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.
Daniel Alfredsson of the Ottawa Senators has, for the most part, achieved Beloved Player status in the National Hockey League: a veteran whose work ethic, results and dedication to the only franchise he’s played for makes him exempt from most criticism.
So imagine, if you will, if Alex Ovechkin or Joe Thornton or Henrik Sedin or another captain who carries less respect than Alfredsson uttered the following when asked if it was feasible his team could win three in a row against the Pittsburgh Penguins after Wednesday's 7-3 Game 4 thumping:
Here’s the video:
The full quote, via Erin Nicks of NHL.com, after Alfredsson was asked if it was feasible his team could win three in a row:
"Probably not," Alfredsson said. "[Pittsburgh's] depth and our play right now … it doesn't look too good.
"When you look at what we did, it wasn't good enough. Does that mean [Pittsburgh] was good? Did we make them good? Who really cares? From our point of view, we didn't manage the puck [well], we didn't execute our passes, and subsequently, we got punished in the neutral zone. We turned way too many pucks over and gave them some freebies. It would have been nice to have the lead for a little bit longer, but now we're back on our heels again. We didn't shut them down when it matters."
From the ‘Alfie Does No Wrong’ crowd, the defense of his statement goes like this (in summary of everything I’ve seen since Wednesday night):
“Daniel Alfredsson was speaking from frustration because his team was embarrassed in Game 4. He’s also staring into the abyss of his career’s end – he retrieved the puck at the end of Game 4, claiming it was for his kids. He’s speaking from the heart and, frankly, speaking the truth, and isn’t that what we want from all athletes? His candor is refreshing!”
It’s not really a surprise to see Alfredsson get a pass in many places for these comments. Alfredsson has banked enough goodwill that he could strangle a kitten in a postgame press scrum and the media would laud him for inventing a new form of “extreme petting.”
But they're comments that indicate the Senators are an inferior team to the Penguins.
Comments that effectively raise the white flag on the season after four semifinal games.
Comments that would seem like the antithesis of what you’d want out of a captain.
Again: Had Alex Ovechkin said the Capitals would “probably not” rally to win a series, he would have been called everything from selfish to a cancer of negativity infecting the Washington locker room.
Not Alfie, despite one of the most defeatist quotes ever uttered by an NHL captain in the playoffs.
It’s May 23. Nineteen years ago today, Mark Messier and the New York Rangers were down 3-2 to the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Final. He was asked if the team could win Game 6. He said the following.
“I know we're going to go in and win Game 6 and bring it back here (to the Garden) for Game 7 ... We have enough talent and experience to turn the tide. That's exactly what we're going to do in Game 6.... I've put my five Stanley Cup rings, my reputation and my neck on the chopping block, boys. Now save me."
Imagine how history would remember the Rangers and Messier had he answered “Probably Not.”
As Scott Dobby writes:
@wyshynski I guess that puts him out if the Messier Leadership Award race.
— Scott Dobby (@Scott_Dobby) May 23, 2013
The Senators got blown out at home last night, and it was a downright ugly third period. Time to try to be a bit positive.
An unseen opponent emerges.
What will happen tonight? Find out here!
The Senators have had a magical season, and seem to be doing better than any of us could have hoped in the playoffs against the top two seeded teams in the Eastern Conference. Since it must obviously be magic, I have to ask: how are you all helping?
Mark Stone may make his first 2013 playoff appearance with the Ottawa Senators tonight, and if he does, it's a smart move by coach Paul MacLean
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