Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.”
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
... Monday was a day to get on a plane and lick some wounds, now that Montreal is down 2-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning, with Games 3 and 4 set for Wednesday and Thursday at Amalie Arena.
"Today is not an easy day, especially when you end up losing those two games at home," Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien said Monday on a conference call. "We've traveled to Tampa, and tomorrow we need to have a good practice, stay upbeat and be ready for Wednesday. But [the two off-days] could be a good thing for us."
Habs forward Torrey Mitchell was part of the 2011 San Jose Sharks team that jumped out to a 3-0 series lead over Detroit, only to see the Red Wings push it to seven games. That's the kind of personal experience he can glean from right now.
"Absolutely, and even more recently, just in the last series, you saw how difficult it was to close out Ottawa," Mitchell said Monday on a conference call. "By no means do we feel like we're done. We're excited about the next game, and that's where our focus is at right now."
You never want to count out a team that has Carey Price in goal. He can single-handedly change the script, as he did with his 43-save, Herculean effort in Game 6 of the first round to finish off a rabid Senators team smelling blood.
The thing is, I just don't see the same team of a year ago, which had more pizzazz about it. Montreal had that "it" factor in sweeping Tampa and upsetting Boston in seven games.
from Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider at the Washington Post,
The fortress erected by the Washington Capitals, the one built to protect their stonewalling goaltender, contained a gauntlet of traps guarding the front gate. They hurled bodies at airborne pucks, clogging shooting lanes and shuttering windows of opportunity for the New York Rangers. They boxed out with their butts and cleared rebounds with their sticks, ushering traffic away. They had always held the utmost confidence in Braden Holtby, because no sane person would consider otherwise, but when chaos came knocking at Verizon Center, even the NHL’s active leader in postseason save percentage needed help.
“It’s something we’ve been working on all year, just boxing out and trying to make sure that Holts can see the puck,” forward Jay Beagle said. “Whether it’s trying to block a shot, there’s a lot of stuff that we’ve gone over this year that we’ve changed just a little bit to his liking to give him the best chance to see the puck and not to become a screen. Our ‘D’ have been unreal in front of him.”
Three games into these Eastern Conference quarterfinals, a fluky bounce off two skates the only separation in Washington’s 1-0 victory and thus a 2-1 series lead, the Capitals have withstood slow starts, prolonged defensive-zone shifts and the Rangers’ speed. They have relied on Holtby, who made another 30 saves for his second career postseason shutout – both against New York, in this building, with the calendar reading May 4 — but also on themselves, trusting their system to steer them through the harrowing waters of close games.
Jay Beagle's off-two-skates goal was all the Washington Capitals needed to defeat the New York Rangers 1-0 on Monday night:
The New York Rangers travel to Washington to meet the Capitals. The series is tied at one and the puck drops just after 7:30pm ET and is on NBCSN, CBC and TVA.
Feel free to discuss the game or anything hockey related.
from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,
"I think we'll be the beneficiary of [this hire] as an organization," Lamoriello said. "The one thing that has been consistent in this organization and with every conversation I've had with Ray was the ability he has. He has no ego and knows the logo is the most important thing and when you get that that's a good feeling; a very positive thing happened today."
Lamoriello completed his 28th season as Devils' president/GM in 2014-15. During his time, the Devils won three Stanley Cup championships, five Eastern Conference titles and nine division titles in 21 Stanley Cup Playoffs appearances.
"I've known [Lou Lamoriello] since playing against him in college when I was at St. Lawrence and he was coaching Providence," Shero said. "Before Lou was GM, my father [Hockey Hall of Fame coach Fred Shero] was a color analyst when the team started and Max McNab was GM and I hung around there quite a bit when I was in college. So the opportunity for me to work with a Lou Lamoriello, who is a Hockey Hall of Fame member and one of the most respected GMs in the history of the game, certainly was a great opportunity I was not going to turn down and I'm looking forward to working with the team. It's a great opportunity for me and my family."
Shero has most recently been actively involved with USA Hockey and is a member of its National Team Advisory Board. He has enjoyed having an opportunity to spend more time with his family; one of his sons will be a freshman at Boston College and he has another attending Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire.
Shero was fired as GM of the Penguins on May 16, 2014, finishing with a 373-193-56 in his eight seasons with the organization.
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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