NHL playoffs: Are the New York Islanders this year’s LA Kings?

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Here’s the hit: The question is: was it a boarding penalty? Arguably, it looks very much shoulder-to-shoulder, but once again, it falls into an ambiguous zone where, as much as it might have been a clean hit, it borders on the kind of thing the league is looking to eliminate. And so, here we are. This early exit for the Canucks was (again) a big surprise. Is it already time for a complete rebuild in Vancouver? Was giving up Tuukka Rask the dumbest things the Leafs did? First off: I’ve probably missed some pretty goals so far in the playoffs, but I’d wager James van Riemsdyk’s sleek little back-hand past Tuukka Rask Saturday night in Boston was one of the best. Arguably, he was a bit fortunate at the very end to get the bounce off Rask’s skate, but all the same, that takes nothing away from those hands. Second, let’s take nothing away from Rask, who has so far been stellar in this series, backstopping the Bruins to a commanding 5-2 win on Monday night to ruin Toronto’s playoff homecoming and take a 2-1 series lead. As the Hockey News points out , of all the trades Brian Burke made when he was the Leafs’ general manager, it might turn out that letting go of Rask was the worst. “People never tire of giving the Leafs and former GM Brian Burke grief over the Phil Kessel trade that delivered Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton to the Bruins. But in the short-term, the organization’s decision to go with Pogge over Rask might even be a worse one. source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2013/may/08/islanders-penguins-nhl-playoffs-la-kings

NHL Playoffs 2013: Why the Montreal Canadiens Are Still in Big Trouble


Not to mention, they were missing not only Lars Eller, who was out after that vicious hit from Eric Gryba, but Max Pacioretty and Brian Gionta as well. The fact that they were able to tame Ottawa’s attack for just about the entire game, while sending a message with physical play, is an encouraging sign for the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge. Montreal, however, isn’t out of the woods just yet. Keep in mind, despite that clutch victory in Game 2 at the Bell Centre, Montreal has still relinquished home-ice advantage to the Sens. That is fairly significant. Home-ice advantage is key in hockey (as it is in most sports), and the Habs should still be aware that they now must win at least one game away from home in order to advance to the second round. While they may have the momentum for now, Ottawa emerges from the first two games the clear winner, having done their job as an underdog by winning one game away from home. Doing so at the raucous and hostile Bell Centre only makes that feat even more impressive. What’s worse for Montreal, it hasn’t just surrendered home-ice advantage to any random team. The Ottawa Senators were incredible at Scotiabank Place this season, posting a record of 15-6-3. source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1628773-nhl-playoffs-2013-why-the-montreal-canadiens-are-still-in-big-trouble

Canadiens’ P.K. Subban up for Norris trophy

Subban, nominated for the Norris Trophy, topped NHL defencemen in scoring with 38 points (11 goals, 27 assists) in 42 games this season. Photograph by: Sean Kilpatrick , The Canadian Press NEW YORK — Montreal Canadiens blue-liner P.K. Subban has been named a finalist for the James Norris Memorial Trophy, given annually to the top defenceman in the NHL. Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild were also named finalists Tuesday. Each is a Norris Trophy finalist for the first time. Subban topped NHL defencemen in scoring with 38 points (11 goals, 27 assists) in 42 games this season. The 23-year-old Toronto native also led all blue-liners in power-play scoring with 26 points (7-19) and ranked second on the Canadiens in points, plus-minus (plus-12) and average ice time per game (23:14). Letang finished second in the scoring race among NHL defencemen despite missing more than a quarter of the season. The 26-year-old Montreal native had 38 points (5-33) in 35 games and was the only NHL blueliner to score at a point-per-game rate. Suter, a 28-year-old native of Madison, Wis., led all NHL players in average ice time per game (27:16). source: http://www.calgaryherald.com/sports/hockey/montreal-canadiens/Canadiens+Subban+Norris+trophy/8348720/story.html


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