Friday, May 18, 2012

Rendezvous, Then I'm Through With You...About Last Night

First things first.  Our boys in the red, white, and blue came up empty the quarterfinals of the IIHF World Championships yesterday.  After defeating Finland Sunday 5-2, they could not do so again losing 3-2 and giving up the winning goal with just a few seconds left in regulation.  Another early exit for the Americans as they haven't medaled since 2004 and not won gold since 1960.  On the bright side, Canada was also upset!  The Slovaks prove once again they are not a team to be messed with having only 4 NHL players on their roster.  The semi-finals are tomorrow with Russia taking on the Czechs and Slovakia taking on Finland.  Sunday is the Gold Medal game as well as the Bronze Medal game.  Go Russia. Go Malkin and Nikitin.



The Los Angeles Kings are on one of those historic runs through the playoffs.  They won game 3 last night 2-1 over Phoenix and now hold a 3-0 series lead.  The Kings are now 11-1 in the playoffs thus far tying the 1983 Edmonton Oilers and 1995 Detroit Red Wings for best record through the first 12 games. They've also tied the record for consecutive wins at 8 (with 2 teams from back in the Original 6 days when it only took 8 wins to win it all).  For a franchise that has a 44 year Cup drought (never in their history), this is encouraging!  For the first time since late April, the Kings trailed in a game but thanks to this nice breakaway move from Anze Kopitar, it didn't last long...

Their only other Cup appearance was 1993 but they lost to the Canadians, which happens to also be the last time a team from up north won a cup.  The Coyotes look to be the 4th team in NHL history to come back from a 3-0 deficit.  There is hope but it's a thin ray to say the least.  After losing the first two at home, this was a must win for Phoenix.  They even had the lead going into the third period last night.  While the officiating has been okay at best, they just aren't generating enough quality scoring chances.  LA netminder Quick only faced 19 shots last night.  It just won't cut it.  In a little case of irony, one of the best players for the Kings this series has been 22 year old rookie Dwight King - nicknamed King of Kings.  He scored the game winner last night and has 4 in the last 3 games.  Check out this snipe:

Game 4 is Sunday afternoon at 3pm on NBC in LA.  I'll be tuned in because it's a chance for a team to move on and the Western champion could be crowned.  If that's the case, I will be interested to see if the Captain and two Alternate Captains for the Kings touch the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl which is awarded to the winner. It's tradition not to touch it.  However when the Pens lost the Stanley Cup in 2008, they had touched their Eastern Conference trophy, and in 2009 they went ahead and touched it and won the Cup so who knows!


Over on the east coast, we have a much tighter series between the Devils and Rangers who are tied at 1 game apiece.  After shutting out the Devils Monday night 3-0, the Rangers struggled a bit offensively in a 3-2 loss Wednesday night.  If not for a lucky bounce, the score would have been worse.  The Devils have to feel good heading home (10 miles away) with the series 1-1.  The Rangers do want to give New Jersey any life at home.  Game 3 is tomorrow afternoon at 1pm on NBC.

We'll know a lot more about this series after the game tomorrow.  I really think the winner of the series will take tomorrow's game.  The Devils are the better overall team.  The Rangers just aren't packing enough offensive punch (similar to the Coyotes).  However they are ruining hockey with their epic shot blocking ability and trying to slow the game down.  Marian Gaborik has been a bust through the first two games and their best offensive player has been rookie standout Chris Kreider.  He has 4 playoff goals as a 21 year old and hasn't even played a regular season game.  He's looking to become the first player EVER to win the NCAA Title and Stanley Cup in the SAME year.  His school, Boston College took home the championship back on April 8th.

Meanwhile, the Devils are getting a well balanced attack from their entire line up and of course from the never aging 40 year old Martin Brodeur.  Who if you didn't know, cheated on his wife in this hilarious story. Yes, it involves his ex-wife's sister.  That's all I need to know to not cheer for them!