Five from the Kings-Devils


Five from the Kings-Devils

NEWARK, NJ Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Kings leading the Devils by a 1-0 score after the first 20 minutes of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals at the Prudential Center.

1) A thing of beauty by Drew Doughty in the first period when he weaved through three Devils defenders and buried a shot to the blocker side of Martin Brodeur. Drew comparisons of Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque and Scott Neidermayer on twitter and rightfully so. Hes something special.

2) A lot more nasty for both the Devils and the Kings in Game 2. A much tighter game with better flow as both teams predicted over the last two days. Devils actually managed 10 shots, which nearly matched their total from Game 1.

3) Martin Brodeur looks a little shaky bobbling pucks and not catching anything cleanly. The shot he gave up to Doughty wasnt the greatest stop in the world, and he finished with five saves.

4) Jonathan Quick, on the other hand, continues to look dominant. Ten saves in the first 20 minutes and a couple of solid stops on a shift where Zach Parise turned on the jets and looked determined to get the puck past him. Hes still the odds on favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

5) Awful Eurohousegymnastics routine music played for the New Jersey Devils during warm-ups. Whatever happened to ACDC?


1) One shot on net for Ilya Kovalchuk through two periods of play. Two giveaways, two missed shots and one that was blocked. He looks very passive when he gets the puck and every skating stride looks extremely labored. The word is that its some kind of back problem, and if thats the case Devils are in extreme trouble if he doesnt start feeling better.

2) Jonathan Quick is very, very good. The Kings were a little more helter-skelter dealing with New Jerseys forecheck in the second period, but Quick was able to make another nine saves in the middle 20 minutes. According to compadre Shawn ORourke Quick has given up one goal in his last 149:32 dating back to the Western Conference Finals. He doesnt look like hes prone to break down any time soon either.

3) Martin Brodeur looked much better in the second period, and made a couple of flashy glove saves that appeared to get him back into the flow of the game. The angry, dismissive glove save on Justin Williams appeared to be the turning point.

4) Four shots on goal for Mike Richards leads. Both teams. The depth on the Los Angeles Kings is something to be reckoned with along their front lines.

5) Kings have done a very good job roughing up Zach Parise in the first two games of this series. One shot in 12:10 of ice time and he was jacked up by Trevor Lewis at the end of the second period. Appeared a little dazed when he finally got up and off the ice.

1) The Devils are going to be hard-pressed in this Stanley Cup Final if they dont start getting some production from Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise. Kings are effectively shutting them both down.

2) No shots on net in 21:28 tonight for Dustin Brown. Three hits but hes been largely quiet. Kings could use a lot more out of their tone-setter than theyve received thus far, and his ill-conceived pass to the front of the net at the end of the third almost turned into an Ilya Kovalchuk goal. Kings are very casual throwing the puck in front of the net and will get burned at some point because of that.

3) Devils fourth line has been keeping then in these games. Ryan Carter high tip on a Marek Zidlicky point shot beats Jonathan Quick. Thats the only line that Pete DeBoer didnt mess around with between second and third period, and with good reason.

4) Not a lot separating these two teams when the Kings are on the road, but that makes you think Los Angeles might just blow Jerseys doors off at the Staples Center. Doesnt it?

5) The 25th overtime game of the playoffs, and the second straight in the Finals for the Devils and Kings.

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

BOSTON, Mass – Malcolm Subban says that he believes that he can still be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

While that’s admirable on some level for the sheer, brazen self-confidence involved in saying this after getting yanked from a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden, pretty much all of the evidence points out the contrary. Nearly two years after getting pulled from his NHL debut in against the St. Louis Blues after giving up three goals on six shots, Subban was pulled from Tuesday night’s appearance after giving up three goals on eight second period shots with the Bruins desperately in need of a quality start in goal.

He maintained a defiantly confident tone after another humbling NHL effort against Minnesota, and that’s a testament to the maturity and mental toughness of the person behind the goalie mask.

“It sucks. Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one. Obviously it sucks, but what can you do now, right?” said Subban, who has now allowed six goals on 22 career shots faced in two starts. “Obviously I want to be a number one goaltender in the league. I was a high pick for a reason. I have the potential, and I just have to show it. Obviously I haven’t done that so far yet, but I think I’m getting closer to it. Honestly, I think I can do it right now. I just got to show it. Obviously, I didn’t [do it] today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Given the stunningly bad quality of his two NHL starts combined with a thoroughly pedestrian body of work at the AHL level over the last three years, there is literally zero tangible evidence Subban is tracking to be a franchise goaltender. Instead he’s the emergency goaltender called on by the Bruins only after Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin have both been shelved by injuries, and he’s now flunked the two pop quizzes when the NHL team needed him to come through.

Meanwhile, a sizeable selection of goaltenders taken after him in the 2012 NHL Draft class have already proven their NHL worth and broken through at the elite level: Matt Murray, Frederik Anderson, Connor Hellebuyck and Joonas Korpisalo.

Subban was hoping all along to break through this season in Boston, but things went south on him quickly with a Bruins team not playing well in front of him. The first goal was a fluttering Charlie Coyle shot that trickled between his glove hand and the top of his leg pad. The third goal was a softie low and to the glove side, power play strike authored by Ryan Suter. It added up to poor goaltending and shoddy defense, but it also added up to a Bruins goaltender that didn’t even give his hockey club a chance to win.

“It could be a combination of both. There are some goals – I’m not going to lie – there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had. But I’m not here to talk about a goaltender who’s in one of his first few games because he let in a couple of bad goals,” said Julien. “We were terrible in front of him and we weren’t any better, and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.

“I don’t care who’s in net. I think when you have some injuries you need to be better in those situations and we weren’t good enough tonight. It doesn’t matter if Tuukka [Rask] is in net and we had injuries up front, or we’re lacking players here or there. You’ve got to let the system take care of the game. If you play it the right way, you have a chance to win. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s what happened [against Minnesota].”

There’s no question the defense in front of Subban wasn’t nearly good enough, and Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug in particular struggled to lock things down in the defensive zone. The wide open shots from the slot - like the Chris Stewart score in the second period that arrived 12 seconds after Minnesota’s opening goal - are indicative of a hockey club that’s not sticking to the game plan once things start to get a little wonky.

But this is about a player in Subban that should be entering the NHL stage of his career after being a first round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, and anybody would be hard-pressed to see him as an NHL goalie after failing in each of his first two NHL starts. Combine that with the lack of dominance at the AHL level over the last three years, and there’s a better chance that Subban will be a major first round bust for the Bruins rather than suddenly develop into a late-blooming No. 1 goaltender in Boston.

The scary part is that Subban and fellow young netminder Zane McIntyre are all the Bruins have for Wednesday night’s game at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps longer than that if Rask can’t make rapid progress with his lower body injury.

Maybe Subban can be a bit better than he’s shown thus far, and the four goals allowed to Minnesota were not all his fault. The bottom line, however, is that Subban should be up for doing this job right now. Tuesday was a big chance for the young goalie to make a statement that he was ready for it.

Instead he looked like the same goalie that’s been pulled from two of his first four AHL starts this season, and plays like a goaltender that’s never going to truly be ready for the call in Boston.