Top Line: Lucic spear defended; race an issue in Kane criticism; more links

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Top Line: Milan Lucic spear defended; race factor in Evander Kane criticism; more links

Corey Perry (10) and Jamie Benn (14) sparked one of Friday’s below-the-belt controversies. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

• Jerard Fagerberg isn’t just a beer-league goalie. He’s also a moral gymnast, judging by his defense of Milan Lucic’s cup-check on Danny DeKeyser. Strictly for Bruins fans or those who enjoy spikes in their blood pressure.

• It was one of those nights. Corey Perry gave Jamie Benn an equipment adjustment as well.

• No word on whether Lucic or Perry will face league discipline for jabbing another man’s midsection, but we do know the NHL frowns on grabbing one’s own junk.

• Adam Proteau says you’re being naive if you don’t think criticism hurled at Evander Kane, Dustin Byfuglien and P.K. Subban is at least in part racially motivated. No one should be naive enough to assume it’s not a factor for at least some people, but that doesn’t mean it’s the prevailing influence. Still, it is a take worth reading. Read More…


  • Published On Apr 19, 2014
  • Getzlaf leads Anaheim to 3-2 victory over Stars; Ducks take 2-0 series lead

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    Ryan Getzlaf

    Ryan Getzlaf (left) left his stamp on Game 2 for the Ducks, spurring them to a 2-0 series lead. (Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    He was aching from the deep gash carved into his face by a Tyler Seguin slap shot late in Game 1. He was uncomfortable from wearing a bell shield to protect his battered jaw. And he was exhausted from attending the birth of his third child on Thursday.

    But none of that stopped Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf from asserting his will in Friday’s 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars.

    The captain pounced on a turnover at the Dallas blueline and scored his second goal of the series to knot the game at one late in the first, then set up Andrew Cogliano’s winner at 5:09 of the third to power the Ducks to the win. The victory gives Anaheim a 2-0 lead as the series switches venues to Dallas.

    “Every once in a while, you need your best players to step it up when the rest of the guys are losing their composure a little bit and playing the way they did,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “With what’s happened to him in the last three days and to come in and get two points and plus-3 [rating] is a sure reason why he’s hopefully going to be nominated for the MVP.”

    Read More…


  • Published On Apr 19, 2014
  • 2014 NHL Playoffs: Detroit Red Wings stun Boston Bruins in Game 1

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    By Brian Cazeneuve

    (Boston) — All week the talk had been that the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Boston Bruins were ripe for being taken down by a Detroit Red Wings squad that had scrambled to extend its franchise’s streak of playoff appearances, which now stands at 23.

    Well, here we go.

    The return of Detroit’s marvelous Pavel Datsyuk, even though he’s still working with a lingering knee injury, was widely cited as a possible series-changer, and sure enough he was the lone goal-scorer in Game 1, with only 3:01 left in regulation as the Red Wings neutralized Boston’s vaunted home ice advantage with a 1-0 win in a tightly contested defensive battle.

    “It’s a good start,” Datsyuk said after the game, ” but we know there are many tough games (ahead).”

    “I’ll take home-ice advantage any time,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said, “but that doesn’t mean you can’t win on the road … which is what we have to do in this series if we plan on winning this.”

    Here are a few more observations from Friday’s game:

    Read More…


  • Published On Apr 19, 2014
  • 2014 NHL playoffs: Canadiens dominate Lightning, 4-1, to take 2-0 series lead

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    Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban (76) had two assists in the win over the Lightning. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

    Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban (76) had two assists in Montreal’s victory over the Lightning. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

    By Sarah Kwak

    The Lightning knew that the bum wrist sidelining goalie Ben Bishop would be an issue at some point in their first-round series against the Canadiens. Well, the moment came on Friday night in Tampa Bay. Backup Anders Lindback had been serviceable in Wednesday’s Game 1, making 39 saves in a 5-4 overtime loss, but in Game 2, he wasn’t nearly as good. Lindback surrendered three goals on 23 shots before Lightning coach Jon Cooper yanked him in favor of Kristers Gudlevskis, a Latvian minor leaguer who gained fame in Sochi for nearly defeating Team Canada. Against Montreal, he didn’t fare so well, allowing a goal on just three shots as the Canadiens cruised to a 4-1 victory.

    By taking both of the first two games in Tampa Bay, Montreal put itself in position to make this series a short one. After all, beating Canadiens goalie Carey Price in four out of the next five games seems like a particularly tall order. Price has followed up his career season and a gold medal in Sochi with strong play in the first two postseason games. He made 26 saves on Friday night, including a spectacular one on Lightning center Cedric Paquette in the second period. But hey, if Montreal’s offense gets into the habit of scoring four-plus goals a night, Price may not have to play the hero too often.

    Read More…


  • Published On Apr 18, 2014
  • Top Line NHL playoff update: Martin St. Louis ready for Broadway; more links

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    Martin St. Louis of the New York Rangers

    Little Martin St. Louis (26) may finally be ready to come up big for the Rangers. (Scott Levy/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • After a slow start in New York, Martin St. Louis says he’s ready for his game to be judged.

    • There could be a new man behind the mask for the Flyers when they take on the Rangers in Game 2 on Sunday.

    • Maybe Wayne Simmonds was right. Maybe gingers should stick to being gingers.

    • Maybe the offensive explosion we’ve seen over the first two nights of the playoffs isn’t such a surprise, considering the questions that were being asked coming into the tournament.

    • Bruce Arthur argues the subtle genius of Steven Stamkos could be the difference in the series with the Canadiens.

