Wed Apr 23 01:52am EDT
No. 1 Star: Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks
The Sharks forward recorded a two point night with a goal and an assist as San Jose beat the Los Angeles Kings in overtime 4-3 to take a 3-0 series lead. After Tomas Hertl's goal midway through the third period tied the game, it was Marleau who ended things 6:20 into the extra period:
No. 2 Star: Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
Rask stopped 23 shots as the Bruins shutout the Detroit Red Wings 3-0 to take a 2-1 series lead. The shutout was the fourth for Rask in his playoff career. Patrice Bergeron assisted on Dougie Hamilton's opening power play goal and later added an empty-netter, while Jordan Caron scored his first goal since Oct. 5.
No. 3 Star: Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens completed the sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 4-3 victory on Pacioretty's winner with 43 seconds to go in the third period. They now wait to face the winner of Boston-Detroit. After building a 3-1 lead, the Lightning made a third period comeback, but a late penalty helped seal their fate and end their season:
Honorable mention: The sweep was Montreal's first since their 1993 run to the Stanley Cup ... 11 different Canadiens recorded a point ... Dan Girardi and Martin St. Louis each scored a goal and recorded an assist, while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 31 shots as the New York Rangers downed the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 to take a 2-1 series lead. The Rangers blocked 28 shots to the Flyers' 11 ... Victor Hedman should have called "bank!" on this goal:
Did You Know?: "The Sharks have won five straight overtime playoff games and 10 of their past 11, with Marleau scoring four game-winning goals during that remarkable stretch." [AP]
Dishonorable mention: Anders Lindback was pulled for the second time in three games after allowing three goals on 20 shots.
Wed Apr 23 01:33am EDT
It was looking like the Los Angeles Kings were going to fight off falling behind 0-3 to the San Jose Sharks when Jeff Carter tipped home a power play goal early in the third period for a 3-2 lead. The Staples Center was alive with hope.
Then it all came crashing down eight minutes later when Tomas Hertl scored after four whacks in front of Jonathan Quick to tie the game. In overtime, it was Patrick Marleau scoring his 60th career playoff goal to give San Jose a 4-3 win and commanding 3-0 series lead:
The Kings now must regroup for Thursday's Game 4 and hope to make history with a comeback in the series. But improvements need to be made if they're to have any chance.
Jonathan Quick has an .840 even strength save percentage through three games. Only Ilya Bryzgalov is worse (.818). Jeff Carter finally broke through with a goal, but when Jake Muzzin and Trevor Lewis are your leading goal scorers (two apiece), that's not going to help you beat the Sharks.
LA did a good job of slowing down San Jose at times throughout the game, clogging up the neutral, taking the Sharks' game away from them and winning the possession battle for the first time in the series.
"We’ll play better tomorrow. It’s not like there was a death in the family or something," said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter on Monday.
The hole is dug and the Sharks are pouring dirt on top.
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Tue Apr 22 11:08pm EDT
Daniel Carcillo last scored a playoff goal on April 26, 2011 when he was a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Three teams later, you can excuse the Rangers forward if he felt a little exuberant after scoring a goal during New York's 4-1 win over the Flyers in Game 3. It wasn't just a big goal for Carcillo, who was making his 2014 playoff debut, it was also one for his team.
Aside from scoring in a big spot, Carcillo felt a bit of redemption.
Minutes earlier, Carcillo took a hit up high from Matt Read that went uncalled. He then found himself in the penalty box with 11:24 to go in the third period and the Rangers up 3-1. New York would kill it and not long after Carcillo would close out Game 3.
Steve Mason was well enough to back up and later replace Ray Emery for the Flyers. It'll probably be his net here on out as Philadelphia attempt to even the series Friday night in Game 4.
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Tue Apr 22 10:04pm EDT
For a moment, it appeared that Kristers Gudlevskis was going to finally get the best of a Canadian team.
But the moment belonged instead to Max Pacioretty and the Montreal Canadiens.
