Kukla's Korner

Open Post- Today’s Stanley Cup Playoff Games

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Feel free to discuss the NHL Playoff games today.

The Caps are up 3-2, Tampa/Detroit tied at 2, Chicago up 3-2 and the same with Calgary.

 

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Scott Darling

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The goaltender with the top saves percentage among those who have been the clear number one goalie in the playoffs so far is Scott Darling of the Chicago Blackhawks.  He is posting a 1.67 GAA and a .950 saves percentage.  These are outstanding numbers.  He is the latest in a string of unknown goalies who has a significant hot streak at the start of their careers before regressing to more average numbers.  This season there has been Michael Hutchinson of the Winnipeg Jets and Andrew Hammond of the Ottawa Senators who have fit that pattern.  Both are significant reasons why their teams made the playoffs.

Darling is a 26 year old who has only 14 games regular season experience.  In fact he has only 28 games AHL experience.  Most of his career has been played in lower level professional leagues and in the NCAA.

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Jim Rutherford And Mike Johnston Will Return In Pittsburgh

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

The Penguins aren't firing their coach or their general manager following a first-round exit in the Stanley Cup playoffs, president and CEO David Morehouse said Saturday.

“I know there's been a lot of speculation out there, but (co-owners) Ron (Burkle) and Mario (Lemieux) never once considered a change,” Morehouse said. “Jim Rutherford's our general manager, and Mike Johnston's our coach.”

Morehouse pointed to injuries as a major reason for the Penguins' struggles this season. They lost 371 man-games to injury and entered the postseason missing three of their top four defensemen in Kris Letang, Olli Maatta and Christian Ehrhoff.

“Look, we're all disappointed that we didn't go farther,” Morehouse said. “There are a lot of speculative reasons why that happened, but we have to look at reality.

“We had a new coach who almost never had a chance to coach his full team because of injuries. I don't know if there's a team in the league that could have succeeded in the playoffs without three of its top four defensemen. That's the situation we faced.”

continued

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Jeff Blashill Ready For The Playoffs

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

Blashill's work continues to keep his profile high for an NHL position this summer. He's often called the best coaching prospect not currently in The Show and that means clubs such as the Leafs will be watching closely.

The 41-year-old is currently charged with maintaining the Wings 'model' under general manager Ken Holland and Babcock: Leave players on the farm until major development concerns are addressed. Half the Wings' current roster cut their teeth with Blashill's 2013 Calder Cup champs.

"Our players have to earn (jobs in Detroit), they're not entitled," Blashill said. "I was fortunate enough to spend a year as Mike's assistant in Detroit. I know what it takes to play for him, what he will demand of them. There's synergy between us.

"We had early struggles that set us back, but we've had great two-way centres such as Andy Miele and Tomas Nosek. And we're blessed with leadership in Nathan Paetsch, Jeff Hoggan and Brennan Evans. Part of their role is to see these young guys reach their goals."

Calder success continues to be a portal to the NHL. Jon Cooper clinched his job with parent Tampa Bay after Norfolk beat Dallas Eakins and the Marlies in the 2012 final, with Eakins hired the next year in Edmonton. Last year's Western Conference finalists, Willy Desjardins of the Texas Stars and Marlies' Steve Spott were also promoted, to head coach in Vancouver and assistant in Toronto. Isn't Blashill overdue?

"I'm doing my very best to focus on the playoffs right now," Blashill said.

"I know if I do the very best job I can here, things will unfold for me later."

more on the playoff matchup between the Toronto Marlies and Grand Rapids Griffins...

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Morning Line- Mike Peluso

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

In December, 1994, I suffered a major concussion thanks to a bare-knuckled fist to the head. I was knocked unconscious as my head slammed against the ice, and carried off the rink. In the locker room I took multiple showers, because I kept forgetting that I had already showered. However, the team quickly cleared me to play despite signs of a serious concussion. A few weeks later, I experienced a grand mal seizure during a workout.

As I convulsed, my teammates restrained me from hurting myself any further, but the damage to my brain had already been done. Incredibly, it was a team orthopedic surgeon who treated me after my seizure. I sat out for just two weeks before the team doctors again pushed me back onto the ice. I was never seen by a neurologist.

-former NHL player Mike Peluso at the Globe and Mail where you can read more on this topic...

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One More Win And The Washington Capitals Move On

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington,

Troy Brouwer, now in his fourth season in Washington, noted that all three of his playoff series have been decided in seven games.

He said he believes that with the arrivals of coach Barry Trotz and defensemen Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen, this year’s Capitals have a better chance of closing the deal in Game 6.

