The Chicago Blackhawks have played two fewer postseason games in 2014 and came into Sunday’s eventual Game 1 victory with quite a bit more rest, yet the Los Angeles Kings aren’t using fatigue as an excuse after losing 3-1 today.
Kings head coach Darryl Sutter said that the only time he really noticed a lack of energy was early in the game and during a few other shifts in the first period.
Mike Richards echoed Sutter’s thoughts on that shaky beginning.
“It took us a little bit to get into the game,” Richards said. “I think we were a little bit sloppy in the first. We made some mistakes and they capitalized on them. We didn’t capitalize on our chances.”
Those observations seem reasonable, as you can see (from this chart via Extra Skater) that the Blackhawks started off with the advantage but Los Angeles eventually ended up with more shot attempts as the game went on. They also landed more shots on goal, firing 26 to Chicago’s 20:
Ultimately, the Blackhawks managed to win 3-1 despite arguably a better effort from the Kings. That might seem like a missed opportunity, although it at least inspired someone to use a folksy Sutter-ism after the game:
Fatigue might not have been a big factor in Game 1, yet the Kings find themselves facing yet another series deficit. They’ve shown plenty of fight in these playoffs, but going down 2-0 against the defending champs might just be too much for this team to overcome.
Mike Ribeiro isn’t playing in Game 3 for the Nashville Predators against the San Jose Sharks, and it doesn’t appear to be for health reasons.
Well, his production hasn’t been very healthy.
The polarizing playmaker has only mustered a single assist and zero goals in nine playoff games; Ribeiro hasn’t scored a point against the Sharks so far.
Ribeiro isn’t exactly known for his offensive acumen, either, so there’s not much motivation to keep him in the lineup if he isn’t producing offense. Ultimately, it’s easy to see why he’s a healthy scratch.
Pontus Aberg looks to make his NHL debut via this big playoff game while Craig Smith is believed to play.
It should be interesting to see how Nashville responds to this challenge.
The Nashville Predators hope to get back in their series now that the San Jose Sharks are visiting “Smashville.” Meanwhile, the Dallas Stars and Blues jostle for a 2-1 lead in St. Louis.
You can keep up with Game 3 of the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders (which is in progress) right here and on NBCSN.
Game 3 of Sharks – Predators is on USA Network and can be streamed via the link below.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Finally, Game 3 of Stars – Blues airs on NBCSN. Keep an eye out for notes if there’s overlap with Bolts – Isles (which would bump it temporarily to NHL Network), but either way, you can stream the action below.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Jonathan Drouin‘s strong playoff play has been a big story for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but his health is in question after taking a huge hit on Tuesday.
As you can see from the video above, Drouin was shaken up by an enormous check from New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey. It’s believed that Drouin went to “The Quiet Room” to see if he suffered a concussion; PHT will pass along whatever information becomes available.
(NHL teams aren’t exactly forthcoming with this information.)
The Islanders actually ended up with a power play from the fallout, as Hickey’s hit didn’t earn a penalty. The general reaction is that it wasn’t a dirty hit, yet some might disagree with that sentiment.
Update: Drouin didn’t come out during the beginning of the third period. He did, however, return midway through the final frame.
The NHL named the three finalists for the 2016 Foundation Player Award on Tuesday: Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano, New York Islanders forward Matt Martin and Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban.
The awarded is handed to “an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey — commitment, perseverance and teamwork — to enrich the lives of people in his community.”
The winner gets to hand $25K to the charity of his choice.