NEWARK, NJ Here are 15 thoughts from the Stanley Cup Finals with the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils tied at a 1-1 score and headed to overtime at the Prudential Center in Game 1 of the Finals.
FIRST PERIOD1) Very passive period of hockey from the New Jersey Devils where they looked a little tentative and very nervous. Too much passing in the offensive zone with nobody looking to take their shot and then David Clarkson zinged a shot high and wide when he had a golden scoring chance on Jonathan Quick.2) Colin Fraser, on the other hand, buried the one-timer from the slot for the Kings at the other end of the ice, and became the 16th Kings player to score a goal during the playoffs. It was a meaningful goal for Fraser, who has to feel a healthy Simon Gagne breathing at his neck to replace him in the lineup if hes not producing.3) Ten total shots on goal for both teams in the period. Not exactly VancouverBoston with up and down chances and Alex Burrows taking a bit out of Patrice Bergeron at the very end of the first period in Game 1.4) The Kings won 12 out of 17 face-offs in the first period and looked like the better team in just about every aspect. Pretty amazing considering that Los Angeles was coming off a seven day layoff following their Game 5 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.5) Two good chances for David Clarkson. Hit a post and missed wide. The Devils need to bury those if theyre hoping to take down the Kings.
1) The Devils didnt have a shot on goal in the first 10 minutes of the second period, and then completely caught fire in the second half of the period. It looked like they finally shook off the Cup Finals nerves and started playing aggressively. Zach Parise crashed the net and got tangled up with Jonathan Quick in a move that stirred the crowd and the emotional pace, and minutes later New Jersey had tied things up.2) Five hits for Dainius Zubrus through two periods. He looks like a bowling ball on the ice smashing into everything around. While many of his teammates were slow starters Zubrus was off the hop from the games beginning.3) Los Angeles Kings could have been winning much bigger after dominating the large portion of the second period. They may come to regret being unable to put New Jersey away before they snapped out of it.4) A couple of interesting numbers: Anze Kopitar leads both teams with three shots on goal and Jarret Stoll has won six out of seven face-offs.5) The Los Angeles Kings power play is making me have flashbacks of the Boston Bruins power play last year. Its that brutal. They were having trouble simply setting up and keeping the puck in their own zone. Not a recipe for success even if the Bruins won it all last year.
1) Martin Brodeur with an amazing double-stacked pad save on Drew Doughty with less than 10 minutes to go in a tied game in the third period. Yeah, this guy has been here before.2) Dainius Zubrus is flopping, hitting and getting involved all over the ice physically for the Devils in the first game against the Kings. Hell need to take a nibble out of somebodys finger to truly go over into the dark side of Stanley Cup Finals villains, however. A game-high seven hits for Zubrus in Game 1.3) Mark Fayne fanned on a wide open rebound attempt midway through the third period that could have iced the game for Jersey. Fayne grew up in the New England area. Its a cinch Fayne would understand why the name Glen Wesley comes to mind when he couldnt bury the bouncing puck.4) Ilya Kovalchuk has been a non-factor in his first Stanley Cup Finals game. No shots on goal, no hits and really no involvement for the New Jersey Devils in any productive way.5) Of course Game 1 is headed to overtime. This is the season of overtime after all. Loved the Kings willingness to stick with their system despite what was going on around them, and was impressed by the emotion and intensity New Jersey picked up midway through the game.
Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading after thinking Barack Obama gave Jeffrey Ross a run for his money as the Roast-master In Chief at last night’s White House Correspondent’s Dinner.
*The man behind the music at American Airlines Arena for the Dallas Stars’ games comes into the spotlight for a story.
*Don Cherry sings the praises of Joel Ward, wears a Toronto Marlies suit and said “it was time to go” for Bruce Boudreau in Anaheim.
*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Penguins coach Mike Sullivan taking major issue with the head shot Brooks Orpik laid on Olli Maatta.
*The Maple Leafs secure the No. 1 overall pick in last night’s NHL Draft lottery, which will no doubt lead them to Auston Matthews.
*Now that the Edmonton Oilers have the No. 4 pick, Peter Chiarelli is open to trade options for those teams wanting to move up.
*Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is once again thriving in Ontario just a year after a major health scare.
*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Kurz on the unique journey for Brent Burns that culminated in his Norris Trophy finalist honor this week.
*Spector has the roundup of rumors including plenty of speculation on Kevin Shattenkirk once the Blues are done in the playoffs.
*For something completely different: a couple of reporters actually got into an actual fight at the White House Correspondent’s after-party. It sounds like they both kind of deserved a punch in the face, to be honest.
Patrice Bergeron will have some Bruins company at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas at the end of the month of June.
Loui Eriksson was named a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy on Saturday afternoon along with Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar and Florida Panthers pivot Aleksander Barkov. It’s the second time in his career that Eriksson will be named a finalist for the award given annually "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability."
The Swedish winger finished his best season in a Bruins uniform with 30 goals (third on team) and 33 assists for the second most points (63) on the team along with 12 total penalty minutes through 82 games played. Eriksson was excited to once again be a finalist for the award, and to be lumped in with a couple of the NHL’s best players in Kopitar and Barkov.
“It is a great honor to be considered for the Lady Byng Trophy, an award that has been won by some of the best players of all time,” said Eriksson, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1 after three seasons in Boston. “There are many deserving candidates so to be named one of the finalists with Anze Kopitar and Aleksander Barkov is very exciting for me. Thank you to my teammates and the coaching staff and I appreciate all those who voted.”
The last Bruin to win the Lady Byng Trophy was Rick Middleton back in 1981-82, and Eriksson is the first B’s finalist for Lady Byng in more than 10 years.
The Boston Bruins basically had a three percent of moving up into the top three of the NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday night, but they didn’t strike it draft rich when it was all said and done up in Toronto.
With Bruins general manager Don Sweeney in attendance representing the Original Six franchise, the Black and Gold were the first team logo selected in the draft lottery meaning they will own the 14th overall pick in the first round for the second straight summer.
Instead the Toronto Maple Leafs will select first overall after putting together the worst record in the NHL last season, and the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets won the lottery to move up into the second and third slots in the draft.
This marks the sixth time in franchise history that the club has owned the 14th overall selection in the NHL Draft. The Bruins drafted Jake DeBrusk 14th overall last summer in Florida at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Stephane Quintal 14th overall in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, Normand Leveille 14th overall in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, Douglas Halward 14th overall in the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft and Terry O’Reilly 14th overall in the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft.
Based on finishing with the highest point total of all non-playoff teams for the second straight season, the Bruins owned a 1.0% chance of winning the 2016 Draft Lottery overall and a 3.4% chance of securing a top-three pick.
The 2016 NHL Draft will take place on June 24-25 at the First Niagara Center home of the Sabres in Buffalo just a couple of months from now, and the Bruins also own the first round pick of the San Jose Sharks that will end up somewhere in the 20’s based on the fact they’re still currently alive in the playoffs.