2010 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 5: Blackhawks are in unfamiliar territory

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Toews2.jpgChicago Blackhawks vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Series tied 1-1

8:00 p.m.
EDT, Sunday, June 6, 2010

Live on NBC

The
Chicago Blackhawks suddenly have their backs against the wall. It’s a
position these Hawks aren’t exactly familiar with.

They faced some early adversity against the Nashville Predators
just as the playoffs were starting, yet since then they have practically
rolled on their way to the Stanley Cup finals. They were able to knock
the Vancouver Canucks in idiotville, and then dispatched the San Jose
Sharks in a four-game sweep; there was no reason not believe they’d
easily take care of the Philadelphia Flyers for the Stanley Cup.

Judging
by the series predictions, that’s exactly what most media pundits
expected.

They Blackhawks have yet to play a complete game against
the Flyers in this series, escaping with two close wins to open the
series before being stunned twice in Philadelphia. If you break down
both teams top to bottom, it’s apparent that the Hawks are more talented
and experienced than the Flyers yet have been outplayed for most of the
past two and a half games.

The Hawks haven’t been dominated, the
Flyers are won two very close games themselves, yet now all the pressure
is squarely on the shoulders of the Chicago Blackhawks. Before Game 4,
the players and the coaches all contended that they were still loose and
confident, yet certainly waited until late in the game to actually back
up their words. By that point, they were down 4-1 midway through the
third period before the light finally came on.

Simon Gagne and
Danny Briere of the Flyers both agree that there really isn’t such thing
as momentum in a series, that each game starts fresh and that it’s
tough to actually carry over momentum from one game to the next.

Yet
after the Hawks lost their first back-to-back games for the first time
since November, this is a team that suddenly has a number of questions
to answer. Will their defense stop the terrible giveaways that have
plagued them the past two days, and get back to resembling the defense
that was so incredibly effective during the regular season?

More
importantly, will the Blackhawks finally get production from the most
important player on the team? Jonathan Toews appeared to be pressing at
times, and has had all sorts of issues getting chances against the top
defensive pairing of Chris Pronger and Matt Carle. Now there’s a
possibility that Toews and Patrick Kane will be split up, adding another
layer of uncertainty to tonight’s game.

Now we’re back in
Chicago, with the Blackhawks in front of the crowd that has been their
spark all postseason long. A loss tonight, and you better believe that
they’ll be headed back into a maelstrom of pressure in Philadelphia on
Wednesday night.

Report: Coyotes shut down Vitale (concussion) for the season

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Joe Vitale will not play again this season.

The Arizona Coyotes have shut Vitale down for the remainder of the 2015-16 campaign due to “concussion-related issues,” according to a report from Sarah McLellan of azcentral sports on Wednesday.

Vitale, a 30-year-old veteran center, appeared in only one game for the Coyotes this season. That was back on Oct. 17, when he suffered a concussion and broken orbital bone in a fight with Kevan Miller of the Boston Bruins.

Sens announce Frattin, acquired in Phaneuf deal, will stick with AHL Marlies

Matt Frattin
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Matt Frattin was traded by the Leafs to Ottawa yesterday as part of the Dion Phaneuf blockbuster.

But for now, he’s staying in Toronto.

On Wednesday, Sens GM Bryan Murray announced that Frattin will remain with the Leafs’ AHL affiliate — the Toronto Marlies — on loan, but will be available for selection should Ottawa require his services down the road.

Frattin, 28, has spent all of this season with the Marlies, scoring nine goals and 22 points in 47 games. His last NHL appearance came during the ’14-15 campaign, with the Leafs.

Prior to that, the former North Dakota standout had spent time in Los Angeles and Columbus.

 

Gaudreau, Monahan, Bouma express remorse after benching

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One day after getting benched for showing up late for practice — following an “epic” Super Bowl party, per Sportsnet — Calgary forwards Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Lance Bouma apologized for their actions.

“We want to apologize to the organization, the coaches, our team especially, and the city of Calgary and the fans,” Gaudreau said, per the team’s Twitter account. “For us not to show up like that, and miss a game like that, it’s not professional on our part.”

“I’m a young guy and I’m a leader on this team,” Monahan added. “I’ve got to step up and take that back and earn that respect again.”

More on what transpired at Tuesday’s practice, from Sportsnet’s Mark Spector:

Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley did his best to keep an epic Super Bowl party under wraps. But two of his players — Lance Bouma and Sean Monahan — arrived at the Saddledome at 10:15 am for a 10:30 Monday morning practice, and those two barely beat Johnny Gaudreau in the Saddledome doors.

Then practice started, and in the words of Calgary winger David Jones: “It’s a little embarrassing when we’re not (making) five-foot passes.”

“I think (Hartley) was pretty pissed off.”

The trio was then subsequently benched for last night’s game against Toronto, which the Flames won 4-3.

Afterward, Hartley downplayed the incident, saying “it’s not like they robbed a bank,” before adding “they’re great kids.”

WATCH LIVE: Rangers at Penguins on Rivalry Night

New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Three
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Tonight, the New York Rangers are in Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins at Consol, in a rematch of the ’14 and ’15 playoffs (the Blueshirts eliminated the Pens from each of the last two postseasons, you’ll recall.)

You can catch the game at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, or watch live online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Some relevant linkage for tonight’s tilt:

NHL on NBCSN: Rangers, Penguins renew acquaintances on Rivalry Night

Rangers ‘are doing a lot of good things’

‘I wonder if that’s Crosby, what happens?’ — AV upset after McDonagh concussed by Simmonds

Malkin (lower body) to miss rest of week

Crosby, Karlsson and Trocheck are NHL’s three stars of the week