Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic,
This loss will sting for a while. The hosts couldn’t generate a whiff of pressure on Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, who claimed the Coyotes were “lucky” in their Game 6 triumph. The shots on goal were embarrassingly one-sided. In one pivotal moment, Detroit’s Tomas Holmstrom badly fooled the referee, clutching Adrian Aucoin by the jersey and then falling backward to the ice.
It was the worst kind of dive, the kind of tomfoolery you expect in the NBA, from players such as Bruce Bowen or Dennis Rodman. It was cheap and cowardly and bogus hockey. Naturally, it led to a Red Wings goal that sealed the night.
But the sad truth is, the Coyotes simply were outclassed, stripped bare by a hockey team with great forwards and a champion’s pedigree. There was no hanging with that team tonight, and near the end of the demolition, an idiotic fan tossed a beer bottle onto the rink. Then the slimy octopus arrived on the ice, completing the nightmare.
The Coyotes didn’t want to tell you how important this game was, but it was all there, right in front of our eyes.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
The Canadiens have the Washington Capitals exactly where they want them.
The two teams meet tonight in the deciding game of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, and the first six games have offered proof that the playoffs represent a new season.
The Capitals dominated the regular season, winning the Presidents’ Trophy for the best record in the National Hockey League. But the Caps have blown a 3-1 lead in this series, and the momentum is with the Canadiens. Here are some reasons why the Canadiens have to be considered the favourites to win tonight:
Nick Lidstrom turned 40 today.
from Brian Compton of NHL.com,
Q: You didn’t look like a 40-year-old shooting the puck on your second goal. It looked as if you could play another 10 years if you wanted to.
Lidstrom: I just wanted to make sure I got a lot of wood on it. The puck came perfectly to me there.
read on and watch his first of two goals tonight below…
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
And so the Phoenix fairytale ends. With a thud.
What the Coyotes can say, however, is that their dream of a surprise spring in the desert was ended by the Detroit Red Wings - still the classiest team in this National Hockey League.
The Wings, arguably, are not quite the team they’ve been in recent years, and they certainly had to fight and scrap just to find their way into post-season play.
But after being hammered in Game 6 at home, the Wings responded with a remarkable combination of skill and pure fury, pounding the Coyotes 6-1 in Game 7 to move on and face the San Jose Sharks….
The Red Wings, when they’re going, still play a different game than most NHL clubs, or a least a game that most teams can only dream of playing. They do it with speed and passing and discipline, and they delivered all three last night in the clinching game to such a degree that even Todd Bertuzzi, long a glowering, goonish presence in the league, looks composed and focused.
Thanks to a Game 7 victory over Phoenix, the Detroit Red Wings will be San Jose’s opponent in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Sharks players are excited to find out their next opponent is and are looking forward hearing when the series will begin.
“They have a tremendous puck possession and they don’t seem to get too rattled ever,” said Rob Blake.
“They’re a veteran squad that has been there before,” said Manny Malhotra. “They have experience and that always counts for something.”
That experience can make Detroit very poised as an opponent and the Sharks will have to be on top of their own game.
Since there is only one game tonight, let’s award this goal by Pavel Datsyuk as goal of the night.
Hosting about 12 Detroit Red Wings fans at the KK home tonight and crowd is in a little bit of a better mood after two periods in Phoenix.
Beer seems to be flowing more freely but one more period to go.
Coyotes will bring everything they have and the Wings will need to match their effort.
via Philadelphia Flyers tweet,
Ian Laperriere has a contusion of the brain and mild concussion. He is out indefintiely, per Paul Holmgren.
added 5:36pm, from Kevin Kurz of PhiladelphiaFlyers.com,
Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced on Tuesday evening that forward Ian Laperriere is likely out for the remainder of the season with a contusion of the brain and mild concussion.
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
If the Capitals fail to get out of the first round after rolling through the regular season like a tornado through open plains, Ovechkin’s reputation will take a major hit. There will be some critics who start to call him a choker, and they’ll try to present viable evidence, too.
He was supposed to lead Team Russia to some kind of medal in Vancouver in February, but instead left only with tattered strings of failure hanging around his neck and a controversy after he shoved a cameraperson.
And now, in the season where he’s supposed to lead the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup, there is the potential for a first-round exit that seemed so unfathomable just a week ago. Heck, it was unfathomable just 24 hours ago.
“Tomorrow is a day one team is going to be going on vacation,” Ovechkin said, “and I don’t want to think about vacation right now.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The Washington Capitals finished 33 points ahead of the Canadiens in the regular-season standings, meaning that if Montreal knocks them off in the deciding game of their best-of-seven playoff series Wednesday night, it will go down in history as one of the greatest upsets of all time.
The anatomy of a possible upset always intrigues me. My first year as a hockey writer, I had a chance to witness one of the most shocking of all time. It involved Montreal, but the shoe was on the other foot this time. It was the spring of 1981, in the 21-team NHL and the days of the balanced schedule, when the playoff format made no distinction about conferences or geography. Hence, Montreal - with the third best record overall and 103 regular-season points - drew the 14th-seeded Edmonton Oilers, fourth-place finishers in the Smythe Division with 74 points.
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.
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