Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sean McIndoe of Grantland,
No team celebrates its history more than the Montreal Canadiens, and you can decide for yourself whether that’s a good thing. The franchise has become legendary for reminding us about its legends. That often takes place during inspiring pregame ceremonies that the Canadiens have elevated to a minor art form, thanks largely to no small amount of practice.
It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it works beautifully, as it did before Saturday night’s Game 5 of the Habs’ second-round series against the Lightning. In the moments leading up to puck drop, we were treated to a brief video featuring words of inspiration from Jean Beliveau, the longtime Canadiens captain who passed away earlier in the season. Beliveau remains one of the most universally beloved figures in the hockey world, and his no. 4 is painted on the ice behind the nets at the Bell Centre.
That number loomed over Saturday’s game: four, as in the series-clinching fourth win that the Lightning were chasing for the second straight game. Four, as in the number of consecutive wins the Canadiens would need to string together after having dropped the first three games of the series. Four, as in the number of teams in NHL history that have rallied all the way back from a 3-0 series deficit.
So how about some slow motion highlights from the past week in the NHL...
“Let’s talk about the Caps losing Friday and Sunday. Losing Friday in New York, which might well have been expected. Losing last night, which was not expected. Losing last night at home, fighting back, from 2-0 and 4-1, but not getting there. Not getting there, threw 45 shots on Henrik Lundqvist, and didn’t get enough goals. Didn’t do it. Lost the game. There are people in town who are going to tell you this is not a choke. And it’s not yet. It’s not a choke yet. There are people in town who are going to tell you it’s a very, very close series. And you know, the Rangers came in with more points, better team all year. That’s all true. But if you go 3-1 up and then you lose that series. The only way mathematically you can lose it is to lose three games in a row. That’s all there is.”
“You lose three games in a row in the playoffs when you had established dominance, if you lose three games in a row to whomever you lose it, you’re a choking dog. And there’s no other way of looking at that.”
-well known sports personality Tony Kornheiser. More at the Washington Post.
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
- The NHL Players’ Association will meet in New York City in the first week of June for its annual board meetings, and part of that will include formulating responses to the rule changes proposed by NHL general managers in March. The competition committee meeting between the two sides is tentatively scheduled for June 4th. At the top of the agenda will be using three-on-three in overtime next season.
The GMs threw out a couple of options, and the players have yet to formally respond. More and more, however, there seems to be a sentiment that there needs to be a trial period to evaluate this rule change. One option would be to try it out during the pre-season, then hold off on implementing it until the 2016-17 season if the results are favourable. The union sees the way in which shootouts have gradually lost popularity as a warning to just implementing three-on-three play without actually understanding the impact.
- The NHLPA is becoming increasingly concerned with the drop in scoring during the regular season and playoffs, which makes sense because lower statistics can impact bonuses, arbitration and contracts. Meanwhile, more and more you’re hearing out there that a growing number of coaches, players and executives believe that the move a decade ago to take out the red line for the purposes of two-line passes has proven to be a failure, producing a style of low-scoring hockey few contemplated.
more hockey topics...
Home Team in Caps
NY Rangers 4, WASHINGTON 3 – series tied 3-3
ANAHEIM 3, Calgary 2 (OT) – ANA wins series 4-1
PERRY DOUSES FLAMES, LIFTS DUCKS INTO CONFERENCE FINALS
Matt Beleskey tied the game less than one minute into the third period and Corey Perry scored the winning goal at 2:26 of overtime to propel the Ducks to the Western Conference Final for the fourth time in franchise history and first time since 2007, when they captured their first Stanley Cup.
* The Ducks improved to 14-9 in 23 all-time playoff games in which they could eliminate their opponent, including a 10-2 record at Honda Center.
Each night during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, former NHL goaltender Jamie McLennan provides his Post 2 Post rankings for every goaltender in action. Each goaltender will receive a score out of five based on their performance. On Sunday, an impressive Henrik Lundqvist helped the New York Rangers force a Game 7, while his Washington Capitals counterpart, Braden Holtby, had a game to forget.
