After a week in western Canada and 3 days off, the Islanders returned home on Friday night to begin a 4 game home stand welcoming the San Jose Sharks to Nassau Coliseum. They defeated the Sharks in December in San Jose but couldn’t complete the season series sweep on home ice.
It took a "step-in-the-right direction" second period leading to three third period goals, but all ended well in the final leg of a California road trip as the Phialdelphia Flyers defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-2 in comeback fashion.
Four third period goals scored by Matt Read, Michael Raffl, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek led yet another third period comeback on the road. That mindset broke through on the Flyers' last extended western road trip, and it continued with this trip as well.
The best cure for a struggling hockey team is to play an equally struggling hockey team. In their final regular season meeting of this season both the Chicago Blackhawks and the San Jose Sharks meet each other at not their best. Both clubs came in having their struggles.
The game was scoreless for the first two periods which may have been indicative of each of the clubs struggles. Another explanation the goaltenders were at their best which Corey Crawford and Antti Niemi were for their clubs. Hard to imagine with both of the powerhouse offenses these teams have. San Jose has been bitten by injury to key offensive players.
The game even though it was scoreless for forty minutes...
In a match that pitted the best vs the best in the Western Conference, the audience at the United Center in Chicago should have went home very satisfied. The game was a speed vs speed game that was a battle of the titans in the West.
The difference was the Blackhawks control of the neutral zone and their transition game not only offensively but defensively as well. The Sharks never could quit keep pace with the Hawks transition game that saw four of the Hawks five goals coming off of the rush. Special teams was not a factor in this game as all of the goals were five on five scores with the exception of a penalty shot.
The Hawks had great body positioning and back checking off ...
Through three games the Kings/Sharks Western Conference Semifinal has been nothing short of fantastic. Entering the series was the Stanley Cup defending champions who disposed of the St. Louis Blues in six games despite falling behind 2-0; the Sharks entered red hot as a team drenched with momentum after easily sweeping the Canucks 4-0.
The two Californian teams play rough styles of hockey that aren't always pretty but are effective for playoff hockey. The Kings won the first two games in different fashion, the first behind the perfect play of Jonathan Quick who shut out the Sharks facing 35 shots and secondly behind some late game heroics in a spectacular comeback win.
The Flames welcome the Sharks to the Dome for the first time, for their second match-up of the season. They two combatants opened the season against each other as the Sharks defeated the Flames by the score of 4-1. The story for tonight’s game is the return of Miikka Kiprusoff, who will get his first start since going down with a knee injury on February 5th.
Anze Kopitar and the Kings win their fifth straight for the first time this year. (photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Needless to say, the Kings offense is certainly clicking at the right time. With a 5-2 win over division rival San Jose Tuesday night, Los Angeles improved their record to 9-3 since the addition of Jeff Carter and vaulted themselves back into the playoff picture for the first time in over a week. With nine games left in the season, the Kings are tied with Phoenix for the eighth seed with eighty-four points.
Mike Richards (who, after an extended post-Christmas slump) netted his third goal of the month...