Joe Pavelski

Just like last year: Joe Pavelski wins it overtime for San Jose, take Game 1 over L.A. 3-2

San Jose and Los Angeles have never faced each other in the playoffs and while some worried that that might lead to a slow, timid start to the series those worries were put aside almost immediately as the hits came fast and furious and the animosity immediately kicked in.

Just like last year’s playoffs, San Jose’s Joe Pavelski helped be the most clutch guy in the building putting San Jose over Los Angeles 3-2 in overtime with the game-winner in the extra session taking out a very game Kings squad.

The two sides traded blows both physically and on the scoreboard and it was Dany Heatley scoring just 28 seconds into the game that gave Kings fans a feeling of dread that Game 1 might prove to be a long night.

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The Kings would battle back throughout though as the second period saw L.A. get back into things getting  a goal from Dustin Brown to tie things at one. The Sharks would get it right back though as Logan Couture scored his first playoff goal slipping one past Jon Quick (42 saves) to get San Jose ahead 2-1.

Surprise starter Justin Williams would help L.A. tie things up late in the second period as he was able to sneak around behind the net and stuff one past Antti Niemi (33 saves) to make it a 2-2 game. The third period would see the teams trade chances as well as see the Kings kill a late penalty to help send the game to overtime.

In overtime, the Kings brought their best play of the night and while Brad Richardson was unable to beat Niemi with a great opportunity, the Sharks were able to turn a great break into the game-winning goal for Pavelski. For San Jose, getting a win was almost necessary for the sanity of the fans and for the team and they came up big and Pavelski proved to be their most clutch guy once again.

For the Kings, they’ve got nothing to be down about. They were resilient, they played tough, and they very nearly pulled off a big win on the road. If they come back out with that sort of game in Game 2 they’ll stand a great chance of winning again.

The one bad side of the game came in the first period when L.A.’s Jarret Stoll hit Sharks defenseman Ian White from behind, smashing his head against the edge of the dasher. White left the game with an apparent head injury and did not return. The league is looking into the hit and the Kings might be shorthanded if he faces punishment for the hit. If White is out of the lineup for San Jose, their blue line corps becomes instantly thinner. White’s status is worth keeping an eye on.

After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.

Greene named 11th captain in Devils history

Dion Phaneuf; Andy Greene
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Andy Greene has been named Bryce Salvador’s successor as New Jersey’s team captain.

Greene, an undrafted free agent that’s spent his entire nine-year career with the Devils organization, becomes the 11th captain in the franchise’s history and third American to wear the “C” (Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner were the others).

A former standout at Miami of Ohio, Greene — who served as an alternate captain in each of the last two seasons — has developed into a steady, durable blueliner that hasn’t missed a game in three years. He’s also locked into the Devils long term, having signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the club last summer.

That deal kicks in this season, and runs through 2020.

As for the rest of the leadership group, four players will serve as alternate captains this season: Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, and Adam Henrique.

Elias and Zajac both wore an “A” in New Jersey last year, while Cammalleri and Henrique are first-timers.