Rangers 4, Capitals 3
Henrik Lundqvist - 4 - Lundqvist was brilliant on Sunday night with too many big saves to list, but he's certainly the reason they are playing a Game 7. He faced 35 shots after two periods - the Caps got to him in the third - but he still found a way to make big saves on Alexander Ovechkin, Joel Ward and Evgeny Kuznetzov in the period.
Braden Holtby - 2 - Holtby had some rebound issues early, but made a few big saves to keep it only 1 - 0. Although the Chris Kreider goals were not good, you can't lay blame on him for a lot of missed assignments in front of him.
continue to TSN for Duck/Flames goaltending from last night...
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from Rich Hammond of the OC Register,
Slamming doors is considered rude, except in the NHL playoffs. Then it’s simply prudent.
The Ducks ended their second-round series Sunday with their Game 5 3-2 victory over Calgary, and the Ducks improved to 2-0 in games with a chance to eliminate the opponent. They swept Winnipeg in the first round.
Now it’s on to the Chicago Blackhawks and the Western Conference final. The Ducks have advanced past the second round for the first time since 2007 and also have given indication that this team has changed for the better. In 2013 and 2014, the Ducks didn’t close the door, then saw it get slammed in their faces.
Two years ago, the Ducks led Detroit 3-2 in the first round, then lost Game 6 on the road and Game 7 at home. Last year in the second round, the Ducks led the Kings 3-2 and the same scenario repeated.
``I think we’re more composed than last year,’’ Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. ``I think the experience, as much as we didn’t like it, in the end it helped us. That’s a really big positive. … We lost to the Stanley Cup champions. We lost in Game 7 and that lingered with us all year. They would like to make amends.’’
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
No team in the history of the Stanley Cup playoffs has ever come back from 3-1 deficits to win best-of-sevens in back to back seasons.
But now, the Rangers get the chance to make that history. The Rangers get to try to pull off the Houdini escape act they pulled last year against Pittsburgh in Round 2 again on Wednesday, when they will play Game 7 against the Caps at the Garden.
They have made it this far, have made it back to Game 7 in the wake of Sunday’s 4-3 victory here in which Henrik Lundqvist’s spectacular 42-save performance prevented the sky from falling on the Blueshirts, who nearly conspired to blow an early 4-1 period lead.
But they did not blow the lead. They would not go down. Lundqvist would not allow it.
Now, it is the day after tomorrow that is another day.
Game 7. A chance to make history.
A chance to survive.
“I’m exhausted,” Lundqvist, his face bearing a sheen of sweat under a Broadway Hat appearing as battered as the goaltender, said after surviving an onslaught over the final 15:35 after his team took a three-goal lead.
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
In time, the disappointment of how it ended – with a gutting 3-2 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks – will be mitigated by the unexpectedly successful season they had. But that knowledge did nothing in the short term to temper the disappointment they were feeling in the Calgary Flames’ dressing room Sunday night, when their remarkable, unexpected run to the second round of the NHL playoffs came to an abrupt end in Death Valley, aka the Honda Center.
The Ducks, who’d dominated the Flames at home for the better part of a decade, found a way of pulling one out of the fire Sunday.
Unlike the first two games in the series, which Anaheim dominated and won by a cumulative 9-1 margin, the Flames gave them a much harder time of it in Game 5.
Calgary never trailed in the game until Corey Perry scored 2:26 into overtime to give the Ducks another in a season-long string of come-from-behind victories. Anaheim dominated the overtime, but it wasn’t until Perry banged in a loose puck from the crease, after surviving a scary moment earlier in the game, that the Ducks finally put the Flames away.
“It’s sad that our season is over,” said Flames’ coach Bob Hartley, “but the boys battled hard. There are lots of long faces in this locker room. They wanted to keep going. I’m very proud of our group. Tonight, is not a good night. It’s a tough loss to swallow, but at the same time, we knew that with a young team, we had to take some lessons – and tonight is a tough one.
“Looking at the season, looking at the playoffs, the Ducks stepped it up and in the third period and in OT, we had no answers for them.”
Below, watch the Perry OT goal, handshakes, etc...
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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