The Chicago Blackhawks were nearly impossible to beat in the regular season and the Minnesota Wild couldn’t solve them in the playoffs. The Blackhawks cruised to a 5-1 victory in Game 5 to eliminate the Wild from the postseason.
Chicago’s only loss came in overtime and Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford allowed just seven goals this series.
Marian Hossa was the hero in this contest, netting Chicago’s first goal of the game and adding an insurance goal at 6:26 of the second period. He also picked up an assist.
Here are a few things to consider:
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- Wild goaltender Josh Harding wasn’t at his best tonight, but he held his own against Chicago for most of the series. Still, would things have gone differently if Niklas Backstrom was available?
- Given recent history, it almost feels like the Chicago Blackhawks’ victory over the eighth seed Minnesota wild was in defiance of the odds. Going into the 2013 campaign, three of the last four Presidents’ Trophy winners lost their first-round series.
- Wild defenseman Ryan Suter logged 27:51 minutes in this game. He deserves a lot of credit for playing huge minutes in this series and just being an all-around great acquisition for Minnesota in his first season with the team.
- All the same, is this campaign a big setback after inking Suter and Zach Parise to massive contracts over the summer, should this season be regarded as a big disappointment for the Minnesota Wild? Or should it be dismissed as a transitional year towards something greater?
- After getting no points in his first four games of the postseason, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews registered two assists tonight.
- If nothing else, the Minnesota Wild played a disciplined game. They were eliminated with the least penalty minutes per postseason contest in the league.
The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.
Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.
Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.
“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”
Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:
- He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
- Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
- The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.
Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.
Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?
Despite owning two Stanley Cup rings, there are a healthy number of people who aren’t wild about Jonathan Quick.
Those people might feel validated through the Los Angeles Kings’ first two games, as he followed a rough loss to the San Jose Sharks with a true stinker against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.
Sometimes a goalie has a bad night stats-wise, yet his team is as much to blame as anything else. You can probably pin this one on Quick, who allowed four goals on just 14 shots through the first two periods.
Things died down in the final frame, but let’s face it; slowing things down is absolutely the Coyotes’ design with a 4-1 lead (which ultimately resulted in a 4-1 win).
A soft 1-0 goal turned out to be a sign of things to come:
Many expected the Kings to roar into this second game after laying an egg in their opener. Instead, the Coyotes exploited Quick’s struggles for a confidence-booster, which included key prospect Max Domi scoring a goal and an assist.
It’s worth mentioning that Mike Smith looked downright fantastic at times, only drawing more attention to Quick’s struggles.
After a troubled summer and a failed 2014-15 season, Los Angeles was likely eager to start things off the right way.
Instead, they instead will likely focus on the fact that they merely dropped two (ugly) games.