Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
They won’t be eliminated with a loss tonight at the Xcel Energy Center, but there is no coming back from 3-0, and both sides know it.
“Things can turn very quickly,” said Minnesota’s Zach Parise. “If we come out and have a really good game, all of a sudden it’s 2-1.”
That’s what happened last spring. The Wild came home down 2-0 to the Blackhawks and won both game to even the series. That’s cause for optimism, just not too much of it, Parise cautioned.
“There have been a lot of comparisons from this year to last year, but it’s a whole new year," Parise said. "Last year, good or bad, doesn’t have any impact on what we’re doing today and how those first two games went.
“I just don’t think we can expect to come home and play better just because we did it last year. That’s not how it works. We have to be a lot better.”
Power outage at XCel Energy Centre overnite reduced rink to a puddle. Got it back for skates, but likely slow for tonight.
For the Wild against mega-talented Hawks, maybe it will work a little like letting the infield grass grow long, if you get my drift:)
-Damien Cox via Twitter.
But I do believe the Wild are considered the faster team.
Montreal Canadiens forward Brandon Prust apologized on Tuesday for the comments he made about referee Brad Watson following a Game 2 loss on Sunday.
Prust said he wishes he could take back what he said about the official.
"I was emotional," Prust told the media on Tuesday.
Prust said he figures he will be speaking with the league about his comments.
Prust, 31, said that Watson verbally assailed him following a roughing penalty late in the first period of Tampa Bay's 6-2 win over the Habs in Montreal.
"I thought the original call was kind of soft and I let him know on the way to the box," said Prust.
added 3:47pm, video of Prust talking to the media is below...
from Sean McIndoe of Grantland,
If you’re a Wild fan, you’re not in terrible shape. They almost certainly need to win tonight, and probably again in Game 4 on Thursday. That won’t be easy against a Hawks team that looks to finally be shifting into Stanley Cup mode right on time. But they’ve got a shot.
The Flames have a weaker case. They’ll no doubt get a boost from a loud crowd tonight, but the Ducks went into a raucous building in Winnipeg in Round 1 and did just fine. Calgary’s biggest problem is that they just don’t look like they’re good enough to keep up with Anaheim. They’ve still got a puncher’s chance here, but not much more than that.
And then there’s Montreal. The Habs certainly didn’t fare well in the various categories that made up this post, and after Sunday night they looked like a team that was closer to a full-scale meltdown than a comeback. So it’s tempting to write them off completely … until you remember Carey Price. The guy is going to be MVP for a reason, and if anyone can single-handedly steal a series his team has no right to win, it’s him. And the way they’re playing right now, the Canadiens might need exactly that.
Put all 60 of the NHL’s goalies together on the same ice, watch them move and make a few saves, and 59 look like accomplished variations of each other. Then there’s Price.
He moves only when he needs to move. At every other moment, crouched and coiled, his feet, his body, remain still. Even during pregame anthems, as teammates and opponents pump and rev, their skates bouncing from side to side, Price’s face, his skates, are unmoving. Quiet feet, quiet mind. But when the game begins, when a pass snaps from one stick to another in front of him, he shoots across his crease on his knees as if riding a cushion of air, ricocheting about like a disc in an air-hockey game; upright, his arms tight to his sides, the between-the-legs gap known as the 5-hole shut.
It is a sight to see. This year, Price is almost sure to win the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goalie, and the Hart Trophy as most valuable player. And yet, for this Canadiens team to win the franchise’s 25th Stanley Cup and first since 1993, it is not enough.
-Ken Dryden at the Wall Street Journal where you can read more on on Carey Price and the Canadiens.
from Travis Yost of TSN,
One of the big reasons why Calgary has had such a problem against Anaheim has to do with the Ducks’ newfound depth – an element the organization didn’t really possess just a few years ago. The forward crop has been lined with young, cheap talent, and the blueline has been bolstered with a slew of talented puck-movers who can jump-start the attack.
Perhaps the most interesting addition, though, has been that of Ryan Kesler.
Acquired via trade with Vancouver in the summer of 2014, Anaheim brought in Kesler to ease some of the burden off of the Anaheim top line. The working theory was that Kesler and a couple of talented wingers would create a pseudo-checking line – one that mitigated offensive production from the opposition, allowing the Getzlaf group to run wild on others.
