Kukla's Korner Hockey
BLUES COOL OFF FLAMES TO CLINCH PLAYOFF SPOT . . .
Four players registered 1-1—2 (Patrik Berglund, Jori Lehtera, Jaden Schwartz andPaul Stastny) to lead the Blues to a sweep of their three-game season series with the Flames, helping the team clinch its fourth consecutive playoff berth and 39th in franchise history.
* At 47-23-7 (101 points), the Blues moved within two points of the idle Predators (47-22-9, 103 points) for first place in the Central Division. St. Louis holds one game in hand, but Nashville owns the ROW tiebreaker (NSH: 41, STL: 38).
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
- Players who’ve scored 30 goals at age 20 in the 21st century: Alexander Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jonathan Toews, Evgeni Malkin, Anze Kopitar, Patrice Bergeron, Marian Gaborik, Evander Kane… and Sean Monahan.
- Patrick Roy, when asked if the Avalanche can keep Ryan O’Reilly long-term: “I will be very disappointed if that doesn’t happen, but I understand the business. Does he want to play in Colorado or test the market? That is his decision. He knows how I feel and how much we want him. I understand that is a tough call…I had the chance to leave Denver late in my career but I stayed because it was best for my family.”
Roy likes O’Reilly and Gabriel Landeskog together.
“They have good chemistry and understand each other. It is fun for a centre to have a winger like this, know you can put the puck on that side and (Landeskog) will get it first.”
- One succinct scout’s opinion on why Montreal has so much trouble with Tampa? “As fast as the Canadiens are, the Lightning are even faster. Can’t keep up with them.”
more including a look at Alex Ovechkin...
With 5 NHL games tonight, 13 on Saturday and another 5 on Sunday, I am not going anywhere.
Yes a small break would be nice but it can wait until the regular season ends next Saturday night.
In the meantime, stay tuned, it is about to get hectic.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Forget the suddenly fearsome Bruins. Maybe the Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers should be setting their sights on the reeling Red Wings in their desperate bids to crack the top eight in the Eastern Conference.
Both the Sens and the Panthers were winners Thursday -- Ottawa nipping the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 and Florida crushing the Carolina Hurricanes 6-1 -- but the interesting dynamic was Boston's 3-2 come-from-behind win (do they win any other way these days?) over Detroit at Joe Louis Arena, the fourth straight win for the B's.
The win moves the Bruins into a tie with Detroit at 93 points, although Detroit has a game in hand. The Sens are three points back of both Boston and Detroit with five games to go. Florida's situation is bleaker, six back with four to play.
If you're Ottawa, you have to be hoping Detroit continues to go sideways in their remaining games, which include dates with playoff-bound the playoff-bound Minnesota Wild, Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens, although they do have two softies (on paper at, least) against Carolina. The Wings have one win in their last six games and play three of five on the road to close out the season, while the Senators are also on the road for three of their last five. Stay tuned, folks.
read on for Strang on the Islanders, LeBrun on the Capitals and more....
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Multiple sources have confirmed to thn.com that even though this year’s draft lottery will not be televised live, a video of the entire process will be made available for public consumption after the fact.
This, of course, is a first for the NHL, which has traditionally televised only the results of the lottery. But sources say that with so much at stake, the league wants everyone to have the opportunity to see the process unfold so there will be no accusations of impropriety. With large market teams such as the Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers and (possibly) the Los Angeles Kings having a chance at getting the first pick and the right to draft phenom Connor McDavid, sources say the league wants to make sure everyone can see evidence that the process is above-board.
“There will be full disclosure,” a source said. What form that disclosure takes is not yet known because both the league and its broadcast partners – Rogers Sportsnet, NBC Sports and TVA Sports – are still working out the details. We do know that the lottery will be held the night of April 18, which is the first Saturday of the playoffs. It will likely be held as part of the pre-game show for that night’s national game, which will be decided once the final playoff seedings have been determined. All 14 teams that have a chance of winning the lottery will be invited to send a representative to the event.
via Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Since their game-breaker went down, they’ve gone 10-4-1, relying, in no particular order, on their captain, their goalie and their system. They’re clearly a more dangerous team with Kane in the lineup, but they might be more efficient without him.
They’ll also need that same template for the foreseeable future because, while Kane has started skating with the Hawks, he’s not expected back until early May, when his teammates will either be playing golf or in the second round of the playoffs. Unless things go haywire over the final week of the season, they’ll be meeting St. Louis, a team they seem to beat on memory.
As mentioned, there are no clearcut favourites this season, and any of the 16 teams — and yes, that includes the Canucks — who make the post-season can reasonably entertain thoughts of a deep playoff run. But the Hawks’ aspirations might be the most reasonable of the lot.
Almost 4 1/2 minutes of highlights...
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
With the playoffs less than two weeks out, here’s a look at the issues that are bedeviling some of the league’s top teams.
Ducks: There’s so much to like about this team. They Ducks are loaded down the middle with Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler and Rickard Rakell. Their defense, bolstered by a couple of deadline acquisitions, is as deep and skilled as any group in the league. And they have a couple of quality goaltenders in Fredrik Andersen and rookie John Gibson. The problem is, they don’t seem to have a starter. While both goalies have played well at times, neither has forced coach Bruce Boudreau to leave either between the pipes. Gibson is 6-2 in March but he gave up nine goals in back-to-back losses to the Rangers and Blue Jackets. Andersen has won his past three starts, allowing just five goals, but he posted back-to-back months with a save percentage below .900. Are either of these guys up to the task of being Anaheim’s playoff No. 1?
Red Wings: It’s no wonder that Mike Babcock has taken to calling his goaltending “a bad rerun” The tandem of Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek are taking inconsistency to bold new levels, allowing 48 goals in their past 15 games. Only two teams, Toronto and Edmonton, have been lit up more often since March 1. And a coach who is always talking up the statistical merits of goal differential can’t be happy about his team's 25th-ranked –7. Like Boudreau, Babcock is waiting for a chance to hand the keys off. He just needs to see someone demand them.
from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,
What to give the man who has everything? How about a VIP pass to the 2015 Masters golf tournament. That’s what former Senators head coach Rick Bowness, associate coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning, was presented by Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman. This, on the occasion of Bowness’s 2,000th game behind an NHL bench, on Feb. 7.
“I’m overwhelmed,” Bowness said Thursday. “This is a life-long dream. I’ve always wanted to take my boys to Augusta, St. Andrew’s and Pebble Beach. The other two are public. This was going to be the challenge.”
Yzerman got the tip on what Bowness might wish for, from Bowness’ wife, Judy. Bowness isn’t just going to championship Sunday at the Masters – he and his sons, Ryan and Rick Jr., will be taken to Augusta, Georgia in the private jet of Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, and returned by jet to Tampa afterward.
Bowness said Yzerman acquired the VIP passes by making “a couple of calls.”
Patrick Burke with the explanation.
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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