Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
It's still a bit jarring to look at the Atlantic Division standings and have to search all the way to the fourth spot to find the Boston Bruins. But, that's exactly where the Bruins are after Monday's 3-2 loss in Anaheim that kicked off a four-game west coast trip.
The Bruins began the season in salary cap hell, having to off-load solid defender Johnny Boychuk who is now thriving for the New York Islanders. Then there were injuries to the blue line including the loss of captain Zdeno Chara. Still, not so long ago the Bruins had won eight of 10. However, Monday's loss, in which they launched 34 shots at Ducks netminder Frederik Andersen, is their third loss in the last four outings (one was in overtime).
With Montreal and Tampa Bay both winning Monday and Detroit on fire, the preseason notion that the Bruins would somehow automatically find themselves at or near the top of the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference standings has yet to be proven true.
read on for more topics from the ESPN hockey writers...
LIGHTNING SWEEP RANGERS, MOVE INTO FIRST PLACE . . .
Trailing 3-2 late in the second period, the Lightning scored four unanswered goals – including three in the final frame – to defeat the Rangers for the third time in the past 15 days and complete their season sweep.
* At 17-6-2 (36 points), the Lightning moved into the top spot in the NHL standings. Their 17 wins and 36 points are franchise records through the first 25 games of the season.
* The Lightning improved to 12-3-1 since Oct. 28, including four consecutive victories. They pace the NHL with 90 goals this season, 11 more than the next-closest team (PIT).
* Tyler Johnson recorded 2-1—3, marking his second multi-goal game and sixth multi-point performance of the season. (He established a career high with 0-4—4 Oct. 28 vs. ARI.) Johnson is tied for sixth in the NHL with 18 assists, while he shares seventh with 26 points in 25 games.
via Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Vinny Lecavalier had trouble sleeping on Sunday night - and it had little to do with the 3-hour time difference on the West Coast.
That's because the Flyers' coaching staff notified him then that he'd be out of the lineup tonight against the Sharks.
The fact that Lecavalier would be a healthy scratch for the first time in his illustrious career really hit him yesterday, though, when he saw his name penciled next to injured player Ryan White on the fifth line for practice at SAP Center.
"It's very hard to take," Lecavalier said. "It was a tough night, when you're told something like that. I talked to [coach Craig Berube]. We had a conversation, but I'm out of the lineup. It's as simple as that."
Watch as linesman Derek Amell is hurt after taking a slew foot from a Colorado player.
Amell did miss some time but did return to finish the game.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The Bruins, who began a four-game Western trip Monday with a 3-2 loss at Anaheim against the Ducks, and will face the Kings on Tuesday at Staples Center, have been rocked by injuries to franchise defenseman Zdeno Chara (left knee), big-bodied defenseman Adam McQuaid (broken thumb), and skillful forward David Krejci (undisclosed), among others. The Bruins are fourth in the Atlantic Division and lead the wild-card standings in the East, short of what is expected of a team that won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and lost to Chicago in the 2013 Cup Final.
“We've faced a lot of adversity this year, but I think at the same time, it makes you a stronger team. It builds a lot of character, and you know how to handle it down the road if that presents itself again,” center Patrice Bergeron, a two-time winner of the Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward, said Monday morning.
“I think it is somewhat a good thing. We can learn from it and relish the challenge and keep trying to get better as a team. It's never getting satisfied, and getting the job done no matter who's in there.”
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
This isn’t last year, when Henrik Lundqvist’s game bottomed out for a variety of reasons over the first three months of 2013-14. This hasn’t been close to that bad.
But the first two months of 2014-15 haven’t been close to good enough from Lundqvist, who has surrendered too many unsightly goals and has had way too many borderline nights for a team that isn’t good enough to overcome mediocrity in nets.
Lundqvist’s save percentage dropped to .905, 31st in the 30-team league among goaltenders with 10 or more starts after Monday’s misadventure in which he surrendered five goals on 20 shots — including a back-breaking softie for the winner — in the Blueshirts’ 6-3 empty-net-abetted defeat to the Lightning at the Garden that marked the team’s third loss in three games within 15 days to conference-leading Tampa Bay.
from John MacKinnon of the Edmonton Journal,
If they made a film about this 2014-15 Oilers team, they’d title it The Blunder Boys, and it has veered from comedy into farce.
The Oilers constant repetition of mistake after giveaway after gaffe has become a joke, as team captain Andrew Ference emotionally underscored after their 5-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night.
The Oilers blooper reel of gaffes, giveaways, pratfalls and collapses is feature-film length about now, just 25 games into an NHL season gone horribly wrong. The mistakes by the 6-15-4 Oilers blur into one by now, don’t they?
The Oilers performance Monday night is the sort that gets coaches fired, if not coaches and general managers as a package, deserved or not. When a team — a talented one — is bumbling along in this fashion, something has to happen. It’s that simple.
Ference, for one, clearly believes the onus for failure falls squarely on the players, not the coaches.
added 9:10am, Watch Ference's post-game remarks below...
Three minutes of highlights from the NHL games last night.
Last night the New York Rangers recognized the 1000 points for Martin St. Louis.
Unlike last week when the NHL Network showed the one hour ceremony of Lindros/LeClair Flyers Hall of Fame ceremony, the NHL Network did not start their broadcast of Lightning/Rangers until just before the puck dropped.
So here is the ceremony from last night.
from Rich Hammond of the OC Register,
''It’s pretty simple,’’ defenseman Drew Doughty said. ''We just need to be a better hockey team. We know the potential we have when we’re on our game, and we haven’t lived up to that potential hardly at all, this entire season. All of us in here, we know what we’ve got to do to be better, individually and as a team.’’
Doughty estimated that the Kings have been satisfied with their effort in only approximately half of their 24 games this season.
''We’re not panicking because we know the experience and heart we have on this team,’’ Doughty said, ''and we know that we’re going to turn it around.’’
Early-game play remains a significant concern for the Kings, who have held a lead after the first period in only one of their last eight games.
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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