Kukla's Korner Hockey
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from Alex Kinkopf of LAKings.com,
Like we've come accustomed to in recent years, the Los Angeles Kings are taking their postseason push into the final stages of the NHL's regular season. Not all hope is lost, however, especially with a roster that has continually proved to come up big in high-pressure situations.
With six games left on the regular season slate, the Kings find themselves on the outside looking in at the Western Conference’s playoff picture. As of Wednesday, as the Kings prepare to start a two-game home stand at STAPLES Center, they’re slated as having a 61.1 % chance of qualifying for the playoffs.
HOME COOKIN’: The Kings return to STAPLES Center Thursday night, where they’ve posted a 22-9-7 record this season, for two match ups (EDM Thursday, COL Saturday) where extremely earnable points are up for the taking. Edmonton is already eliminated, and Colorado is on the cusp of being such. These are four points the Kings are in dire need of.
PACIFIC PUSH: It’s very much in the Kings’ favor that they will see both of the teams they’re chasing in the Pacific Division, Calgary and Vancouver, one more time each respectively. These will be huge opportunities for the Kings to gain ground in four-point game scenarios. What’s also helpful to the Kings, is the fact that they have one game in hand on each of these division foes.
from Ken Cambell of The Hockey News,
Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland has lost a lot of good people over the years – Steve Yzerman, Jim Nill, Todd McLellan and Paul MacLean to name just a few – so he’s obviously pleased the NHL reversed its stance on providing compensation for teams who lose executives to their rivals. Even if it means that if he loses his head coach this summer, nothing will be coming back the Red Wings way.
As first reported by Pierre LeBrun of espn.com, about eight months ago the league quietly reversed itself on the issue of compensation. Any team hiring someone from another organization who is under contract to be a GM, coach or president, must now compensate the team losing the staffer with a draft pick. If the hiring is done in the off-season, the team hiring the new man must surrender a third-round pick. If it’s done mid-season, the pick becomes a second-rounder.
NEW YORK (April 1, 2015) – Ottawa Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond, Calgary Flames center Jiri Hudler and Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the month of March.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Now after a dominant performance in Detroit – despite the tight result, the Senators outshot the Wings 34-17 – here is the situation: The Sens are three points behind the Bruins. They have a game in hand, but the Bruins have the tiebreaker with more wins in regulation and overtime.
Ottawa’s schedule down the stretch: Tampa Bay, Washington, at Toronto, Pittsburgh, at New York Rangers, at Philadelphia.
Boston’s schedule down the stretch: at Detroit, Toronto, at Washington, at Florida, at Tampa Bay.
“I think we can do it,” MacArthur said. “I have a good feeling about our team. We’re going to lay it on the line and see what happens. We made a great push. We shouldn’t even be in this position, and the guys stepped up. Obviously Hammy’s a big part of that.”
Obviously he is. Hammond, a.k.a. ‘The Hamburglar,’ has fans throwing McDonald’s onto the ice because he has come out of nowhere to go 15-1-1 with a 1.85 goals-against average, .938 save percentage and two shutouts. Two seasons ago, he was wrapping up a four-year career at Bowling Green State University. Last season, he played for the AHL’s Binghamton Senators – except for one 11-minute relief appearance with the big club. Now this.
from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,
Winnipeg’s hold on its playoff destiny is shakier than ever after Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the previously-stumbling New York Rangers.
Losses to Chicago and New York, both on home ice and both on late, third-period goals, have left the Jets at the mercy of the trailing L.A. Kings, just two points back with a game in hand.
Thanks to a matchup with Calgary in the final game of the regular season, the Jets are still guaranteed a spot if they win out.
That might not be necessary.
But ending this before it turns into a three-game skid is.
That’s five times this season now the Jets have failed to rebound from tough, late-goal losses to win the following game.
The good news: each time the losing “streak” ended at two.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Almost one month has gone by since the passing of the trade deadline, and the playoffs are just two weeks away. So, how are the deals making out? Who's hitting his stride and who's tracking sideways? Hey, we get it, don't judge until someone's carrying around the big silver Cup in June. But it's interesting and more than a little illuminating to see just how well the new pieces have fit into the puzzles of their new teams.
Marek Zidlicky, D, Detroit Red Wings
The Wings have actually gone a little sideways since the trade deadline, with just five wins in 14 games before Tuesday night's matchup with the Ottawa Senators, but you can't fault Zidlicky, who filled a long-standing need with his big right-handed shot. He's scored three power-play goals, including one game winner, and has nine points in total since being acquired from the New Jersey Devils. Playing with Brendan Smith as the team's third pairing, the experience of Zidlicky, 38, should continue to pay dividends as the playoffs unfold.
Tyler Myers, D, Drew Stafford, RW, Winnipeg Jets
Hard to imagine this deal working out any better for a Jets team that continues to scratch and claw its way toward its first playoff berth since moving from Atlanta. Myers, 25, the former Calder Trophy winner as rookie of the year, has rediscovered his confidence after it looked like he might be permanently derailed in Buffalo. Stafford, 29, has played top-six minutes and shown a penchant for producing goals and assists in a timely fashion. With the Jets dealing with injuries to top offensive players and Evander Kane gone to Buffalo in the deal, Stafford's contributions have been key to the Jets' playoff effort. Stafford told ESPN.com this week that the weight of losing took both a mental and physical toll in Buffalo, and he couldn't be happier to be back in the hunt for a postseason berth. The Jets are counting on contributions from both Stafford and Myers to extend beyond the end of the regular season.
OVECHKIN REACHES 50-GOAL MILESTONE IN CAPITALS’ WIN
Alex Ovechkin posted 1-1—2, including his League-leading 50th goal of the season, to power the Capitals to their sixth win in their last eight games overall and fifth victory in their past seven meetings with the Hurricanes dating to Dec. 20, 2013 (5-1-1).
* At 42-25-10 (94 points), the Capitals moved within one point of the idle Islanders (45-27-5, 95 points) and Penguins (42-23-11, 95 points) for second place in the Metropolitan Division. All three teams have 38 ROWs.
* Ovechkin reached the 50-goal milestone for the sixth time in his career (and second straight season). Only five other players in NHL history have recorded as many 50-goal seasons: Mike Bossy (9), Wayne Gretzky (9), Marcel Dionne (6), Guy Lafleur (6) and Mario Lemieux (6).
STAMFORD, Conn. – April 1, 2015 – For the fourth consecutive year, every NHL Stanley Cup Playoff game will be presented nationally across the platforms of NBC Sports Group and select NBCUniversal networks. During April, May and June, NBC Sports Group will televise as many as 105 playoff games and possibly more than 260 hours of programming. It all begins two weeks from today on Wednesday, April 15.
Coverage will be presented on NBC, NBCSN and NHL Network, as well as NBCUniversal’s USA Network, the No. 1 cable entertainment network, and CNBC, NBCUniversal’s business channel. This marks the first time USA Network will present NHL Stanley Cup Playoff coverage since 1985. CNBC has provided Stanley Cup Playoff coverage since 2012.
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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