Jonathan Quick was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy, the second year in a row an American goalie has been named playoff MVP (Tim Thomas, 2011).
Monday’s game will be remembered for the major penalty that Devils forward Steve Bernier was assessed at 10:10 of the first period after hitting L.A. defenseman Rob Scuderi from behind into the end boards. Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter and Trevor Lewis scored for the Kings on the resultant power play, and the game was all but over.
For Los Angeles, it’s been a dream playoff run after qualifying as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. The Kings lost just four times in 20 postseason games and became the first team since the 2007 Anaheim Ducks to clinch the Cup on home ice.
Since entering the NHL in 1967, the Kings have suffered through numerous trying seasons. Up until this year, they’d managed to make the Cup finals just once, losing to Montreal in 1993.
The 2011-12 season wasn’t without its trying moments either. Head coach Terry Murray was fired in December after the team got off to a slow start and struggled badly offensively. John Stevens took over on an interim basis before Darryl Sutter was hired by embattled Kings general manager Dean Lombardi.
Lombardi also swung a major deal prior to the trade deadline, acquiring Carter from Columbus for Jack Johnson and a first-round draft pick.
The Devils did well to get back into the series after falling behind 3-0. However, with no margin for error, Bernier’s penalty proved to be the back-breaker.
Goalie nods: Backup extraordinaire Montoya gets the call versus Wings
The Florida Panthers have had no problem giving Roberto Luongo the odd night off this season. That’s because Al Montoya has been one of the best backups in the league.
Montoya (8-2-1, .931) will get the call tonight in Detroit, with Luongo (23-13-5, .930) expected to start tomorrow in Buffalo.
The Panthers have the highest team save percentage in the NHL, at .926 (which includes empty-net goals).
“They both give us a chance to win every night,” Panthers d-man Brian Campbelltold the Miami Herald recently. “Both make huge saves for us at times. You need consistent saves every night and they both bring it. Montoya gets put into a tough spot a lot of times and nothing seems to change.”
Not good news for the St. Louis Blues — the club announced this morning that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has been placed on injured reserve with a right-knee injury. He’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks.
Pietrangelo suffered the injury Saturday in a knee-on-knee collision with Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle.
Based on the timeline provided, the Blues will be without their leader in average ice time (26:40) until at least the end of the month. St. Louis plays 10 times between now and Feb. 29, which also happens to be the trade deadline.
The big question, of course, is whether Pietrangelo will be ready to go upon re-evaluation.
The first day of the playoffs is April 13.
Hitchcock: "This isn't forever. It's not a three-month injury. If we have the right attitude, we think we can handle this." #stlblues
Alain Vigneault took another shot at the NHL’s Department of Player Safety today.
This time, the Rangers head coach was upset about the lack of supplementary discipline for Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds in the wake of Saturday’s altercation with New York captain Ryan McDonagh.
“An All-Star player gets sucker-punched, goes down,” Vigneault said, per The Record. “I wonder if that’s (Sidney) Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences? And, on top of that, a player breaks his stick, throws it at the referees. In the rulebook, that’s automatic. It’s three games. Nothing happens. It’s not even on the sheet after the game.”
Crosby led the League in goals and points (5-3-8) in three games as the Penguins (26-18-7, 59 points) earned four of a possible six points to secure the second Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference.
Karlsson led the League in assists and ranked second in points (0-7-7) in three games as the Senators (24-23-6, 54 points) won one of three starts for the week.
Trocheck notched six points (3-3—6) in three games, helping the Panthers (31-15-6, 68 points) widen their lead atop the Atlantic Division to six points.