Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

From Both Sides - Flames-Oilers

5/21/2022

from Eric Francis of Sportsnet On any given night, Connor McDavid alone can beat you. On Friday, the Calgary Flames got a grim reminder there’s another way to lose to the Edmonton Oilers – turn it into a skill contest. As in, reduce the number of skaters on the ice for either side to open things up. Both points were driven home in a 5-3 loss that saw Edmonton rebound from an early deficit to score four unanswered goals for the second game in a row to open this Western Conference semifinal. continued from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal, Well, after dropping a 9-6 laugher to the Calgary Flames in Game 1 Wednesday, which tied the NHL record for most goals ever in a playoff game, the Oilers got the first part of the equation right Friday, and mostly importantly the second with another out-of-this-world performance from Connor McDavid and two late strikes by Zach Hyman (shorthanded) and Leon Draisaitl for a stirring comeback 5-3 victory to even the series at a game apiece. The Oilers, who gave up three in the first 6:05 in Game 1, driving Mike Smith to the bench, were down two again in Game 2 after six minutes but Smith hung in after goals by Michael Stone and Brett Ritchie. And the team, refusing to go quietly and madly into the cold Calgary night, overcame two disallowed goals by Hyman (quick whistle in a scrum) and Draisaitl (McDavid interference on Jacob Markstrom) and twice clawed back from two-goal deficits. Article content “Not an ideal start obviously but a huge battle back,” said Hyman. “We knew that we’re capable of it and we did it last game (tying it 6-6) but not the way we wanted to, I’d say. This time from Smitty onwards I think we shored up things defensively. We didn’t give them as much. I thought we earned our chances, got a couple called back, but still worked, earned our power plays and got back into the game, then won it.” read on Game highlights are below.

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Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

From Both Sides - Rangers-Hurricanes

5/21/2022

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post, Chris Kreider had a dreadful game. Mika Zibanejad battled, but was unable to generate. Artemi Panarin, who talked before the game about how he had adopted a risk-averse approach to the playoffs, tried to do more with the puck in open spaces than he had in Game 1, but couldn’t create. Adam Fox was monitored closely. Ryan Strome was defended well. The Rangers generated so little that Gallant juggled his combinations late in the second, breaking up the Kid Line so he could flip Alexis Lafreniere with Andrew Copp and get Lafreniere into the top six. Lafreniere battled, but the line changes, under which Frank Vatrano also was replaced by Kaapo Kakko on the right with Kreider and Zibanejad, yielded nothing. You might say that it is unfair that the Rangers will come out of these first two games with nothing and are just one home loss away from being shoved to the precipice. The Blueshirts defended well enough that Igor Shesterkin was never under undue pressure. On those shifts in which they were pinned in their own end, the Blueshirts defended the middle. They played strong playoff hockey. But they could not finish the deal because the marquee guys on their marquee power play could not even generate the opportunity to finish. The Rangers were not necessarily outplayed or outworked by the Hurricanes. You cannot say the same for their power play. more from Dan Rosen of NHL.om Antti Raanta knew that in order to give the Carolina Hurricanes a chance against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Second Round he would have to play perfect, or at least close to it, because that's what Rangers' goalie Igor Shesterkin was going to do, too. "You get a little more on your toes when you know the other goalie is the tops in the league," Raanta said regarding Shesterkin, who is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy awarded to the NHL's top goaltender. Raanta was perfect in Game 2 with 21 saves in a 2-0 win at PNC Arena on Friday. Carolina's goalie has been perfect on 45 shots since allowing a goal early in the first period of Game 1. continued Game highlights are below.

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

The Tampa Bay Lightning Have Pushed The Florida Panthers Into A Deep Hole

5/20/2022

from Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet, After all their wins, their Presidents’ Trophy season and record-breaking offence, their upgraded lineup and first playoff series victory in 26 years, the Florida Panthers are precisely where they were last year against the Tampa Bay Lightning: down 2-0 in the playoffs after getting swept on home ice. The only difference, after Tampa’s buzzer-beating 2-1 win Thursday in Sunrise, Fla., is that this is the second round of the National Hockey League playoffs, not the first. It looks like it will be as far as the Panthers get in the Stanley Cup tournament. In 82 regular-season games — 58 of them wins — the highest-scoring team in the NHL’s salary-cap era scored fewer than two goals only three times. They did it twice in three days against the Lightning, who don’t have the talent they boasted while winning the last two Stanley Cups but possess infinitely more playoff knowhow than the Panthers. “It's just amazing what this group can continue to fight through,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. “Obviously, we knew they were going to push. And they pushed, they played a great game. But we bent, we didn't break. “You want to win every game and you come on the road with that mentality. You want to steal one for sure; that's definitely the mindset. But when you get that first one, we talked about, ‘Let's get greedy here.’ We did it last year — we came in and won the first two. There's no taking a breath now. We did our job here in an environment that is tough, obviously, to win in. (But) let's stay focused. Let's regroup, let's get some guys a little more healthy, but let's keep the foot on the gas.” continued Game highlights are below.