Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star,
...in the first three games, the bounces mattered. Los Angeles had more bounces in Games 1 and 2, and in Game 3 the Kings scored on a deflection off a defenceman’s skate, a deflection off a Ranger leg, and a puck that came back to a stick off a defenceman’s skate.
The Rangers kept talking about bounces, luck, hockey gods, and got two bounces that led to goals in Game 4, plus those two pucks that wouldn’t cross their goal line.
And the hockey gods, as coach Alain Vigneault said, were back.
Few players have total control over what the puck does, every time. They can control getting a clean shot off, and sometimes they know where it’s going to go. But remember the goal Patrice Bergeron scored to tie Game 7 against Toronto in 2013? He let it fly from the blue line and it travelled into exactly the right spot, through a space about half the size of a mail slot. He didn’t mean to. He never even looked at the net. He just shot it. There was a screen. He happened to find the hole.
Is that luck? Yes, and no.
Part of hockey has always been trying to wrestle the game out of chaos, and once a certain amount of the chaos has been screened out, the luck — however it can be controlled — can loom larger.
STAMFORD, Conn. – June 12, 2014,
Last night’s Game 4 delivered a 2.8 overnight rating, ranking as the third-best Stanley Cup Final overnight on NBCSN ever. The overnight for the Rangers 2-1 win over the Kings trails only Games 2-3 of last year’s Stanley Cup Final between the Blackhawks and Bruins.
There is no cable comparison to Game 4 last year as that game aired on NBC, but the 2.8 overnight is up 65% from 2012 (1.7), which featured Devils-Kings, and up 40% from 2011 (2.0), featuring Canucks-Bruins.
Locally, Los Angeles delivered a 7.3 rating, the market’s best ever on NBCSN for an NHL game, surpassing 2012 Game 4 vs. the Devils (6.6).
New York scored its second-best NHL rating ever on NBCSN with an 8.1 rating, trailing only 2014 Game 6 vs. Montreal on the Eastern Conference Final (8.5).
Following are the Top 10 markets for last night’s game.
I am going out on a limb here and will state right now the New York Rangers will win game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Friday.
Most of you may disagree with me and although the odds are the Los Angeles Kings will win Friday, I say the momentum gained by the Rangers will carry over to game 5.
Allow me to explain. The Rangers did win their first game of the series but they know Henrik Lundqvist needs some help plus the luck the Rangers had won't be the same come Friday.
Therefore, the team itself must play better and they will.
from Bill Plaschke of the LA Times,
The puck squirted to the New York Rangers' goal line and halted dead in its vulcanized rubber tracks. Just stopped. Refused to move. Sat there alone and untouched. A shiny black hood ornament. A frozen omen.
Twice during big moments of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night, the only thing in giant Madison Square Garden that wasn't shaking or skating or screaming was a very rebellious three-inch puck.
How does it not move? How do the Kings not make it move? Both times, one nudge or swat or even a puff could have turned that puck into a Kings goal that could have given them a championship. But both times, the desperate Rangers found it, swatted it, saved it and their season.
The puck stopped here, and so did the Kings' first shot at kissing the Stanley Cup in a 2-1 loss that shortened their series lead to three games to one in a result that could be described as bittersweet. Or is that sweet-bitter?
Admit it, all you nuttily passionate Kings fans back in Los Angeles. Some deep part of you is not all that sorry that this series will move back to Staples Center on Friday for Game 5 and give you a chance to celebrate the sports world's most special trophy presentation with your heroes. You want to see and experience the Cup, and this loss by the Kings gives you that chance.
First up is coach Sutter in 1:25...
Below is coach Vigneault in a 6 minute video...
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Henrik Lundqvist is the goaltender the Rangers live by — and yes, Virginia, the Rangers do live in this series — and these are the words the King lives by when his team is down to its final out as it was on what became a rollicking Wednesday night at the Garden:
“It’s about competing; when everything is on the line, you have to challenge yourself the right way personally and as a team,” Lundqvist said after his 40-save performance lifted the Blueshirts to a tense 2-1 Game 4 victory over the Kings that sends the Stanley Cup finals back across the continent to Los Angeles for Friday night’s very necessary Game 5. “You have to leave it all out there and be extra focused.
“One mistake and your season is over. You are definitely aware of that,” the King said after his first career victory in the Cup finals. “You know everything can be over, so you try even harder to be focused and make the right decisions.
“It’s tough but it’s fun, especially when it’s that intense.”
Below, watch the Sportsnet guys break down the win last night for the Rangers...
Some had to wonder if the Broadway Hat would be awarded again this season.
Are we about to see our last NHL game for the 2013-14 season?
The New York Rangers have the attitude of win tonight, then worry about the next game.
The Los Angeles Kings want to return to LA with the Stanley Cup on the plane.
We are about to find out if we will be talking about a game 5 or will the NHL Draft, trades and speculation be the main topic.
Enjoy and the puck drops just after 8:00pm ET on NBCSN, CBC and RDS.
Oh, and as Glenn Healy said on the radio today, Gary Bettman better wear a hard hat tonight if the Kings win.
from Justin Bourne of The Score,
Getting Jeff Carter the eighth-toughest competition amongst the Kings is accomplishing that mission pretty well - it’s led to 24 points in 24 playoff games (Marian Gaborik, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown see the toughest opposition).
At the other end of the rink, Alain Vigneault might be missing something. He makes a clear effort to deploy his players as effectively as possible, but I think his usage of Rick Nash is off.
Nash is like Carter in a multitude of ways. He is also large (6’4”, 213 pounds), he is also fast, and he can also score goals. Since Carter joined the league in 2005-2006, he is 11th in total goals and 11th in goals-per-game. Nash is fifth and third, respectively, in those categories over that same time. Like Carter, Nash doesn’t need his hand held. You could put him with me and my cat Jiggs, and he’s still getting an elite number of shots per game (basically like it was in Columbus), and that leads to goal creation.
But for all his raw skill, Rick Nash isn’t built to accent someone else’s abilities. For all his raw dominance, he’s just not a great complimentary player. He might create chances for linemates by driving the puck to the net and getting shots, but those type of opportunities - putbacks, scramble whacks and the like - can be buried by basically anyone. You don’t need to run him out there with a center like Derek Stepan, because he’s not a tic-tac-toe type creator.
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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