Home sweet home, finally: Ducks beat Kings, take 3-2 series lead


It took a while, but the home team has finally won a game in the L.A.-Anaheim series.

After the road team emerged the victor in the first four, the Ducks finally held serve on home ice for Monday’s Game 5, beating the Kings 4-3 at the Honda Center to take a 3-2 series lead.

Devante Smith-Pelly scored twice for the Ducks and Jakob Silfverberg netted the eventual game-winner midway through the second period, while rookie goalie John Gibson continued to impress by stopping 39 of 42 shots faced, remaining undefeated in his brief Stanley Cup playoff career.

For the Kings, the red-hot Marin Gaborik continued to play well, scoring his NHL-leading seventh and eighth goals of the playoffs.

Gaborik’s efforts weren’t enough to keep the L.A. from losing its third straight, though, and that streak has coincided with a rough stretch that’s seen Jonathan Quick allow nine goals on 57 shots… after allowing just three on his first 62 faced in this series.

What’s more, tonight’s loss might end up being a pivotal shift for both clubs.

This series marked the 22nd time in Stanley Cup playoff history that a road team won the first four games, and the 16th time it’s happened since 1994. In the previous 21 series, the winner of Game 5 went on to win 18 times (.857 win%). The only three teams that lost Game 5, but later won the series, were the 1980 North Stars (vs. Montreal), 1995 Sharks (vs. Calgary) and 2001 Penguins (vs. Buffalo).

So, the Kings now have their work out out for them.

In addition to their current three-game losing streak, the Kings have yet to win at Staples since Game 6 of the San Jose series and are just 2-3 at home over the course of these playoffs. L.A. also has to figure out the riddle that is Gibson, who has stopped 67 of 70 shots since taking over the Ducks goal.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.

Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

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There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.

So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.

Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.

(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)

Lightning lament life as a .500 team

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The Tampa Bay Lightning have plenty of time to rise above mediocrity, yet it still must be deserving to finish at .500 for two straight months.

After last night’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, that’s exactly where they find themselves:

Record at the end of October: 5-5-2

Record at the end of November: 11-11-3

As of this writing, the Lightning found themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It all stands as a pretty tough thing for the reigning Eastern Conference champs to swallow.

The uncomfortable-yet-vital question is: can the Lightning break out of this funk?

Looking at their schedule, it won’t be easy, at least not right away.

They crawl through California during a three-game road trip to start December, and they also face six of eight on the road from Dec. 2 – 18.

The Lightning soak up home dates to finish 2015 after that, but what damage will be done by then?

Frankly, the Bolts will need to dig deep to break this pattern. If nothing else, they’ve fought with their backs against the wall before.

Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby


Sometimes a suspension will shame a player, or at least inspire him to change the way he plays.

That apparently won’t happen regarding Brandon Dubinsky‘s one-game timeout session for cross-checking Sidney Crosby.

Dubinsky told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that he won’t alter his style, whether it’s against Crosby or someone else.

“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”

In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.

One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.

Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?

Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).