Mason gets the Flyers to even, Toews lifts the Blackhawks to another OT win and Getzlafs return helps Ducks pull away from the Stars. Also, notes on Richards, Leddy, Horcoff and more. FREE MASON Steve Mason, making his first start of the playoffs, stopped 37 of 38 New York Rangers shots to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 2-1 win in Game Four, evening the series at two games apiece. It was the first postseason win in six career playoff appearances for Mason, who last started April 12 when he suffered an upper-body injury. The Flyers defence had some possession extremes. The pairing of Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen were on for better than two-thirds of the 5-on-5 shot attempts, while the duo of Andrew MacDonald and Luke Schenn were at the other end of the spectrum. Rangers C Brad Richards had all kinds of opportunities, generating a playoff-high 14 shot attempts, but their only goal was scored by Dominic Moore early in the first period. Flyers D Nicklas Grossman was forced to leave early after suffering a lower-body injury. If hes not able to get back in the lineup for Game Five, then Erik Gustafsson or Hal Gill will be available to join the lineup. Now that the series is even, the goaltending battle between Mason and Henrik Lundqvist will be in the spotlight. That figures to be an advantage for the Rangers, but it wasnt in Game Four. CAPTAIN SERIOUS WITH THE WINNER After Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane pulled the trigger on the overtime winner in Game Four, Blackhawks C Jonathan Toews managed the feat, with a backhand deke on a breakaway to win the game in OT. Blackhawks RW Marian Hossa had a strong game, scoring his first goal of the series and registering a game-high seven shots on goal. Blues C David Backes, who missed the past two games with a concussion, returned to the St. Louis lineup and had a game-high eight hits in 21:35 of ice time. Blackhawks D Brent Seabrook, suspended three games for knocking out Backes, is due to return for Game Six. His replacement, Sheldon Brookbank, has chipped in a couple of assists in three games, but has struggled in terms of puck possession. Over the past two games, Blackhawks D Nick Leddy has been on for 41 shot attempts for and 12 against (77.4%) at 5-on-5. 61.8% for the series. In a series that is so close that there is a five shot attempt difference between the teams at even strength, Leddys doing his part to win his matchups. Losing back-to-back overtime games is tough for the Blues, who now have to find a way to win back-to-back games, starting with Game Six in Chicago. DUCKS TAKE FLIGHT The Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks were engaged in a competitive game, with the Ducks holding a one-goal lead entering the third period, before the Ducks broke the game open with three goals in the first seven minutes of the third period, wrapping up a 6-2 in in Game Five. The big news for the Ducks was that C Ryan Getzlaf returned to the lineup, after missing Game Four, and recorded a goal and two assists to lead the way. Getzlafs linemate, Corey Perry, also contributed a goal and two assists. Ducks G Frederik Andersen, who was pulled from Game Four, responded with a strong effort, stopping 34 of 36 shots by the Stars. At the other end, Stars G Kari Lehtonen was pulled after surrendering five goals on 21 shots, giving way to Tim Thomas, who stopped one of the two shots he faced in the final 14:38 of the third period. Stars D Brenden Dillon appeared in his first game in two weeks and played 20:18, but he struggled at times, and finished with Dallas worst possession stats for the game. One positive to take from the game for Dallas is that LW Jamie Benn was a force, scoring a shorthanded goal and creating a bunch of chances. Also, C Tyler Seguin was firing shots as the Stars attempted to come back, finishing with 13 shot attempts, eight of which ended up on net. Through the first five games Benn, with five points, is tied with veteran C Shawn Horcoff for the Stars playoff scoring lead. For Anaheim, its Getzlaf, who has seven points in four games in this series. The Stars have lost some lopsided games in the series, but have solid enough possession stats to feel like they are still in this series. If they can hold serve at home in Game Six, that will set up an interesting winner-take-all matchup in Game Seven. Scott Cullen can be reached at
