Day-18 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:
INKTIME on RINKTIME Observations and Random thoughts by Chris Madsen:
HOW TO LAND A SHARK IN :22 SECONDS: After San Jose potted three straight goals to take a 3-2 lead over the Kings in the Third Period, the tide of this game had seemingly turned and the thought crossed my mind that perhaps the Sharks had shaken off the rust of a long lay-off between series and now we were about to see that same lean, mean killing machine we saw during the Opening Round against the Canucks.
But the Kings set the hook for disastrous turn of events, by forcing a tired Brad Stuart to take a tripping penalty with 2:41 to play and moments later teammate Marc-Edouard Vlasic inadvertently heaved the puck over the glass for a D-O-G penalty…giving the Kings a 2-man advantage. Then a Captain did what a Captain is supposed to do–Dustin Brown swatted home a loose puck in a goal-mouth scramble to tie the game…and then, a mere :22 later…Trevor Lewis sent Staples Center into a toal frenzy by completing an improbable comeback and securing a 4-3 victory and a 2-games-to-none series advantage.
However, the truth of the matter is that the Sharks have outplayed the Kings in 3 of the last 4 Periods of this series and the guy (Brad Stuart) who may have opened this flood gate, played one heck of a game (he had a goal and two assists). Sometimes the game just doesn’t seem fair: “I think 5-on-5, we were the better team,” said Stuart. “ We keep doing those kinds of things, we’ll get our wins. That’s what we have to do. We have to respond in that way. We’re being tested, and it’s about how we’re going to respond. The key for us is to come out and do a lot of the same things we were doing tonight. We’ve got to put it behind us. There’s two ways for us to respond. We can either fold up and say, ‘Oh, at least we tried,’ or we can say, ‘You know what? We can win.’ ”
Dustin Brown may very well concur: “We’re happy with the result, but we have to play better. We can’t let it get to
that situation every night.”
Next stop—The Shark Tank!
OFF THE SCHNEID: In their decisive game-7 victory over Toronto, Patrice Bergeron decided to join the Post-Season party by finally scoring his first Playoff goal to tie the game…then another to win it in Overtime.
But remember, it was Brad Marchand who lead this Bruins team in scoring during the Regular Season and he too had failed to show up on the Score Sheet…until last night! In fact the play went, Marchand to Bergeron, Bergeron passed
across the slot to Marchand for Brad’s first of the Playoffs, a game winner, and Boston’s third straight Overtime victory–and this time, the Rangers were the victim, 3-2 in the Opener of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals.
New York Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was the closest thing I’ve seen to the Kings Jonathan Quick on this night. Yet even Henrik proved he was human: “I kind of knew he was coming in the middle, but I was just too locked in on the puck. Sooner or later when you face a lot of chances like that, you’re going to make a mistake.”
Now, be on the lookout for Marchand–who likes to score goals in bunches: “It’s always frustrating not to score, but there’s so many other areas of the game. It’s always nice to get the first one and you hope you just keep going.”
OH, AND FOR YOU HOCKEY HISTORY BUFFS: The B’s and Rangers last met in the playoffs in 1973 when NY won the First Round Series in five games.
UNTIL THE NEXT TIME WE LACE ‘EM UP AND HIT THE ICE!–Chris Madsen
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