Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star,
Finally. Finally a game that swung and sloshed and whistled around the place like someone let off fireworks, where goals happened and then happened again. Finally, some leashes were slipped and mistakes were made and the game felt like something that could spin out of control, one way or the other. Hockey’s fun, when it does that.
The Eastern Conference has spent most of the playoffs playing 2-1 games or games that resembled 2-1 games, and the New York Rangers had all but perfected the art. You can play an exciting 2-1 game, but play 10 of ’em and the thrill dissipates, somewhat. Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final wasn’t that, though. No, it wasn’t that.
Instead, Tyler Johnson was the biggest man on the ice, and Tampa Bay blew a wild game open on the power play to win 6-2 and tie the series 1-1, going back to Florida. There was pace, skill, and a gift basket’s worth of mistakes, which allowed skilled players space to do something. The coaches will gnash their teeth and try to fix it, which is why I’d be thrilled to ban coaches from the bench during games. Or practices.
Either way, we got a game that felt less like a race to a coin-flip goal than a swashbuckling ride, until it spiralled out of reach midway through the third. That was fun.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
You know the old, “It isn’t you, it’s me?”
Monday night, in Game 2 of the conference semis at the Garden, it wasn’t the Lightning. It was the Rangers.
It wasn’t as much Tampa Bay’s talent, though it was abundantly clear just how plentiful it is, as it was the Rangers’ outright carelessness and lack of discipline that was infectious throughout the lineup and infected the performance pretty much from start to finish.
One after another the Blueshirts went to the box, one after another on needless, senseless penalties on a night officials Chris Rooney and Kelly Sutherland actually made use of the rule book. What a concept.
And one after another, the Lightning accepted the Rangers’ generosity, scoring three times on the power play while getting another one just seconds after a miscreant had been released from the box and hadn’t been able to get into the play.
“It’s embarrassing,” a furious Ryan McDonagh said in the wake of the 6-2 spanking the Blueshirts bent over and took from the Lightning that squared the series at one-all. “There are a lot of things you want to say right now but talking doesn’t do much.
“Our guys better figure it out quickly here and realize that stupid, selfish penalties are going to cost us against this team.”
The puck drops just after 8:00pm ET and can be viewed on NBCSN, CBC and TVA.
The Rangers would like to go up 2-0 while home and the Lightning certainly do not want to go 0-2 in New York.
Expect more grit from Tampa but the Rangers do seem to be on their game.
Feel free to discuss the game as it plays-out.
Linda Cohn and John Tortorella preview game 2, Rangers/Lightning.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
Henrik Lundqvist is human. The Tampa Bay Lightning are trying to remind themselves of that fact.
Goals are not easy to come by in the playoffs, especially when you’re facing a goalie with a .945 save percentage. So as the Lightning prepared for Game 2 at Madison Square Garden on Monday, they did all they could to ignore the ominous shadow occupying the New York Rangers crease.
“I think the one thing you have to combat is the aura,” said coach Jon Cooper.
Lundqvist has that, just as Carey Price did in the last round. When facing goalies of that calibre, there is a danger of thinking too much and trying to create perfect plays.
Of course, hockey is not a game of perfect. The Rangers won Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final when Dominic Moore had a shot deflect in off his right shin pad.
from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,
This is how they got here this year, the same way they got here last year.
This is how the Rangers know how to win.
So don’t think it was a charade when the face of this franchise, goalie Henrik Lundqvist, had this to say on the eve of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final against the Lightning:
“I personally don’t really think about the series standings,” Lundqvist said after Sunday’s practice at the Garden. “I just see it as one game and what we need to get that win.”
The consensus is when the teams take the Garden ice for Game 2 on Monday night, the Lightning will bring a much stronger game than they did in the Rangers’ 2-1 win in Game 1 Saturday.
“There are times when you think you played OK and you watch the tape and you want to vomit,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “That was a little bit of how [Game 1] went.”
Video- The New York Rangers Win Game 1 Of The Eastern Conference Finals Over The Tampa Bay Lightning
Here are the highlights from game 1, ECF between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning.
added 5:34pm, CBC highlights are below...
The puck drops at 1:15pm and is on NBC, CBC and TVA.
Feel free to discuss the game as it plays out.
Also, in the World Championship, it is the USA vs. Russia on the semi-finals and the game can be streamed at NBC Sports Live Extra. The game starts a 1:15pm plus NBCSN will show it at 11:00pm tonight if interested.
It also looks like some of the Comcast Sports Networks have picked up the USA/Russia game, so check your guide to find the channel.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
And now, as Sather nears the end of his career, there is great success again. And perhaps more glory.
From the beginning to the end, or wherever he is at this moment, he’s done it his way. First, he built the fastest, most talented team in hockey and coaxed and prodded that group to five Cups in seven years. Nobody, really, played the way Oilers played, because nobody could and only Sather seemed to imagine the game played at that speed.
Now, he has built the Rangers in a completely different way, a team that is a complete contradiction of the way teams are supposed to be built in the salary cap era.
Maybe only Sather could see this as well.
The Rangers, for starters, aren’t built through the draft at all, at least not their own draft. A major part of the strength of their team has been acquiring undervalued young assets drafted by other teams — Ryan McDonagh, Derrick Brassard, Kevin Hayes — and turning them into very good to excellent NHLers.
New York doesn’t have a true No. 1 centre like Chicago, Pittsburgh or Los Angeles. They have Derek Stepan, a nice player, a reliable two-way player, but not a point-per-game player. In all, 28 NHL centres had more points this season, although most played more than the 68 games Stepan did.
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
Mostly quiet since he was fired by the Vancouver Canucks last summer, the controversial John Tortorella popped up the day before an Eastern Conference final between two other teams he has coached.
Appearing on ESPN, “Torts” was asked about the current struggles of Martin St. Louis, his captain when they won the Stanley Cup together with the 2003-04 Lightning.
“Don’t you dare count him out,” said Tortorella. “When it gets to a bigger stage, and it’s getting bigger and bigger … Marty was sat out the last game, missed a few shifts … I just know him too well. He is chomping on the bit.
“I think he is going to make a big difference here. He always plays better on the bigger stage. With all the things going on around him, he’s going to have questions asked about him, he sat out a few shifts, the Tampa-Stevie Yzerman thing, his age, all that … he thrives on that. I think he’s going to be a wild card for the Rangers, as far as stepping up his play.
continued plus more ECF talk...
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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