- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy19 hrs ago
Game 1 of the divisional semifinal series between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning was a nail-biter: a 5-4 win in overtime for the Habs on a Dale Weise goal.
But this was your proverbial “closer on the scoreboard than it actually was” kind of game, because Montreal dominated them in shots on goal (44-25) and possession (60 percent to 40 percent in corsi close, i.e. corsi in a 1-goal game). To those ends, it was a blowout.
Check out this shot attempt chart from Extra Skater:
And then check out what it looked like in their previous meeting on April 1.
So yeah, the Canadiens controlled this one.
The question then becomes “why?” As in, why did the 10th best team in the league in puck possession when the score was close in the regular season get dominated by the 26th-best team in that metric in Game 1?
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy20 hrs ago
Torey Krug probably thought he was safe.
His employer, the Boston Bruins, were an Eastern Conference team. His childhood idols, the Detroit Red Wings, were a Western Conference team. The only time that odd collision of NHL career and hockey fandom would occur was in the Stanley Cup Final.
And then realignment happened.
And then the Red Wings finished in the last wild card slot, and the Bruins finished with the conference’s best record, and the Livonia native and Michigan State product was suddenly preparing for a playoff date with the Red Wings.
He was familiar with them, of course, having carried a broom around town as a kid when the Red Wings were on the verge of a sweep.
“My favorite on ice memory was Steve Yzerman’s overtime goal against St. Louis in 1996. That was a pretty special moment. Just how it brought the city together, the community,” recalled Krug to the Detroit News, which is pretty impressive considering he was around five years old at the time.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy22 hrs ago
In 1993, the NHL named its first commissioner in Gary Bettman, a former general counsel and senior vice president for the NBA. Among the motivations for the move was to change the very image of the League to attract a young, hip American audience.
And what better way to accomplish this than with a young, hip American commissioner, right?
This original black and white photo from the archives of The Sporting News was auctioned and quickly sold on eBay for $22.99.
And no, it’s not Michael Scott representing Dunder Mifflin at the 1993 NHL All-Star Game – it’s actually Gary Bettman!
Pretty amazing that even on his first day in office, Bettman was already supporting a cap for the NHL …
Here's hoping the winner of this incredible keepsake is able to get it autographed.
By either Bob Goodenow or Chris Chelios, we mean …
The Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues both won their Game 1s in overtime on Thursday night. Both games had moments in which skaters arguably saved their respective teams’ bacon by preventing goals. Let’s take a look at them, shall we?
Here’s defenseman Erik Johnson of the Avs, skating back and swiping away a Minnesota Wild clearing attempt from his team’s empty net with the Wild up 4-3.
Now, was the puck rolling wide? Would it have hit the post? Perhaps. If it had gone in, would Paul Stastny been able to play the hero moments later in Game 1? Absolutely not.
Solid hustle play from Johnson. And apologies to all of you U.S. women’s hockey fans that are currently experiencing PSTSD (Post-Sochi Traumatic Stress Disorder) while watching that rolling puck.
Meanwhile, in St. Louis, Lapierre was the best goalie on the ice for the Blues:
That’s a beauty of a save by Lapierre, preventing an overtime goal from Kris Versteeg. Although we suspect Versteeg would have hit Miller with the puck had he not seen an opportunity to rifle rubber at Lapierre. You don’t pass up those chances.
So who wore it better? Johnson or Lapierre?Sat, Apr 196:30 PM PDTMinnesota at ColoradoPreview Game
Paul Stastny played the hero in Game 1 of the Colorado Avalanche’s divisional semifinal against the Minnesota Wild – twice.
The center scored with just over 13 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 4-4 and send it to overtime; then, at 7:27 of the extra session, he struck again to give the Avs the playoff win.
Here’s the tying goal:
“YOU JUST KNEW IT WAS GONNA HAPPEN!” That is some homer-rrific homerism right there, Colorado.
Erik Johnson’s shot from the left circle was deflected away by Ilya Bryzgalov, right to Stastny, whose bad angle shot found its way through with 13.4 remaining.
Then, in overtime, this happened:
“THERE IT IS!” Yes, there it was, Avs announcer. There is was.
Tyson Barrie makes this play happen, beginning with a keep at the blue line through his barreling through two Wild defenders – Kyle Brodziak and Matt Cooke – to open up Stastny for a point blank shot, reminiscent of Dale Weise’s goal for Montreal in overtime of Game 1 of their series vs. Tampa Bay.
