Kukla's Korner Hockey
NEW YORK – June 7, 2010—Last night’s Stanley Cup Final posted the best overnight rating for a non-overtime Game 5 in eight years. The game generated a 4.0 overnight rating and 7 share, the best for a non-OT Game 5 since 2002 (4.5 on ABC, Carolina-Detroit).
Game 5 featured Chicago defeating Philadelphia, 7-4, with the largest winning margin of the series. The 4.0 overnight is up 54 percent vs. last year’s Game 5 (2.6) between the then-defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins, featuring Sidney Crosby. In 2008, Detroit and Pittsburgh played a three-overtime Game 5, which generated a 4.3 overnight rating.
Best Non-OT Game 5s Since 2002
2010 Chi-Phi 4.0
2003 Ana-NJ 3.5
2006 Car-Edm 2.9
2009 Det-Pit 2.6
2007 Ana-Ott 2.4
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Just for fun, we went back to our Game 5 column from last season, when the Red Wings flattened the Penguins 5-0 to take a 3-2 series lead heading back to Pittsburgh. This series has mirrored that one in that Chicago won the first two games at home while Philadelphia held serve in Games 3 and 4.
A year ago, the Penguins looked so badly beaten in Game 5, it was hard to imagine they could deny the powerful Red Wings a second straight Stanley Cup. They did, of course, as the Penguins won Game 6 and stole Game 7 in Detroit.
The Flyers have until Wednesday to prove they can once again rewrite history, and prove they aren’t history themselves.
For the first time in the final, perhaps even in the playoffs, the opposition had the common sense to target the Flyers defence. Philadelphia has elected to go mainly with four defencemen in the final, so wouldn’t you think the opposition would target them at every opportunity – pound them into the ground?
Yet New Jersey, Boston and Montreal, in the first three rounds, and Chicago through the first four games of the final, let them off the hook.
Chicago’s best chance of winning the Cup rests in its ability to physically wear down the Flyers top four on defence.
-Mike Brophy of Sportsnet. More hockey notes from Mr. Brophy.
from Mark Everson of the NY Post,
Michel Therrien and John MacLean appear to be the favorites for the Devils’ coaching job, and Craig MacTavish and Mike Keenan are no longer in the running.
Therrien, the former Canadiens and Penguins coach, is the likely choice if general manager Lou Lamoriello goes outside the organization. MacLean, the coach of the Devils’ AHL Lowell affiliate, is the promote-from-within candidate. Other possible candidates have included Ken Hitchcock, Kirk Muller and AHL coach Guy Boucher.
from Rich Hofmann of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Eighty-two games in the regular season. Twenty-two games in the Stanley Cup playoffs. And now, for the Flyers, one final game of goaltender roulette.
On a night when the Chicago Blackhawks asserted themselves in a way that neither team had been able to accomplish to this point, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette finds himself in the position of having to make a huge decision as his team now faces elimination.
Who is the goaltender, Michael Leighton or Brian Boucher?
from Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com,
“I’m day-to-day with hurt feelings,” Pronger said sarcastically when asked about the rough ride he received from the Hawks and their fans Sunday night.
How quickly will he be able to put one of the worst nights of his career in the rear-view mirror?
“Real quickly; it’s already gone,” Pronger said. “I don’t remember anything.”
Actually, Pronger remembers how much fun Byfuglien seemed to be having during his breakout performance Sunday night. It clearly did not sit well with Pronger, who much preferred the frustrated and ineffective Byfuglien from earlier in the series.
“I guess he is well-rested,” Pronger said, bringing into focus that Byfuglien had been harassed into submission in the first four games.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
“We play like that every night, it’s going to be tough to beat us,” Patrick Kane said.
The transformation from Wachovia Center underperformers to United Center conquerors was no small feat. The Blackhawks had a laundry list of necessary improvements to make to avoid seeing this series slip away from them. Sunday night, Chicago checked off all of them:
Special teams? Check. For the first time in the series, Chicago won the special-teams battle, reversing an ugly trend that had it headed for disaster. The Hawks scored a pair of power-play markers while shutting down what had been a red-hot Flyers power play that had been humming at a ridiculous 31 percent rate (Philly was 0-for-3 in Game 5).
“We knew our power play was going to get going; we have the guys to do it,” said Hawks forward Kris Versteeg, who assisted on Brent Seabrook’s power-play tally that opened the scoring in the first period. “We ended up doing it tonight, and it feels good and it gives us confidence going forward.”
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
The math always comes out the same. If the Flyers were going to win the Stanley Cup, they were always going to have to win at least one game in the red-lit crucible that is the United Center.
After two losses here, that seemed very possible. After this one, a 7-4 ambush in Game 5 Sunday night, a Flyers win here is much tougher to imagine.
“Maybe we got a little cocky and thought we just had to throw our sticks on the ice,” Flyers captain Mike Richards said. “They capitalized on pretty much every one of their chances.”
The Stanley Cup itself will be in the Wachovia Center on Wednesday night for Game 6. The Flyers’ mission is to keep the big silver beast in its case. Win one at home and it all comes down to Game 7 Friday night.
Here. In Chicago.
Here in Chicago, where the Flyers have twice gotten caught up in freewheeling, high-scoring games of the kind they simply can’t afford to play against the Blackhawks. Here in Chicago, where twice in three games Peter Laviolette has been forced to pull his starting goaltender.
Transcript of media Q & A…
Q. Peter, Ville Leino said in there the problem in the first period, he said, wasn’t that we weren’t ready, we were over ready. We were just so nervous out there. How did you see it?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: It was clearly something. I guess if it was nerves, it was nerves. But we got outworked pretty good. We got out battled. They were quicker to loose pucks. Quicker on the forecheck. I thought we were okay.
We survived probably the first six or seven minutes and they didn’t score. I thought that was the worst of it. Then things settled down for quite some time. Then they capitalized on some opportunities.
Q. Peter, were you disappointed in not seeing a call there at the end on the high stick on Danny?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: Yeah, I was. It’s a penalty, possibly a major.
Transcript of media Q & A…
Q. Coach, you made a significant line change tonight. How important was that to the victory?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: I thought we had good energy right from the outset. Great pace. Had speed on all the lines. I think there was some balance as far as offensive ability, reliability defensively. Kept that pace from start to finish.
And I think it was a good start, and I think we kept going and we made it a little interesting, more than we would have liked, but I like the speed in our game.
Q. Coach, was that your best first period of the postseason so far?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: For sure, for me. And I thought that was the pace that we have been looking for this whole series. Had something to build off of for sure.
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