Kukla's Korner Hockey
Babcock has the intelligence and fortitude to ignore the copious din that will surround him. He might be the only man in the world who can effect change in Toronto, if he is allowed to do his job. Perhaps, the Leafs will break from their history, and actually let him do it.
-Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch where you can read more on Mike Babcock and the Leafs.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Game 6 on Tuesday night against the Lightning will mark the Rangers’ 100th game of a season that began in St. Louis on Oct. 9 — every day of which the team has had the singular goal of hoisting the Stanley Cup.
If the Rangers lose this game, if they are eliminated in the conference finals, their season can only be evaluated as a failure. Not a failure of character or will, not at all. But a failure nevertheless.
Harsh but true, given the standard they have set for themselves.
No grading on a curve here.
If they win — if they stave off extinction as they did three times against the Capitals in Round 2, as they have done in 14 of their 17 win-or-else games since 2012 and in five of eight on the road — then the Blueshirts get to define themselves again Friday in Game 7 at the Garden.
from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,
It was the first time the Hawks have lost under Joel Quenneville after a series was tied 2-2. They had been 14-0 in Games 5 and 6 in such situations, the league’s ultimate closers. Now they face the daunting task of having to win two elimination games in a row to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in six years.
It could have been one of the greatest comebacks in Hawks history, one of the unlikeliest wins for a team with a long list of them. Down 4-2 with time ticking away and Corey Crawford on the bench, Toews unleashed a monster slap shot off the iron and in with 1:50 left to make it a game. Then, with 37.2 seconds left, his seemingly harmless fling on net from the corner behind the goal line somehow got through Frederik Andersen — an unimaginably soft goal in such a situation — to tie the game, and stun the Honda Center crowd into utter silence.
“We’ve been through that before,” Patrick Sharp said. “We won the Stanley Cup with two goals in 17 seconds. They don’t get much higher than that. It’s a good series. Good team over there, good team in here.”
And the Ducks, as they have all series long, rebounded in a big way, right away. They have yet to lose in regulation this postseason.
“It’s Ducks hockey,” Kesler joked. “We don’t like to do anything easy.”
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
This was the kind of game that could have haunted the Anaheim Ducks forever.
It was the kind of game that could have destroyed a Stanley Cup dream and perhaps stained the career of netminder Frederik Andersen for good.
And in an instant, when Matt Beleskey snapped home the rebound of a Ryan Kesler shot just 45 seconds into overtime, the Ducks stared back those doubts and specters and instead found themselves one win away from a trip to the Stanley Cup finals.
In the wake of their epically improbable 5-4 overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks Monday night, the Ducks tore down at a little of the mythology of the Blackhawks, and in doing so mythologized themselves a little.
"We wanted this game and we believed we could win this game," said forward Patrick Maroon, who scored what appeared to be the insurance marker in the third period to give the Ducks a 4-2 lead. "I think the guys feel good about it. I think the guys feel good about going into Chicago in Game 6 and ready to play."
Game highlights are below...
The Anaheim Ducks' 5-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night was nothing less than wild and woolly. Jonathan Toews' 2 late-3rd-period goals gave erased a 4-2 deficit (and the Ducks' initial 3-0 lead) and forced overtime...
But 45 seconds into overtime, Matt Beleskey erased the Hawks' comeback, and gave the Ducks a 3-games-to-2 series lead via a 5-4 OT victory:
The puck drops just after 9:00pm ET on NBCSN, CBC and TVA.
Game 5 is in Anaheim tonight with the series tied at two games apiece.
One team will be facing elimination on Wednesday, who will it be?
Feel free to discuss the game tonight as it plays out.
Choosing a college coach isn't what will define Hextall's courage. He could have chosen a Labradoodle and won the same number of Stanley Cups if he doesn't have the guts to defy owner Ed Snider (or at least fool him) with a plan that will require a patient rebuilding of the roster. Snider is still wed to the patch-and-fill philosophy that kept the franchise from becoming relevant on a long-term basis under general managers Bob Clarke and Paul Holmgren. If that doesn't change, then the coach will. Again....
Coaches don't change cultures in the NHL. It isn't about the coach. Players create the culture and they are the ones who decide whether it will rise or fall. The rest is just yelling from behind the bench and putting the cones on the ice at practice.
-Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer where you can read more abou the Philadelphia Flyers.
from Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times,
In three games following the multiple-overtime games in this year’s playoffs coming into Game 5 of the conference final, Hossa has no points and a minus-2 differential. In the 11 other playoff games, he has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) and a plus-6 differential.
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville has been cognizant of managing Hossa’s time on the ice in recent seasons. Hossa was given several “veteran’s-practice-off” days during last year’s playoffs. And it was working magnificently — Hossa scored nine points (one goal, eight assists) and was a plus-7 in six games against the Wild in the second round of the playoffs.
But eventually, Hossa wore down at the end of the conference final against the Kings. In the final six games, Hossa scored one point (an assist) and was a minus-5. After the 5-4 double-overtime victory in Game 5, Hossa had the lowest Corsi percentage (29.0) of the season in Game 6. He wasn’t all that much better (41.1) in Game 7.
Hossa as much as any Hawk gives it all he’s got. You can see the determination in his game. But the reality is that after 17 seasons in the NHL, he is challenged more than most to maintain his level of impact as the minutes pile up. In nine games after playing 20 or more minutes in the last two postseasons, Hossa has one point (a goal) and is a minus-8; in the other 24 games, he has 23 points (three goals, 20 assists) and is a plus-12.
from Scott Powers of ESPN,
The Ducks entered the series with the game plan of being physical on the Blackhawks and especially taking it to their top-4 defensemen -- Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Brent Seabrook and Johnny Oduya. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has become even more reliant on those four defensemen after Michal Rozsival suffered a season-ending injury in the second round.
The Ducks have followed through with that plan and put 99 hits or 45 percent of the hits on the Blackhawks’ top-4 defensemen. Hjalmarsson has absorbed a series-high 32 hits and is followed by Oduya at 29, Seabrook at 24 and Keith at 14.
Seabrook acknowledged Sunday what the Ducks were doing.
“They're coming hard, they're being physical, got a fast team,” Seabrook said. “But we got a pretty good group back there. Our forwards are doing a good job at helping us out, making it a little easier for us coming back, and limiting odd-man rushes, coming back and presenting themselves so we can get the puck out of the zone quick, not take as many hits.”
As for whether he can feel the hits affecting him?
“You know, I feel fine,” Seabrook said.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville also thought it was a non-issue.
from Chris Nichol's of Today's Slapshot,
Elliotte Friedman was on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 on Monday morning.
On what he expects with the San Jose Sharks in terms of their coaching situation, and how Dan Bylsma has been making the rounds:
“Honestly – that’s a great way to phrase the question – I honestly don’t know. I was told he was going to interview about 20 guys and I think he’s taking a good run at that.
“I believe he’s interviewed Bylsma. Somebody told me he hasn’t, but I believe he will or has. I know he’s interviewed Peter DeBoer. He’s interviewed Dave Lowry. I heard he did a phone interview with Rob Zettler, but he’s probably not the candidate. Another name I heard they’ve been talking to out there is Dave Quinn, who’s the coach of Boston University. Adam Oates was out there last week.
“I think it’s still possible that he may interview some guys who are still alive in the playoffs, like Trent Yawney in Anaheim. I also wonder about a couple of guys – Kevin Dineen in Chicago and Scott Arniel in New York. These are guys who are legit candidates and I wonder if anybody is going to wait to speak to them after their teams have been knocked out.
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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