The final Battle of California in these Stanley Cup playoffs will have one, final clash.
The L.A. Kings can make it back to the Western Conference Final for a third consecutive time, after they forced a seventh and decisive game in their second-round series with the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday. The Kings, needing a win to extend the series, held on, especially in the final two minutes, to defeat Anaheim by a final score of 2-1.
The Kings were down 3-0 in their opening round series to San Jose, came back to win. Again, they found themselves facing elimination after losing three consecutive games to the Ducks, but found a way to push this series to the limit.
Trevor Lewis scored the winner on a wrist shot that somehow beat John Gibson in the second period. As great as the 20-year-old Anaheim goalie has been since coming into this series in Game 4, this was one he’d probably like to have back. The shot somehow found room between his legs and rolled over the goal line, giving L.A. a two-goal lead at the time.
Kyle Palmieri got one back for the Ducks late in the second period, but Jonathan Quick was unbeatable in the third period, especially when it got frantic around his net with Anaheim pressing for the equalizer.
The Ducks also couldn’t take advantage of a late third-period power play. Home ice advantage has been a peculiar element in this series.
The road team won each of the first four games in this series, before the Ducks took Game 5 in their building and the Kings took Game 6 at the Staples Center.
You know what they say: “What a difference a game makes.”
Even in the 82-game marathon that an NHL regular season is, that can be true.
Ryan Suter admitted he went too far with comments during tough times, yet there he was on Tuesday night, grinning ear-to-ear after scoring the 2-1 goal that ended up being the game-winner.
As of this writing, this win places Minnesota in the last wild card spot, and they’re close to elbowing in on the Chicago Blackhawks (who own a standings point advantage, but have played two more games so far in 2015-16).
Jeremy Roenick labels this 2-1 win as a “team win” for Minnesota, and it showed on that 2-1 goal, as the Wild showed off some picture-perfect passing and a willingness to crash the net for rebounds.
Let’s face it, though; Devan Dubnyk deserves plenty of credit, too.
It won’t be easy in the Central Division, and things may get heated again. Still, this is the sort of win that may just help Minnesota build up some confidence.
When you’re talking about bright sides, most people believe that they boil down to the light at the end of the tunnel for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a little success in the present while waiting for that bright future, though.
The Flyers are providing at least a burst of sunshine lately, as Tuesday’s 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators gives them … (drum roll) their first three-game winning streak of this season.
Even in recent darker moments, Philly’s been pretty impressive on offense, so Flyers fans are likely relieved to see a relative offensive outburst.
Sure, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns – Radko Gudas might have gotten himself into some trouble, for instance – yet this is still a nice sign of life for a team expected to finish in the draft lottery.
If that fails … hey, the future may require shades.
Here’s an understatement: things haven’t gone very well for Dougie Hamilton early in his first season with the Calgary Flames.
(It must feel like the opposite of Tyler Seguin in Dallas for Boston Bruins fans, but feel free to disagree in the comments.)
You could look at Hamilton’s meager offensive stats and break down his disappointing work through a very of “fancy” and traditional metrics …
… Or you could just fire up a projector and show this own-goal on a loop.
It remains to be seen if the Ottawa Senators can avoid losing against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, but either way, it’s been a costly night.
The Senators saw two forwards leave the game with injuries, as Milan Michalek and Mika Zibanejad were banged up on Tuesday.
Michalek may have gotten hurt blocking a shot while a Radko Gudas hit on Zibanejad left the Senators forward with an upper-body injury.
Gudas may get a call from the league for his infractions.
Update: Michalek’s issue could be significant.
The Flyers ended up beating the Senators 4-2, so a tough night for Ottawa.