Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
Saturday’s defeat eliminated the beloved Los Tiburones from the Stanley Cup tournament three rounds before they went home a year ago when they reached the Final and lost in six games to the Pittsburgh Penguins. But that result was more understandable, if just as non-palatable. The Penguins were a team full of veteran stars who had experienced a previous championship parade. Saturday, the Sharks were finished off by an Oilers’ squad of young whippersnappers, many of whom had never been involved in any postseason games.
It is entirely possible, though, that all of those playoff games last spring and summer, added to some World Cup of Hockey games by several top Sharks, on top of the regular season grind . . . well, all of it could have piled up and helped create what we saw over the six playoff nights.
Pete DeBoer, the Sharks’ coach, said in his postgame media remarks that he did not want to dive too deep into certain elements of what happened because he wanted to give Edmonton proper credit. But then DeBoer finished that remark with the bottom line.
“My gut feeling is, we ran out of some gas here in the last month,” DeBoer said.
Below, catch the highlights and handshakes...
from Mike Boone of Hockey Inside/Out,
The Captain didn’t score.
The All-World goaltender didn’t steal any games.
And – let’s be honest here, peeps – the better team won the series.
It’s going to be a looooooooooooooong summer for Montreal hockey fans.
And, at the risk of getting way ahead of ourselves here, it could be a long 2017-’18 season.
Will it be Carey Price’s last in Montreal?
The goaltender’s contract has one more season. Next summer, Price is a UFA.
The Stanley Cup is the only championship Price hasn’t won.
Is his best shot at glory in bleu-blanc-rouge?
As we say in Quebec, pas évident.
Game highlights of the Rangers 3-1 win over the Canadiens and the handshake line are below...
Home Team in Caps
St. Louis 4, MINNESOTA 3 (OT) – STL wins 4-1
NY RANGERS 3, Montreal 1 – NYR wins 4-2
Edmonton 3, SAN JOSE 1 – EDM wins 4-2
OILERS HANG ON TO DEFEAT SHARKS, ADVANCE TO SECOND ROUND
The Oilers scored two breakaway goals in a span of 56 seconds early in the second period and held off a late push from the Sharks to win their series and advance to the Second Round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Edmonton won its first playoff series since reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2006.
* Anton Slepyshev notched the game-winning goal to become the third rookie in franchise history to score a series-clinching goal, joining Jaroslav Pouzar (Game 4 of 1983 DF at CHI) and Josef Beranek (Game 6 of 1992 DSF vs. LAK).
* Cam Talbot, who shared the League lead and set a new franchise record with 42 wins in the regular season, made 27 saves to improve to 4-2 this postseason with a 2.03 goals-against average, .927 save percentage and two shutouts.
* Connor McDavid scored into an empty net to seal the victory and finish his first career playoff series with 2-2—4 in six games.
* The Oilers will face the Ducks in the Second Round, their second postseason meeting. Edmonton earned a 4-1 series win over Anaheim in the 2006 Conference Finals, which was their last series win before Saturday.
The New York Post's Larry Brooks argues that the Blackhawks' top-heavy salary structure is not the reason that the Hawks were swept by the Nashville Predators:
The stars have to produce, which neither [Patrick] Kane nor ]Jonathan] Toews could do in the series in which Dennis Rasmussen scored Chicago’s only even-strength goal in what became the first 8-1 first-round sweep in NHL history.
Kane scored 30 goals in 68 games in Chicago’s three Cup championship years. When the Blackhawks lost consecutive first-round series in 2011 and 2012, No. 88 scored one goal in 13 matches. Probably not a coincidence.
More than Kane’s production was missing against the Predators, that much is obvious. Supporting pieces were unable to supply the depth that had been a critical part of the team’s championship runs. The defense is a bit too thin. The cap system has inflicted pain the way it is intended on perennial contenders.
But as [GM Stan] Bowman and his staff review the club’s demise following an unexpected 109-point season good for third overall in the NHL, there is no great need to overthink it.
