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Archive for the ‘NHL Playoffs’


Resilient Boston Bruins End Stanley Cup Drought 2

Posted on June 17, 2011 by Jonathan Fucile

After almost four decades, the Boston Bruins are champions.

The story for these Boston Bruins coming into the 2010-11 season was whether or not they could overcome the mental damage caused by one of the biggest collapses in the history of sports. Boston had shown so much promise over recent seasons, taking the Montreal Canadiens to a seventh game before getting blown out, running wild on the Eastern Conference before a disappointing second round loss to the Carolina Hurricanes and then their heartbreaking defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Many hoped that the Bruins would learn from their defeats and finally quench the thirst of a city absolutely begging to drink from the Stanley Cup after thirty-nine long years. Most of the current generation of Bruins fans were not even a thought in their parents head the last time the Bruins captured Stanley Cup glory but with the offseason acquisition of Nathan Horton, the hype of drafting Tyler Seguin and an ever improving cast of characters, expectations and hopes were at a high when Boston began their season overseas.

The first game of the season did not go exactly as planned, as the Boston defense abandoned wonder kid Tuukka Rask and the Bruins were trounced by the Coyotes. The following game, Tim Thomas stepped back between the pipes and what many thought was just a hot start turned into a record setting season for Thomas and a historic season for the Bruins.

A running theme for the Bruins throughout their entire season was redemption. Tim Thomas, after a down year due to a bad hip, was eager to prove his first Vezina trophy was no fluke. Zdeno Chara played like a man possessed, quieting doubters who believed he should be stripped of his captaincy. The individual stories were plentiful for Boston but it was how they came together as a team to find redemption that defined them.

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Boston Bruins Advance to the Stanley Cup Finals 3

Posted on May 28, 2011 by Jonathan Fucile

Boston's machine like effort earned them a trip to the Finals.

Heading into Friday night’s Game Seven against the Tampa Bay Lighting, the Boston Bruins were continually reminded of all the missed opportunities in their series. They blew a 3-0 lead in Game Four that would have given them a 3-1 series lead. Their penalty kill faltered and they wasted a David Krejci hat trick in Game Six.

There was talk that Tim Thomas was getting too tired, that the Bruins defense just did not have what it takes to keep up with the Lighting and that the Bruins had the inability to play a full sixty minute. On Friday night, with both their season and a Stanley Cup Finals berth on the line, this Bruins team showed again that when it matters most, when everything is on the line, they show up to play.

Tim Thomas showed his laser like focus, Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara led a defense that always seemed to be in the right place at the right time and each offensive line launched endless waves of attacks until they finally beat Roloson, a beautiful play from Boston’s top line, that ended with Nathan Horton potting the game winning goal.

From the second the puck dropped the Bruins played like a team that was not going to lose. The crowd fed off of their confidence and roared virtually the entire game. With every blocked shot, with every big hit, with every close call the crowd felt how much this Bruins team wanted it. Any question of this team’s heart and desire to make it to the Finals was easily erased from even the most illogical doubters.

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The Greatest First Round Upsets in NHL History 3

Posted on April 12, 2011 by A.J. Foss

Marcel Dionne and the Los Angeles Kings pulled off an amazing upset of the Wayne Gretzky led Oilers in the 1982 playoffs.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are set to begin tomorrow and casual sports fans should know the NHL’s postseason is perhaps the most unpredictable in professional sports.

Since the National Hockey League went to the conference format in 1994, eight #1 seeds have been eliminated in the first round.

With that in mind, here is a list of the 10 greatest first round upsets in NHL history.

The moments on this list go back to as far as 1980, ever since the Stanley Cup Playoffs began to accept 16 teams.

10. 2009 Sharks-Ducks

The President’s Trophy is awarded to the team with the best regular season record in the NHL, but has almost became a kiss of death as only seven teams have gone to win the Stanley Cup after winning the President’s trophy and five winners have been knocked out in the first round since the NHL began awarding the trophy in 1986.

