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Category Archives: NHL

Epic Battle Between Blackhawks and Red Wings Reaches Game 7

For the second time in a row, the Chicago Blackhawks faced elimination and got the job done against the Detroit Red Wings. Chicago’s 4-3 win in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals extended the series to a deciding Game 7 in Chicago on Wednesday night.

The Blackhawks needed three third period goals to get the win, but Michal Handzus, Bryan Bickell and Michael Frolik delivered. The Blackhawks managed to overcome a 36-23 faceoff disadvantage and a 38-28 shot disadvantage to pick up the win, in part due to Corey Crawford’s 35 save performance in goal.

The Blackhawks have gotten strong play from Crawford throughout their playoff run, as he has a 1.78 goals against average and a .936 save percentage. Offensively, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp have combined for 20 points. Hossa has five goals and five assists, while Sharp has six goals and four assists. Duncan Keith, as usual, has provided an offensive boost from the blueline with one goal and eight assists. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, two of the Blackhawks biggest stars, have been a bit quieter in the post season. Kane has two goals and seven assists, while Toews has one goal and five assists. They’ll hope to break out a bit more in Game 7.

Jimmy Howard has posted a 2.49 goals against average and .923 save percentage in goal for the Red Wings, while Henrik Zetterberg, Damien Brunner, Pavel Datsyuk, Daniel Cleary and Johan Franzen all have three goals ore more. Zetterberg has three goals and eight assists, while Brunner has five goals and four assists. Datsyuk has three goals and six assists, while Cleary has four goals and five assists.

The winner between the Blackhawks and Red Wings advances to take on the Game 7 winner between the Sharks and Kings in the Western Conference Finals. There is little in sports more exciting than a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so don’t miss out on your chance to see one live. Tickets are still available, but likely to go fast for this major event.

Rangers and Bruins Continue Playoff Runs in Conference Semifinals

Both the New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins are battle tested this playoff season after going to the brink in the first round. The Bruins beat the Maple Leafs in seven games, needing two late goals in the third period of Game 7 to force overtime.

Milan Lucic scored with 1:22 left and Patrice Bergeron scored 31 seconds later to send the game to overtime, then Bergeron delivered again just over six minutes into the extra session.

The Rangers didn’t need quite as exciting of a game to seal their series against the Capitals, with a road Game 7 win in convincing fashion, 5-0.

The Bruins will have home ice, with the series opening Thursday, May 16 and Game 2 slated for Sunday, May 19. The Rangers host Games 3 and 4 at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, May 21 and Thursday, May 23. If necessary, Game 5 will be in Boston on Saturday, May 25. Game Six would be in New York on Monday, May 27 and Game 7 would be back in Boston on Wednesday, May 29.

The Bruins have received strong goaltending from Tuukka Rask in the playoffs, with a 2.49 goals against average and a .923 save percentage. David Krejci has led the offensive attack with five goals and eight assists, while Nathan Horton has four goals and three assists. Milan Lucic has been a setup man with two goals and seven assists, while Zdeno Chara has a goal and seven assists from the blue line.

Henrik Lundqvist has been brilliant in goal for the Rangers with a 4-3 record, a 1.65 goals against average and a .947 save percentage. If King Henrik continues playing at this level, the Rangers could beat any team in the league. Scoring has been their bigger challenge, with no playing having scored more than two playoff goals. Derick Brassard, Carl Hagelin, Brian Boyle, Arron Asham and Derek Stepan each have two goals. The Rangers scored one goal or less in four of the seven games in the series against the Capitals.

Don’t miss out as two of the league’s best fan bases meet up in front of raucous crowds; get your tickets soon.

Stanley Cup Playoffs Update

The first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is just wrapping up for most and is already for some. And just like every good playoff series, each of them has had their intense moments of both victory, and defeat.

The Detroit Red Wings were looking to pull ahead of the heavily favored Anaheim Ducks in their game last night, and all the way into overtime it looked as though they just might do it. In the end, it was the Ducks that won and they now take that series 3-2.

Also ahead 3-2 in their series is the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Los Angeles Kings as they look to knock the St. Louis Blues out of the competition on Friday night. And not surprisingly given the dynamic regular season they had, the Chicago Blackhawks are also up 3-1 in their series facing off against the Minnesota Wild.

But while the Red Wings, the Blues, and the Wild all look to extend their season just a bit longer, the same cannot be said for the Vancouver Canucks, who were swept out of the West by the San Jose Sharks.

In the East things seem to be a bit more even-keeled. The series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders is surprisingly tied at 2-2; as is the series between the Washington Capitals and the New York Rangers.

Sadly, after much celebration that the Toronto Maple Leafs finally made the playoffs after a long nine year wait, they quickly fell behind the Boston Bruins and are now struggling to hang onto a 3-1 series. They too will see if they can hang on Friday evening.

Two of the Leafs’ biggest rivals are also playing each other in the East, the Ottawa Senators and the Montreal Canadiens. That series is currently 3-1, and Montreal will look to stay in the game on Thursday night.

Who do you think is moving onto round two in the Stanley Cup Playoffs? And who will move onto the Finals?

Rangers Season Finale With Devils Could Be Huge

The New York Rangers are set to host the New Jersey Devils Saturday, April 27 in a game that could have enormous playoff implications. As it currently stands, the Rangers are seventh in the Eastern Conference, tied with the Ottawa Senators, who are in the eighth and final playoff spot due to a tiebreaker.

