Monday, June 11, 2012

2012 Stanley Cup Finals: The Story So Far, Game 5


So the Devils forced 'em to put the champagne away again. And the Kings finally lose at home.

And we had another 2-1 game, although this one didn't make it to OT.

The first period was again cautious, as the teams combined for just 11 shots. But once again it was the Devils who drew first blood as Parise got one around the 13 minute mark.

Both teams then started to pour it on in the second stanza. Once again, the Kings tied it as Justin Williams snapped one by Brodeur.

The Kings had several more chances in this period. Stoll came up empty on a breakaway.

But this time, it was the Kings who missed on their chances. Meanwhile, the Devils took the lead for good when Bryce Salvador continued his strong play by scoring the game winning goal at 9:05.

The Kings clamped down on defence and kept pelting Marty with shots in the third. They actually scored a goal, but it was waved off. And despite outshooting New Jersey 9-3, they could not score in the finale.

This was the third 2-1 game of this Series, which is turning out to be quite entertaining!

The Way It Was


1993

This time the Kings didn't come back, as Montreal scored a 4-1 win and a 4-1 Series win.

McSorley again tied it in the second, but this time, the Kings responded as Kirk Muller scored a goal little more than a minute later. The Habs added one before the period ended and still another in the third.

Patrick Roy, won his second Conn Smythe award. Amazingly, although no one knew it at the time, he would never win another playoff round for the Habs.

1995

The Devils were Stanley Cup Champions by this point. But they would miss the playoffs the next season.

Attitudes In The Dressing Room At This Point:

Los Angeles: We'd better wrap it up at home, or else...

New Jersey: Kings' aren't so tough on the road. We can take this thing
My Three Stars:

Broduer

Salvador

Zajac

Game Rating Scale 1 (boring) - 10 (exciting)

9.5: An improvement over the last game. Brodeur's best, so far. The Kiings played well, and put their maximum effort into this game. But the Devils did it as they always do, protecting a slim lead with defence and goaltending

2012 Stanley Cup Finals: The Story So Far, Game 4

So New Jersey finally found a way to win. Brodeur, like all great goaltenders, bounced back from a poor game.

The first period was a rather cautious affair, as both teams seemed reluctant to take any chances. They seemed to be almost feeling each other out, or waiting for just the right time to go for a scoring opportunity.

The Devils played even more cautiously in the second period, managing 3 shots. LA, meanwhile had 7 shots. But once again, the period ended scoreless.

The Devils finally started to open up in the third. And it promptly paid off.

Elias opened the scoring about 8 minutes into the third, which I felt was huge, since the team scoring the first goal had won the previous 3 games.

The lead lasted one minute, exactly.

Drew Doughty tied it on a powerplay goal just 4 seconds after David Clarkson went to the penalty box.

With less than 4 minutes to go, Adam Henrique scored what turned out to be the winner, and New Jersey tightened the screws on defence to make the lead hold up. Kovalchuk added an empty netter to seal the deal.

The Way It Was

1993

Again the Kings came back, and again they lost in OT.

The Habs jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the second period.

McSorley, atoning for getting caught with an illegal stick in game 2, tied it with just 5 seconds left in the second period.

After a scoreless third, LeClaire again won it overtime, but this time it was at the 14:37 mark. The Habs now had a 3-1 stranglehold on the Series, with game 5 in Montreal.

1995

New Jersey spotted the Red Wings an early lead, 2-1, and then reeled off four straight goals to win their first Stanley Cup.

Shawn Chambers scored twice and Billy Guerin collected 3 assists.

The Red Wings were held to just 16 shots on goal, while New Jersey scored their 5 on just 26 shots on a shaky Mike Vernon.
Attitudes In The Dressing Room At This Point:

Los Angeles: No panic yet, and now we go on the road!

New Jersey: We’re still alive, but let’s not lose this one at home!

My Three Stars:

Salvador

Brodeur

Doughty

Game Rating Scale 1 (boring) - 10 (exciting)

8.5: The teams took a while to actually open up. The goaltending was great, but Quick showed some vulnerability

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Stanley Cup Finals 2012: The Story So Far, Game 3

See all the celebs? Was that Mary Hart wearing a Kings' jersey? Best episode of ET, ever!

And Gretzky dropping the puck to start it all? And Bruce McNall, the man who made the trade all possible. Feeling like 1988 all over again. Good to see Mark Messier there, too. Where is Peter Pocklington?

New Jersey again had their chances and didn't convert. How many powerplays does this team need?

The first period was pretty good. But New Jersey let an opportunity slip away when they failed to score on the 5 on 3.

In the second period, both teams started to open up, but LA scored twice, but failed to get one on their first power play.

The first goal by Martinez had a bit of controversy behind it. But there was nothing controversial about Kopitar's goal, which put the game out of reach.

The way it was

1993

Los Angeles came home and promptly got behind 3-0, early in the second period. But Lucky Luc got one back from Gretzky, and this keyed a comeback. Gretzky's goal at 17:07 of the second stanza would tie the game.

The game stayed that way as the team played a scoreless third period.

