Tag Archive | "nhl playoffs"

After 49-year drought, Blackhawks win Stanley Cup


PHILADELPHIA – After nearly a half-century drought, the Chicago Blackhawks hoisted the Stanley Cup after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in overtime in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Flyers battled back from a one-goal deficit scoring late in the third period to send the game to overtime but Buffalo native Patrick Kane responded by scoring the game winner at 4:06 in OT.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville celebrated after the win:

“The party in Chicago is going to be all-world. It’s been a long time.”

Yes it has. The last time Chicago won the cup was in 1961 when names like Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull were on the back of one of the NHL’s most famous sweaters.

Blackhawks captain, 22-year-old Jonathan Toews is having a great year regarding hardware. After winning a gold medal in this year’s Winter Olympic Games, Toews not only gets his name on hockey’s Holy Grail but he also skated away with the Conn Smythe MVP award. He finished the playoffs with 29 points in 22 games.

“This tops everything, for sure,” said Toews. “We’re brothers in that locker room and we pull for each other, and that’s what makes this so special.”

After receiving the cup from NHL Commish Gary Bettman, Toews did his skaete-around then handed the Cup to Marian Hossa, who was becoming notorious for losing the Finals after being a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings runner-up teams in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

“I was so happy to be in the Final but at the same time it was scary,” Hossa said. “I’m so glad. I won it. I got the Stanley Cup. What a feeling. Wow. This is unbelievable.”

Other top contributors were African-American player, Dustin Byfuglien, who found the back of the net 11 times during the playoffs, Patrick Kane (28 points) and Patrick Sharp (22 points).

More Blackhawks: Dustin Byfuglien Interview/Feature

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Wings Babcock paying for his ‘rookie’ mistake


DETROIT, Mich. – The buzz in Detroit’s sport’s scene that is picking up steam is surrounded around Red Wings rookie jimmy howard red wingsgoaltender Jimmy Howard.Expect to hear chants of Ozzie, Ozzie! if Howard has a game even remotely close to the one he had on his home ice last night in a 4-3 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks.

A candidate for NHL rookie of the year, 26-year-old Howard has looked anything but during this second-round NHL Playoff series against the San Jose Sharks.

After a rough start in the first-round playoff series against the Coyotes, Howard buckled down and posted a shutout and a few one-goal games and his heavily-favored team took the series in seven games. Since then, Howard’s journey has been a roller-coaster ride, one that starts at the top of the track and spirals down at a high rate of speed.

Now trailing the Sharks 0-3, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is starting to look like a rookie himself.

Why would a coach with a Stanley Cup winning goalie on the roster, come into these playoffs having prepared only to play his rookie while disregarding his playoff-experienced goalie.

Chris Osgood was between the pipes and led the Red Wings to their last Holy Grail in 2008 with an outstanding 1.55 GAA and last year took the team to a Finals Game 7 against the Pittsburgh Penguins with another impressive GAA of 2.01. Yet Ozzie has started just one game since January 27th.

Babcock now finds himself with his hands tied by handing the torch to a rookie who appears to be choking in these playoffs.

Howard has let in a few goals that his hometown media is referring to as “soft goals” but the explanation regarding those goals should include the words “Pee-Wee mistake”.

One in particular is the game-tying goal last night that all but eliminated the Red Wings in these playoffs.

Sharks rookie Logan Couture had the puck near the goal line at a near impossible angle and managed to flip the puck past the shocked and dumbfounded Howard.

If Howard was hugging the post as goalies are taught in Pee Wee hockey, it would have been impossible for that puck to go in the net and the Wings may have suddenly found themselves back in this series with the next game on home ice and a chance to tie it up at 2-2.

Detroit has a history of pulling goalies as quick as Sparky Anderson would yank his pitchers when they hovered around the 100-pitch mark. This year however is a different story with Babcock going into the playoffs prepared to play only Howard.

The timing of Osgood’s benching and absurdness of this whole ordeal has to make you wonder if there is a lot more involved with this; what is going on in the locker room?

Osgood has seen the ice for just one start since the Olympic Games in Vancouver, you know the Olympic Games where Babcock coached the Canadian Team, the one where Osgood wasn’t even given an opportunity to tryout for the team.

Since the Olympics ended and the NHL returned to play, Osgood has been implanted on the end of the bench, except for the one lone start April 4th and another game on March 3rd when Howard was yanked after letting in 4 goals on 21 shots.

At this point it would be criminal for Babcock to ask Ozzie to put on the pads and try to bail out the Red Wings like he did in the 2008 Stanley Cup winning year.

That season, Babcock yanked Dominic Hasek in favor of Osgood and weeks later, Ozzie was hoisting another cup.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax™

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Bruins Pad Lead in NHL Playoffs Standings


ATLANTA, GA. – The Boston Bruins came into Philips Arena Tuesday night clinging onto the final Eastern ConferenceTuukka Rash playoff spot by just one point and at the final buzzer they left with a three-point cushion and a 4-0 season sweep over the Atlanta Thrashers.

Like in their last home game, a 5-2 win against the Flyers, the Thrashers came out playing physical, throwing several hard hits including a crunching check by Evgeny Artyukhin on Bruins’ center Vladimir Sobotka. Sobotka needed several seconds to get up on his feet and managed to glide slowly to his bench and never returned to the game.

Then at the 11-minute mark of the 1st period, Thrashers enforcer Eric Boulton squared off with Bruins forward Shawn Thornton for a slugfest with both players landing and taking several punches.

But although the Thrashers had a 6-3 edge in hits, the only goal in the period belonged to the Bruins’ David Krejci who put the puck past Johan ‘Moose’ Hedberg at the 9:25 mark for his 15th of the year.

That goal would prove to be the game-winner as the Bruins coasted to a 4-0 win.

In that first stanza, the Thrashers had several close-range quality scoring chances but shot the puck wide on several occasions and only managed 7 SOG against Boston rookie goaltender Tuukka Rask, the NHL leader in goals against average with 2.08.

Trailing 2-0 late in the 2nd period, Thrashers’ forward Colby Armstrong, who has been on a tear with 4 goals in 3 games, was awarded a penalty shot but failed to capitalize on the opportunity.

The Bruins responded by netting another goal with just 3 seconds remaining in the period to go into the second break with a 3-0 lead.

The Thrashers entered the game on a four game win streak and all those games were won after the team started with 2-0 leads. Atlanta is 4-28-6 when trailing after two periods and after falling behind by three against one of the NHL’s hottest goaltenders with just 20 minutes to play, there was no magic wand to wave on Tuesday.

After this home loss, the journey appears uphill from here as the Thrashers with just 9 games left find themselves 3 points behind that final playoff spot behind the Bruins who also have one game in hand.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax™

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