The Winnipeg Jets loom just one point back, while the Devils are just hoping to play spoiler as they’ve already been eliminated, sitting eight points back with three games remaining.

The atmosphere at Madison Square Garden could be enormous though with division rivals meeting in a game the Rangers need to win to make the playoffs, should it come to that. The Rangers currently ride a three-game winning streak and they’ve won seven of their last 10, with two losses and an overtime loss in that run as well.

In between now and Saturday, they’ll travel to Florida and Carolina. New York will likely look to lean heavily on the goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist, who is 22-15-3 with a 2.08 goals against average and a .927 save percentage.

On the scoring front, the Rangers are led by sniper Rick Nash, who has 19 goals and 21 assists for 40 points in 41 games played. Derek Stepan has 16 goals and 24 assists through 40 games, and the Rangers have some scoring depth as well.

Brad Richards has popped in 10 goals while dishing out 20 assists for 30 points in 43 games, a solid pace to go along with his leadership and two-way effort. Likewise, Ryan Callahan has 14 goals and 12 assists for 26 points in 42 games. 

Don’t underestimate the Rangers playoff chances should they make it in, either. They currently have the fifth-best goal differential in the Eastern Conference and have been hampered in part by a lack of overtime losses and some bad luck.

In addition, only the Penguins are out ahead of the pack in the Eastern Conference with 70 points. The Rangers are 1-0-1 against he Penguins this month and probably would go into that potential second-round matchup with some confidence.

So don’t miss out on the chance to see the Rangers battle their way into the playoffs this Saturday, get your tickets now!

Cautious Optimism Leads to Complete Breakdown of NHL Talks

After standing shoulder to shoulder earlier last week, the NHL and the NHLPA both made it seem as though a deal was pretty much done; it was just a matter of tweaking at this point. Then two days later, after the NHLPA rejected the latest proposal from the NHL, all hockey heck broke lose. When Gary Bettman then used a press conference as an opportunity to completely tear the players’ association, (and the morals of everyone within it) apart, things just got ugly.

So where are the two sides now? Where they have been since the beginning. Worlds apart.

After Wednesday’s proposal, the NHLPA came back with a proposal of their own — with some minor changes. Don Fehr was saying that they were “close” after their last proposal had been presented.

But it wasn’t nearly close enough for the National Hockey League. They rejected it and then took to the microphone at a press conference to address why they rejected the offer. And seemingly, to speak of why they hated everyone in the players’ association. 

During that press conference Bettman told reporters that there was to be no negotiation with the offer presented by the NHL. That it was to stand “as is,” and that all present members of the association were made aware of that. He couldn’t understand why there was a counteroffer. He repeatedly said he couldn’t understand much of what the union was doing, or why they were doing it. Talking about “hills they will die on” and the union being “terribly unfair to our fans, it was clearly emotional for both Bettman and Bill Daly. Bettman in particular, was angrier than anyone in the hockey world had ever seen him.

It’s been debated whether it was real anger or drama but, real or not, the NHL owners have taken all previous offers off the table — which means we’re back to square one. But don’t be fooled into thinking that means the two are even speaking at this point. These are the last words from both sides:

Donald Fehr: “It’s up to them. They’re the ones who called a halt to the process.”

Bill Daly: “I have no reason, nor intention, of reaching out to the union right now. I have no new ideas. Maybe they do. We are happy to listen.”

The thing is though, Bill, you weren’t.

Will Brian Burke Fire Ron Wilson after Public Outcry?

Ron Wilson is one of those NHL coaches that immediately upon hearing his name, one thinks of his long list of credentials. Tuesday night marked his 1400th game as an NHL coach; and he’s up there with having the most wins under his belt as a coach. His skill is there, and has proven itself time and time again. The question is not whether or not the man can coach; it’s whether or not he can coach the current Toronto Maple Leafs.

On this past milestone Tuesday evening, it wasn’t just a big career-mark for Wilson, it was also a must-win game for the Leafs. Facing the Florida Panthers, the Leafs were chasing them for a playoff spot, and coming right off making a few trades the day before, it was time for Toronto to show the world that they were there to fight. And for Wilson to show that he could pull his team together.

It all ended just 13 seconds after face-off. After an embarrassing defensive play, the Panthers took the lead 1-0, and it went downhill from there. It wasn’t long after that the fans started chanting “FI-RE WIL-SON” from the stands. This too is nothing new; albeit a bit disappointing for Wilson. But fans and the media have been talking about firing Wilson for some time. The question is whether or not Brian Burke will actually do it.

Burke and Wilson have a long-standing history. And maybe even more than that, they have a long-standing friendship. With these two, it goes way back to the days they shared a college dorm room together, and played together for the Providence College Friars hockey team. Burke did not hire Wilson to coach for the Leafs, but known for his loyalty, Wilson hasn’t gone anywhere since Burke’s come onto the team. Despite what fans and experts have said.

Burke has said that he’s not going to allow personal feelings to get in the way of business decisions; and in the end, he’ll probably do the right thing. Ron Wilson is a great coach, there’s no denying that. But his team is no longer listening to him, and he’s simply no longer effective in this organization. And let’s not forget that he’s in the biggest hockey town in the biggest hockey country in the world — a place where public outcry accounts for a lot.

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