Kukla's Korner Hockey
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."
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
“We just gave ourselves a chance to play another game,” Kings center Anze Kopitar said of Game 6, which will be Monday at Staples Center.
“It's a Game 7, obviously, for us again. We're going to enjoy this one tonight and start getting ready tomorrow and same old story, really.”
The Sharks lead the series, three games to two. And Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said he felt like the task was even more daunting, not less so, as L.A. tries to become the fourth team to rally from a 3-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“We came this far to get two,” Doughty said. “And now we need to get two more. … We need to take it one at a time, but that puts even more pressure on us because we can kind of smell it.”
There were only a few similarities to Game 4. But there was a key one: For the second consecutive game, the Kings chased the Sharks' No. 1 goalie, Antti Niemi, who turned in another uneven performance. Niemi gave up three goals on 19 shots, and was pulled just 22 seconds into the second period when King forward Jeff Carter's shot banked off the skate of defenseman Brad Stuart and past Niemi to make it 3-0, on the power play.
added 8:07am, Meanwhile, from the Sharks point of view...
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Their big guys played big, the leaders led by fearless example, and the Kings, on the brink of going home for the summer, got the result they so urgently needed, a 6-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday at Staples Center that extended their season by at least one more game.
"We're alive," said winger Marian Gaborik, who played a huge part in resuscitating them by scoring their first and fifth goals....
"If your best players are your best players, it gives you an opportunity to win," said winger Dustin Brown, who responded to being promoted to the first line alongside Gaborik and Anze Kopitar by setting up Gaborik's first-period goal and scoring into an empty net with 1 minute 28 seconds to play.
"I know we had a lot of contributions from a lot of players, but you win and lose with the top guys."
Gaborik alone was worth the price of admission and undoubtedly drove up his free-agent signing price this summer by a few hundred thousand dollars.
from Rich Hammond of the Los Angeles Register,
How does a strength become a weakness, seemingly in a matter of days? That’s the riddle the Kings are trying to solve in this first-round series against San Jose, and they’re running out of time.
The Kings, who allowed the fewest number of goals in the NHL in the regular season, have given up 17 in this series, and face a 3-0 deficit going into Thursday night’s Game 4 at Staples Center.
“Anything is possible,” Kings center Mike Richards said Wednesday. “If you’re still playing hockey, you still have a chance. You just can’t look at the mountain and expect to do it all at once. … You can’t win four unless you win one.”
Can the Kings slow the Sharks? Consider that the Kings haven’t allowed more than 17 goals in any three-game span since early in the 2007-08 season, when they allowed 18. The Kings also allowed 17 goals in Games 4-6 of the 2010 first round against Vancouver and lost all three games and the series.
What’s the problem? Well, it’s more of a flood than a leaky faucet. Goalie Jonathan Quick has been OK, but not great. The defense has been flat-footed at times. The forwards have turned the puck over excessively.
LA Kings mascot takes down the Sharks mascot...
Bailey may be facing a fine/suspension!
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 email@example.com