Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Stephens of the OC Register,
Weeks of winning that the Ducks carried into the postseason started to trigger feelings that a long Stanley Cup playoff run might be in their future. Four goals into their net in a ping-pong third period showed they’ve got a lot of work ahead of them.
If the Edmonton Oilers didn’t already serve notice that they were ready for prime time with their first-round win over San Jose, they were making themselves heard with goals by Mark Letestu and Adam Larsson just 100 seconds apart for a two-goal lead early in the third.
And then when the Ducks stunned them with a quick comeback, Larsson came through again as his goal with 4:40 left in regulation Wednesday night ultimately lifted the Oilers to a 5-3 Game 1 victory in a barn-burner opening chapter of a Western Conference semifinal that created hope for a classic best-of-7 series.
A sellout Honda Center crowd that was mostly sent into stunned silence and then roaring with delight in a matter of minutes ultimately left unfulfilled as an eight-game Ducks winning streak dating to the end of the regular season was suddenly over. And the pockets of Oilers faithful were rejoicing.
“In reality, we really couldn’t think we were going to win every game,” said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, whose team also saw a 15-0-3 run from March 12 also end. “We’ve had so much success. … Sometimes things aren’t going to go your way every night.
“Because it’s a playoff game and we battled back and we had a lead and we battled back from a 3-1 deficit to make it 3-3 in our building, those are the things you try to build on. We have to have more from our group, it’s as simple as that.”
Game highlights and a dust-up video are below...
Nashville 4, ST. LOUIS 3 – NSH leads 1-0
Edmonton 5, ANAHEIM 3 – EDM leads 1-0
THRILLING THIRD PERIODS HIGHLIGHT OPENING NIGHT OF SECOND ROUND
The Predators and Oilers each had their 3-1 third-period leads erased before receiving late game-winning goals – from Vernon Fiddler (14:55) and Adam Larsson (15:20), respectively – to win the opening games of their Second Round series.
* Larsson’s marker was the fourth go-ahead goal in the final five minutes of the third period this postseason. The others were scored by Boston’s Brad Marchand (17:27, Game 1 at OTT), St. Louis’ Jaden Schwartz (17:33, Game 2 at MIN) and Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf (15:14, Game 2 vs. CGY).
Taken off the ice on a stretcher.
from Rory Boylen of Sportsnet,
It’s a term the Canucks have shied away from the past two playoff-less seasons. These days, “rebuild” goes hand-in-hand with “tanking,” which is something the Canucks don’t believe they need to do for their fortunes to turn around. It’s not an option as the Sedin twins come to the end of their careers.
“I don’t know how I walk into the room and tell these guys, ‘Strip it down.’ I’m not sure it’s fair to these guys. There’s different circumstances, be it in Toronto or Carolina or Vancouver, that require different routes. It’s not perfect, but I’m encouraged by the young players we’ve introduced, and we’ve got some young prospects,” Linden told Sportsnet’s Luke Fox in a wide-ranging interview from December 2016.
But after finishing as one of the NHL’s bottom three teams for the second year in a row, leading to the hiring of rookie NHL head coach Travis Green this week, Linden finally admitted this is, indeed, a rebuild.
The comment section is yours, use it if you chose.
My picks to win tonight are Nashville and Anaheim.
Nashville @ St. Louis, Game 1, 8 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, TVAS
Edmonton @ Anaheim, Game 1, 10:30 p.m., NBCSN, SN, TVAS
NEW YORK (April 26, 2017) – Edmonton Oilers head coach Todd McLellan is one of three finalists named today for the 2016-17 Jack Adams Award, presented to the head coach who has "contributed the most to his team's success." The National Hockey League announced the finalists for the award today. Mike Babcock of the Toronto Maple Leafs and John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets are the other finalists.
Members of the NHL Broadcasters' Association submitted ballots for the Jack Adams Award at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 21, during the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Following are the finalists for the Jack Adams Award:
update 5:50pm on 4/26/17, sticky has been removed and the original post was made on 4/24/17 at 9:45am.
Most of you know the drill, pick the winner of each second round series and add anything you wish to your comment.
The matchups are below and this post will remain sticky until Wednesday at 6pm ET.
If you want to review your first round picks (I went 4-4), do so here.
from Scott Cullen of TSN,
Scott Cullen has 86 points to make before the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
1. Starting with the 2006-2007 season, when Anaheim won the Stanley Cup, Ducks C Ryan Getzlaf has put up 97 points in his last 92 playoff games. He’s going to be a handful for the Oilers defence.
2. There was a lot of talk about Marc-Edouard Vlasicgetting matched against Oilers C Connor McDavid in the first round, but it will be at least as interesting to see how Ducks D Hampus Lindholmhandles that matchup in the second round. In 52:48 against Lindholm over the past two seasons, McDavid has a 54.9 CF%, but just one goal and no assists, with 2.27 GF60 notably lower than McDavid’s standard of 3.47 GF60.
3. The expectation is also that Ryan Kesler’s line will be taking on McDavid. Kesler had team-worst possession stats (38.4 CF%) against Calgary in Round One, but no forward has seen McDavid more over the past two seasons than Kesler, who has played 77:10 against No. 97.
from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,
Lightning star wing Nikita Kucherov delivered some pointed and strong criticism on his teammates and coaches Wednesday.
Kucherov, preparing to play for Russia at the World Championships, told Sovietsky Sport that some teammates "overstayed" with team, "got their money and stopped working." Kucherov also wondered why the team's lines were changed like a "kaleidoscope."
"Some guys overstayed in team," Kucherov told Sovietsy Sport, per translation. "They've got their money and stopped working. They knew there's no competition for their positions and the organization is not going to take someone else. They played not really well this year. You can see it in their stats and way of play. When we played together and I made a pass, they even were not expecting this. That's why this season was hard for me despite good stats."
continued which includes more from Kucherov...
from Jeremy Rutherford and Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
In the past two years, the Blues' combined postseason record is 5-7 at home and 9-4 on the road. They are 1-1 at home and 3-0 on the road this season, after going 4-6 at home and 6-4 on the road last year.
"Especially when you have home ice, you want to win your home games," Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said. "It's one of those things, late in the year, we've played well on the road, won some games. We feel comfortable playing wherever. If there's something to improve, our home record could be a little better. In the first round, did we win one at home? That's a pretty small sample size though. You prepare like anything else. You want to win the games and take advantage of home ice."
Blues coach Mike Yeo obviously wasn't around last season, and said he doesn't have an opinion on it, but did say "looking at our play on the road, we're going into tough buildings, and I think there's an understanding of how we have to play the game and make sure that doesn't change when play at home. That's part of the challenge. It's the beauty of the game is how you prepare and how you get ready for your opponent and I think watching what (Nashville) did in round one makes it pretty easy for us in terms of our preparation and how we have to approach how we handle them."
In sweeping Chicago, Nashville won Game Nos. 1-2 at United Center by a combined score of 6-0. Goalie Pekka Rinne made 59 saves in the back-to-back shutouts for the Predators.
Rinne said Wednesday that the Preds will try to bring some of that confidence they gained from winning in Chicago to St. Louis.
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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