It’s no surprise that, through the first two games of the Calgary/Anaheim series, Bruce Boudreau has leaned heavily on the Kesler trio to suppress the number of offensive chances for Calgary’s vaunted Sean Monahan line, which has regularly featured Jiri Hudler and, to a lesser extent, Johnny Gaudreau/David Wolf. On the road, they couldn’t get away from the Kesler group.
Below, a quick visualization of the competition Sean Monahan saw in the first two games of the series. For the sake of this piece, we’ll limit it to forwards – I already ran the numbers on defensive match-ups, and Monahan saw a pretty even spread of Anaheim’s pairings.
Home Team in Caps
WASHINGTON 1, NY Rangers 0 – WSH leads series 2-1
HOLTBY, BEAGLE HELP CAPITALS TAKE 2-1 SERIES LEAD
Braden Holtby stopped all 30 shots he faced and Jay Beagle scored the lone goal at 7:31 of the second period to lift the Capitals to a 2-1 series lead over the Rangers.
* The Capitals earned a 1-0 postseason victory for the third time in franchise history. The other instances: April 12, 2001 vs. PIT (Olie Kolzig: 16 SV) and May 4, 2013 vs. NYR (Holtby: 24 SV).
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
The Wild is familiar with this “2-0 hole” thing in the playoffs.
This is the fourth time in five years the Wild has put itself into a series abyss and third consecutive year against the Chicago Blackhawks. Down 2-0 twice last postseason, the Wild won Games 3 and 4 at home, going on to victory in the Colorado series.
So all hope isn’t lost. But this year was expected to be different, the year the much-improved Wild would be able to force at least a split in Chicago.
So far, nothing has changed. The Blackhawks’ lengthy roster of lethal finishers has yet again broken the Wild’s will with quick-strike conversions seemingly any time a Wild player goofs up.
The Wild’s disappointment was palpable Monday. Hoping to get its act together in Game 3 on Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center, the Wild used Monday as a day to recover mentally and learn from the plethora of glaring, uncharacteristic mistakes it committed during two games in Chicago.
“I think no one was too thrilled about coming here today, but we knew it would be good to look at our mistakes and kind of regroup from that,” veteran Thomas Vanek said. “We’re down 0-2, but we’re down 0-2 because we didn’t play well. We played our game for two periods out of the six.”
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
The Flames can’t be criticized for being down 2-0 in a second-round playoff series they’ll have a hard time prolonging past Friday.
These are simply two teams with different goals.
This Anaheim Ducks team has been carefully constructed for years with only a Stanley Cup in mind.
The Flames focus this year was simply making the playoffs — a large enough step in itself.
Try as one might, it’s damn near impossible to deny the ultimate demise of the Flames will be at the hands of the big bad Ducks — a team that utterly dismantled the Flames in the first 120 minutes of this Western Conference semifinal series.
Former Ducks boss Brian Burke, the head honcho of the Flames, would likely tell you as much over a beer as he’s been on record many times before his self-imposed silence as insisting the Flames simply aren’t hefty enough to skate with a team as big and truculent as the Ducks.
Not yet anyway.
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
What are your thoughts initially on the kind of head coach you want to hire?
“That's a good question. Again, that's one of things that I really want to ask a few questions here before I get started. With anything, when you're looking for a coach, whether it's internally or you're talking to people outside, there's some different criteria in terms of coaches that can discipline, coaches that can motivate, coaches that can teach. There's a lot of good coaches that are available and there's two people in Jersey right now in Scott Stevens and Adam Oates. Adam's been a head coach before and Scott I've heard real good things about him. So, in terms of the proper fit or the right guy for the New Jersey Devils, time will tell on that from asking some of the questions and seeing things.
“I certainly have some ideas in terms of coaching styles, philosophies, but I need to find out more about the New Jersey Devils because it's an important decision not only just for next year, but moving forward and buying into that. There's some good coaches available and I look forward to talking to the coaches that are there (in New Jersey) and getting their feedback and their philosophy. I hope to do that a little bit maybe before I leave (for the world championships) and certainly when I get back and then go from there.”
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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