Tom Cruise watched top gun and legend Anze Kopitar, far and away their best forward, make it rain, man, and help push the Sharks into oblivion as the Kings won this war of the worlds with their eyes wide shut. [NHL Video]
No. 1 Star: Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings goalie made 28 saves for his second career shutout, as Detroit won Game 4 over the Chicago Blackhawks, 2-0. He was especially good in the third period as the Blackhawks turned on the offense. Detroit leads the series, 3-1.
No. 2 Star: Derek Stepan, New York Rangers
The Rangers needed someone to make a play. Stepan did, twice. He stripped Zdeno Chara of the puck and scored to tie the Boston Bruins in the third period, 2-2. After Tyler Seguin’s goal gave Boston the lead again, Stepan set up Brian Boyle for another tying goal on the power play, where the Rangers were the worst team left in the postseason. New York won Game 4, 4-3 in overtime, on a Chris Kreider goal. Here’s the Stepan strip-and-score, helping the Rangers stay alive in the postseason.
No. 3 Star: Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings
Quick shut the door on the San Jose Sharks in Game 5, making 24 saves as the Kings won, 3-0. It was his seventh career shutout. His best work came when the Sharks pulled Antti Niemi with over 2 minutes left in the third, trailing by two goals. The Kings took a 3-2 series lead.
Honorable mention: Anze Kopitar, Slava Voynov and Jeff Carter had the Kings goals. … Jakub Kindl and Dan Cleary had the Wings goals. … Carl Hagelin had the Rangers’ other goal, while Nathan Horton and Torey Krug (his third) had the Bruins tallies. … Niemi (26 saves) and Corey Crawford (25 saves) had strong games in defeat.
Conn Smythe Watch: 1. David Krejci, Boston Bruins; 2. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins; 3. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings; 4. Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks; 5. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins; 6. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins; 7. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators; 8. Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings; 9. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks; 10. Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings.
Dishonorable mention: The Blackhawks saw their perfect penalty killing run end with the Kindl goal. … Jonathan Toews took three consecutive minor penalties in the second period, one of them leading to the Kindl goal. … This Tuukka Rask banana peel moment led to a Rangers goal. … Both Quick and Joe Thornton had their moments of embellishment in Game 5.
The Chicago Blackhawks’ history-making season is slipping into the same abyss that swallowed up other Presidents Trophy winners who couldn’t fulfill the promise of their regular-season success.
The Detroit Red Wings won Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals, 2-0, to take a 3-1 lead and push the Hawks to an elimination game back in Chicago on Saturday.
The unraveling of the Blackhawks continued in Game 4.
Suddenly, captain Jonathan Toews isn’t just failing to score goals – he was a complete liability, taking three straight minor penalties in the second period. On the second one, the Red Wings finally solved the Chicago penalty kill, as Jakub Kindl scored with one second left on the man advantage.
The Blackhawks had killed the first 30 power plays they had faced in the postseason, and tied an NHL record for not allowing a power-play goal for their first eight games of the postseason.
Coach Joel Quenneville scrambled his lines before Game 4, putting Toews with Patrick Kane. The results didn’t arrive: Howard earned his second career shutout with 28 saves. Chicago brought the heat in the third period, but couldn’t break through before Dan Cleary’s empty netter iced it.
So the captain couldn’t stay out of the sin bin, the penalty kill failed and the coach as yet again out-coached by his adversary on the other bench.
Meanwhile, the Detroit Red Wings are looking more and more like their vintage playoff selves with each victory. Despite the inexperience on the roster, especially the blue line, the Wings have frustrated the Stanley Cup favorites to the brink of elimination.
Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Rangers stave off elimination with OT win over Bruins
• NHL legend Patrick Roy named Colorado Avalanche coach
• Tuukka Rask’s slip give Rangers’ Carl Hagelin easy goal (Video)
Today's Quick Hits
Our season-long look at correcting the stats for context continues into the playoffs with an analysis of the Red Wings' game 4 matchup against the Blackhawks on Thursday.
The Griffins sent us a series preview for their conference finals matchup against the Oklahoma City Barons.
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