The 2009 San Jose Sharks became the fourth of the five President’s trophy winners to be eliminated in the first round after losing to the Anaheim Ducks in a six-game series, following a season where the Sharks complied 117 points compared to the Ducks’ 91.

9. 1981 Oilers-Canadians
Wayne Gretzky won his first playoff series with a stunning upset of the Montreal Canadians.

In the 1981 playoffs, the 16 playoff teams were seeded 1 through 16, regardless of conference or division, so the Oilers were seeded #14 after a 74-point season and faced the #3 seed Montreal Canadians, who had complied 103 points in the regular season.

Gretzky set the tone with five assists in the Oilers’ 6-3 victory in Game 1, leading to a sweep of the Canadians in three games in the best-of-five series. Read the rest of this entry →

20 Most Memorable Moments in Stanley Cup Finals History 7

Posted on May 29, 2010 by A.J. Foss
Bobby Orr flying through the air is one of the most memorable images in Stanley Cup history.

Bobby Orr flying through the air is one of the most familiar images in Stanley Cup history.

The Stanley Cup Finals are now set as the Philadelphia Flyers and the Chicago Blackhawks begin their championship series on Saturday.

The Stanley Cup is the oldest championship trophy in North American professional sports and has produced many epic moments in the final series for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Here are now the 20 most memorable moments in Stanley Cup Finals history:

20. 2003 Devils-Ducks
The Ducks were leading Game 6 by the score of 3-1 in the second period when captain Paul Kariya is laid out by Devils defensemen Scott Stevens and is taken back to the locker room with an apparent concussion with 13:48 left in the period.
Kariya returns to the bench and 11 minutes after the hit he scores a goal as the Ducks would go on to win Game 6 by the score of 5-2 to force a Game 7 which they would lose 3-0.

19. 1960 Canadians-Maple Leafs
Montreal sweeps the Toronto Maple Leafs to win their fifth consecutive Stanley Cup, a record that has not been matched in NHL history.

It is also the last Stanley Cup for the legendary Canadians right winger Maurice “Rocket” Richard.

18. 1991 Penguins-North Stars
Mario Lemieux scores a breathtaking goal as he goes coast-to-coast beats two Minnesota North Star defensemen to put one into the net for a goal in the Penguins’ 4-1 victory in Game 2 as the Penguins would go on to win the series in six games for the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. Read the rest of this entry →

NHL Playoff Preview: Western Conference 6

Posted on March 23, 2010 by Scott Weldon

Chicago Blackhawks v Anaheim Ducks

Could this be the year the Chicago Blackhawks bring home the Stanley Cup?

The Western Conference has been the NHL’s elite conference the last couple of years, dominating the inter-conference games. The cup win by Pittsburgh and the recent development of talented teams in Washington and Philadelphia seems to suggest that perhaps that dominance is finished. Once again however the NHL’s best teams seem clustered in the west with only one or two eastern teams even capable of competing with them.

Here’s a look at how the western conference teams are shaping up going in to the playoffs.

FAVORITES:

1/Chicago Blackhawks- Chicago were pre-season cup favorites. They’ve got a depth of young talent most teams can only dream of. Their defense was led by young Olympians Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook who distinguished themselves against the best in the world. Twenty one year old Jonathon Toews was chosen the best forward and first all-star team center at the Olympics. Team-mate Patrick Kane starred on the US silver medal team. Throw in sniper Patrick Sharp, veteran Slovakian talent Marian Hossa, youngsters Bolland, Versteeg and Brouwer, power-play quarterback Brian Campbell, the resurgent Andrew Ladd, thumper Dustin Byfuglien and it’s hard to imagine this team losing to anyone.

They maintain an incredible defense giving up a mere 24.7 shots per game, two and a half shots stingier than the New Jersey Devils, who are renowned for their tight defensive game, and best in the league.   Read the rest of this entry →

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