Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
A gutsy goalie change, tweaked forward lines and some altered tactics produced the momentum shift the St. Louis Blues needed to get off the mat, producing a 6-3 win Saturday over the San Jose Sharks, tying the series up at two games each.
After poring over five hours of video at the team's hotel on Friday, the veteran coach concocted the needed formula.
"Playing faster from effort and much more physical," said a rival Western Conference head coach via text message during the game Saturday night. "Tactics are simple: hard to the O-zone and have a purpose when you get there. And don't turn the puck over."
Check out the game highlights below...
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
From the Fool Them Once file: If the Rangers trade Chris Kreider to a Western Conference team, then general manager Jeff Gorton must attach a clause to the deal through which the Blueshirts would receive additional value — say, in the form of a first-round draft choice — should Kid K be sent back east within three years.
Call it Rule 62.
It is impossible to recall a trade of a support player backfiring as badly on a team as the Carl Hagelin deal has blown up in the Blueshirts’ faces. Not only did the Rangers lose a unique, and thus far irreplaceable, piece of the puzzle who personified a large part of their identity as a speed team under coach Alain Vigneault, Hagelin has wound up in Pittsburgh, thriving as an instrumental part of a powerful division rival.
This turn of events has to make the Rangers sick. All of it: the negligible return from Anaheim in the trade, which materialized out of thin air at last year’s entry draft and was completed within about five minutes; the switcheroo to Pittsburgh in mid-January after Hagelin had failed to adapt to Anaheim (or the Ducks failed to adapt to him); the revitalization of the Penguins, with the Swede playing the same role as a catalyst as he had in New York from the moment of his promotion from the AHL the day after Thanksgiving 2011.
continued plus more NHL topics....
BLUES OFFENSE BREAKS OUT IN GAME 4, SERIES TIED 2-2
The Blues snapped a scoreless drought of 156:59 with six goals in Game 4 – including the first four tallies of the contest – to defeat the Sharks and even the series 2-2.
* The Blues earned their sixth win as visitors in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, extending their franchise record for road wins in a single postseason. St. Louis improved to 11-3-0 in their last 14 road games dating to March 19 (regular season and playoffs).
George Stroumboulopoulos and Elliotte Friedman recap the latest news around the hockey world, including the addition of Rick Nash to the rumour mill, the status of the Kings’ assistant coaches and the status of Penguins’ Trevor Daley injury.
Focus on the defensemen tonight, including Kris Letang in selfish mode, the Trevor Daley injury and Brent Burns.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
- It’s a tribute to the Tampa Bay Lightning and their coaching staff that this team without Steven Stamkos, with Ben Bishop hurt, with Anton Stralman not really ready, are still alive and within two wins of the Stanley Cup final.
- I think it was the Canada Cup in 1981 when the head coach of Sweden was asked what was wrong with his team and he said, “Too many Swedes.” And all these years later, I wonder if the problem with Team Russia in intentional hockey tournaments is “too many Russians.”
- It’s terrific that Team Canada will play for gold at the world hockey championships again. What’s not terrific or particularly impressive: Canada’s one-goal game over the leftovers who played for Team USA, save for Matthews and Dylan Larkin up front.
a few more hockey topics including why Phil Kessel did not fit in Toronto....
St. Louis @ San Jose 7:15 PM ET NBC, CBC & TVAS
Sharks are up 2-1 and the Blues need a win badly.
Jake Allen in net for the Blues and they need to find some offense tonight.
Discuss the game if it so pleases you.
from Andrew Podnicks of IIHF.com,
Just as was the case in 2007, the last time Moscow hosted the World Championship, Canada will face Finland for the gold. The speedy and impressive Americans will play Russia for bronze.
Tonight's game was no classic, but the difference between the winners and losers was marginal. Nervous and tentative play often produced icings and more whistles than what one would have liked, but the tension was palatable as the U.S. tried to get to a game for a medal it hasn't won since 1933.
Canada, last year's champions, now have a chance to repeat while Finland is trying to make history as the first country to win U18 gold, U20 gold, and World Championship gold in the same season.
A nervous first period produced two goals at one end, a nice save at the other, and not much else. Canada drew first blood at 8:59 after an extended period of puck possession in the U.S. end, culminating with a poor-angle shot by Boone Jenner.
Keith Kinkaid made the save but the puck came out the back side to Brendan Gallagher, who swatted it in while being checked.
added 4:38pm, Watch the game highlights below...
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
- San Jose’s perpetual movement as a five-man unit is making the Blues look slower than they are. The Sharks have amplified their speed game because they’ve zipped pucks up the ice rapidly, but also skated hard to provide support. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock has not liked how his team has defended as split units of three forwards and two defensemen because of San Jose’s speed-and-support system.
- Jonathan Marchessault is only 25 years old. But he will become unrestricted on July 1 as a Group 6 free agent because he’s played in fewer than 80 games. The Lightning would like to keep the shifty forward, but they have to re-sign RFAs Nikita Kucherov, Alex Killorn, and Vladislav Namestnikov. Marchessault will draw interest on the open market.
- Zach Werenski, the No. 8 overall pick in 2015, has been excellent for Lake Erie, Columbus’s AHL team. After being a point-per-game player as a freshman at the University of Michigan, Werenski has had no trouble transitioning to pro hockey. Werenski had four goals and six assists after nine games through the first two rounds. Werenski, Seth Jones, and Ryan Murray are three foundational blue-line players for the Blue Jackets.
many more hockey topics...
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
The St. Louis Blues are hoping a goalie change will help change the momentum in a series that has leaned heavily in favor of the San Jose Sharks, who are up 2-1 in the Western Conference finals. Here’s what to watch for in Game 4, at 7:15 p.m. ET.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock made it official on Friday when he announced that he was starting Jake Allen in goal in place of veteran Brian Elliott. It’s hardly Elliott’s fault that the Blues haven’t scored a goal in their last two games, but Hitchcock is hoping that the switch will help shake his team into focus for Game 4.
"This is a change in momentum," Hitchcock said of the switch. "We're playing a team that's got a bead in their game and a focus in their game that's been around for seven games now. We've got to change the momentum here."...
The Sharks are closer to advancing to the Stanley Cup finals than they’ve ever been and have to make sure the excitement of that possibility doesn’t become a distraction for a team that hasn’t been in this position before.
"It’s not easy," admitted Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon. "But that’s the way you have to think. You’ve got to take it game by game and that’s something we’ve done well. There were so many highs and lows in the Nashville series and L.A. series."
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org