Forward Jarret Stoll insists that the Los Angeles Kings’ run hasn’t been easy, but they have sure made it look that way. Just six wins away from the Stanley Cup, the Kings have only lost one postseason game. They need just one more victory to jump to a 3-0 lead for the third straight series.
“We’ve had some adversity,” Stoll said. “We’ve had some tough games where we hadn’t had our ‘A’ game and we’ve needed our goaltender or our defense to bail us out.”
Stoll thinks the key to the Kings’ overwhelming success is the contributions they’ve been getting from their stars to their role players. That certainly seems to be the case. The Kings, on paper, have been a great team for quite some time, but they didn’t all click until Darryl Sutter took over as head coach.
Phoenix Coyotes’ Radim Vrbata agrees that this isn’t the same team that they faced in the regular season.
“For some reason they were not scoring goals during the season. They had a tough time doing that,” Vrbata said. “Right now it seems like they found their game, they’re just rolling with it.”
The Coyotes will have to find a way to win on Thursday without Martin Hanzal, who is serving a one-game suspension. Otherwise, the Los Angeles Kings will be in a very familiar position.
Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.
Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.
And what a look it was.
In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.
It was, in a word, fun.
Lots of fun.
A quick sampling of reviews:
Of course, not everybody was a fan:
Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.
But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…