As great as Henrik Lundqvist is, one must assume that even the all-world New York Rangers goalie has a weakness. The word was that the Washington Capitals believed that he was vulnerable if you could shoot high toward his glove hand, but they weren’t able to exploit that supposed issue enough to win their seven-game series.
Being that the division rivals face each other so frequently, the New Jersey Devils probably have their own ideas about how they hope to beat Lundqvist in the Eastern Conference finals. Patrik Elias and Zach Parise aren’t copping to an obvious flaw – at least publicly – though.
When a reporter said “the book on Lundqvist is to shoot high,” Parise’s went to the “can we have a copy of that book?” well. Meanwhile, Elias expanded on those doubts by pointing to Lundqvist’s outstanding season.
“I don’t know; he’s nominated for [the Vezina], hasn’t he?” Elias said. “There’s a reason for that. I don’t know if he has a weakness, really.”
Still, Elias gave a few potential ideas on how to produce a bit against the stupendous Swede.
“But there [are] different ways you can get to him, probably,” Elias said. “Obviously you have to have traffic, screen as much as possible … you have to find a way. Maybe spread them out a little bit at certain times. You have to react to the game. Certain plays you have to get the pucks on the net quick. Get the shots quick. Different time shift, maybe take a little extra time, make extra two paths in.”
One of the obvious storylines for this series is a local passing of the torch from aging great Martin Brodeur to current elite Lundqvist. The Devils have a chance to give Brodeur perhaps his last big push for a fourth Stanley Cup, but they’ll be forced to foil King Henrik.
Whether that means exploiting an allegedly weak glove or not.
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.
Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).
The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.
You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.
It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.
Update: It didn’t get much better going forward; the Senators beat the Maple Leafs 6-1.