Pacioretty scored his first goal of the playoffs on the power play at 19:17, giving the Habs a 4-3 victory in Game 4 of their divisional semifinal against the Tampa Bay Lightning, completing a sweep and becoming the first team to advance in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Gudlevskis, the Lightning’s rookie goalie, entered the game at 5:42 of the second period after starter Anders Lindback gave up his third goal on 20 shots at Bell Centre. If that name sounds familiar, it should: The Lightning goalie nearly pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Winter Olympic history back in February, when his 55-save performance gave eventual Sochi gold medal winner Canada the scare of its tournament in a 2-1 loss for Latvia.
Against Montreal in Game 4, Gudlevskis made 16 saves and backstopped a two-goal third-period rally for Tampa Bay to tie the game 3-3, on goals by Victor Hedman and Tyler Johnson.
But a late tripping penalty by rookie Cedric Paquette gave Montreal the power play that would end it. Thomas Vanek and P.K. Subban had the assists on Pacioretty’s goal, tucked through the pads of Gudlevskis on a deflected puck.
“That’s my first playoff goal in my career,” said Pacioretty, who had 39 goals in the regular season.
“Coach has been on me, saying I’ve been playing really well. Sometimes you don’t trust them when you’re not playing well.”
He picked the right time to break through. It was the 22nd time in franchise history the Canadiens swept a series, more than any other franchise in pro sports.
Carey Price made 20 saves. Danny Briere, Lars Eller and Brendan Gallagher scored for the Habs, who completed a dominating series against the shorthanded Lightning, who were without starting goalie Ben Bishop in the series.
Goaltending ultimately wasn’t the issue for Tampa Bay – but team defense was. The Habs scored 16 goals in four games, often looking like they were skating at a different speed than the Lightning. Gallagher scored three goals in the series victory. Subban now has five points.
So the last Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup, in 1993 – and the only Canadian team in this year’s tournament – plays on to the Atlantic Division final, where they’ll face the winner of Boston and Detroit’s series.
Something tells us the Canadiens would love their crack at the Bruins. As would the rest of the hockey world outside of Detroit.
Tue Apr 22 06:57pm EDT
KHL President Alexander Medvedev has long desired to have Russian stars in the NHL come back home to play for his League. Last summer, Ilya Kovalchuk’s “retirement” followed by his signing with SKA blazed a path for others to follow.
The question being asked now: Would Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin attempt to follow it?
Medvedev, through a KHL spokesman, told ESPN.com earlier this month that, "Per the terms of our memorandum of understanding with the NHL as it relates to respecting player contracts, Ovechkin would only be free to join a KHL club if he negotiates his way out of his existing contract with the Washington club. Should that situation come to pass, I have no doubt there are KHL clubs who would have interest in his services."
In a recent interview with Championat.com, Medvedev went into further detail on Ovechkin and whether or not he’d make the jump to the KHL:
Q. How possible is it, in your opinion, for Ovechkin to repeat what Ilya Kovalchuk did and come to the KHL?
“The attacks directed at Alex are absolutely inexcusable. A person scored 51 goals this season, none of his competition was even close to that mark. To blame him for everything, saying that because of him the team didn’t make the playoffs, is probably testing his patience. I will remind you that there is a legal way for any player if he decides to play in another league (to do so) without breaking the mutual agreement to respect each other’s contracts between the NHL and the KHL. I will not tell you the details, but they were the ones Kovalchuk used when he decided to play for SKA.”
Q. Does Ovechkin have desire to play in the KHL?
“I haven’t spoken to him since the Olympics about it. Because it is pointless to put pressure on or influence a player.”
At least we know the subject came up during the Sochi Games.
Ovechkin is signed through 2021 with Washington.
Tue Apr 22 05:23pm EDT
The NHL playoffs are now a little over a week old, and while this isn't quite long enough to determine who is heading to the conference finals, we have made some progress in our secondary mission of determining who is good ... and who is bad.
Not at hockey, mind you -- just in general.
