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Kevin Bieksa Is Playoff-Tough

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

On Tuesday, Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle pronounced Bieksa’s name with a distinct air of respect, and with good reason. “We like Kevin Bieksa,” Carlyle said. “I don’t care what anybody else says about him, personally.”

Carlyle and his coaching staff appreciated the physical price Bieksa paid on Monday in the Ducks’ comeback for a 5-4 overtime victory over the Flames, which gave them a 3-0 advantage in the best-of-seven series that resumes Wednesday in Calgary.

A popular target in the Flames’ strategy of being physical against the Ducks’ depleted defense corps, Bieksa twice went to the locker room for repairs but contributed two assists and a stellar block on a Calgary two-on-one rush. “It felt like a playoff game,” Bieksa said, and he didn’t have to say anything else.

Carlyle said he believes Bieksa’s competitiveness is a good example for his teammates, and it certainly fueled what Carlyle called Bieksa’s best performance of the season. Bieksa took no penalties, dished out two hits and turned the other cheek, never straying from Carlyle’s game plan.

“And he holds other people accountable. I’d like to say that he’s going to play mistake-free hockey, and I would say no because that’s the type of player he is and I don’t think there’s a player on the ice surface who doesn’t make mistakes,” Carlyle said.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kevin+bieksa

Time For The Washington Capitals To Show Up And Play

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,.

Call it an overreaction if you will, but this is it. The Alex Ovechkin-era Capitals, perennial playoff underachievers, need to show us what they're truly made of.

"You're going to see our best game tomorrow," Capitals head coach Barry Trotz said Tuesday.

In a series pitting a massively experienced and deeply talented squad versus a wet-behind-the-ears but also very talented team, what's puzzling is that it's the graybeards making more mental mistakes. It's the older team looking like it is lacking confidence, the veteran squad easily rattled by any change in momentum.

Is there just too much riding on this season, which long ago was scripted as the last kick at the can for this roster?

Said a rival Eastern Conference head coach of free agents such as T.J. Oshie, Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk, "if they don't win it this year, that group is going to be broken up. It seems like they're weighted down. It's almost like they've got to have a come-to-Jesus moment. Maybe it happens with their backs against the wall here. Maybe they get through that and play now. But it seems like that team has the weight of the world on them."


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Have No Fear, The Pittsburgh Penguins Will Be Better On Thursday

from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

The Penguins are going to be fine even if their 5-4 loss to Columbus in Game 4 Tuesday night qualified for that worst-performance category.

It would have been nice if the Penguins had wrapped up the first-round series with a sweep if only because it would have meant more time to rest and heal before the next round against Washington or Toronto. But it was unrealistic to expect four consecutive wins. Columbus is a proud team, a 108-point team in the regular season. It wasn’t going to go quietly into the off-season even if it had to play without its best player, defenseman Zach Werenski, who was lost for the rest of the playoffs after a gruesome facial injury in Game 3.

The Penguins didn’t match the Blue Jackets’ intensity and desperation, didn’t come close, actually. They were horrible again in the first period. Marc-Andre Fleury wasn’t at his best. His teammates gave him very little help, allowing 34 shots on goal, many of them high-quality. Sidney Crosby and linemates Jake Guentzel and Conor Sheary —the best line in hockey through the early portion of these playoffs — were a combined minus-7 and finished with just one point, Guentzel’s cosmetic goal with 27.6 seconds left.

But it’s just one loss.

It was a delay of the inevitable, not a denial.


Watch the highlights from the Penguins 5-4 loss to the Blue Jackets below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

An Ugly Loss For The Edmonton Oilers Against The San Jose Sharks

from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,

The Edmonton Oilers didn’t need to be reminded that despite San Jose’s age, injuries and tepid start to the series, the Sharks are still a lethal force in the playoffs.

But the Sharks reminded them anyway.

They reminded them with a humiliating slap in the face Tuesday night at the Shark Tank, whipping the Oilers for fun in a 7-0 Game 4 beat down that evened the best-of-seven series 2-2 and shook the upstart Oilers to their core.

If the first three games of the series (3-2, 2-0 and 1-0) were a coin toss, this was taking a roll of Loonies, putting it in a sock and beating Edmonton senseless with it.

It was ugly. The winning goal came at the 15 second mark. It was 5-0 by the midway mark. The seven-goal margin of defeat was the worst playoff loss in Oilers franchise history.