The team’s most dynamic and productive player scored one goal. The team’s biggest stars — including Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov — were rendered mute. That will do it to any team in the NHL the way it always has, even when there was no such thing as a salary cap.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
- Department of Dumb: Fans at Rogers Arena in Edmonton have access to the post-game coach’s press conference and it has led to some screaming and disruptive shouting. This is a working area for the coach and the media. It shouldn’t be available for post-game yelling.
- The Pegula family has taken a lot of heat for the firing of general manager Tim Murray and coach Dan Bylsma, but think of it this way: If you own a hockey team and you don’t think you have the right GM and the right coach, why continue with them? We’ve seen this in Toronto at other times: Too many owners in pro sport are too willing or too naive and therefore easily accept mediocrity.
- So now I wonder in this annoying age of instant replay and coach’s challenges: How many actual offside goals have I watched in my lifetime? ... What the NHL needs to come up: If you challenge a goal and you’re wrong, there has to be some kind of punishment.
- So if you’re Patrik Laine and Zach Werenski, do you go to Las Vegas for the party, where you’re not old enough to drink, or do you pass on the NHL Awards, knowing you’re not winning the Calder Trophy anyhow. Tough call ... I remember Alexander Mogilny refusing to go the NHL Awards because he wasn’t interested in winning any trophy, in his words, named for a Lady. He won the Lady Byng in 2003.
from Michael Russo of the StarTribune,
The Wild didn't go quietly Saturday afternoon, but few will remember the Wild's franchise-best regular season now that the team couldn't even get past Game 5 of the first round.
Once again, the effort was there, and other than the first 10 ½ minutes, so was the better play. But in the end, the Wild couldn't complete a third-period comeback from two goals down by losing 4-3 in a season-eliminating overtime.
"What is this, five years in a row? I'm sick of it," said center Erik Haula, who was elevated when Eric Staal sustained a scary-looking head injury in the second period. "We're all sick of it."
A team with Stanley Cup aspirations, one that went 30-6-3 during a three-month stretch, got career-best seasons from several players and scored a franchise-record 266 goals, ended in a thud to its former coach with eight goals in the entire series, four at 5-on-5.
Below watch the game highlights adn handshakes...
from Neil Best of Newsday,
Rangers fans would watch their team in the playoffs no matter what channel it was on, but clearly they prefer their familiar local announcers, Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti, when given the choice.
Through five games of the Rangers’ first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Canadiens, about 79 percent of the total audience in the New York area — 2.34 percent of homes — opted to watch on MSG or MSG-Plus.
Only 0.64 percent of homes watched on NBCSN.
NBC had exclusive coverage of Game 6 on Saturday night, making it the only game of the series that would not be seen on MSG Network.
This is the first time that coverage of games on NBC’s cable channels is allowed to be shown in the home markets of the teams involved — other than Pittsburgh and Boston — rather than being blacked out.
Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby is a finalist to win the Vezina Trophy for the second consecutive year.
Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens were the other finalists announced Saturday, for the trophy awarded to the goalie adjudged to be the best at this position.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
For a rebuilding team with chronic blue-line issues, Nikita Tryamkin seemed like the hockey gods’ gift to the Vancouver Canucks.
A 6-foot-7 physical marvel who skates like Kurt Browning, the 22-year-old Russian was an unfinished product, but his upside was immense. In two years he projected as a top-four D-man. Beyond that, it’s conceivable he could have been a top-pairing guy and maybe, just maybe, that No. 1 who’s eluded the Canucks over five decades.
Off all the Canucks’ prospects, Tryamkin was the most intriguing talent with the highest ceiling, which is why his decision to bolt for the KHL is a kick in the groin to the organization. More than anyone, Trevor Linden knows this, and while he disputes the circumstances under which Tryamkin left, the Canucks’ president is acutely aware of what he lost.
“He has the potential to be a top-pairing guy and a real difference-maker,” Linden said. “It’s disappointing, obviously. But we just assume everyone wants to live in North America and play in the NHL, and that’s not the case.”
Linden, like everyone with the Canucks, is dealing with the fallout of Tryamkin’s fateful decision and its wider implications. It will impact the expansion draft and its aftermath. It will impact their draft-day decisions.
No update on his condition at this time.
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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