    • Poise under pressure eluded the Lightning in their Game 1 loss to the Canadiens. Sean Gordon explains how negating Montreal’s aggressive forecheck will be the key to addressing that in Game 2.

    • Two months after they teamed up to lead Canada to gold in Sochi, coaches Mike Babcock and Claude Julien will match wits as the Red Wings take on the Bruins. Are there any secrets left between them?

    Boston has had a fairly stout penalty kill for years now, but it’s not the Bruins penalty killers who are worrying Babcock.

    Read More…


  • Published On Apr 18, 2014
  • 2014 NHL playoffs: Bruins don’t scare Red Wings; more on tonight’s games

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    Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings

    The return of Pavel Datsyuk (13) makes the Red Wings a much more formidable foe. (Michael Tureski/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    While the rest of the hockey world rushes to anoint the Bruins as “Most Likely To Hoist The Cup,” many of Boston’s die-hard fans are more inclined to curb their enthusiasm … at least until after the opening round.

    At play here is more than just the legendary fatalism of New England sports fans, the caution born of heartbreaks caused by Bucky Dent and Bill Buckner, Eli Manning and David Tyree/Mario Manningham and –for Bruins fans in particular — “Too many men on the ice.” Indeed, the first round has become almost an annual tripwire for the Bruins, with lower seeds extending them to overtime of Game 7 in each of the past three springs. They survived the scares in 2011 and ’13. But in 2012, one round is as far as their playoffs went.

    So a spike in the collective anxiety of New England is understandable as the Presidents’ Trophy winners take on the Red Wings on Friday night in the opener of a series that could be treacherous for the Stanley Cup favorites.

    It’s not just that Detroit was the only team to beat Boston three times in regulation this season, or even that the Red Wings’ puck possession game is the Kryptonite to the Bruins’ physically punishing style. It’s that these Wings might be better than they were at any time during the regular season. They’re still missing some key players — word now is that Henrik Zetterberg has almost no chance of skating in this series — but Detroit is deeper and healthier than it has been almost all year.

    Read More…


  • Published On Apr 18, 2014
  • Sharks get to Jonathan Quick, Kings early, hang on for 6-3 Game 1 Win

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    The Sharks' relentless forecheck did not make it an easy night for Jonathan Quick. (Nick Lust/NHLI via Getty Images)

    The Sharks’ relentless forecheck did not make it an easy night for Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Asked before the game what it would take the upend the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose’s Joe Thornton said simply, “Score some goals on Quick.”

    The Sharks did just that, beating Jonathan Quick three times in the first period on the way to a 6-3 win in their series opener on Thursday night.

    Thornton got the hosts on the board just 3:06 in with a deft deflection of a Joe Pavelski backhander, but it was a pair of goals from rookie Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau in the final 52 seconds of the frame that set the stage for a rout.

    The Sharks built their lead up to 5-0 in the second, sending Quick to the showers after 40 minutes. And while the Kings rallied with three goals to make the score interesting in the third, the end result was never really in doubt.

    Here are some observations after tonight’s contest and a look ahead to Sunday’s Game 2.

    Read More…


  • Published On Apr 18, 2014
  • Blues outlast Blackhawks to win Game 1 in a triple overtime thriller, 4-3

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    By Keith Schultz 

    The Blues finished Game 1 of their series against the Blackhawks with a win — and it only took 100 minutes and 26 seconds to get it. Chicago led 3-2 for much of the game after a wild first period, but St. Louis scored the equalizer with 1:45 left in regulation when Jaden Schwartz put a backhander past goalie Corey Crawford. The two teams then slugged it out for two full overtime periods, both of which included plenty of end-to-end action but no goals. Finally, just 26 seconds into the third overtime, Steve Ott made a nifty pass to Alexander Steen, who scored the winning goal.

    Here are some quick observations from the Blues’ marathon triple overtime win.

    Read More…


  • Published On Apr 18, 2014
  • Late rally by Avalanche takes Game 1 from Wild, 5-4, in overtime

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    By Jared Crozier

    Like most of the other first round games, offense was the big story — the Avalanche and the Wild combined for nine goals in Game 1. Normally an up-tempo shootout would be to Colorado’s advantage, but the Avs struggled early and trailed 4-2 by the end of the second period. Eventually, Minnesota allowed Colorado too many chances and paid dearly for it when Paul Stastny scored the tying goal in the final seconds of the third period. He went on to score the game-winner for the Avalanche in OT.

    Here are some notes and observations from an action-packed Game 1:

    Read More…


  • Published On Apr 18, 2014
  • Rangers take advantage of the power play to win Game 1 over Flyers

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    A four-minute power play in the third period helped the Rangers score twice in 47 seconds. (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

    A four-minute power play in the third period helped the Rangers score twice in 47 seconds. (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

    By Sarah Kwak

    NEW YORK — This was supposed to be a special day for Flyers winger Jason Akeson — he was playing in his first NHL playoff game, and making just his third appearance in the league overall. It’s one he’ll remember for the rest of his life, though chances are, he’ll want to forget it as soon as Friday. Skating on a line with Sean Couturier and Matt Read, the youngster was earning his ice time. He was aggressive, and finishing his checks — but one, he finished poorly.

    Game 1 of the first-round series between Philadelphia and the Rangers was knotted 1-1 midway through the third period at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night when the 23-year-old Akeson went in to hit New York winger Carl Hagelin on the boards in the neutral zone. Akeson took Hagelin off the puck, but his stick caught Hagelin up high. When a rookie dreams of changing the course of a game with his stick, this isn’t what he imagines. Akeson’s blade drew blood, and a double minor.

    Read More…


  • Published On Apr 18, 2014


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