“We have to find a way where we can close teams out,” Brouwer said. “I like the pedigree of our team. I like how we’re embracing the situation right now. We know tomorrow night’s going to be our toughest game in a long time because that elimination game is extremely hard to win because the other team is extremely desperate. We have that same attitude as well, because we know what it’s like to exit the playoffs early and we don’t want to be doing that again this year.”

Orpik said he’s noticed a resilience in the Capitals that has served them well in this series. He pointed to the Islanders’ first goal as an example. Several Capitals thought Islanders captain John Tavares deserved a penalty for covering the puck with his hand in the moments leading up to Josh Bailey’s early goal.

“I think a lot of teams in that situation would have panicked,” Orpik said. “I think we did a really good job staying the course and not letting a missed call rattle us.”

more

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The Vancouver Canucks Face A Must Win Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,

Most everyone is all over Mikael Backlund for his post-Game 5 comments about how there’s no way the Flames will lose to the Vancouver Canucks back in Calgary Saturday night.

In Van they’re outraged because of the arrogance, and in Calgary they’d like to shut him up much the way Vancouverites would have loved to stuff a sock in the mouth of Kevin Bieksa when he was saying Michael Ferland was irrelevant.

Flames fans don’t want Backlund providing any extra motivation than should already exist. So he’s hearing it from everyone now, which is why quotes from hockey players at this time of year generally tend to be even more bland than usual.

But perhaps people are not giving Backlund the credit he deserves. It just might be that he is a hockey historian of some repute and is simply examining the facts, which is to say the road history of the Canucks of late. It is not a pretty picture, and if you take a very close look at it, you might conclude just what Backlund boldly proclaimed.

If history is any kind of guide, there would be no way for Backlund’s Flames to lose Game 6.

continued

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NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

FRIDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
NY RANGERS 2, Pittsburgh 1 (OT) – NYR win series 4-1
Ottawa 5, MONTREAL 1 – MTL leads series 3-2
Minnesota 4, ST. LOUIS 1 – MIN leads series 3-2
 
HAGELIN’S OT GOAL LIFTS RANGERS INTO SECOND ROUND
Carl Hagelin scored at 10:52 of overtime to lift the Rangers to a Game 5 victory over the Penguins and into the Second Round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. 


* The Rangers clinched a series in overtime for the first time since May 11, 1997 (Game 5 of CSF at NJD; GWG: Adam Graves). The last time they accomplished that feat at Madison Square Garden was May 27, 1994 (Game 7 of CF vs. NJD; GWG: Stephane Matteau). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, New York has clinched 10 all-time series in overtime – including three on home ice.

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Quick Hits- Wings/Lightning

Blog: The Malik Report By Paul

from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun,

- One factor that could play in the Wings’ factor is experience. “The leadership in this room is unbelievable,” Glendening said. “It starts with Z (captain Henrik Zetterberg) and Kronner (defenceman Niklas Kronwall) and Pav (Datsyuk), those guys lead the every night on the ice and off. We will lean on them heavily here.”

- Special teams have come under scrutiny and for good reason. The Lightning has had 21 power-plays — the most for any team in the playoffs before games were played on Friday — but had managed to score just two goals with the man-advantage. “For our power play to not be clicking the way we want it to, and the series tied 2-2, it may work in our favour,” Cooper said, “because eventually it is going to (start producing goals). I will take our chances with some of the skill we put out there.”

- While the Wings are thrilled that they’ve been so successful while shorthanded thanks to the efforts of Drew Miller, Kronwall and goalie Petr Mrazek and others, it’s getting to be a little much. Babcock said as much earlier in the week, and forward Gustav Nyquist had a similar thought. “We have taken too many penalties and it’s something we have to change because they have dangerous guys,” Nyquist said. “Any time you get a penalty, the penalty killers have to go out and your lines are a little disrupted. There’s no flow, and it wears on the guys.” 

more on the Wings and Lightning...

from Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times,

The Red Wings can talk all they want about feeling fine and how today is a new day, but deep down they have to be an emotional wreck after letting the Lightning crawl out of the grave. They were moments away from needing to win just one of three games left to take the series. Now they need to win twice, including once in Tampa Bay.

So going into tonight's game, the Lightning has the mental advantage. But just imagine what the shift will be if the Lighting loses Game 5.

"All we did was put ourselves back in the series,'' Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We didn't win the series. Clearly, this is a pivotal game. … We were thinking about Game 5 five minutes after 'Johnny' scored (in overtime).''

The Lightning needed to immediately turn its attention to Game 5 because the Game 4 victory has not solved all its problems. Though momentum and emotions are sporting blue-and-white sweaters with a big Lightning bolt on them, Tampa Bay still has issues.

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Video- Ready For Today’s Playoff Action?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Full playoff mode today...

 

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