For three straight seasons, Marian Hossa will play in the Stanley Cup finals, and he’ll be doing so with his third different team in a row. It’s an odd mercenary accomplishment for the Czech winger, who chose to leave Pittsburgh for Detroit (the team that beat the Penguins) and then the Red Wings for the Blackhawks (the team that lost to the Red Wings the year before).
Of course, as you’ve probably heard amid bridesmaid jokes, Hossa failed to win one so far. He infamously claimed that the Red Wings had a better chance to win the Cup in the off-season before the Penguins proved him wrong. If it doesn’t happen now, a great player will mainly be a punchline during his career.
So, the question is, will this be the year Hossa will finally win the Cup? Let’s glance at why it could happen and why it might not.
Hossa had a great run with the Penguins, totaling 26 points in only 20 games played. At the time I wondered if Sidney Crosby was the No. 1 reason for his success, which is a reasonable assumption since the young star helped greybeard Bill Guerin have a career playoff run last season.
Since parting from Crosby, Hossa compiled 26 points in 39 games during seven playoff rounds (as opposed to four with Pittsburgh). He only has 2 goals (but a respectable 11 points) in 16 games so far. If it comes down to Hossa, he might not raise the Cup. The other big factor is the mere presence of Chris Pronger (he’s really good).
That being said, this is his best chance to win a Cup yet. His team has home ice advantage. Despite the Flyers hot streak, we cannot forget that Philadelphia limped its way into the playoffs while Chicago fell just short of the top seed in the West. The Flyers haven’t faced an offense like the Blackhawks’ in the postseason so far. The firepower provided by the Devils, Bruins and Canadiens pale in comparison to what Chicago brings to the table.
There’s something a little dirty about the idea that Hossa might finally win his Cup in such a sloppy fashion, but if it ever will happen, it will be this June.
Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.
They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.
Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.
Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.
You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:
Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.
Read about that blowout here.
Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.
Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”
It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.
The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.
This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.
Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.
On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.
We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.
Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.
After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.
Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.
The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.
Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.
Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:
Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.
Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.
Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.
It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.
After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.
Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:
Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.
The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.