Posts Tagged ‘NHL playoffs’

2014 NHL Playoffs: Seven different Sharks score in Game 2 rout of Kings

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Fourth-liner Raffi Torres turned out to be a catalyst for the Sharks' explosive attack. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Fourth-liner Raffi Torres turned out to be a catalyst for the Sharks’ explosive attack. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

Not to steal a rare moment in the sun from fourth line winger Mike Brown, but the real first star of San Jose’s stunning 7-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings wasn’t wearing teal.

Brown may have scored the first of San Jose’s seven unanswered goals and led the assault with eight official hits but the actual catalyst behind this jaw-dropping win was Sharks coach Todd McLellan, who made two decisions early in the second period that turned a 2-0 deficit into a franchise-record tying rout.

Sensing that his combinations needed some adjusting after a frustrating first period, he pulled Joe Pavelski off of Joe Thornton’s wing and slotted him on the third line between Tommy Wingels and James Sheppard. He also recognized that his fourth line was firing on all cylinders and deserved a regular shift.

Both calls paid quick dividends. Brown and Raffi Torres drew the Sharks even by the midway point of the period, setting the stage for Pavelski to help blow the game wide open with a goal and two assists in a four-goal third.

No one should be surprised that San Jose now holds a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. After all, the home side has taken 18 of their last 19 meetings. But the scale of these victories might be more surprising than the Red Wedding. What was expected to be a tight defensive series has been turned upside down. The Sharks have lit up the Kings for 13 goals through two games after scoring a total of 10 in last spring’s seven-game loss and now stand poised to put their rivals on the ropes when the series resumes Tuesday night in L.A.

Whatever the line for that one is, take the over.

Here are some quick observations on tonight’s game, as well as a couple of thoughts on what sets up to be a very important Game 3.

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  • Published On Apr 21, 2014
  • Top Line: Seabrook suspension coming; MacKinnon makes Wild look silly; more links

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    By Allan Muir

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

    • The St. Louis Blues got payback the smart way after a vicious cheap shot by Brent Seabrook left captain David Backes crumpled in the corner in the dying minutes of Game 2. Just a brain-dead play by the veteran defender … and not a real good look on Jonathan Toews, either. I expect a little more from him than to be seen chirping the obviously dazed Backes.

    • Honestly, we can’t be surprised at this point to hear that Seabrook will have a phone hearing with the Department of Player Safety, meaning his suspension won’t top five games. If a hit as dangerous, as injurious and as blatantly offensive to common sense as that doesn’t merit a more serious response, it’s time to dismantle the department and start from scratch.

    • They’re even questioning the dirty, stupid play of the Blackhawks in Chicago after this one. What does that tell you?

    • It’s not often I get to link to the great Michael Enright in this column, but his essay on the complicity of the NHL in the build-up of hockey violence fits nicely today.

    • Nathan MacKinnon’s nickname is silly, but not as silly as he’s making the Wild look in his NHL playoff debut. Gotta hand it to this kid. The bigger the game, the better he plays.

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  • Published On Apr 20, 2014
  • 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.”

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  • Published On Apr 19, 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Published On Apr 18, 2014
  • NHL Playoffs injury updates: Oshie out, Zetterberg skating

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    A couple of quick hits from today’s morning skates:

    In St. Louis, coach Ken Hitchcock has confirmed that the Blues will be missing two top-six forwards for their opener against the Blackhawks

    Vladimir Tarasenko took part in line drills, so he’s expected to be in the lineup, as is David Backes. But with the forwards ailing, the pressure is definitely on the St. Louis defense to clamp down on the odd-man rushes — and on goalie Ryan Miller to come up with the big stop.

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  • Published On Apr 17, 2014
  • NHL Playoffs: Canadiens nab overtime win over Lightning in sloppy Game 1

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    Dale Weise (left) and P.K. Subban celebrated after Weise won the game for Montreal in overtime. (Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

    Montreal’s Dale Weise (22) and P.K. Subban celebrated after Weise’s game-winner in OT. (Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

    By Brian Cazeneuve

    It wasn’t a huge surprise that the series opener between the Canadiens and the Lightning went to overtime, but the score itself was a bit of a stunner. After the teams combined for 11 goals in four games during the regular season, the clubs scored nine on Wednesday night in a 5-4 win for Montreal. Veteran forward Danny Briere set up Dale Weise at 18:08 of the extra period to end a mistake-filled Game 1. If there was a surprise during the contest, it was the significant number of errors made by two teams who had worked hard to keep mistakes to a minimum during the season.

    Some thoughts on the Canadiens’ series-opening victory:

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  • Published On Apr 17, 2014
  • NHL Playoffs: Penguins storm back for victory over Blue Jackets in Game 1

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    Marc-Andre Fleury (right) and the Penguins had to battle for a comeback win over Columbus. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

    Marc-Andre Fleury (29) and the Penguins had to battle for a comeback win over Columbus. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

    By Mike Majeski

    On paper, the Penguins are heavy favorites over the Blue Jackets. Not only did Pittsburgh sweep Columbus in five regular-season games, but the Penguins are also an experienced playoff team with two of the biggest offensive weapons in the NHL. The Blue Jackets, who are making only the second playoff appearance in franchise history, have a young lineup and are without experienced veterans Nick Foligno, Nathan Horton and R.J. Umberger. But Game 1 of this series on Wednesday night showed that things aren’t always as they seem.

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  • Published On Apr 16, 2014
  • Top Line: Future is now for Marc-Andre Fleury; more NHL playoffs links

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    Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins

    All eyes will be on Marc-Andre Fleury as the Penguins try to avoid another playoff pratfall. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

    By Allan Muir

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

    • With one year left on his deal and his 30th birthday coming up fast, Marc-Andre Fleury’s performance in the playoffs will determine whether he has a future with the Penguins.

    The Blue Jackets’ Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov might want to go online and check out Steve Kasper’s highlight reel before they take on their Game 1 assignments.

    Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau has led teams to six division titles and won 300 NHL games faster than anyone in history, but he’s never gotten past the second round of the playoffs … and it’s killing him.

    • Just 22, Tyler Seguin has a Stanley Cup ring and 42 playoff games under his belt, but he’s a different player for the Stars than the one who stumbled through a one-goal-in-22-games drought with the Bruins last spring.

    • The adaptability of coach Darryl Sutter has the Kings poised to challenge for their second Stanley Cup in three years.

    Matt Moulson of the Wild isn’t asking for much. Just a Stanley Cup and his own bed.

    Nathan MacKinnon of the Avalanche says that he was “pretty successful” during two playoff runs as a junior — yeah, a Memorial Cup with 24 goals and 61 points in 34 games is pretty successful. Now the challenge is to prove that he can be a big-game player in his first shot at the NHL postseason.

    • One Flyers player will stand up during the wedding of a Rangers player this summer. He’s hoping to bring a buddy named Stanley as his plus one. The groom objects.

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  • Published On Apr 16, 2014


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