Devin Setoguchi, Jonathan Quick

Sharks ride momentum into Game 5 win; Kings find themselves down 3-1

1 Comment

The San Jose Sharks rode the momentum of their dramatic Game 3 comeback and another busy second period to earn a 6-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. These two road wins give the Sharks a commanding 3-1 series lead.

Some might reflexively wonder if the Kings were “broken” by that Game 3 loss, but if you ask me, it’s all about San Jose’s superior talent taking over.

San Jose 6, Los Angeles 3; Sharks lead series 3-2

While it couldn’t beat that insane seven-goal second period from Game 3, the middle frame was the story of this game as well. The two teams skated to a 0-0 tie in the first period before the Sharks stormed to a 3-0 lead thanks to one goal by Jason Demers and two by Ryane Clowe.

This time around, Kings coach Terry Murray decided to take a time out, which paid off for the Kings in the short term. Brad Richardson and Justin Williams scored goals to make it 3-2 going into the second intermission.

That was as close as the Kings would get, though. Joe Thornton scored a goal and then blew a kiss, which was a surprising moment considering the fact that Jumbo Joe has been such a target for playoff criticism over the years. It ended up being a safe move, though, as Joe Pavelski made it 5-2 less than a minute later. Torrey Mitchell and Alexei Ponikarovsky exchanged goals late in the third to make it 6-3.

The Sharks have gone from being worried about another upset to being in a position to end this series fairly quickly with Game 5 back at the HP Pavilion.

While Los Angeles has to be down in the dumps, their collective heart shouldn’t be questioned. Honestly, the only thing I questioned is the pace of this series from the Kings’ perspective. It’s been fantastic, frantic hockey to watch … but is this the type of game that really suits their situation?

All positivity aside, the Kings had a chance to take a 3-1 series lead with two games at home. Instead, they are in the opposite situation. That’s disappointing, even if it might be part of a growing process for a young and promising team.

After years of hype, McDavid to play first NHL game

Connor McDavid
Leave a comment

The hype surrounding Connor McDavid couldn’t be much greater, but finally expectations will start to give way to results.

The NHL career that’s been talked about for years will begin tonight when his Edmonton Oilers face St. Louis.

“It’s something that you dream of for so long,” McDavid told “The draft is one thing, but to finally be in this situation is another, so I’m really excited. It’s been a long road; it’s been a lot of hard work. I think a lot of guys’ stories are different in how they get here, but the one common theme is hard work and my story is not any different that way.”

McDavid has transformed the Oilers with his mere presence. Its breathed fresh optimism into a city that have watched this team struggle in its efforts to dig out of the NHL basement. One also has to wonder if Peter Chiarelli would be the team’s new general manager and Todd McLellan its new head coach if Edmonton hadn’t won the draft lottery.

But where will he lead Edmonton? Will he be just the sixth 70-point rookie of the salary cap era? Will he struggle out of the gate, putting the hype into question? Perhaps he’ll draw comparisons to Steven Stamkos, who had a modest rookie campaign by the standards of a highly regarded top pick, but has nevertheless gone on to become a superstar.

That would surprise Stamkos as the Lightning captain feels McDavid is better than he is currently. Just further proof that those lofty expectations are coming from all sides.

“You don’t want to put too much weight on his shoulders; he’s an 18-year-old kid,” Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “I don’t care how good he is or how good he’ll be, it’s a lot to shoulder if you’re supposed to be the guy and you’re the only guy. Fortunately we have a lot of high-pedigree players that are high picks who have gone through similar situations that he’s going through.”

Edmonton certainly has no shortage of first overall picks, but none as highly regarded as McDavid. But then, few ever are.

Related: There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

Connor McDavid
1 Comment

Jack Eichel didn’t disappoint in the preseason, finishing with six points in four games, including two shorthanded goals.

Tonight in Buffalo, his NHL career will start for real when the Sabres host the Ottawa Senators in regular-season action.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, stepping foot on that ice and making the NHL,” Eichel said, per “It’s kind of been a whirlwind, but you’re finally playing hockey for a living and everything you’ve done your whole life is to get to this point. It’s pretty special.”

The 18-year-old’s debut was front-page news this morning in Buffalo, where the Sabres have been among the NHL’s worst teams since last making the playoffs in 2010-11.

Eichel front page

Granted, even with the additions of Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane, Robin Lehner and Cody Franson, expectations for 2015-16 remain modest for the new-look Sabres. Certainly, a spot in the playoffs would count as a surprise.

But for the fans of a team that’s barely possessed the puck the past couple of years, it’s night and day.

“People are excited,” GM Tim Murray said earlier this week. “It’s great. They think we’ve improved, and there’s a real positive vibe, I believe.

“That’s what I said to our coaches, ‘I want everybody to be positive. I’m the only guy in the organization allowed to be negative.’ That’s the way I wanted it. If I’m the most negative guy in the city about the team, that’s pretty good.”