No. 1 Star: Daniel Paille, Boston Bruins The catalyst for the Bruins’ dominating fourth line in Game 3, Paille set up Johnny Boychuk for the tying goal and then scored the game-winner on a funky bounce to give Boston a 2-1 win over the Rangers and a 3-0 series lead. No. 2 Star: Antti Niemi, San Jose Sharks The Sharks goalie stopped 22 shots, including 13 in the third period, to backstop San Jose to a 2-1 Game 4 win and a 2-2 series split with the Los Angeles Kings.
Los Angeles Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi rarely makes a gaffe on the ice, so it’s ironic his nickname was born out of one. When Scuderi was with the Pittsburgh Penguins, he mistakenly told a reporter that he was “the piece of the puzzle” for the team. Not “a piece,” but “ THE piece.” Which obviously was a point of hilarity for a locker room that included Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. “The Piece” stuck as a nickname for Scuderi – along with the more hockey-linguistic “Scuds” – because he’s been an essential one for two Stanley Cup-winning teams. He logged big minutes and played stout defense for the 2009 Penguins; last season for the Kings, he played 30 shifts a game and finished with a plus-9 in 20 games en route to the Cup. This season, Scuderi is second on the Kings in ice time (28:08 on average) to defensive partner Drew Doughty (28:08). He leads the team with 23 blocked shots – his forte – and had six in the Game 3 loss. It’s what he does, and has been doing for years.
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. • Via Wayne B., here's how you take finger hockey to the next level. [ Think Geek ] • If Patrick Roy is set to become the next head coach of the Colorado Avalanche, according to his brother, no deal is currently in place, writes Adrian Dater. [ Denver Post ] • Joe Haggerty on why the Boston Bruins and Matt Bartkowski are happy that Jarome Iginla deal never worked out. [ CSNNE ] • Why John Tortorella's words always have a deeper meaning behind them. "Remember the "shut yer yap" command to then-Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock when Tortorella's Lightning faced Philadelphia in the 2004 Eastern Conference final en route to that franchise's only Stanley Cup? The story around the NHL is that Tortorella walked into that news conference knowing he would say something of that ilk, regardless of the questioning." [ Bergen Record ] • San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan hinted that he may opt to use seven defensemen in Game 4 Tuesday night. Jason Demers would sub in for an injured Martin Havlat. [ Mercury News] • Roy MacGregor on what Craig Anderson brings to the Senators. [ The Globe & Mail ] • Darryl Sutter on why the LA Kings flew back home between Games 3 and 4: "Just our own practice facility. You know, what are we going to do up there for two days? Really? You know what, if we had all stayed up there for two days, we’d have been bored last night and today, right? Because you’re basically just sitting around the hotel and there’s nothing to do." [ LA Kings Insider ]