Brad Stuart, Justin Williams

Sharks playing the role of underdogs versus Kings


The San Jose Sharks don’t care that so many people are picking them to lose to the Los Angeles Kings.

“Why are they picking L.A.? Because they won the Cup two years ago and beat us last year, I guess,” d-man Marc-Edouard Vlasic said, accurately, per “People can pick who they want. We don’t care. It’s an evenly matched series. Last year went to seven [games], and this year I would expect the same. I don’t mind if everybody picks L.A. I’m here to win. We want to prove to ourselves that we can beat all the best teams.”

In reality, not “everybody” is picking the Kings. PHT staffers are split on the series, and online bookmaker Bovada actually made the higher-seeded Sharks, holders of home-ice advantage, a -145 favorite.

Last year, the home side won all seven games of the teams’ second-round series. This past regular season, San Jose’s 29-7-5 home record was the best in the West.

Still, there remains a feeling — one based largely on the club’s history of postseason disappointments — that the Sharks don’t have what it takes to go all the way.

Defenseman Dan Boyle has heard that theory many times from reporters.

“The only way to shut you guys up is to win it,” he said.

Related: Why your team won’t win the Stanley Cup

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

1 Comment

In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal


Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: