Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
While St. Louis was flying around them, the Kings’ players repeated the same talking points that have pushed them this far. Keep working hard. Keep finishing checks, and believe at some point it’s going to turn.
It’s one thing to say it, but these Kings now truly believe it. Captain Dustin Brown said these seeds of confidence were planted during a stretch of home games in mid-March. The Kings beat the Red Wings. They doubled up the Predators. They crushed the Sharks and found a way to beat the Blues 1-0 in a shootout. A Los Angeles team that should have been good all season started to realize it really was.
For Quick, the team confidence grew even more when the Kings found a way to make the playoffs down the stretch, earning crucial point after crucial point until they finally clinched a spot.
Then came a first-round series win against the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Canucks, and the Kings’ confidence is now entrenched.
“What it comes down to is aside from hard work, talent, skill and determination, it’s just a belief. A belief in yourself,” said Dustin Penner, whose fantastic pass to Slava Voynov set up the Kings’ first goal of the game. “It’s a belief in your teammates and a belief in the system you’re playing. Just knowing you’re going to get that huge save, that big block and timely goal—just believing that.”
Dwight King received 2 for boarding for this hit on Alex Pietrangelo who did not return to the game.
The LA Kings continued to play a tight, defensive game and it lead to a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Blues tonight.
Defenseman Matt Greene had the game-winning goal, as he joined Dustin Brown on a shorthanded rush and was left alone in front of the next after the original shot was stopped by Brian Elliott.
added 10:23pm, Watch the Greene goal below, this time Chris Cuthbert of TSN with the call.
I am looking forward to both games today.
Washington has a little more offensive firepower than the Rangers but the Capitals could be shut down by the defense of New York.
To me, the key to the series is Marian Gaborik, how he goes, the Rangers go.
Kings/Blues may be the most physical series of the Conference Semi-Finals. A lot of big bodies on the ice for both teams, this should be a seven game series.
Key to this series is the goaltending of Quick.
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
If the players thought the atmosphere ramped up in Round 1, it will only intensify now that the field has been whittled down to four teams in the Western Conference and four in the Eastern Conference.
“You wake up this morning and there are 22 teams out and there are eight in ... that’s significant,” said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, who has been in the second round six times in his coaching career, winning one Stanley Cup. “That’s a lot of teams out, a lot of good teams are not playing. Especially in the West, I’m sure all four teams think this is the best chance we might ever have to get to the finals. When you get down to eight teams, it really boils down to who wants to play and who wants to play the longest.
“I’ve always said the first two rounds are the best two rounds because you’re the freshest, you’re the healthiest. I believe the third and fourth rounds become survival for both teams. But I think these first two rounds are the best two rounds, period. The hockey in this round will be even better than the first round.”
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
If ever an NHL playoff series should be sponsored by Starbucks, it surely would be the one featuring the Kings and the Blues.
The bar was set when they didn’t score in their last meeting, on March 22, needing four rounds of a shootout to decide the issue. Kings Coach Darryl Sutter joked the other day that without a shootout they might still be playing that game.
Game 1 is tonight in St. Louis and the fear of multiple overtimes is well-founded, keeping in mind the defensive prowess of the teams and the considerable talents of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, a Vezina Trophy finalist, and his Blues’ counterpart, Brian Elliott.
Purists embrace the absence of the shootout when it comes to playoffs. Even some purists, however, embrace the concept of sleep, which may be in short supply after Kings-Blues games.
NEW YORK (April 25, 2012) – The National Hockey League today announced the schedule for the first four games for both of the Stanley Cup Playoff Western Conference Semifinals.
The series between the Phoenix Coyotes and Nashville Predators will begin on Friday, April 27th, and will continue with Game 2 on Sunday, April 29th, with both games being played in Phoenix. Game 3, in Nashville, is scheduled for Wednesday, May 2nd and Game 4 will be Friday, May 4th, also in Nashville.
The series featuring the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings will begin on Saturday, April 28th, in St. Louis. Game 2 will be Monday, April 30th, also in St. Louis. Games 3 and 4 will be played in Los Angeles on Thursday, May 3rd and Sunday, May 6th, respectively.
The complete Eastern and Western Conference Semifinals schedule, including start times and television information, will be released upon conclusion of the Conference Quarterfinal round Thursday night.
The Blues beat the Sharks tonight by the score of 3-1 and wrap up the series 4-1.
David Perron had the game winner midway in the 3rd period.
from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
The forecast for tonight at Scottrade Center calls for cold beer and warm feelings. Loud voices will be heard, and there could be dancing at the corner of 14th and Clark. The town is cranking up for a celebration.
The Blues lead the San Jose Sharks 3-1 in the best-of-seven Western Conference playoff series. One more win, and the Blues advance to the second round.
The fans and this franchise have waited a long time for this chance to embrace postseason success. The Blues haven’t won a postseason series since a five-game elimination of the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round in 2002.
from Ray Ratto of CSNBayArea,
Todd McLellan made all the adjustments a coach can possibly make between Games 3 and 4 of this Western Conference quarterfinal series, but the one change he needed to make, he couldn’t.
As a result, he left HP Pavilion and headed east with his team, this quote ringing in the rafters:
“We have to feel good about the way we played, (and) s—-ty about the results.”
Yes, the St. Louis Blues won again, 2-1. Yes, they lead in the series 3-1. Yes, one goal came on a power play, and one came in the aftermath of another. Yes, the better team won again.
But having changed all four of his lines, having tweaked the penalty kill, having gotten snippy at Wednesday’s practice, and in general having emptied out the coach’s traditional bag of tricks, he and the Sharks came up with deuces and treys again. They are now left with only platitudes to toss into the air in hopes that one will catch a zephyr to God’s ears.
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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