Kukla's Korner Hockey
No call for the hit.
Pittsburgh @ Washington 8:00 PM ET NBCSN, CBC & TVAS
Should be a very entertaining series and I feel the Capitals have a huge advantage in goal, but I have been wrong before.
Feel free to discuss the game.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
Finding a way to exploit one edge, however minuscule, is usually the difference between winning and losing in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Barry Trotz is well aware. His Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins are so familiar with each other that their tendencies have been broken down ad nauseam on video.
They are more than just division foes. Both teams have players who used to be behind enemy lines. Eric Fehr spent nine seasons in Washington;Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik combined for nearly 1,000 games in a Penguins uniform.
And Trotz has a secret weapon on the bench: assistant coach Todd Reirden commandeered Pittsburgh’s defence for four years.
“There are probably not a lot of secrets,” Trotz said Wednesday. “There are some real defining tendencies that if you can exploit, it can give you an advantage. It might only give you an advantage for one game until they correct whatever you might have exploited, but it's about getting four [wins]. If you can get one, somehow by identifying tendencies or areas that you can exploit, that gives you a one up and then you look to the next thing.”
But who has the edge to start?
Here is the series view from one Eastern Conference pro scout who has seen both Pittsburgh and Washington many times this season:
Evgeny Kusnetsov when asked (roughly translated)...
- Malkin, Crosby - your future opponents in the next series. Much worse than the Flyers! How to stop them?
- "There are coaches, they all show and tell how to play. There, in the "Pittsburgh", are the same people - two legs, two arms, one head."
More of a Q & A with Kusnetsov by Pavel Lysenko of SovSport (Google translate)
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
Now, for the first time since 2009, back when Ovechkin was 23 years old and Crosby just 21, the two NHL titans will collide in a playoff series, with the opportunity to rekindle the head-to-head dynamic that once made this the NHL’s most watchable and compelling individual rivalry.
Back then, this seemed like something we were going to be treated to every spring, or in many springs at least. Instead, these two have gone separate paths for the most part since then, their careers intersecting for a few regular-season games and some international tussles, only to be reunited now with both playing excellent hockey in hot pursuit of the Stanley Cup this spring.
If you missed the Capitals win over the Philadelphia Flyers today, highlights are below...
The Capitals defeated the Philadelphia Flyers today by the score of 1-0.
They will meet the Pittsburgh Penguins next.
added 3:24pm, Watch the handshake line below...
As the GIF shows, it was not his stick. Then five seconds later, another Caps penalty.
Caps overcame the calls with some help from the Flyers.
04:25 Washington Nicklas Backstrom - High-sticking - 4 minutes
04:30 Washington Matt Niskanen - Hooking - 2 minutes
06:55 Philadelphia Ryan White - Stick Holding - 2 minutes
Then Backstrom scores near the midway point of the 2nd, Caps up 1-0.
from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun,
Hours after he didn’t provide much leadership for the Washington Capitals, Justin Williams set out to make amends.
Williams didn’t play smart hockey in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference first-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers, taking eight minutes in penalties in the first half of the game.
There’s no argument that Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth was the reason Philadelphia escaped to force Game 6 on Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center. It didn’t help the Caps’ cause that Williams’ continuous trips to the penalty box made it tougher for Washington to carry momentum.
Following an optional Capitals practice on Saturday at their suburban practice facility, Williams verbally demonstrated why the club signed him out of free agency last summer. Williams’ experience gained through winning the Stanley Cup three times (in 2014 and 2012 with Los Angeles and in 2006 with Carolina) showed when he poured cold water on the idea there is any kind of panic in the Capitals dressing room.
Thanks to the 75 saves made by Neuvirth in the past two games, the Flyers have thrust themselves back in the series and would tie the best-of-seven 3-3 with a win on Sunday. A Caps win and it’s a Washington-Pittsburgh matchup in the second round.
“We just need to take a deep breath, relax and realize the task at hand is winning one game, nothing more than that,” Williams said. “The first round is tough, just like any other round. Nothing’s for free and we have to earn it on the road now.”
Cassie Campbell-Pascall talks with Brent Burns about eliminating the Los Angeles Kings from the NHL Playoffs.
Below and also from Sportsnet,
Michal Neuvirth spoke after his clutch 44-game shutout to get the Flyers another win and push the Capitals to Game 6.
from Jerry Brewer of the Washington Post,
And now, there’s tension.
A joyous, breezy Washington Capitals season finally succumbed to the playoff strain Friday night at Verizon Center. Leading Philadelphia three games to one in this first-round Stanley Cup playoff series, the best team in hockey returned home for a closeout game, turned in a performance worthy of series-clinching victory and somehow still lost. The Capitals lost in a most mystifying and unreasonable manner, a cruel result that hockey sometimes delivers at random.
For a franchise that has a long and painful history of struggling in these moments, this was a torturous way to apply pressure. It’s one thing to choke. It’s another to be tagged by bad luck. After a star-crossed 2-0 loss to the Flyers in Game 5, what was a 3-0 series lead has melted down to 3-2. A potential short series is now a long and taxing one. On Sunday, the Flyers return to Philadelphia for Game 6 with a chance to tie the series and extend it to a full seven games. You can feel Washington’s pressure swelling.
Game highlights are below...
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