The NHL Closer is written by the five delightful gentlemen from Melt Your Face Off. When not writing for MYFO and commenting on Deadspin, the fellas enjoy spending time listening to songs that are a trip with a funky beat that they can bug out to. Enjoy.
There were five games last night, so we're not going to waste a lot of time and get right to the recaps. But one thing first: as the blue-eyed soul man Tom Jones* once sang, "Ain't no particular sign I'm more compatible with, I just want your extra time and your...
* may have been originally sung by some other dude
Less Action Than My Bedroom. A pretentious prude of a game, Montreal and Boston blocked 27 shots (with no broken cups!) and mostly stayed along the boards in the offensive zone. A few times in the second and third period, some Skol was slipped into the game's Shirley Temple, and she opened up, delivering some nice open ice hits and the game's only goal. Patrice Brisebois scored on the power play late in the second period, giving the Canadiens enough firepower to beat the toothless Bruins 1-0.
Mike Komisarek and Milan Lucic continued their game of one-upping each other, dispensing multiple hits and "Your mommas" on each other.
Carey Price made 27 saves for his first shutout. Tim Thomas, the NHL's Lil Brudder, also made 27 saves. He was also mad that the Bruins lost. It means that he cares! —Raskolnikov
No More Yanky My Wanky. The Donger Needs Food. The Anaheim Ducks lazed their way through half the season, confident that they could turn on the switch and defend their Cup at crunch time. They did, with a little help from reinforcements Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer. They also lazed their way through the first two games of this series. Fortunately for them, they finally turned it on in Game 3.
This was the Ducks team the rest of the Western Conference feared — Giguere on his game, punishing physical play, timely goals. This time, Anaheim's reinforcements came from Chris Pronger, who had appeared to be absent in the first two games. The Pronger-Donger scored twice for Anaheim — I guess that makes him a double-donger, at least for one night. Somewhere, Fred Smoot is smiling. Brendan Morrow and the Stars made it interesting with a couple of goals in the third, but despite spending most of the period in the Ducks' end, they couldn't even it up. To stay ahead of the Ducks, the Stars will have to do what worked in the first two games — let the Ducks take their many penalties, and capitalize on the power play. With Corey Perry on the shelf, the Ducks don't have quite enough depth up front to pull it out, I think. Heh. I said "double-donger" and "pull it out" in the same recap. —LeNoceur
Fly Hard with a Vengeance. In response to the Verizon Center's "Rock the Red" promotion, Philly countered with their "Vengeance Now" campaign. A crowd of nearly 20,000 donned glaringly orange t-shirts, highlighting the bizarre crusade Philly has run with all season. Jeremy Irons, I'd grab your cheesesteak and head to the exit.
The first period ended with a barrage of scoring, as Scott Hartnell's slapper made it 2-1. Then Jim Dowd fleeced Milan Jurcina 17 seconds later, giving way to Sami Kapanen's first tally since sometime in 1982. The rest of the match involved the Caps cutting the lead in half, only to have the Flyers respond in kind. In fact, it became a 4-3 game late in the third when Brooks Laich (who had already become a marked man by dumping Kimmo Timonen into the net and out of the game) somehow did not strike a Shaone Morrisonn shot with a high stick and yet, was credited with the goal. It's true. Brooks Laich has magical powers. A late penalty shot by Mike Richards sealed the win, as the Flyers go up 2-1. To paraphrase the basic cable version of Die Hard, the Orange and Black have the all the momentum of one bad-man melon farmer. —Hextall454
Growing Up is Hard to Do. After San Jose's Epic Fail on Sunday night, Evgeni Nabokov said that his Sharks played like little boys, while the Calgary Flames played like men. He said that the Sharks had to grow into men if they wanted to win this series. They grew up, but it happened mid-game.
Before even the puck dropped, Jody Shelley looked like he was ready to take Sarich's head off for his hit on Marleau on Sunday. It seemed as if the Sharks were more concerned with hard hits than defense. It showed early as they got caught in the wrong end of the rink, leaving Iginla a nice alley to fire home the opener just three minutes into the game. The rough and tumble hockey kept up, with Joe Thornton getting into the act, creating a dogpile to distract Kiprusoff as Clowe knotted the game at 1 halfway through the second. The Flames broke open the tie with a minute and a half left in the second as Iginla beat Thornton on a face-off and Phaneuf one-timed it past Nabokov.
After the second period ended, however, The Sharks started putting Kiprusoff through a shooting gallery. He finally succumbed when Johnathan Cheechoo knocked in a one-timer from the face-off circle. It looked like the game was headed into extra time, but Thornton stood in front of Kiprusoff and tipped a slapshot midair into the goal with 9.4 seconds to go. The Sharks that played periods one and two that were too busy trying to prove their cocks were bigger were completely different than the Sharks that played the third period. The Sharks that played the third period were the ones who were favorites to win the Cup. They won the night 3-2 and tied the series to send it back to San Jose. Now it's just a matter of which Sharks team comes out for Game 5. —Reasonable Doubt
At Least Mark Kiszla Probably Didn't Cut Himself After the Game. Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla had a problem with how the Wild play the game and he let them have it in a column on Tuesday. Typical Emo angst. Game 4 in the Wild/Avalanche series was practically over before it started, when Andrew Brunette once again scored the first goal of the game on a redirect of a Ruslan Salei shot from the point.
Things quickly spiraled out of control for the Wild from that point. Two lazy turnovers by Minnesota in the defensive zone led to two more goals for Colorado, first by Wojtek Wolski, then by Tyler Arnason for a 3-0 Avalanche lead in the first period. Two more power play goals in a chippy second period by Salei and Milan Hejduk and it was 5-0.
It was a completely dominant performance by the Avalanche who tied up the series at 2 games to 2. The Wild did their best to make it even easier by allowing Colorado to go on 13 power plays. The Wild managed to score a meaningless goal in an even-chippier third period that brought the already bad blood that is brewing in this series to a full rolling boil. The game completely de-evolved at the end, as players from both teams started taking runs at each other. Final score: 5-1 - but it wasn't even that close. —Weed Against Speed
• The KB's "The Greatest NHL Hit of All Time" tournament has reached its conclusion. The winner? It sure ain't the time I did bong rips with Dino Ciccarelli. Fucking bogarter. [Orland Kurtenblog]
• According to SI.com, Joe Sakic and Harry Connick, Jr. look a lot alike. No word on what Sakic enjoyed more: Harry's work on Will & Grace or in the film Hope Floats. [Barry Melrose Rocks]
• Montreal Mayor Gerard Tremblay hates two things in this world: firefighters and vandalism. You should see what happens when these two usually unrelated worlds collide. Sacre bleu! [AOL Fanhouse]
• And last but certainly not least, a bear playing hockey. Rumor has it the Lightning are considering taking the bear with the first overall pick in the draft. His stick-handling is on par with Derek Boogaard's and a trip to The Boogeyman's Fight Camp would make him damn near unstoppable.