Merry Christmas, everyone. Since we can’t buy all our readers an iPad2, we’ve put together a list of the best 10 NHL moments of the past year that we’ll be rolling out on the site all day long.
Boston wins the Stanley Cup
In 2010, the Bruins squandered a 3-0 series lead over Philadelphia and were eliminated from the playoffs in humiliating fashion. In 2011, they twice fought back from 2-0 series deficits, won three Game 7’s and hoisted the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1972. Tim Thomas was brilliant in goal. Zdeno Chara was a force on defense. David Krejci led all playoff scorers. However, it wasn’t individual performances the B’s will be remembered for. It was their willingness to stick up for each other and to overcome adversity together as a team. For Boston sports fans, the Cup victory also capped off an amazing run that started in 2001 and has seen the Bruins, Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots capture at least one championship each.
There you have it, folks — the best 10 NHL moments of the year. Take it away, The Standells…
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.
Jarret Stoll: "our penalty kill let us down tonight." #mnwild
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.
Pominville: "It's been a while since we showed that much fight. As long as we keep fighting…we'll find our way out of this."
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.
Niklas Hjalmarsson: "Yeah, that was a big win for us. Corey was unbelievable, as usual." #Blackhawks
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.
Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak
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.