Give Dustin Penner credit. The guy has a way with words.
Upon arriving at Los Angeles International Airport late Tuesday night, the hero of L.A.’s Game 5 OT victory — sending the Kings to their first Cup finals in 19 years — waxed eloquent about what he saw.
“It was like driving down a hallway lined with human flesh,” he told the L.A. Times. “You couldn’t see anything except people screaming and Kings jerseys. It was a feeling that not anyone will forget ever, I think, on the Kings team.
“It’s one of those things you only get to experience when you make it to the Cup Final.”
Approximately 4,000 Kings fans showed up after midnight to welcome the team home from Phoenix, and Penner was the hero. The Pancake Man was outstanding in the series-clinching game — aside from scoring the winner, he also assisted on Mike Richards’ 3-2 goal — and now holds the unique distinction of going to the Stanley Cup finals with two different California-based teams.
Penner won a Cup with Anaheim in 2007, but never had a moment quite like Tuesday’s. (He was mired in a miserable slump for most of the Ducks run, scoring just one goal over the final 13 games.)
As such, he was able to put his Game 5 goal in perspective.
“It was a goal,” he said, “I guess to sound really cliche, that was bigger than me.”
Mike Babcock’s reign with the Detroit Red Wings ended in another first-round defeat, yet it may be lost in time just how close that series was.
Yes, the Tampa Bay Lightning shut down the Red Wings to win Game 7 at home, but Ben Bishop deserves a ton of the credit. The Red Wings snagged the puck for much of the contest, just not enough to beat the big goalie.
While change is in the air in Detroit, the Bolts are largely the same squad that generated a nice showing in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. We’ll get to see if the Red Wings gain a measure of revenge on NBCSN tonight, with home-ice advantage this time around.
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”