Chicago Blackhawks v Los Angeles Kings - Game Four

Kings, Rangers proving importance of penalty killing

“I’ve seen a lot of (teams) who have had bad power plays do really well in the playoffs, but I’ve never seen any team play worth a damn if you can’t kill penalties.”

That was Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock back in March, and his words seem awfully pertinent today.


— The New York Rangers, one win from the Stanley Cup Final, have killed 86.2 percent of their opposition’s power plays in these playoffs, including 16 0f 17 versus Montreal.

— The Los Angeles Kings, also one win from the final, have killed 84.1 percent of their opposition’s power plays in these playoffs, including 11 of 13 versus Chicago.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks’ penalty killing has been a disaster versus L.A., surrendering five PP goals in their last three games, all losses.

“Our special teams all year have been the strength of our team,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said after Game 4. “In the first two series, the penalty killing might have been the reason why we won either series.

“Right now, they’re going in against us. We got to shore up that area. Our power play, our production has been off a little bit. I think we got to make sure whether we’re scoring or not, we got to sustain and gather momentum when the power play’s out there.”

Kings coach Darryl Sutter concurred, calling special teams “clearly the difference in” Game 4, a 5-2 L.A. victory in which the victor went 2-for-3 on the power play and a perfect 3-for-3 on the kill.

Penalty killing of recent Cup champs

2013 Chicago: 90.8%
2012 Los Angeles: 92.1%
2011 Boston: 84.4%
2010 Chicago: 83.3%
2009 Pittsburgh: 83.3%
2008 Detroit: 85.7%


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    PHT Morning Skate: Legendary broadcaster Doc Emrick sits down with HBO Real Sports

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    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    Legendary broadcaster Doc Emrick sat down with Andrea Kremer to discuss his 40 years in hockey. (Above)

    Watch as a group of people (including some former NHLers) take part in a pond hockey game on the Rocky Mountains. (Bardown)

    Check out Josh Jooris and Johnny Gaudreau‘s crib:

    Former NHL referee Kerry Fraser explains why Brad Marchand deserved a penalty for his collision with Henrik Lundqvist. (TSN)

    The EIHL’s Braehead Clan suited up in a kilt-like uniform.

    Today’s the day you can start voting for your 2016 NHL All-Stars. (

    The Panthers are healthy scratching Bolland, and he is their highest-paid forward, but they insist they’re not sending a message

    Dave Bolland, Derek Nansen
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    It feels like there’s a story brewing in Florida, where Dave Bolland — the team’s most-expensive forward, at $5.5 million a season — has been a healthy scratch for three consecutive games.

    But according to head coach Gerard Gallant, there’s nothing to see here. Move along.

    “There’s nothing to talk about,” Gallant said, per the Miami Herald. “He sat out, our team is playing well. There’s nothing more than that. We have to sit two guys and I like the way we’re playing. The next game is a different game. We may change something up, who knows.”

    Bolland had just one goal and five points in 18 games prior to getting parked in the press box. Well, technically he got dropped to the fourth line before hitting the press box, but you get the idea. He’s not exactly in Gallant’s good graces.

    Not helping Bolland’s case is the fact that, as Gallant pointed out, the club is playing pretty well without him. The Panthers have rebounded from a rough start to November by winning back-to-back games against the Islanders and Red Wings, which set them up nicely for the remainder of this current five-game road swing.

    Florida has games still to play in St. Louis, Nashville, Columbus and New Jersey. It’ll be interesting to see when — or, if — he draws back into the lineup.

    In closing, a reminder that Bolland’s in the second of a five-year, $27.5 million deal.

    Canucks rookie Virtanen exits with upper-body injury, won’t return


    After sitting out Friday’s game in Dallas, Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen had to be excited at drawing back in for tonight’s game against the Ducks.

    Unfortunately, the excitement didn’t last long.

    Virtanen suffered an upper-body injury after playing just 1:45 in the opening frame, and was ruled out of the contest during the intermission. It’s unclear exactly what happened, but it looks like Virtanen was injured on a hit by Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.

    Virtanen didn’t take another shift following the incident, and Getzlaf was given a minor penalty on the play.

    While we don’t know what the injury is or it’s severity, losing Virtanen for any length of time would have ramifications for the Canucks and this year’s Canadian entry at the World Juniors. There has been talk of Virtanen possibly being released by the Canucks to participate in the tournament; last year, he was part of the team that captured gold in Montreal and Toronto.

    Virtanen has played in 18 games for the Canucks this year, scoring one goal and four points while averaging 10:17 TOI per night.

    McLellan sounds off on Oilers after shutout loss in Toronto

    Todd McLellan

    Edmonton lost for the fourth time in five games on Monday, a 3-0 defeat in Toronto that marked the second time in a week the Oilers have been shut out.

    Needless to say, the head coach wasn’t happy.

    In a fairly blunt and harsh assessment aimed at a variety of players, Todd McLellan had some choice words for what he called a “disappointing” effort.

    Some of the more choice quotes:

    “I didn’t think we were a very hard team. I didn’t think we stood over a lot of pucks. I didn’t think we won a lot of battles along the boards. I didn’t think we were competitive enough in a lot of areas.”

    “When I look at the trip as a whole, we had some key, key people really under-perform on the trip. Significant minus numbers, not hitting the score sheet. It can’t always be the [Leon DraisaitlTaylor Hall line] that provides that.”

    It’s fair to suggest that last one was directed at Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle.

    Nugent-Hopkins has just two points and zero goals in his last five games, with a minus-8 rating. Eberle is pointless entirely, and also at minus-8 over the same stretch.

    They’re hardly the only Oilers not pulling their weight at the moment, however. Edmonton has lost 15 times in its first 25 games, a figure that suggests there are more problems that just a couple of underachieving forwards.

    Just ask McLellan, who all but admitted his team has issues matching up.

    “We’re not where we need to be,” he said. “We’ve got work to do as a team, work to do as an organization to get bigger, stronger, harder, and physically win more battles than we lose.”