2010 NHL playoffs: Controversy in Kings 5-3 win

It wouldn’t be the playoffs without a little taste of controversy now would it? During the third period of tonight’s Kings-Canucks tilt in Los Angeles with the Kings holding a 4-2 lead, what appeared to be a Vancouver goal by Daniel Sedin to make it a 4-3 game.

After a lengthy review session with the war room in Toronto, the powers that be judged that Daniel Sedin directed the puck into the net with a kicking motion. Sedin scored shortly after that legitimately to make it 4-3 for real, but the Kings would score again shortly after that to make it 5-3 and finish off the Canucks to take Game 3.

Mike Murphy, the NHL head of hockey operations, jumped on Hockey Night in Canada after the game to help clear up the situation for soon-to-don tinfoil hat Canucks fans and did nothing to help ease their minds.

[Murphy] Said “it wasn’t a distinct kicking motion, but a kicking motion” nonetheless.

Fans, of course, are zeroing in on the whole “distinct kicking motion” part of the rulebook, but HNIC’s Elliotte Freidman points out something interesting that managed to fly under the radar of most fans.

[Murphy] Said DVD was sent to teams — “an addendum to the rule” — outlining this kind of play. Definitely believed intent was there to kick.

Whether the intent was there or not can be argued until the cows come home and each side can claim a victory one way or another. What’s stunning here is the league’s lack of communication with fans about these rule clarifications and adjustments. It’s harder to stomach these stories especially with the league rulebook being online and making it expressly clear about the now infamous “distinct kicking motion” coming under fire now.

What helps bring this into question even more is there’s a very recent incident where a puck went into the net thanks to a rather suspect foot motion from Todd Bertuzzi in a game against Columbus back on April 1st. The original call on the ice was no goal but was overruled by the Toronto war room and called a goal. Just consider it more fodder for those searching for answers they’re not going to get.

All that aside though, if Vancouver wants to stay out of trouble in future games perhaps getting some work on the special teams in practice could help. Vancouver’s power play went 0-4 while their penalty kill managed to go 0-3 allowing three power play goals to the Kings.

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    Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

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    Hot take: the Pittsburgh Penguins probably won’t deal with a goalie controversy going into Game 7.

    (Ugh, that’s a failed hot take … you can’t use “probably” in those things, right?)

    Matt Murray was fantastic at times during Game 6, much like his counterpart in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s net in a 5-2 win. Granted, there were some tense moments during the Bolts’ late-game push:

    Much has been made about experience, especially from those calling for Marc-Andre Fleury earlier in this series. It’s telling that the praise Murray draws sure sounds like what you’d expect from a “veteran.”

    “He has a calming influence,” Sullivan said. “He doesn’t get rattled. If he lets a goal in, he just continues to compete. That’s usually an attribute that usually takes years to acquire that, and to have it at such a young age is impressive.”

    Thanks in part to Murray’s efforts in Game 6, he’ll get a chance to prove his resolve in something new: a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final.

    Once again, his teammates seem pretty confident in this elimination situation.

    Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

    It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

    Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

    Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

    Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

    Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

    Read more about Game 6 here.

    Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

    With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

    There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

    What if that offside goal counted?

    Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

    Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

    What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

    The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

    Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

    Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

    Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

    ***

    Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

    More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

    Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

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    With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

    Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

    The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.