The Dallas Stars?
After all, who would shamelessly target the the jaw of one of their opponents, as Dallas did to poor Ryan Getzlaf's puck-marked face in Game 3? Sure, it threw him off his game, and sure, he even lost his composure badly enough to take himself off the ice for the final two minutes of the second period, when the Ducks could have used his offence to cut a two-goal deficit in half -- and thus, wrest the momentum away from the Stars -- heading into the intermission.
But still, this was a Classless™ thing to do, and Getzlaf said so himself. From Defending Big D:
"Well, it's one of those things, you've got to stay as disciplined as you can but you've got to protect yourself too," said Getzlaf. "That's part of the game. Obviously, I never expected them to target my face that much, but that's the way it goes I guess."
"Well it was class," Getzlaf continued.. "You can play hard and do all the things you want, but me personally, if a guy's got a bad jaw, I'm not going to hit him in the jaw but everybody's different."
Getzlaf may be speaking from the heart. He may not be the type to go after a guy's jaw. HIs frequent running mate Corey Perry, on the other hand? Slap a partial face shield on an opponent and Perry will flutter around it like a moth with a porchlight.
Why? That's part of his game. It may very well be classless. Doing this will earn you zero class bucks. But all you can buy with class bucks is a Lady Byng, hockey's dumbest trophy (and apparently you can still be eligible for that if you demand a trade because your GM left you off the Olympic team, so whatever).
Lots of stuff in hockey is classless. It's not called the National Classy League, and that's on purpose. The players use visors, helmets and sticks, not monocles, top hats, and canes. You don't get points for good behavior. No one is watching to see if you dab the spilled blood with your handkerchief rather than smear it all over the back of your sleeve.
Heck, in hockey, you sometimes get points for bad behavior. Getzlaf's loss of composure in Game 3, at a critical junction, may not have cost the Ducks the game, but I think we can all agree that it's a whole lot easier to take a two-goal lead into the intermission when your opponent is prevented from deploying the best offensive player in the NHL this season not named Sidney Crosby.
Similarly, it's a lot easier to score when your opponent isn't allowed to send five guys onto the ice and you are. That in mind, occasionally attempting to draw a penalty, perhaps with a bit of embellishment, makes a whole lot of sense.
This is what the Rangers appeared to be doing in Game 2, although they denied it, because lying about stuff you did on the ice (or pretending you don't remember, what with the heat of the moment practically melting the part of your brain where memories are stored) is one of hockey's oldest traditions. From the NY Post:
Trying to rid themselves of the reputation as divers, they rebuked both calls after Monday’s optional practice as they prepared for Game 3 in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
“I’m not sure if [the referees] changed their mind after [the Flyers] started yelling,” said Derek Dorsett, who was called for the second dive 11:41 into the second period when he was cross-checked from behind by Wayne Simmonds, who was also penalized. “I watched the one replay, and I don’t think there was any embellishment. Whether I went down easy or not, it wasn’t a dive.”
Dorsett dove, and the last line of that quote is the giveaway that he's talking out of his ass. ("Whether I chewed and swallowed a stolen cookie or not, I did not steal from the cookie jar.") But who really cares if he did dive? In this case, he got caught, but in other instances, he might not, and then his team might score a goal on a penalty he drew, and then do you know what he's done? He's contributed.
By this logic, one assumes Derek Dorsett, and any other player who would like his team to win the match, might occasionally dive. Or they could be classy, and not help their team win.
A classier version of Carey Price probably doesn't exploit rule 69.3, throwing himself into Alex Killorn, then flopping around his crease like the light contact left him with a touch of the dizzies, successfully negating the Lighting's go-ahead goal thanks to Francis Charron correctly enforcing the letter of the law on a dumbly-written rule.
Similarly, Duncan Keith probably doesn't chirp a concussed David Backes with "wakey wakey". Not that it did Chicago any good in that game, which they lost, but again, in the battle of class versus gamesmanship, gamesmanship is going to win out.
