New York Rangers eliminated, Calgary takes 3-2 series lead over Anaheim
The Rangers were surprised by the post-game reaction from the usually partisan crowd at Madison Square Garden: Early Exit for Jagr, and an Embarrassing One for the Rangers - NY Times.
For the Rangers, the most enjoyable part of the postseason came after it was over. A fan base famous for its taunts and jeers applauded the Rangers in the final seconds, not to mock them for their meager playoff beards, but to honor them for an inspired regular season. Several players said they were as surprised by the gesture as they were moved.
"Cheering for us even though we lost the game — that means a lot," defenseman Darius Kasparaitis said. "Usually they boo us."
This was the rare occasion that a New York crowd took the long view. Rangers Coach Tom Renney chose not to analyze every misstep, but to focus on the greater significance of the season. Picked to finish last in the Eastern Conference, the Rangers scored 100 points and completely made over their public image.
Hockeybird posts a final salute from NY, the hockey blogosphere's elder statesman Rangerpundit was one of a number of Ranger fans calling for Sandis Ozolinsh to be benched, the NY Post's Larry Brooks notes that Henrik Lundqvist hid a hip injury which may have hurt his team and that Rangers went 8-4-3 their 15 games with Ozolinsh in the lineup, RangerfanCentral covered the media reaction throughout the 4-0 sweep, Hockey Rodent writes that the Clutch and Grab is here to stay. The Rangers took 6 penalties to the Devils 7 in game 4, and the Devils scored the first three goals on special teams [Scott Gomez-PP, Patrik Elias-PP, Brian Gionta-SH].
Broken Mirror, Broken Record - Blue Shirt Bulletin.
The Presidents Trophy winning Detroit Red Wings find themselves down 3-2 in a tight first round playoff series with the Edmonton Oilers. Defenseman Chris Pronger tallied 3 assists and nearly 30 minutes of ice time [27:29], as the Oilers edged past Detroit 3-2. Lost in much of the playoff euphoria is just how successful Chris Pronger's return from a gruesome wrist injury was this season. Pronger's 56 point regular season [12G, 44A] was his best since 1999-2000, and his 7 points in 5 playoff games tie him for 9th this postseason. Exclusive Sharkspage Pronger photos here and here.
Colby Cosh notes that Pronger should be considered for a Hart Trophy, not the Norris Trophy.
In the first of the five games that the Oilers and Red Wings have played so far, Chris Pronger played 38½ minutes and scored a go-ahead goal. It's the only time in the series he hasn't been named one of the three stars of the game: he was the first star Sunday and Tuesday, second star in the Oilers loss Thursday, and first star today. In the five games he has 7 points (2g, 5a), has averaged 36 minutes of ice time a night, has blocked 16 shots, and has served zero penalty minutes.
Zero penalty minutes, Oilers will advance. A repeat of 2004 is unlikely. Edmonton Police Service, a goaltender in 30 minutes or your money back. From the Michigan Live Snapshots blog, The American and Canadian press is salivating over the Wings' so-called imminent demise. Video of Chris Pronger flattening Detroit's Daniel Cleary, thanks to Offwing for the link.
Red Wings Bulletin declares that the onus is on Detroit head coach Mike Babcock, and notes that Edmonton's Craig MacTavish is making needed adjustments.
MacTavish wasn't afraid to declare, somewhat cryptically, before the series that the Oilers would be better off playing the Red Wings than Dallas, which has beaten them like a drum it seems like forever. From Game 1, he instilled confidence in his players that they can beat the heavily favored Wings.
He took a major gamble by deploying the neutral-zone trap. He knew that wouldn't go over well in Edmonton, which practically invented high-tempo, exciting hockey. And he knew he'd be second-guessed to no end if it backfired.
But, so far, it has worked brilliantly. Forget about the misleading shot totals, the Oilers have done a terrific job of keeping the Wings on the perimeter, forcing them to take low-percentage shots from the outside.
Oilers 3-2 in Game and Series, Oilers score three in second period for win - EdmontonOilers.com.
ANAHEIM GOALTENDER J.S. GIGUERE - SP FILE PHOTO
Ducks nearly done after loss - Orange County Register.
The Calgary Flames wrested control of the clubs' opening-round Stanley Cup playoff matchup by scoring three times in just more than 21 minutes and hanging on for a 3-2 victory at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
The Flames, who seized a 3-2 series lead, will go for the clincher at 8 p.m. Monday at Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim. A Ducks victory would return the series to Calgary for a decisive Game 7 on Wednesday.
The Mighty Ducks outshot the Flames 28-27, but Anaheim had trouble generating quality scoring chances after Calgary built up a three goal lead in the first two periods. Calgary earned a 3-1 win in front of a sea of red fans, and leads the Ducks 3-2 in the opening playoff series.
The Flames were able to wear down Anaheim and smother a quicker team with stifling defense and Miikka Kiprusoff. Kiprusoff made 26 saves on 28 shots for his third win of the series. Anaheim goaltender J.S. Giguere was replaced by Ilya Bryzgalov, who stopped all 19 shots he faced after coming into the game in the second period.
More from the Battle of Alberta. Helene Elliot of the Los Angeles Times reports that the focus is now squarely on J.S. Giguere after an uninspiring peformance in Game 5. Calgary defenseman Robyn Regehr took a foolish penalty in the third period. At the tail end of a hit, Regehr drove Teemu Selanne's head into the boards with his elbow. John Buccigross described it as a "people's elbow" on SportsCenter. Rob Niedermayer converts on the power play to make it 3-2, and the Flames make the finish a lot closer than it needed to be at the end of the game.
The Ottawa Senators earned a 3-2 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning, and eliminated them from the playoffs in 5 games. Martin Havlat scored a power play goal and an assist, and Ray Emery made 26 saves on 28 shots for the win.
Tampa Bay head coach John Tortorella was quoted by TSN saying that changes need to be made. He took the very uncommon step of calling out his starting goaltender John Grahame.
It was that kind of year for Grahame, an unrestricted free agent July 1 who probably won't be back with Tampa.
"I thought Johnny Grahame would be able to do the job," said Tortorella. "I think honestly at times he did, and other times he didn't. And that's not good enough in the National Hockey League right now.
"That's just an honest assessment and I think a very fair assessment. So that's something we have to talk about as an organization. That's a very important position and we'll have to see how that goes."
Coaching Exits - Damien Cox.
Tampa Bay Lightning's Todd Wright blogs about the 2006 playoff atmosphere compared to that of 2004. John Fontanta of Boltsmag noted Thus endeth the reign. New goaltender, same result.
Chris McMurtry of Hockey Country notes the good and bad from the Ottawa Senators in Game 5.
THE GOOD: Martin Havlat. Without question the best Sen all series, he was explosive every time he touched the puck. Led all Sens in shots on goal and made every one of them count.
THE BAD: Anton Volchenkov. The A-Train continues to disappoint. Very discouraging play.
[Update] On NBC today: Philadelphia at Buffalo [11AM], Colorado at Dallas [11AM]. On OLN tonight: Sharks at Predators [5:30PM]. On Comcast online streaming tonight: Montreal at Carolina [4:30PM].