John Leclair won the game just 34 seconds into overtime, putting the Habs up 2-1 in the Series

1995

New Jersey really took it to Detroit, opening up a 5-0 lead, then allowing Detroit two meaningless goals for a 5-2 win.

Attitudes In The Dressing Room At This Point:

Los Angeles: We can see the finish line, 60 more minutes...

New Jersey: We can't beat these guys at home or on the road

My three stars:

Quick

Kopitar

Williams

Game Rating Scale 1 (boring) - 10 (exciting)

6.5: The action was good, but the game got a little one-sided by the third. I was hoping for another overtime game.

Stanley Cup Finals 2012: The Story So Far, Game 2

Didn't I just watch this game, only it was game 1, not game 2.

Again Brodeur and Quick were...I'll say great. And I really think Brodeur not only held the Devils in their in the 3rd period, but also in overtime.

But the problem again for New Jersey is those missed plays. There were several times in overtime where they had control of the puck in overtime and it seemed like just a matter of time until they scored.

But they didn't, and that opened the door for LA.

And just like in game 1, LA pounced on the opportunity.

This overtime goal by Jeff Carter wasn't quite like Kopitar. But that was some determination on him circling the goal and snapping it home! Got it through all five Devils plus Brodeur somehow!

This time it was the Devils who needed the game more than LA. Now it's gonna be an uphill climb for New Jersey, who need to win the next three games.

The way it was

1993

Los Angeles looked to go up 2-0 vs Montreal on the road. But Marty McSorley got caught with an illegal stick...

1995

New Jersey trailed 2-1 going into the third. But a goal by Scott Niedemayer tied the game. Then the Devils won the game on a Jim Dowd goal and a Stephane Richer empty netter

Attitudes In The Dressing Room At This Point:

Los Angeles: Too bad we're going home...

New Jersey: Thannk god they are only 4-2 at home

My three stars:

1 (tie) Quick and Brodeur

2 Jeff Carter


Game Rating Scale 1 (boring) - 10 (exciting)


9. Another OT that lasted longer and some great saves. Great goaltending duel.

Friday, June 1, 2012

My Favourite "Big Threes"

In sports, so many teams have, the big three. Here are my favourite

10) Lebron, CB4, and DW

We'll just have to wait and see...

9) Gretzky, Kurri, Coffey

When these guys were on the ice, the opposition never touched the puck. Imagine taking a penalty against these guys. No wonder the NHL implemented the 5-5 for coincidental penalties in 85/86, a season that saw Gretzky get 163 ASSISTS and Coffey get 48 goals, as a defenceman. Kurri led the NHL with 68 goals, one shy of the all time single season mark for right wingers.

8) Mantle, Maris, Howard

During a stretch from 1960 to 1964, the Yankees won 5 pennants, 2 World Series and 4 MVPs. Maris won 2 (60-61), Mantle and Howard one each (1962 and 1963). Plus all three were great fielders. Howard almost single-handedly carried the Yanks to the World Series in 1963, with Mantle and Maris hurt. Howard provided the steady calming influence on the pitching staff. But Mantle and Maris both hit dramatic homeruns that year, so poor old Ellie...

UPDATE: My father just read this and said Yogi Berra (3 MVPs in the 1950s) should be included. Fine. Big 4!

7) Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Fred Lynn

Rice was underrated as a fielder, Evans was underrated as a hitter, especially when the 80s dawned. No other AL player hit more homeruns (256) in that decade that Evans. Lynn, when healthy, could do it all.

6) Koufax, Drysdale, Podres

Yes, Podres should be in there because of his two clutch World Series wins in 1959 and 1963. Should I mention he also won 2 for Brooklyn in 1955? But when it got to LA and Koufax (You knew what was coming alright, you just couldn't hit it), Drysdale (He'd knock down his own mother if she was batting, I swear) reached their prime...I mean, can you imagine playing a three game set against the Dodgers with these guys starting one after another? Just leave the bats at home! Plus, did I mention Podres was a lefty, as well?

5) Jordan, Pippen, Rodman

DEFENSE! Yeah, these guys were awesome! Is it any wonder in their three years together they won 3 NBA Championships? Anyways, Pippen was always better than his stats were, we all know that. Rodman was the best rebounder in the NBA from his rookie season until his last year, seriously. Jordan, well...

4) Bird, McHale, Johnson

Disclaimer:

I should have included Robert Parrish here, as no team in the 80s wins without a center. Actually, no team until the 90s could win without a center. See #5 for that. Also, in 85/86 the team had Bill Walton as the backup center. 5 Hall Of Famers.

But these three made the real difference. McHale, like Pippen, you had to see play. Bird, btw, was one of the smartest players ever, and DJ was the most underrated player, ever.

3) Kareem, Magic, And Big Game

Poor James Worthy, no one will ever remeber he scored 28 points to win the 1982 NCAA Final. Again, see #5 for who did that. Magic made the game fun and Kareem just got better with age.

2) Federer, Nadal, Djokovic

They've made tennis so much fun to watch in the last few years

1) Palmer, Nicklaus, Player

(Need I say more?)