That's not to say any of these things are good, moral things to do. They're obviously not. Garbage like Milan Lucic's cup check on Danny DeKeyser needs to be punished, and it was. But that's not going to stop it. If teams are thinking more about avenging testicles than scoring, they don't win, which is why DeKeyser's testicles likely won't be the last to come under fire this postseason.
Hockey isn't played on moral grounds. It's played on ice, where everyone is as slippery as the surface. And for every Ryan Getzlaf, who would never target a guy's injury, perish the thought, there's a Corey Perry, or Ryan Garbutt or Duncan Keith, who long ago gave up going to hockey heaven. They don't really care about rightness. They don't care about much, outside of winning. That's why they're here. That's why they win so often.
You, the fan, may care about class, likely because it makes you feel good to cheer for the team that appears to be exhibiting a higher degree of righteousness. Similarly, the players may care once the game is over and they're back in their right minds. At that point, they may condemn their opponents for cheap or dirty play. It feels good to tell yourself you're the good guy.
But on the ice, pretty much everybody is playing the villain.
If you're going to gasp every time someone crosses the line, expect to get the bends. All throughout the playoffs, we're going to see instance after instance of players being [expletives] to one another, largely because in the NHL playoffs, nice guys finish first; and in a war of attrition like hockey's postseason, you want to be the guy that finishes last.
Tue Apr 22 04:43pm EDT
It's been six years and a day since the last time the Montreal Canadiens won a playoff series at home. On April 21, 2008, the Eastern Conference champion Habs closed out the Boston Bruins, 5-0, in Game 7 at the Bell Centre. It was a happy day for Montreal fans.
But not so much for Montreal police, who spent the rest of the evening trying to quell a downtown riot. From the CBC:
The jubilation degenerated into mayhem around midnight, however, as some hockey fans turned violent.
"It started pretty well," police spokesman Const. Laurent Gingras told CBC News Tuesday.
"Unfortunately, at a certain point some people gathered on Ste. Catherine Street. A couple fights broke out and police cars were also attacked at that point."
In the end, 16 people were arrested, as many police cars were damaged, and the city was left wondering what sort of Hell they had in store if the Canadiens won another round. Fortunately, the Philadelphia Flyers did what the police couldn't, preventing another riot by knocking the Habs out in five games in the second round.
But now, the after after the sixth anniversary of that unfortunate evening, the Canadiens have another chance to win a playoff series at the Bell Centre, heading into Tuesday night's Game 4 leading the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-0.
And the police would like to remind you that if the Habs take the series, their fans are not to take to the streets.
"Our goal is to keep the flow of traffic and keep open streets," said Laurent Gingras, the spokesman for the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal. "This is not to allow people to take the streets. What we want to avoid, especially, is that people gather in large numbers to celebrate in the streets. That's our goal."
According to Bylaw P-6, which was enacted shortly after the Quebec student protests of 2012, spontaneously assembly -- "a procession or a crowd for which the location or route has not been communicated" is a public violation.
Good luck enforcing that if the Canadiens win their first home series in six years.
In other words, if you're wondering who the Montreal police are cheering for tonight, it's probably the Lightning. One assumes they would just prefer the Lighting fend off the sweep and get eliminated in Tampa Bay.
Tue Apr 22 03:21pm EDT
Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.
