Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Spin at the Toronto Star,
ll the negative stories in the world - the corporate brawl over the Phoenix Coyotes, the absurd non-suspension of Carolina’s Scott Walker - couldn’t obscure the fact that two games Monday night, the Canucks-Hawks thriller and the OT contest between Washington and Pittsburgh, delivered as much of everything as a hockey fan could want.
You can take your 1-0 and 2-1 games if you want them. Me, the 5-4 Caps win and the 7-5 Chicago triumph represented hockey at its best, a terrific combination of skill, hitting and passion that produced an entertainment package that no other sport could match if the NHL could ever find a way to deliver it on a consistent basis.
It’s the greatest game on earth, particularly when it’s allowed to be.
We’ll leave the Caps and Pens for now since there’s another game in that series to be played. Chicago, meanwhile, roared back from a 4-3 third period deficit and in so doing obliterated the myth of Roberto Luongo for now, if not for good.
Lead by the youngsters Patrick Kane (3 goals) and Jonathan Toews (2 goals), the Blackhawks defeat the Vancouver Canucks 7-5.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
Hours before his Vancouver Canucks enter the pressure cooker of an elimination game in the Stanley Cup playoffs, head coach Alain Vigneault continued to place the burden on his top players like goalie Roberto Luongo, forwards Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows to perform better against the Chicago Blackhawks tonight.
Vigneault remarked on Sunday before his team flew to Chicago for game six of the second-round series, in which the Blackhawks lead 3-2 after a 4-2 victory in Vancouver on Saturday evening, that Burrows is “not himself” and “he’s got nothing.”
Burrows stated today that Vigneault hasn’t conveyed those sentiments face-to-face, but Vigneault wasn’t backing down before the critical game.
“He’s one of them obviously,” said Vigneault, when queried as to whether Burrows needs to step up his play. “I haven’t put the list in order. There still is time for them to find another level.”
from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,
Right now, in two hotels in two different cities, about 50 NHLers are doing a lot of soul-searching. As members of the Vancouver Canucks and Washington Capitals, their seasons are very close to ending – and they’re not ready to stop playing hockey just yet.
In both cases, a series has slipped away. The reasons therein are different, however.
For the Canucks, who will go into the raucous United Center to take on the Chicago Blackhawks Monday, reverting to bad old habits has backed Vancouver into a 3-2 corner….
A little bit east in Pittsburgh, the Washington Capitals are also wondering what went wrong. If anything, their road should have gotten easier in Game 4, when Pittsburgh defenseman Sergei Gonchar was knocked out of commission (knee) by Alex Ovechkin. But the Gonchar incident has been more curse that luck, as the Caps have been snake-bitten ever since….
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
The Hawks head into Monday night’s Game 6 with a 3-2 advantage in the best-of-seven series and can advance to the conference finals with a victory over the Canucks at the United Center.
“It’s going to be a chance for us to close it out and go to a place maybe we didn’t think we could get to in the conference finals,” winger Patrick Kane said. “We’re excited for it. We’re going to bring our best game, and I’m sure they will too.”...
“We have to come ready to go knowing they’re going to come [hard] right off the bat,” said Hawks winger Dustin Byfuglien, who had two goals Saturday. “It’s not going to be an easy win. They’re going to battle right to the end. They’re more than capable of coming in with a great game. We just have to weather it.”
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles at the Chicago Daily-Herald,
There aren’t enough superlatives to describe how well the Hawks’ defensemen are playing against the Canucks.
Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Brian Campbell, Cam Barker, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Matt Walker are deciding the series, just as they did in the first round against Calgary. Keith and the rest of the defense are too fast for the slower Vancouver forwards. They’re moving the puck out of trouble and getting it to the forwards, taking the punishment in the process.
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
Dave Bolland’s game-winner came with five minutes remaining and after a high-sticking penalty on Vancouver’s Kevin Bieksa. That was one of several penalties that drew protest from the 18,630 in attendance. Fans were also disgusted by a holding penalty on Ryan Kesler in the final four minutes and twice littered the ice with debris.
“Those two penalties to Bieksa and Kesler were, in my mind, deserved,” Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault said. “We’ve got a lot of players right now, without naming anyone, who can play better.”
read on for more on the Canucks/Blackhawks game…
Chicago skates into Vancouver to take game 5 with a 4-2 victory over Vancouver.
That’s makes two road teams with victories on Saturday, will the trend continue on Sunday?
from Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun,
Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin has hardly been under siege in the Chicago Blackhawks NHL playoff series against the Vancouver Canucks.
Four games into the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal, he’s faced only 83 shots. That’s good news for both him and the Blackhawks because his save percentage is a dismal .867. Imagine if the Canucks actually tested him 35 times in a game. Even 30….
They understand they’ll have to be vastly improved in the shot department if they intend to prevail in tonight’s pivotal Game 5. The series is tied 2-2.
“Chicago is a pretty good group and they play smart defensively,” Canucks winger Alex Burrows said yesterday. “They always have three guys in the neutral zone and they have good backside pressure. Once we get the puck deep, their defencemen are able to skate it and move it.
“I think we have to have that shooting mentality. That’s how you’re successful in playoffs.”
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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