Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Let’s get this out of the way up front: I’m not counting the Blues out. The Note is certainly up against it, trailing the Minnesota Wild 3-2 in the best-of-seven series. The Blues must win Sunday’s Game 6 to haul the series back to St. Louis for a final showdown.
I don’t rule out a win in St. Paul. Since the calendar flipped to 2015 the Blues have played their best hockey on the road, revving up for an impressive 16-4-3 record that includes Games 3 and 4 of this series.
We’ll see how the Blues will choose to confront their potential demise in Game 6. Can they win two consecutive games, survive and advance to a spot in the second round?
I’m highly skeptical, because this team is so fragile.
I really believed that would change after the Blues’ emphatic statement in their 6-1 victory in Game 4. Refusing to slide into a 3-1 series deficit, a skittish team that had been so easily dismissed in three previous Stanley Cup tournaments finally put up a fight and trounced the Wild.
But just when you thought it was safe to believe the Blues would show up and doggedly protect their home-ice advantage in Game 5, they had another letdown.
from Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune,
from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times,
To be a goalie is to be the target for target practice, the easy excuse for every goal and the person most likely to be benched. Yet goalies eat their gruel and ask for more.
Saturday was another reminder of the job’s wild extremes and why, given a choice, an aspiring goalie might want to seek more stable employment, such as bomb defuser.
Scott Darling, the biggest sports story in Chicago a few days ago, was pulled after allowing three goals in the first period and likely won’t see the ice again during the playoffs. Corey Crawford, treated like a communicable disease around town last week, took Darling’s place to huge roars at the United Center and even louder ones when the Blackhawks came back to beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 and advance to the next round of the playoffs.
It would be a miracle if neither of these guys has major trust issues in life.
There would seem to be no turning back now for coach Joel Quenneville as it concerns his goalies. Crawford replaced Darling with 11 minutes, 16 seconds left in the first period, and it will be a shocker if we see Darling again in the playoffs. A coach can’t keep yo-yoing his goalies like this. Make a decision and stick with it.
In the end, when the horn went off, there seemed to be extra meaning in the hugs that teammates gave Crawford. First Duncan Keith, who scored the winning goal, then the rest of the Hawks, who know what Crawford has been through.
from Scott Mitchell of the Calgary Sun,
The thing about playoff hockey is the longer you play, the harder it gets.
Minutes after dispatching the Vancouver Canucks in six games thanks to a rousing come-from-behind 7-4 win at the Saddledome on Saturday, the Calgary Flames quickly turned their attention to the Anaheim Ducks.
And the Honda Center.
It’s been a house of horrors for the Flames, who haven’t won in Orange County in the regular-season since 2004.
They did pick up a win at The Pond in the playoffs back in the ’05-06 season, but lost that series in seven games.
“Thanks for reminding me,” quipped Flames winger Jiri Hudler, whose sensational two goal, two assist performance in the clincher helped book the date with the Ducks.
Can they change their fortunes in Southern California?
“We hope so,” Hudler said. “We’re going to play hard and we’ll see what happens.”
Here is the NHL's recap...
Below, Sportsnet's has a shorter version...
The Calgary Flames rallied from a 3-0 deficit to pull of a staggering 7-4 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night, advancing to the second round, where they'll play the Anaheim Ducks.
Jiri Hudler scored the game-winner for Calgary, scoring 6:14 in:
The Blakhawks have defeated the Nasville Predators 4-3 to win the series 4-2.
They will meet te winner of the Minnesota/St. Louis series.
Ron MacLean and Don Cherry discuss key players that have stepped up, and will step up for their teams as Stanley Cup quarterfinal action draws to a close.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Can’t find many folks who believe Mike Johnston will get a second go-round behind the Pittsburgh bench.
Evgeni Malkin is in at a $9.5 million annual cap charge through 2021-22, so good luck to the Penguins trying to start their rebuild/retool by moving No. 71 for a package that might include the elite winger Sidney Crosby desperately needs by his side.
How many times in the five-game series against the Rangers — and how many times throughout the year — was Crosby wide open in great scoring position but failed to get the puck?
Seriously, it’s not like Wayne Gretzky ever had, say, Bill Berg on his line.
Oh wait. Yes, he did. Never mind.
Though you would have to say that No. 87 bears some responsibility of his own for having scored in two of the Penguins’ last 23 playoff matches.
more topics including concussions and 'Katy Perry'...
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
- Would it make sense in Philadelphia for the Flyers to pull a John Gibbons and bring back John Stevens to coach? It makes sense for Ron Hextall.
- There’s something comforting about turning your television on in an American hotel room, finding the hockey game and hearing Gord Miller or Chris Cuthbert doing play by play. It’s like comfort food.
- An NHL executive on Cody Franson: “He’s a good player on a bad team, a below average player on a good team.”
- Why an Eastern team might be the Stanley Cup winner: Better goaltending.
from Jeff Simmons of Sportnet,
The Philadelphia Flyers continue to search for a new head coach and their short list includes Dallas Eakins, according to Sportsnet’s Damien Cox.
Eakins, 48, was considered to be one of the fastest-rising coaches in the industry prior to a rough two-season stint with the Edmonton Oilers. Under Eakins, the Oilers went 36-63-14 before the club dismissed him this past December.
continued and the video has more topics...
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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