• Here is your all-important Patrick Kane playoff mullet update. Some decent business up front. So much party in the back. [@ChrisKuc]
• Daniel Alfredsson is out for Game 3 tonight against the Boston Bruins with a sore back. Joakim Andersson draws in. [MLive]
• Doing something he's done a few time this season, Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper popped into Steven Stamkos' media scrum on Monday. [Sun]
• Of the top 20 Googled NHL players, how many guesses would it take you to correctly pick Mike Fisher? [On the Forecheck]
• Gary Bettman said the NHL hasn't studied having an outdoor game at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, but that he "certainly wouldn't rule it out." [ESPN Dallas]
• Why Scott Howson should be thanked for helping set up these Columbus Blue Jackets. [The Score]
• A fancy stats look at how much better these Blue Jackets have gotten. [mc79hockey]
• Sorry, fancy stats haters, they aren't going anywhere, writes Mirtle. [Globe and Mail]
• No, the New York Rangers aren't diving against the Philadelphia Flyers. [NY Post]
• A look at 10 players who could really use a change of scenery. [Dobber Hockey]
• The New York Islanders make it official and announce they will again play a preseason game against the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. [Islanders]
• The Guelph Storm are rolling in the OHL playoffs. [Buzzing the Net]
• Here's a 2014 NHL Draft quiz to introduce you to some sleepers. [The Hockey Writer]
• Former NHLer Wes Walz is heading behind the bench of East Ridge High School in Minnesota. [Woodbury Bulletin]
• "Convicted pedophile and former Maple Leafs Garden usher Gordon Stuckless was back in a Toronto court on Tuesday, where he pleaded guilty to 100 new charges involving 18 victims." [CP via Yahoo]
• Finally, our own Harrison Mooney is at it again. His latest song is "Punch You", set to the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris".
Tue Apr 22 02:32pm EDT
Philadelphia Flyers head coach Craig Berube accumulated nearly 3,200 penalty minutes during an NHL career that last 1,052 games. He earned all that time in the penalty box protecting each and everyone of his teammates. So, in 1990, when Berube saw his goaltender, Ron Hextall, get run by some young punk on the Chicago Blackhawks named Jerey Roenick, he knew what he needed to do.
Berube, however, didn't get his chance during the ensuing melee. He wouldn't get back at Roenick until the 2003-04 season.
Back when I played for the Hawks, I ran Ron Hextall in the crease and Holmgren wasn't very happy with me. Sent Berube out to teach me a lesson.
So he chased me around for a period and he finally caught me in the third period and he challenged me to a fight, kind of grabbed me.
When a super star gets grabbed back then, everybody jumps in so it became a five-on-five melee. The referee grabs Craig's arms and kind of has him in an arm lock but my right arm is totally free. So I had this choice to make. Do I hit him -- you know, defenseless guy -- or do I not?
Well, being a young guy and this guys much bigger than me, I chose to slug him, and I spin him so hard.
For two or three years, every time we played the Flyers, every time I would jump on the ice, Craig would stand up on the bench and start yelling at one of his players to get off the ice because he wanted to get on the ice to chase me around. He would jump on the ice and chase me around and I would skate to the bench, and he would skate right to the bench and say "JR, I'm gonna f'n catch you, I'm gonna beat the tar out of you, I'm gonna get you one of these days." He did it for like two or three years.
So fast forward to when I'm in Philly and they hire Chief to a minor league contract where he's gonna be player/coach. And the Phantoms locker room and the Flyers locker room, they're connected together. Chief obviously feels very comfortable because he's been part of the organization for a long time.
So he comes into the Flyers locker room where I'm getting ready and was just hangin out in the locker room and I go "Hey, Chief, what's goin' on?" and he goes "Hey JR, what's goin on-- BOOM." Just slugs me. Just cracks me. And I kinda went down on one knee and I get up and he goes "I told ya I'd get ya."
And believe it or not, we played golf later that day. With me, Boosh, Tocc and Chief.
This is the video of the confrontation from Feb. 25, 1990 that set things in motion:
This is a fine lesson for today's NHL player: that cheapshot you lay today could come back to haunt you down the line.
Matt Cooke should just really go into hiding when he eventually retires.
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Tue Apr 22 01:56pm EDT
It's a Tuesday 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: Terry Ryan, author of "Tales of A First Round Nothing", spins many of those tales.
• The Matt Cooke hit and suspension.
• Marty St. Louis and the Lady Byng.
• Rally night in the NHL
• Tonight's playoff action.
Question of the Day: How many games for Matt Cooke and why? 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 iTunes or Feedburner.