Hawks score

Blackhawks nearly blow it…but don’t

8 Comments

Wednesday night in Boston, the Chicago Blackhawks barely escaped a game they had no business losing, beating the Bruins, 6-5, in overtime and tying the Stanley Cup Final, 2-2.

Credit the ‘Hawks for the win, absolutely.

But boy, did they nearly waste a long list of good things:

—- A goal from Jonathan Toews, finally.

—- A power-play goal, finally.

—- The opening goal, shorthanded no less.

—- A 4-2 lead in the second period.

—- A 5-4 lead in the third.

—- A plus-14 shot differential.

—- A willingness to go to the tough areas of the ice, specifically the space in front of Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask.

“We did a lot of good things tonight. We’ll look at the positives and move forward,” said Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville, who wouldn’t have had that luxury had Brent Seabrook not won it with a hard slapper at 9:51 of the extra frame.

Predictably, Bruins bench boss Claude Julien was less enthused. After better games in these playoffs, he’d lauded his team for its willingness to go “above and beyond” and defend in “layers.”

Not tonight.

“I don’t think we played our best game,” said Julien.

“I just think we weren’t very sharp in our decision-making. Where we talked about we have layers, our D’s were pinching, our forwards were not really covering up, weren’t totally committed to that part of the game.”

Bottom line: “They were better than we were.”

For the ‘Hawks, a loss would’ve been devastating. Lights out on their Cup dreams, most likely.

Of course, they didn’t lose, so maybe it’s unfair to keep harping on the fact they nearly did — especially when, as mentioned, they did so many things well.

It’s just, the difference between a 3-1 deficit and what’s now a best-of-three with home-ice advantage is so incredibly vast.

All because they got the 11th goal in a wild, thrilling game at TD Garden.

 

Video: Tempers flare between Oilers and Predators, as Lucic and McLeod drop the gloves

Leave a comment

Things got feisty between the Edmonton Oilers and Nashville Predators on Friday.

It started in the second period after P.K. Subban took an elbow from Matt Hendricks along the end boards. Hendricks was immediately grabbed by Anthony Bitetto. Nothing really materialized from that, however the main event broke out between Milan Lucic and Nashville newcomer Cody McLeod.

Lucic landed some pretty heavy punches before the two players fell to the ice.

Video: Cam Ward loses it on Hornqvist, Hurricanes suffer ’embarrassing’ loss to Penguins

1 Comment

Cam Ward had enough.

The Carolina Hurricanes goalie seemed particularly ticked off with Patric Hornqvist on Friday, twice taking out his frustrations in front of the net on the Pittsburgh Penguins forward.

Earlier in the game, Ward delivered a slash to the back of Hornqvist’s leg. In the third period, with the Hurricanes down five goals — that should give you an indication of what kind of night this was for Carolina — Ward snapped, delivering a punch with the blocker to Hornqvist after he slid into the Hurricanes puck stopper a split second after Evgeni Malkin jammed the puck in for a goal.

The final score? A 7-1 disaster of a loss to the Penguins, highlighted by Pittsburgh’s second-period offensive outburst. Ward played the entire game, allowing seven goals on 41 shots.

Carolina’s night also included star forward Jeff Skinner getting benched for the third period, after he took a pair of minor penalties — embellishment and unsportsmanlike conduct — in the second period.

“That’s pretty embarrassing. You don’t want to suffer a loss like that, especially in your home building,” Skinner told reporters.

The Hurricanes entered this game with a chance to jump into a wild card spot in the East.

Last week, the Hurricanes won four in a row, including a victory over Columbus, and continued their steady rise into the playoff hunt in the East. This week? It’s included losses to the Blue Jackets and Penguins.

The Hurricanes won’t have much time to think about this one. They travel to Columbus for a game Saturday evening.

With Claude Julien on the hot seat, Bruins lose late heartbreaker to Blackhawks

2 Comments

The Boston Bruins have now lost three in a row, a losing streak that coincides with reports circulating that head coach Claude Julien’s job security is in jeopardy.

The bad news just keeps piling up for the Bruins: They’ve been shut out twice this week, as scoring continues to be an issue in Boston. They’re 22nd in the league in that category.

On Friday, the Bruins had their chances and once again held the edge in puck possession against the Chicago Blackhawks, finishing the game with 19 more shot attempts then the visitors, per hockeystats.ca.

But they couldn’t beat Scott Darling, who made 30 saves, and the real dagger came late in the third period when Marian Hossa scored off the rush with just over one minute remaining in regulation. Boston couldn’t even salvage a point out of this contest, losing 1-0.

The Bruins were all over the Blackhawks in the first period. They held a wide edge in shots on goal, but the Blackhawks were able to escape on the strength of some solid goaltending. They just hung around, and were able to break through in the third period.

The Bruins are still in a playoff position in the Atlantic Division. They are the top puck possession team in the league (although they have the second lowest shooting percentage at five-on-five) and Julien has had plenty of success behind that bench, helping guide the organization to a Stanley Cup championship in 2011 and a run to the Final in the lockout shortened campaign.

It would seem unfair to pin this roster’s shortcomings on the coach, especially given the offseason plans initially set out by Bruins management.

Though this loss likely puts Claude Julien Watch on high alert.

Sabres’ McCabe suffers shoulder injury, will not return versus Red Wings

New York Islanders v Buffalo Sabres
Getty
Leave a comment

The Buffalo Sabres will be down a defenseman for the remainder of Friday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.

Jake McCabe has left the game due to a shoulder injury suffered during the first period and will not return, the club stated during the second period.

Signed to a three-year, $4.8 million contract extension last summer, the 23-year-old McCabe has one goal and 10 points in 44 games this season for Buffalo

More recently, McCabe drew the immediate ire of the Winnipeg Jets after he delivered an open-ice hit on rookie Patrik Laine, who suffered a concussion on the play.