IT’S GOING TO BE A GRIND
So did you all enjoy your afternoon game yesterday, taking you away from the nice weather outside or whatever you do in it? I still can not understand why the NHL will do that when the majority of people who watch the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are die-hard hockey fans (sorry my US friends but Canadians are still #1 fans) and we do like the games played at a normal time to watch (evening please) so we can sit back enjoy a few beverages of your choice and watch the greatest game played. I know it’s because of TV ratings and audience ratings and money and all that stuff but I still can complain about it, can’t I? But the one thing I won’t complain out is the games themselves as both games played yesterday afternoon and the one in the evening were played at their best. So lets take a look at the two games and select our 3 Stars.
Washington Capitals vs New York Rangers
They say ‘Patience is a virtue’ and patience is what you will need in this series. As both teams played a very tight checking game yesterday and waited for one to make a mistake and pounce on it. That is exactly what the ‘Blue-Shirts’ of New York did in the third period. Going into the third the two teams were knotted up at 1 goal a piece. After defending a 5 on 3 penalty kill in the second period the Rangers were still up by a goal scored by Anisimov but it wasn’t until 3.5 seconds left in the second that the Caps struck with a perfect tap in from the stick of Chimera.
In the third period at the 7 minute mark the Rangers just on their 12th shot of the game scored. The goal coming from Kreider’s stick, his second winning goal in 6 postseason games. With 90 seconds later Richards squeaked a shot through the pads of Holtby to go up 3-1 and to snag the first game of this series.
The Rangers had only 14 shots in the game whole the Caps had just 18 themselves. As Coach Torts says, ‘Its going to be a grind out there, we just have to keep playing the way we know how, with patience.’
Game 2 is set for Monday in New York at 7:30pm with the Rangers up 1 game to none.
St.Louis Blues vs L.A. Kings
When you mention great names of the NHL past such as Hall, Bower, Dryden, Roy what comes along with those names? Usually the mention of Vezina trophy winners and Hall of Famers right, well you maybe adding another name to that list down the road and that being Jonathan Quick of the LA Kings.
Pretty hefty company to be part of but this ‘kid’ is playing like one of the greats mentioned above. He stole the show last night while stopping 28 shots of the 29 fired at him, he was the difference maker for sure. He held his team in the game as the Blues ‘peppered’ him in the early going of the game. Blues got one by him in the first but after that Quick shut the door and allowed his team mates to grind themselves back into the game with a 3-1 victory. LA goals came off the sticks of Voynov, Greene and an empty netter ‘bank shot’ from Penner to seal the deal.
On a down note and which I think the NHL and Sheriff Shananhan will be reviewing is the hit from behind which was delivered to Blues defenceman Pietrangelo against the end boards from forward King. The young Dman of the Blues will be evaluated today and an update will be given to us all at that point. As for King, who received only a 2 minute penalty chose his words wisely after the game trying to explain his side of the situation.
With the 3-1 victory for the Kings it was another road win, their 4th away from the Staples Center and their 6th straight win postseason road game. The Kings go up 1-0 in games and game 2 is set for Monday night at 9pm.
So there you have yesterdays games in a nut shell. Both series look like they will be a long one and alot of grinding out through out the games will take its toll on all the teams and this will tell us who has it to go all the way.
Here are the Coach’s 3 – Stars Selections
1st Star – Jonathan Quick – LA Kings
2nd Star – Henrik Lundquist – New York Rangers
3rd Star – Chris Kreider – New York Rangers
By Warren Nye, UltimateHockeySource.com
April 29th, 2012