Kukla's Korner Hockey
Well what a night that was! Three Game Sevens and now we start the second round later today.
Before the second round starts let’s take a look at how we did predicting the first round.
Huge night for hockey fans out there! Kings, avs and rangers are my picks!— anthony brodeur (@abrodeur30) April 30, 2014
I will put my own predictions up to bat:
Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL Talk, NHL Playoff Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Welcome to the late late show!
Having three series extend to the full seven games it meant a lot of meaningful hockey last night and it all started at 7 p.m. EST and ended at …
So how did the teams do last night?
Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, NHL Talk, NHL Playoff Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
While the Kings’ top players have been surging, the opposite can be said for the Sharks’ big guns, several of which have been missing in action lately as the team prepares for Game 7 on Wednesday night.
Forward Brent Burns is scoreless in the last three games, and has just one even-strength point in the series other than a Game 1 empty-net goal. Captain Joe Thornton has not found the scoresheet since Game 3, and after finishing second in the league in assists, has just one helper through three games with a -4 rating. His only even-strength point of the series was his goal to open Game 1.
Joe Pavelski, the league’s third-leading goal scorer, has two goals and six points in the series but has been unable to finish on some prime chances lately. He has just one combined shot on goal in the last two games. Patrick Marleau scored the overtime winner in Game 3, and after getting eight shots on goal in Game 4, he was as bad as anyone on the Sharks’ side in a team-wide lackluster Game 5 performance. Marleau was credited with a game-high four giveaways to go with five shots that missed the net in the 3-0 home loss.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
"We can treat this as the Stanley Cup Final. This game is huge," Doughty said Tuesday. "We can't get any further without a win, so I think that's how we're looking at it. This is the biggest game of our lives, of our careers, and there's no option but to win."
The Kings played a Game 7 against San Jose in the second round last season, but that series unfolded much differently. Last spring the Kings had home-ice advantage, and they don't have it this time. Each of their first two losses a year ago was by a 2-1 count — the first in overtime and the second in regulation — and this season they lost the first two games by a cumulative 13-5.
Each game of last season's series was won by the home team, but that hasn't happened this time. The Sharks won Game 3 at Staples Center in overtime and the Kings retaliated by blanking the Sharks in Game 5 at SAP Center on Saturday.
"It's not our most conventional way to go through a series," forward Mike Richards said, "but you've got to win, I guess, in different ways."
from Rory Boylen of The Hockey News,
If you’re coaching a decisive playoff game where your job hangs in the balance, I’d imagine you’d want to know and have confidence in who your starting goalie is.
Todd McLellan won’t have that luxury.
By starting rookie Alex Stalock in a Game 6 loss to Los Angeles, McLellan opened the door of uncertainty for a rookie without any playoff experience. Granted, Stalock had a .932 save percentage in 24 games this season, but a Cory Schneider/Roberto Luongo situation this was not. You have to keep going with your Stanley Cup winning, Vezina Trophy finalist.
But by turning to Stalock in Game 6, there is no clear choice for Game 7.
One happy coach, Darryl Sutter...
One unhappy coach, Todd McLellan...
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
Sharks captain Joe Thornton was a hot topic in the Kings’ dressing room after Game 6.
Late in the third period of the 4-1 Sharks loss Thornton ran over Drew Doughty, prompting the referee to raise his arm on an interference call. As Thornton turned away from the play he was grabbed from behind by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, resulting in a large scrum in the corner with every skater involved.
“Drew was just trying to box me out and I was trying to go to the net, and just overpowered him, that’s all,” Thornton described later.
Quick has acted borderline foolishly several times during the first round series, including a pair of dives with Mike Brown around the crease, and a laughable moment in Game 3 when he grabbed Logan Couture’s leg and wouldn’t let go when the Sharks forward was in front of the net.
Riling up the goaltender isn’t an uncommon occurrence, according to his teammates.
Jarret Stoll said: “He’s a fiery guy, he cares and he has a lot of pride. He doesn’t want guys touching him in the crease throughout the course of the game. We’ve seen that from Quicky, no big deal.”
continued and watch the incident below...
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
Sharks goalie Alex Stalock will make his first career playoff start on Monday night, while defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic did not make the trip and will not play due to an upper body injury suffered on Saturday. The Sharks will try for a third time to close out the Kings in Monday night’s Game 6 at Staples Center, and lead the best-of-seven first round series, three games to two.
Stalock has come on in relief of Niemi in each of the last two games, stopping all 26 shots he’s faced, including 22 in Game 5.
That should help.
“I think so, playing in both rinks, too,” Stalock said. “Getting a feel for the series, the speed and intensity. Obviously, get a chance to start tonight, and it will be a lot of fun.”
“It’s a chance to close out the series, and that’s the ultimate goal.”
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
The Sharks have a goalie decision to make. It shouldn't be a tough one.
Alex Stalock, come on down.
There was no official word Sunday that Stalock will indeed be replacing Antti Niemi in net for Monday night's Game 6 against the Los Angeles Kings. But anyone with two eyes who has watched Niemi struggle in the last two games would surely reach that conclusion.
Todd McLellan has two eyes.
"We've got to think about that and decide," the Sharks coach said Sunday, insisting he hasn't yet made up his mind.
from Daniel Brown of the Mercury News,
Sharks coach Todd McLellan was in no mood to elaborate on Vlasic's status after a 3-0 defeat in Game 5 at SAP Center.
"There is an obvious answer: He didn't return after the blow he took the head from Stoll,'' McLellan said coolly. "He has an upper-body injury. Call it that."
When asked if Vlasic would be OK to play Monday in Los Angeles, McLellan said simply: "I don't know."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org