We don’t consider ourselves a go-to source of information on the American Hockey League, but every once in a while, something special happens. Maybe it’s an amazing goal, a ridiculous save or a coach losing his mind, but if it’s interesting to the greater hockey public, we’ll give you the 4-1-1.
While the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs are the biggest game in town and the 2011 World Championships are a refuge for players who aren’t ready for vacation, the 2011 Calder Cup playoffs are also taking place. Tonight marked a historic moment in AHL history, as the Hamilton Bulldogs earned a 2-1 win over the Manitoba Moose in triple overtime, the longest Game 7 in the AHL’s history.
An AHL press release reveals that this was the first AHL Game 7 playoff contest to go into the second overtime, let alone a third one.
Dustin Boyd (pictured) scored the game-winning goal, thwarting a 55-save effort by AHL all-rookie goalie Eddie Lack. (Ron Tugnutt might know Lack’s pain.) Drew McIntyre was the winning goalie for the Bulldogs after facing a comparatively paltry 30 shots.
The Bulldogs are the top affiliate for the Montreal Canadiens while the Moose are the top farm team for the Vancouver Canucks. Here are a few more details from the Winnipeg Free Press.
Hamilton earned a berth in the AHL’s Western Conference final, beating the Moose for the fourth consecutive time in the playoffs.
And with all the uncertainty over the NHL possible future in Winnipeg, there are also questions about the Moose’s future in that equation.
If the Moose era is over, it will have ended with no championships in 15 years.
Overall since goalie Danny Lorenz outfoxed them in the shootout in their very first game Oct. 4, 1996 in Milwaukee, the Moose played 1,342 games (1,210 regular-season and 131 playoff) and earned 679 wins.
It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.
As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?
If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.
Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.
Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.
The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.
On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.
Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.
The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.
You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.
At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.
Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.
(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)
As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.
Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.
Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.
Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.
Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:
That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.
Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.
For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.
Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.
Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:
Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.
Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.
The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.