'We're right on the edge' of being rusty


'We're right on the edge' of being rusty

NEWARK, NJ The biggest question facing the Los Angeles Kings will be whether they were too good for their own good.

Because they were able to dispatch the Vancouver Canucks in five games, the Kings have enjoyed seven games off between the Western Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals that begin Wednesday night against the New Jersey Devils. The rest vs. rust is a classic argument during the Cup playoffs, and there have been enough examples of both to lend credence to its importance.

Kings captain Dustin Brown sounded as if he might even be a bit curious how his teammates come out tonight after a week off between playoff series.

Were right on the edge there. Seven dayseight days, admitted Brown. I think you go nine or ten days you might be going a little too long.

The Kings have enjoyed significant periods of battery recharging in each of the three series while marching through the Western Conference bracket in a scant 14 games. Each pocket of practice time has allowed them the ability to essentially hit the reset button rather than suffer the fatigue and attrition from each bruising round of the playoffs.

Its more or less a reset. Weve had time off in-between and thats more or less allowed us to enjoy the accomplishments in the series we just ended, said Brown. Then you hit the reset button and get right back to work after a couple of days off to get that mentality back."

From a playing standpoint you want to play, but from a rest standpoint you get through it. To be in the position we are with the rest weve had is definitely a positive. Its just a matter of guys preparing themselves.

The Devils, on the other hand, went to six games in a hard-fought series against the Rangers, and got pushed to seven games by the Florida Panthers in the first round of the playoffs.

Jersey will have only four days off after dispatching the Blueshirts, and they didnt travel cross-country as they set up to host the start of the series.

They handled the sweep against the Flyers that gave them their needed breather in between rounds, but theyve also been pushed harder than the Kings during the entirety of the postseason.

It looks like the Devils are on the right side of the restrust cycle and the Kings might be a little more than right on the edge, but the answers will be known once the two hockey clubs have hit the ice.

Monday, Jan. 15: Matthews jersey sells for big money

Monday, Jan. 15: Matthews jersey sells for big money

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wondering what Claude Julien would do if one of the Bruins players was running Facebook Live during his postgame comments.
*Auston Matthews is obviously making a huge impression in Toronto as his Centennial Classic jersey sold for over $11,000 at a charity auction.
*Clark Booth knows it’s time to talk about the NFL, but instead he wants to talk about Milt Schmidt. I agree with Clark.

*Sabres goalie Robin Lehner says that his Buffalo teammates need to start doing their job as the season circles down the drain.

*Pierre McGuire talks with TSN sports radio about the Ottawa Senators, and the tough road trip coming up for them.
*PHT writer Cam Tucker has more bad news for the Tampa Bay Lightning as Ryan Callahan is going to be out for another four weeks with a lower body injury.
*As the Detroit Red Wings continue to round up the bottom in the Atlantic Division, Thomas Vanek may become trade bait.
*Peter Budaj is giving the Kings the saves that they need with Jonathan Quick out long term with injury.
*For something completely different: Tom E. Curran points out some togetherness issues with the Pittsburgh Steelers based on Antonio Brown’s Facebook post.

B's determined to 'keep it going' during good offensive run

B's determined to 'keep it going' during good offensive run

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- The Bruins are going through a nice, little bountiful stretch of offense right now after a half-season of struggle.

The Bruins are averaging more than three goals per game in their last 12 contests, and have scored a whopping 22 goals in their last six games including dropping six scores on the Flyers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Combine that with the 7-for-25 performance on the power play during the month of January, and things are finally starting to catch up with a Bruins team that was all shoot/no score for months of frustrating hockey this season.

“If you want sustained success then you have to be good defensively, but you also have to score some goals. That’s definitely part of it and we have to keep it going,” said Patrice Bergeron, who has four goals and eight points in his last nine games after struggling out of the starting gate. “You’re not going to get rewarded every night like we did [against the Flyers], but you have to find that consistency where you’re close to having that every night.”

One thing nobody should expect out of the B’s, however, is to get outside of what they do well now that they’ve started slapping some numbers up on the board. Instead the Bruins are intent on their bedrock of disciplined defense and sensational goaltending with the added offense just making it much tougher to beat them these days.

“I don’t know if we can stand here and say we’re going to sustain that we’re scoring lots of goals. I think what we need to sustain here is winning more games than we lose,” said Claude Julien. “That’s what we’ve got to sustain. Whether it’s a 1-0 or 2-1 game, or it’s a 5-2 or 5-3 game it doesn’t really matter. It’s about winning hockey games much more than it’s about how much you scored, and how much you don’t score.

“Overall when I look at the scoring chances we’re giving up per game, that doesn’t seem to have changed. Goals allowed may have changed a little bit lately, but overall I think we’ve been very steady in that area [of defense].”

So now the Bruins will again be looking for that ideal balance of offense/defense when they take the ice against the Islanders on Monday afternoon for their second straight matinee at TD Garden.