Alex Burrows’ overtime goal exorcises the demons, Vancouver finally beats Chicago

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Tonight ran the gamut of possibilities and drama and all of it centered around Canucks forward Alex Burrows. Burrows rode the roller coaster of possibilities before ultimately ending up the Canucks’ big hero scoring his second goal of the game in overtime to give Vancouver a Game 7 win 2-1 over their tormentors from Chicago, finally beating them in a best of seven series in their third try in three years.

Burrows’ night started off quickly getting the Canucks on the board just under three minutes into the game giving Vancouver a 1-0 lead. Burrows would get a chance early in the third period to give Vancouver a 2-0 lead when he was awarded a penalty shot after being hooked on a breakaway. On his attempt, however, Corey Crawford (36 saves) would stop Burrows to preserve the score at 1-0.

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That stop would factor huge later on in the game with the Canucks on the power play, Burrows turned the puck over leading to a Chicago rush down ice that ultimately turned into a shorthanded goal by Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews to tie the game up.

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With the game headed to overtime, the spotlight wouldn’t leave Burrows as he was sent to the box for holding Duncan Keith early in OT. Penalties in overtime are rare but the Canucks withstood the onslaught of shots and saw one tremendous save from Roberto Luongo (31 saves in all) to rally the fans and the team.

With the penalty killed, Vancouver took advantage of a turnover from Chris Campoli and Burrows got his shot to end it and did so ripping one past Crawford over his shoulder and into the net to seal the game.

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Summing up Burrows’ night it went like this: Hero, goat, super goat, potential pariah, King of the World if that world was made up of Canucks fans.

With Vancouver wrapping up the series, they’ll now face Nashville in the second round. By virtue of the Canucks win, it also sets up a San Jose-Detroit second round rematch as well. There’s a couple ways things could go for Vancouver now that they’ve gotten the Chicago monkey off their back. They could either rally from this and roll through the playoffs or they’ll get the fight of their lives from every team standing in front of them.

Nashville is no pushover and if the Canucks thought Chicago was physical with them, there’s an angry former Canuck in Shane O’Brien frothing at the mouth to get shots at his former team, not to mention everyone else in Nashville that loves to throw a hit. If they’re able to get past them, then either San Jose or Detroit awaits. Vancouver  might be celebrating this win with some gusto, but this is just the start for them. They’ll either come out of this Chicago series wiser for the wear or get ushered out in the near future.

Milbury, Jones: Tkachuk walked the walk; Kings’ response was embarrassing

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The Los Angeles Kings got revenge on Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames on the scoreboard on Wednesday. But was that 4-1 win enough?

Mike Milbury and Keith Jones provided a lengthy “overtime” segment on NBCSN that brought about some really fascinating takes on the situation between Tkachuk and the Flames versus Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings.

Watch the full video above, as it’s worth your time.

A few interesting lines if you’re (tsk tsk) skipping it:

Milbury: Believes that Doughty didn’t “do enough,” noting that star players sometimes have to stick up for themselves. On the other hand, Tkachuk showed that he can “walk the walk.”

He also gave the Kings a “C-, D+ if not worse” for their overall response. “Fight your own battles,” Milbury said of Doughty.

Jones disagreed to some extent, believing that Kings teammates won’t look at Doughty differently. But Jake Muzzin? He believes that Muzzin’s frequent defensive partner (at least over the years, maybe not this season) backing down from a fight was an embarrassment.

Spicy stuff.

For what it’s worth, Drew Doughty has one career fight (against Joe Thornton [!] in 2011-2) while Jake Muzzin’s lone bout came against Andrew Desjardins in 2012-13, according to Hockey Fights. Does that mean they shouldn’t have dropped the gloves on Wednesday? Milbury and Jones seem to believe that they should have answered the bell.

For more, check out a collection of the early violent moments and Tkachuk’s attempted shot at Doughty. The Kings win is summarized in greater detail here.

Measure of revenge: Kings delay clinching efforts for Flames, Blues

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Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.

OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.

It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.

Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.

In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.

Seriously, that fight with Deryk Engelland:

That goal included a bit of luck, but hey …

Iginla was named the first star of the contest, and cameras captured his big smile in enjoying a special night. For all the nastiness of that game, it was refreshing to see such a heartwarming moment.

For more on the violence, check out this post on the early stuff and this one on Tkachuk’s missed missile launch on Drew Doughty.

Kings and Canucks will square off in first NHL exhibition games in China

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It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.

The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?

“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”

The press conference inspired some jokes tonight.

Some of the best bits came in roping in … Kobe Bryant and David Beckham?

Alrighty then.

Click here for more details.

 

Video: Drew Doughty (mostly) avoids massive Matthew Tkachuk hit

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Hockey is such a fast sport that it’s probably not so easy to make someone your “target.” Instead, a big hit often comes down to the right combination of circumstance and timing.

Still, there’s no denying that Matthew Tkachuk is gunning for Drew Doughty (and the Kings are gunning for Tkachuk) on Wednesday.

Doughty isn’t oblivious to that notion, either, as you can see him avoid what looked like a pretty terrifying hit above.

We’ve already covered the early violence in this game, and it’s quite possible that there will be more carnage going forward. Stay tuned.