“We were bad tonight, obviously,” said captain Connor McDavid in a sombre Oilers dressing room. “That’s not our team, that’s not our game. We haven’t been like that all year. It was a one-off. We take the game tape and throw it away.”


Watch the game highlights below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The New York Rangers Adjust, The Montreal Canadiens Fail To Match

from Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,

...puck management was referenced a great deal after New York’s 2-1 defeat of the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series; the teams are now knotted at two victories each in the best-of-seven, and Game 5 is set for Thursday night in Montreal.

The formulation was used by both Habs coach Claude Julien (short version: my team was bad at it) and by his good friend and rival Vigneault (condensed version: we were pretty good).

Essentially, the Habs were undone by their propensity to give the puck to the other guys, particularly in the second period.

But more generally, the crisp, tight, quick defensive play that Montreal used to claw back a Ranger lead in Game 2 and which allowed them to roll to a 3-1 win in Game 3 simply evaporated.

This was not entirely their fault.

“Sometimes when I stand here and answer questions, it’s as if there was only one team on the ice,” said a mildly exasperated Max Pacioretty, the Habs’ captain.

It should be said he’s more put out at his own play; after scoring 35 goals and leading the team with 67 points, he has just one assist to show after four postseason games.


Game highlights are below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Video- Leon Draisaitl Spear On Chris Tierney

via Daniel Mano of the Mercury News,

Draisaitl shoved his stick between the legs of Sharks center Chris Tierney in a cringe-inducing spearing that led to Draisatl’s five-minute major penalty and ejection.

“Just feel a stick groin in my groin, so obviously it doesn’t feel well at the time,” Tierney said after the Sharks’ 7-0 win. “Just kind of dropped and went to shake it off. Takes a couple minutes to recover from something like that. But felt OK the rest of the game.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chris+tierney, leon+draisaitl

NHL Short Notes

Home Team in Caps
NY RANGERS 2, Montreal 1 – series tied 2-2
COLUMBUS 5, Pittsburgh 4 – PIT leads 3-1
SAN JOSE 7, Edmonton 0 – series tied 2-2
The Sharks rebounded from consecutive shutout losses with a 7-0 victory to even their series with the Oilers.

* San Jose matched a franchise record with seven goals in a playoff game, achieved in Game 4 of the 1999 Conference Quarterfinals at COL (7-3 W) and Game 2 of the 2014 First Round vs. LAK (7-2 W). The Sharks also established a franchise record with four power-play goals in a playoff game.
* Elias notes that the Sharks became the first team to win a postseason game by a seven-goal margin since the Penguins in Game 4 of the 2012 Conference Quarterfinals at PHI (10-3 W). Elias adds that the Sharks became the first team to do so in a playoff shutout since the Rangers in Game 3 of the 2007 Conference Quarterfinals vs. ATL (7-0 W).
Joe Pavelski (2-1—3) opened the scoring 15 seconds into the contest to establish a franchise record for the fastest goal to begin a playoff game, eclipsing the mark set by Dany Heatley in Game 1 of the 2011 Conference Quarterfinals vs. LAK (0:28).
Brent Burns (0-3—3) matched a playoff career high with three assists (also Game 5 of 2016 FR at LAK).
Martin Jones (23 saves) recorded his fourth career postseason shutout (all w/ SJS); only Evgeni Nabokov has registered more in franchise playoff history (7).

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Videos- Rick Nash You Can’t Do That And How Many Canadiens Do You See

No doubt a penalty but Price did embellish a bit too.


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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

T-Mobile Arena Will Host 2017 NHL Awards And NHL Expansion Draft

NEW YORK (April 18, 2017) – The National Hockey League today announced that the 2017 NHL Awards™ will return to Las Vegas and include the NHL Expansion Draft™ in a two-hour television program. The 2017 NHL Awards ™ and NHL Expansion Draft ™ will celebrate the League’s top talent from the 2016-17 season and reveal the initial roster of the League’s 31st team, the Vegas Golden Knights™ on Wednesday, June 21 at T-Mobile Arena.

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Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Open Post- Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff Games

Discuss if so inclined.

I say a win for NYR, CBJ and SJS.

Montreal @ NY Rangers, MTL leads 2-1, 7 p.m., CBC, TVAS, NBCSN, MSG
Pittsburgh @ Columbus, PIT leads 3-0, 7:30 p.m., SN360, TVAS2, CNBC, FS-O, ROOT
Edmonton @ San Jose, EDM leads 2-1, 10 p.m., SN, TVAS, NBCSN, NBCSCA

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com


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