By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:
• Michel Therrien must be spending his down time watching Breaking Bad. Montreal’s coach channeled his inner Walter White on Wednesday, saying the Canadiens don’t feel the pressure, they apply the pressure.
• Daniel Alfredsson is using his veteran savvy to prepare Ottawa’s rookie-laden lineup for the insanity that awaits them in Montreal.
• The Capitals are bringing what they’ve learned from past playoff failures into tonight’s opener against the Rangers.
• The Blueshirts aren’t yet certain what they are, but the infusion of new bodies and fresh energy suggests that this year’s team will find a new path to postseason success.
• Ken Wiebe writes that Rick Nash got what he wanted in last year’s trade to New York. Now it’s time for the star winger to deliver on his end of the bargain.
• The San Jose Sharks found themselves in a game they’ve played many times before Wednesday night. This time, the team that usually finds a way to lose wrote a different ending.
• The feeling was similar in Vancouver. where both Ed Willes and Tony Gallagher write that they’ve seen this same, disappointing effort from the Canucks many times. Not that they were soft. In fact, Vancouver put up a solid effort early on. But the way they slowly let it get away from them in the end hints at a team that is aging before our eyes.
• Maybe playing the Maple Leafs was all the Bruins needed to rediscover their old snarl and swagger. In their convincing Game 1 throttling of Toronto, the B’s sure looked nothing like the team that bumbled its way through April.
• While his teammates were being schooled by the Bruins in an ignominious return to the postseason, Leafs goaltender James Reimer kept his cool under pressure, according to Rosie DiManno. Not sure I’d agree. I think he should have stopped two of Boston’s goals, myself. He can’t be “good enough” in this series. For the Leafs to have a chance, Reimer has to outplay Tuukka Rask, and that didn’t happen last night.
• The Penguins executed their Game 1 objectives with brutal efficiency in Game 1. After watching the Blackhawks struggle in their opener, the Pens left no doubt as to which team is the favorite to emerge from the East.
• The Isles understand just how far they have to go after being knocked around by the Pens.
• The Kings need to compete at a whole different level if they hope to earn a split in St. Louis. Look for the defending champs to blitz the Blues early in Game 2.
• The Blues, of course, will be waiting. The key will be their ability of the Kings to keep up the pressure, and St. Louis’ determination to match it.
• With veterans Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson ready to play, Detroit coach Mike Babcock hinted at lineup changes ahead of tonight’s Game 2 in Anaheim.
• Elliotte Friedman has his usual array of hot sports opinions in his weekly 30 Thoughts column. Most noteworthy? The Avs were preparing an offer to trade up to the No. 1 pick before they won the draft lottery.
• The CBC put host Ron MacLean up in the pulpit to counteract Don Cherry’s opinion that female reporters don’t belong in men’s dressing rooms…and then Grapes re-opened the can of worms on Coach’s Corner.
• Three of Buffalo’s top prospects, including two picked up a the trade deadline, are earning rave reviews for their play in the AHL postseason.
• A season-ending conversation with Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff left more questions than answers regarding the team’s future.