’t mentally prepared.”
James Wisniewski: “We can’t play like it’s Game 38 of the regular season.”
Instead, it might well have been Game Next-To-Last of the whole season, this 4-1 loss to the Red Wings that shoved the Ducks into a 2-3 hole in the NHL Western Conference semifinals, with Game 6 in Anaheim on Tuesday.
The Boston Bruins shutout the Carolina Hurricanes 4-0. Chara was dominant on the ice tonight and the Canes could not match the desperation the B’s played with.
added 10:27pm, With the game well in hand, Bruins up 4-0 and about three minutes to go, Scott Walker of the Canes punches Aaron Ward of the Bruins.
Ward received 2 for roughing, Walker, 2 for instigating, 5 for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct.
added 10:57pm, Julien said in post-game presser that there is some fear Ward may have a broken orbital bone.
from Roy MacGregor (Monday edition) of the Globe and Mail,
• Washington defenceman Mike Green, a regular-season sensation and some say the favourite to take the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenceman, may have played himself off the Canadian Olympic team with his performance in this series. His play in his own end has been horrific; his play at the other end far below his regular-season standard.
• Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby never takes a shift off. Though observers have often criticized him for being a “whiner,” he plays with a passion and determination that should make him captain of the Canadian Olympic hockey team.
• Washington’s Alexander Semin, who had lead the league in scoring before getting injured earlier in the year and who is widely held to be one of the game’s great talents, has been a bust this series after being the star of Washington’s first-round victory over the New York Rangers.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Did the Anaheim Ducks walk all the way to Detroit for Game 5?
Because they sure looked tired Sunday evening in a 4-1 loss to the Red Wings, a score that didn’t come close to measuring up to the real story on the ice. The 38-17 shot differential was more telling.
This was men against boys. A four-line, fresh-legged Red Wings outfit skating circles around a one-line, ragged Ducks squad trying to come up for air.
“No, for sure, we did not. We did not,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said when asked if he saw enough of a compete level from his squad. “I thought at times we looked like worn down or whatever word you want to use to describe it.”
Worn down works for us, Randy.
added 9:55pm, from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
When an unheralded depth player like Darren Helm can elevate his play to the same stratosphere as his more glorified teammates like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, the opposition doesn’t have a hope against the Detroit Red Wings.
That reality certainly set in for the Anaheim Ducks last night. They were thoroughly trashed in Detroit’s 4-1 victory to pull ahead in the Stanley Cup conference semi-final 3-2 with Game 6 back in Anaheim Tuesday evening.
Chris Osgood robs Erik Christensen at the door step to keep the score at 2-1 Detroit with 3:05 to go in the second period.
added 10:47pm, via Dan Wood of the OC Register,
“I actually bent down and told him, ‘Nice save, Ozzie,’” Christensen said. “I had him along the ice. He was going one way. I was going the other way. He just reached out and it was right in his glove — unlucky for me, lucky for him.
“It could have changed the momentum completely.”
I avoided the story yesterday of a possible move by the Thrashers to Hamilton for a good reason, it isn’t going to happen…
from Craig Custance of The Sporting News,
As one of the growing number of former Thrashers beat writers out there, I’ve been getting e-mails inquiring about the Hamilton Spectator’s report that a group from Vancouver is hoping to purchase the Thrashers and move them to Hamilton. While I don’t doubt that it true there’s a group interested in doing such a thing, I highly doubt it’s possible. I e-mailed one of the owners of the team, Bruce Levenson, about the rumor and this was his response: “There is no truth to this rumor,” he wrote.
There’s a lot to consider about the situation in Atlanta. For one, the ownership is split and they’re still in the process of fighting for control of the Thrashers, Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena. Getting these guys to agree on anything, such as the sale of the team to a group that wants to move it to Hamilton, is out of the realm of my imagination. There’s also the fact that the naming rights of Philips Arena are contingent on there being an NBA and NHL team playing there. Plus, Chris Vivlamore, my old editor and the new Thrashers beat writer, reported today that there is a commitment letter between ownership and the league to keep the team in Atlanta.
from Ted Leonsis of Ted’s Takes,
We have the odds stacked against us now so what else is new? Eighty-five percent of the time, the team that wins Game 5 and then plays Game 6 at home wins the series. We have faced long odds before. We must remain upbeat; play one shift at a time; win out period by period; and we must stay focused for a full 60 minutes. If we do that, we can come home for a Game 7. Pittsburgh is a great team and played very well last night although I thought we deserved better. Our play was of high quality and we played to our capabilities.
I was thinking as I walked out of the building last night that in ten years of ownership, nine seasons of play and five playoff series; WE have never been up 5 men to 4 in OT. I remember losing two games to Tampa on a 5 on 3 and 5 on 4 in OT. I remember losing Game 7 last season to the Flyers in OT on a 5 on 4 and last night the same fate awaited us.
from John Romano of the St. Peterburg Times (Monday edition),
Coach Rick Tocchet, general manager Brian Lawton and co-owner Oren Koules will be part of a “Town Hall Meeting” at the St. Pete Times Forum beginning at 6 p.m. There will be a used equipment sale, there will be autographs, there will be tours….
Now, I would not expect these Lightning officials to start confessing their woes like they’re on Oprah’s couch. Let’s face it: This is a private business, and a team is not required to open its financial books for the rest of us to see.
On the other hand, a sports franchise and a community share a certain symbiotic relationship. A team can not survive without ample public support, and the fans do not give their love generously when there are trust issues.
So that is what tonight should be about for the Lightning. Fans do not want to hear platitudes. They do not want to be fed a line of hooey. They need as much of the truth as a team can offer.
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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