Kukla's Korner Hockey
LUNDQVIST, RANGERS EDGE KINGS TO FORCE GAME 5
Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves, including 15 in the third period, to help the Rangers edge the Kings and force a Game 5 in the Stanley Cup Final.
* The Rangers improved to 11-2 in their last 13 postseason games when facing elimination (dating to Game 6 of 2012 CQF at OTT), including a 5-0 mark in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Lundqvist has started all 13 of those games, posting a 1.30 goals-against average, .959 save percentage and two shutouts.
* The Rangers also picked up their eighth consecutive home victory when facing elimination (dating to Game 4 of 2008 CSF vs. PIT). Lundqvist has started all eight of those contests, as well, compiling a 0.99 goals-against average, .968 save percentage and two shutouts.
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 John Vogle of Sabres Edge at the Buffalo News,
Ville Leino remains the NHL's most likely buyout candidate, but there hasn't been much talk between the Sabres and his agent.
"I have had few very short discussions about Leino with Tim Murray," Leino's agent, Markus Lehto, told The News by email.
Murray, Buffalo's general manager, has said it's a "very good possibility" the team will part ways with Leino. The NHL buyout period will begin 48 hours after the Stanley Cup final ends and continue until June 30.
It will cost the Sabres $7.333 million to buy out the remaining three seasons of Leino's contract. The team signed him to a six-year, $27 million deal in 2011, and he's already been paid $16 million.
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the National Post,
Jason Spezza has requested a trade, and Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray says he’ll try to make that happen.
“I don’t want to trade the guy, really, and I know I won’t get the value, in all likelihood that I should get for him,” Murray said Wednesday after the NHL general managers meeting. “But I think that Jason feels maybe there’s a change that he would like to have happen, and if that’s the case we’ll try to do what we can.”...
Murray said that a few teams have already asked about Spezza, even though Wednesday’s meeting was too busy to advance many talks. He expects trade chatter to pick up in the next few weeks leading up to the draft, which runs June 27 and 28 in Philadelphia.
If the Senators do trade Spezza as has been speculated for some time, it would likely not be for just prospects and/or draft picks.
“Obviously I’d like to win a hockey game next year, so getting a player back that can play in the league, that has played in the league, would be important,” Murray said.
a bit more plus some talk from Dale Tallon and David Poile...
added 9:55am, from Ian Mendes of TSN,
from Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
As for what precisely happened over these past five years, there is no easy answer. Lots of things happened. At various times, the Penguins were undone by bad coaching, bone-headed plays, questionable roster building, thin drafts, cap issues, leadership vacuums, poor goaltending and stars wilting at the biggest moments.
It's been a team effort.
Then there are two significant factors that rarely see the light of day, because, you know, the Penguins were supposed to cruise to multiple Cup wins. These are not intended to excuse Bylsma, who easily could have been fired after the Philly flop and should have been after the Boston blowout.
They are just true:
1. Injuries. The Penguins were robbed of a significant chunk of their allotted time with the “Big Three.” Between 2010-11 and 2011-12 — Staal's final two seasons here — Crosby, Malkin and Staal combined to miss 207 regular-season games. Malkin and Crosby missed the '11 playoffs, when the Penguins seemed poised to roll through the East.
2. Good opponents. A terribly inconvenient fact, I know, but there really were TWO teams on the ice in every series.
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.
This week, at the USA Hockey's Annual Congress in Colorado Springs, Colo., the NCAA and USA Hockey announced that they both officially support and endorse the Look-Up Line – a warning track colored in safety orange that extends 40 inches in width around the circumference of a rink – to be painted on the ice surface in an effort to promote player safety.
Back in April The New York Times featured the Look-Up Line where they talked with Dr. Michael Cusimano (a neurosurgeon whom heads the St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto's trama center). Dr. Cusimano said every year there are 6 - 7 paralyzing spinal cord injuries in hockey reported across Canada. This past season in the U.S. both Matt Sorisho from Detroit Catholic Central (Novi, Michigan) and Michael Nichols of Monroe Township, New Jersey sustained paralyzing hockey injuries.
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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