Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
So Pittsburgh is, to some degree, a different team than that which Philly played all season.
What is consistent, however, is that opponents continue to underrate the Philadelphia attack, and it’s costing them.
The Flyers have been the most prolific offensive club in these playoffs with 43 goals in 12 outings, despite the fact they played Washington and Montreal, two teams that most analysts would have regarded as more talented offensive teams.
In the regular season, the Flyers scored more goals than Pittsburgh and ended up with seven 20-goal scorers, a list which didn’t include playoff menace R.J. Umberger, who grew up near Pittsburgh.
Interestingly, however, seven of Umberger’s 13 regular-season goals came against the Penguins.
from Lew Serviss of Slap Shot at the NYT,
Here we are at the midway point in the playoffs. Time to hand out some hardware.
Lucky Man Award Brad Stuart, Detroit … traded at the deadline from last-place LA to the first-place Red Wings
Brain-Lock Award Martin Brodeur, Devils … left a juicy puck for Ryan Callahan while he was – just what was Marty doing?
Chernobyl Award Ottawa Senators … a complete meltdown
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
The Sharks took the Dallas Stars into a Game 7 here Sunday night. And then into a Game 8.
That’s not what the official result will say, of course. It will say the Sharks lost a four-overtime game to the Stars 2-1. And that the Sharks lost their playoff series bitterly in six games.
Yet as the scoreboard clock moved into the second overtime, then the third, then the fourth, Game 6 did not just become the longest Shark game in history. It became the most remarkable game of this year’s entire NHL Stanley Cup tournament.
And for the Sharks, the worst loss.
from Jennifer Floyd Engel of the Star-Telegram,
Nor was this just any overtime.
The Stars were either going to be staring down the reality of frittering away a 3-0 series lead, thus and thereby trying to wrangle up an ounce of belief that flying to San Jose for Game 7 was not a colossal environmental waste. Or preparing for their first Western Conference Finals appearance since 2000.
Of course, overtime hockey is always a dicey proposition. You are always a bounce or a stumble or just really bad luck away from skating off the ice a loser.
But with each squandered chance, the Stars seemed to be losing their grip on a series they once had in a bear hug.
Just like you can sometimes smell a horrendously bad day coming on, you can likewise smell a cruel overtime.
And that is what overtime felt like at times in Game 6.
Game times aren’t available yet, but here is the schedule as we know it for the Eastern and Western Conference Finals starting this week. (Update May 5th: times and dates finalized and available here)
...and it ‘only’ took 129 minutes and 3 seconds, the 8th longest game in Stanley Cup Playoffs history (so sayeth TSN).
From Richard Durrett at the Dallas News blog:
The half asleep AAC is now fully awake. Stars headed to the Western Conference Finals.
Wow. What a game. Third longest game in Stars playoff history.
Quite fitting that captain Brenden Morrow got it. He’s been leading this team during the playoffs. He got it on the PP. Marty Turco was sensational. So was Evgeni Nabokov.
The Dallas/Detroit series opens Thursday and the Pittsburgh/Philadelphia series opens Friday. [Complete schedule here]
Update 3:08am ET: More from the AP via the Dallas Morning News here. Game highlights on video below, plus a few more notes.
People in Europe are waking up, and probably can’t believe the Stars/Sharks game is headed to the 4OT period.
Eastern time zone folks are barely hanging on, making up an excuse to miss work tomorrow.
West coast fans are starting to feel a little sleepy-eyed.
Will anyone score?
fro Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
Before the series, I picked the Rangers to win in seven games because I thought they had a huge advantage in net with Henrik Lundqvist, but that advantage didn’t come into play until that last two games. Marc-Andre Fleury looked shaky today for the first time in the series. The Rangers didn’t take enough shots, however, to exploit that. They went more 16 minutes without a shot, including the last 14:50 of a second period that the Penguins’ thoroughly dominated.
I have a feeling that Fleury and Martin Biron might not have much goaltending magic left for the conference finals. Don’t be surprised if you see some 6-5 games in that series.
more on the Rangers and Pens…
from the Sault Star,
Craig Hartsburg said Saturday he’s looking forward to discussing a contract extension that would see him continue beyond next season as the Soo Greyhounds head coach.
Speaking like someone who expects to enter the 2008-2009 Ontario Hockey League campaign behind the Hounds bench, the 48-year-old Hartsburg said he can’t totally rule out a return to the NHL, but “as of right now I’m assuming I’ll be back.”
About to enter the final year of a five-year contract he signed in 2004, the Stratford, Ont., native’s name has been mentioned prominently as a top candidate for, among others, the Ottawa Senators head coaching job.
from Lynn Zinser of the New York Times,
After the final shot eluded him, Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stood alone in his crease Sunday afternoon, pain radiating from his blue eyes. His teammates had skated back to their bench, and the Penguins celebrated in a giant mob to his right. For what seemed like minutes, Lundqvist bore his agony alone.
Eventually, the Rangers skated over to console him. Marian Hossa’s series-winning goal 7 minutes 10 seconds into overtime gave the Penguins a 3-2 victory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, sending the Mellon Arena fans into a frenzy, and leaving the Rangers to grapple with their emotions.
“It’s just empty,” Lundqvist said. “Your head is just empty. You’ve been working so hard all year, starting in May last year to prepare for this season. And then everything is over.”
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 email@example.com