A 5-on-3 power play in double overtime of a Stanley Cup Playoff game comes around about as often as a Maple Leafs championship parade float, but the Chicago Blackhawks nearly earned one at the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.
With Ryan Reaves already in the Blues' penalty box for delay of game, the Blues cleared the puck over the glass in their own end while on the penalty kill, for what should have been a delay of game penalty.
The on-ice officials mulled it over. The players waited around. The refs eventually ruled that the Blues shouldn’t be penalized. And Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville disagreed … ahem, quite emphatically.
Yes, he was truly honkin’ mad.
That was some Travolta quality disco pointing from Coach Q before his stickhandling exhibition. Must be the mustache.
No doubt the NHL will have something to say about Quenneville’s handful ending up on national television. And we’re pretty sure we know what his response will be …Sat, Apr 1912:00 PM PDTChicago at St. LouisPreview Game
It's a Thursday edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more:
Special Guest Star: Drew Remenda of CSN Bay Area.
• Last night's playoff action.
• Tonight's playoff action.
• Wysh makes a bet.
Question of the Day: Who is your favorite unsung playoff hero? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or hit us on Twitter with the hashtag #MvsW to @wyshynski or @jeffmarek. Click here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above!
Click here to download podcasts from the show each day.Subscribe to the podcast via iTunesor Feedburner.
(Ed. Note: With its new playoff format, the NHL is seeking to create passion for fans and teams through forced, bracketed relationships. But hey, at first glance, the matchups are pretty sexy. All of this led to one ideal theme for our 2014 Playoff Preview: Tinder, the social media dating app. We hope you swipe right this postseason ...)
The St. Louis Blues looked like they were going to avoid the Chicago Blackhawks in Round 1 … until a late season injury-fueled tumble led to the Colorado Avalanche hopping over them into first place in the Central and dropped the Blues into a very tough first-round battle.
Both teams faced post-Sochi injuries to star players, but should have the majority of them back for this series.
Who wins this showdown between former Norris Division rivals?
The biggest question for the St. Louis Blues entering this series was how many of the forwards listed here would actually appear against the Blackhawks. The Blues were hit with several injuries up front in the last month of the season.
But the cavalry is arriving at the right time.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy2 days ago
With due respect to Steve Mason and Ray Emery, to a blue line that’ll have to handle Rick Nash and Marty St. Louis, to a coach in Craig Berube doing this playoff thing for the first time, there is one key to the Philadelphia Flyers’ series against the New York Rangers, and his name is Claude Giroux.
The criteria for an MVP gets thrown around a lot this time of year, but Giroux was third on my ballot – behind Sidney Crosby and Ryan Getzlaf – for good reason: As he goes, so go the Flyers.
Giroux scored 64 points in their 42 wins, including 25 goals. That’s a 1.52 points per game average. In their losses, he had 22 points in 40 games, including three goals. That’s a 0.55 points per game average. Look, I’m no math major, but …
He was their third-best forward in corsi when the game was tied and in one-goal games, driving possession numbers with his top line.Sun, Apr 209:00 AM PDTPhiladelphia at NY RangersPreview Game
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy2 days ago
No. 1 Star: Dale Weise, Montreal Canadiens
The Habs forward was in the right place at the right time – 18:08 of OT – when Daniel Briere hit him with a pass from behind the net. Weise snapped a shot past a frozen Anders Lindback for the 5-4 victory in Game 1 of Montreal’s series vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning.
No. 2 Star: Brandon Sutter, Pittsburgh Penguins
Sutter’s wrist shot at 8:18 of the third period beat Sergei Bobrovsky and gave the Pittsburgh Penguins their only lead of the night – and the game-winning goal in their 4-3 victory. Sutter also won 53 percent of his faceoffs.
No. 3 Star: Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
Even in a losing effort, Stamkos was awesome in Game 1 vs. Montreal. He skated 27:31, scored two goals and was dangerous on almost every shift.
Honorable mention: Ryan Getzlaf and Matt Beleskey had a goal and an assist each as the Anaheim Ducks held off a Dallas Stars’ rally for a 4-3 victory. Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin scored in the losing effort. Frederik Andersen made 32 saves in his playoff debut. … Jack Johnson had a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets. … Brian Gionta had a goal and an assist for the Habs. Alex Killorn had the same for the Bolts.Sat, Apr 194:00 PM PDTColumbus at PittsburghPreview Game