Kukla's Korner Hockey
Three teams face elimination from the 2008 NHL Playoffs with their next game.
All three of the San Jose Sharks, the Colorado Avalanche and the New York Rangers being down 3-0 in their series, which team seems most likely to win their next game and extend their playoff hopes?
from Mark Herrmann of Newsday,
The decisive moment of the game was won by the fresher team. Everybody on the ice was dog tired during the Penguins power play late in the second period, but the action was so fierce that nobody could get to the bench. What happened was that the Penguins wore down the Rangers and Evgeni Malkin, 21, scored the goal that broke a tie at 3 and the Rangers’ back.
Youth is being served experience on the fly.
“We don’t have a choice. I mean, this is the playoffs,” said Ryan Malone, one of the guys who was struggling to stay on his feet toward the end of that power play. Before this season, he had played in all of five NHL playoff games with no points.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
By the middle of the third period last night, even the New York Rangers’ notoriously diehard fans in the upper reaches had thrown in the towel, turning their anger on their heroes and finally on themselves in a series of punch-ups.
Down on the ice, the Rangers were punchless by the third period, having thrown everything they had at the Pittsburgh Penguins, only to run up against goaltender Marc-André Fleury, who has never been bad in this NHL playoff series, but was far better last night than his Rangers counterpart, Henrik Lundqvist, for the first time.
From David Shoalts at the Globe & Mail,
In fact, the team chemistry is such that head coach Michel Therrien does not want to change it even though veteran forward Gary Roberts is healthy enough to return to the lineup. Roberts, who played a big role in the first two games of the first round of the NHL playoffs before suffering a groin injury, was told in the morning that he will not play in Game Three of the Eastern Conference semi-final against the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.
With the Penguins holding a 2-0 series lead and Adam Hall playing well in Roberts’ place, Therrien decided to leave things as they are.
“We want Gary Roberts back in the lineup but we want him back at the right time,” Therrien said. “If we bring him back, who are we going to take out? We have great chemistry right now.”
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Because the Penguins are blessed with a handful of the game’s most talented players, the coach’s role in the team’s successes will always be undersold. “Ah, anyone could coach those guys,” the radio call-in guys will suggest. But if the team falters, the blame will fall squarely on Therrien’s shoulders.
“I’m not afraid to make changes and keep the players on their toes, too,” Therrien said. “To be a Stanley Cup champion, it’s demanding.”
He’s trying to teach his players that.
“They’re young. They could easily lose their focus because they’re young,” Therrien said.
So he’s on them. Constantly.
from Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
It happened in the neutral zone, away from the puck.
Avery, the New York Rangers’ resident coward, came up from behind—as cowards often do—and took two chopping slashes at Crosby’s left wrist….
In a quieter moment after yesterday’s media session, I asked Crosby if he thought Avery was trying to injure him.
“He wasn’t going for the puck,” Crosby said. “He was going for my wrist.”
A call to the Rangers’ media relations office yesterday seeking comment from Avery wasn’t returned.
Carefully choosing his words, Crosby went on.
“Obviously, he was trying to make me feel it a bit,” he said. “I don’t know if it was a direct intent to hurt me or anything. ... I guess he was just letting me know that he’s there.”
From David Shoalts at the Globe & Mail blog,
Don’t look now, but a New York Ranger was spotted in the opposition’s goal crease, holding up his arms and waving like a marooned sailor on a desert island.
No, it wasn’t the attention-starved Sean Avery this time but the allegedly classy veteran Brendan Shanahan. His technique was different than Avery’s but the intent seemed to be the same, to block Pittsburgh Penguin goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury’s view of the puck. [...]
Avery’s tactics drew a vow from the NHL that any further antics would result in an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty but Shanahan did not get whistled down. However, the Penguins professed no alarm about this because, they said, the referees told them if the Rangers scored a goal it would have been disallowed.
Update 4:31pm ET: Some words from Stan Fischler on what it will take for the NYR to get back into the series with the Pens
Huh? Well, Mike Lange of course…. Hear it at Empty Netters...
from Mark Spector of the National Post,
If New York can’t win this game—a grinding affair in which Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin combined for one assist and just five shots on goal—is there any game of any type that the New York Rangers can devise to climb back into this series?
Surely this series can’t be over even before it really starts. Can it?
“Just like the Jersey games, we’re looking to win them 3-1, 2-1, 3-2—that’s playoff hockey, I think,” said New York’s Chris Drury. “I’m sure their meetings [before Game 2] were mirror images of ours. They didn’t want to play 5-4 games, either.
“I felt like we had some good chances. But when you come away from the game without any goals, you’ve got to do more.”
added 8:50am, from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
“That’s one thing about our team, we can do it both ways,” said 19-year-old Jordan Staal, who scored the first Pittsburgh goal and is doing a checking job any veteran would admire.
“We’re great defensively, we’re solid on both sides of the puck,” Staal added. “This team really seems to find ways to win and that’s what we did today. This team has matured so much, especially from last year.”
from Mark Spector of the National Post,
Pittsburgh won more puck battles, gave up less quality chances than the Rangers, and the Penguins’ 23-year-old goaltender, Marc-André Fleury was as good as he had to be and better than the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist, a 26-year-old Vezina candidate. Fleury’s workload through two games of this series has not been as difficult as Lundqvist’s, but the only numbers that matter are two fewer goals against for Fleury, and two more wins.
“It was 1-0 with 15 seconds to go. That’s how small the difference between these two teams is,” Lundqvist said. “We just have to go back home, and still feel confident that we can beat this team. Go back to New York, worry about ourselves, get two wins.”
more on the Pens/Rangers game today….
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