Kukla's Korner Hockey
Lyle Richardson of FoxSports.com gives us a preview of game 5.
TEAMS WINNING GAME 5 OF THE STANLEY CUP FINAL WITH SERIES TIED 2-2
In the 19 previous Stanley Cup Final series tied 2-2, the club winning Game 5 has won the Stanley Cup 14 times. The five clubs that successfully overcame a Game 5 loss: the 1950 Detroit Red Wings, 1964 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1971 Montreal Canadiens, 2001 Colorado Avalanche and 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning.
HOME CLUBS 4-0 IN STANLEY CUP FINAL FOR THIRD TIME SINCE 1978
Home clubs are 4-0 in the Stanley Cup Final for just the third time since 1978, when the Montreal Canadiens captured Games 1 and 2 in Montreal, followed by Boston Bruins victories in Games 3 and 4 in Boston. In 2003, the New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Ducks (coached by current Red Wings bench boss Mike Babcock) matched home victories in the first four games.
Since the best-of-seven format was implemented in 1939, home clubs have won all seven games in the Stanley Cup Final on three occasions, in 1955, 1965 and 2003.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
What the Wings need, of course, is more of a contribution in the physical department from all of their players. The defence tandem of Brad Stuart and Niklas Kronwall have been fumbling the puck more than banging bodies in the past two games, Johan Franzen hasn’t been as aggressive as he is capable of being and Tomas Holmstrom, struggling on offence, hasn’t been as effective at digging out pucks and keeping offensive zone sequences alive.
Whether the Wings are tough enough, of course, has been a question asked over and over since they became a high-skill, puck-possession style team in the early 1990s, and they’ve always answered it with goals and wins.
Even this spring, Anaheim challenged Detroit physically and nearly upset the Wings, losing in seven games but exacting a physical toll.
So with Datsyuk expected back tonight, that’s good for the champs, but they could really use the spirit of the defunct Grind Line to deal with these young whippersnappers from Pennsylvania.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
The defending Stanley Cup champions suddenly seem to be in a rut.
The fatigue theory: The older Detroit Red Wings, especially defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom, supposedly are exhausted after playing four games in six nights and appear to be a step slower than the young and restless Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2009 Stanley Cup final, tied 2-2 with Game 5 at Joe Louis Arena tonight.
The special-teams issue: The Wings cruised through the first three playoff rounds with an impressive power play that scored 19 times in 74 chances. Now, the Wings are not only struggling through a 1-for-10 slump against the Penguins…
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Sounds like the Red Wings might have cracked, eh?
Not a snowball’s chance in you-know-where.
The Penguins had better know that or they are on the verge of making a terrible mistake. They had better be ready for the Red Wings’ best in Game 5 tonight. The Red Wings are proud defending Cup champions. They are back home at Joe Louis Arena, where they won Games 1 and 2 with some ease and where they have beaten the Penguins in four of the past five Cup final games going back to last season, the exception being the Penguins’ epic, 4-3 win in three overtimes in Game 5 a year ago. They also figure to get a big boost from the likely return of star center Pavel Datsyuk, their Hart Trophy candidate as NHL MVP.
The Red Wings?
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider at the Washington Post,
I’m hearing that enforcer Donald Brashear’s future with the Caps could be determined next week, when he speaks to GM George McPhee.
Brashear, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, will represent himself in the discussion with McPhee.
It’s unclear if McPhee plans to ask Brashear, 37, to play for less than the $1.2 million he earned this season. It’s also unclear if Brashear would consider accepting less to come back to Washington, where he’s popular among his teammates and a locker room leader.
a bit more...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
As the Pittsburgh Penguins crash the boards and lay the body on the Detroit Red Wings in these Stanley Cup finals, you can’t help but think they’ve watched a little video from the second round of the NHL playoffs.
The Anaheim Ducks pushed the Wings to seven games in Round 2 and did it in part by trying to hit every Red and White body they could lay their hands on.
“I think that’s what the Penguins are trying to do, they’re trying to be as physical as they possibly can,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle told ESPN.com via phone Friday. “This is the Stanley Cup finals. You have to earn every inch of the ice and they’ve been as physical as anybody on Detroit.”
I am going to kick back a bit tonight and get prepared for another trip to Joe Louis Arena on Saturday.
The game should be the best of the series and the winner will be one victory away from lifting the Stanley Cup above their heads!!!
Q. How do you feel?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Pretty good. The typical bumps and bruises of the playoffs, but nothing major. And I think, yeah, most of the guys will tell you they feel really fresh for this point of the year. So that’s a good sign.
Q. Any sense that you’re wearing them down a little bit?
SIDNEY CROSBY: We’re trying. The more pressure we can put. I think both teams really tried to do that consistently throughout games, so, that’s what makes it so intense and such a battle. But I think we’re trying to do that.
Q. What about offense for like some of the guys, maybe a little bit yourself. I know Game 4 has been good for you. Tomas is struggling. How do you try to get your offense going so you don’t have to worry as much about their offense?
MARIAN HOSSA: We have to step up, and you know, get it going offensively. Help this team score some goals and put them ?? instead of coming back, the last two games. So, you know, we have to be better offensively, and we have to step up.
Q. What did you think happened in that six-minute stretch when they got the three goals?
MARIAN HOSSA: That was momentum changing. You know, they scored the shorthand goal, and that kind of gave them momentum, especially in their building. And they also got the jump. And after they got another one from our mistakes.
But, you know, we are back to basically a 0-0 situation, and now, you know, it’s the best of three, and we have to make sure we play strong games at home.
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