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The stadium was filled with the sound of woofing.Felt like times from way, way back when.And with a dominating performance, the Browns suggested theyve finally made it all the way back.The challenges of playing hockey in a Canadian market are well documented: higher taxes, over abundant media coverage, lack of anonymity, an unrelenting and vicious winter, way too much Rush in rotation on FM radio. What makes Canada such a great place to be a hockey fan makes it a difficult environment to play in. Canada is indisputably the centre of the hockey universe, and at that universes core is Toronto. The Greater Toronto Hockey League is over a hundred years old and the largest minor hockey league in the world. Despite their futility, the Leafs could sell out Rogers Centre for home games charging $1000 and first-born children for upper deck seats. The Marlies are flourishing in the AHL. Next years World Junior Hockey Championships (co-hosted with Montreal) are sure to be the most successfully attended and celebrated ever. And yet, as a player, what would entice you to ply your trade in the Big Smoke?The crowds at the ACC for Leafs game are an embarrassment to hockeys most important market. The stories of the suits in the expensive seats, absent for starts of periods and reticent to loosen their ties even as Brian Burke undid his, are well known. The arena is eerily quiet compared to its contemporaries, a conservative and reserved audience in a sport and city renowned for its maniacal fandom. And this is not indicative of Toronto crowds, as we witnessed during the Raptors playoff appearance this year, rowdy afternoons at Jays games at Rogers Centre, and the masses that turned out this year and last in Maple Leaf/Raptors Square. But those involved fans (who make up the vast majority of Leafs Nation) enthusiasms are negatively tempered by the lower bowls reservations, reservations bred by alternately flawed and complacent approaches to building a competitive team and the absence of a winning presence. As a player who is passionate about his vocation, why would you want to commit to an environment that doesnt match that passion, especially when the home ice advantage can be such an important component of the game?Often in pieces that claim players like Thornton are interested in playing for the Leafs, the prospect of coming "home" is cited as a key factor. The very notion of "home" is a flawed premise in this lazy argument. Even if you call "home" somewhere in Southern Ontario, as a hockey player you probably havent lived there since you were 16. Thornton has lived in San Jose for nearly a decade, is a naturalized US citizen, has a wife, a mortgage, perhaps a few pets, maybe a café he really likes to go to, a favourite pizza place, a butcher who cuts his ribeyes to just the perfect thickness. But the Toronto Sun is going to tell him where his home is.For many players, one might suspect that playing at home in front of an overbearing hockey dad, mum and her new husband, and sycophantic high school acquaintances just a few blocks from where that girl broke your heart is the very definition of hell. And is working in your hometown really all that enticing? How many of you work in your hometowns? Hardly any. Youve all moved to Toronnto.ddddddddddddThornton is from St. Thomas, Ontario, which would place his NHL "hometown" in Detroit or Buffalo as much as in Toronto, and yet those markets media dont seem to be making the "coming home" argument. Torontos hockey media is the most intense in all of professional sports. Maybe Montreals is equal, but half of the vitriol and conjecture there is in French, and only a fraction of NHLers understand it. (Reasonably, even those of us who are bilingual dont really understand it.) In Toronto, there is endless speculation, much of it even based in fact. Each flaw, each mistake (on and off the ice) is dissected and disseminated ad nauseum. Trade rumours are fabricated on a daily basis, the ubiquitous "NHL executive" noted as an unimpeachable source. The discussion of hockey in Toronto has become an insufferable wall of noise for an uninvested observer, so imagine if the discourse directly affected your family, your income, and your life.It seems a lot to ask of a player to endure such amplified attention, especially given the fact the Leafs have not been a competitive team since 2004. And that is final circle of the NHLs Hell: irrelevance. Toronto is still recovering from the John Ferguson Jr. era. They have some formidable pieces in Kessel, Morgan Reilly, and Jonathan Bernier; a young skilled forward, puck moving defenseman, and promising goaltender around which to build. They have a top-ten pick in the coming draft, some interesting if not spectacular prospects (Stuart Percy, Matt Finn), and some movable pieces (Nazem Kadri, Jake Gardiner). Brendan Shanahan emanates stability and hubris. But theyre still saddled with bad contracts (Dion Phaneuf, David Clarkson), a suspect coaching philosophy, and a lack of depth. And to watch the Kings, Blackhawks, and Rangers this spring is to know the Leafs are far removed from that level of hockey.So if you were an unrestricted free agent, or a player on the trading block with some say in his future, why would you come to Toronto? Consider Thornton: Youre in your mid-30s, never won a Cup, live in the perfection of Northern California, in a market that sustains you but doesnt invade you, and youd chose to move to Toronto, with its high taxes, magnified attention, and with as much of a chance of winning a Cup in the next five years as Quebec City? Toronto is a world-class city, cultured and cosmopolitan, a great place to live and make a life. The Joe Thorntons of the world should want to play home games at the ACC. The challenges of the market need to be offset by a tradition of winning and the only way for Toronto to do that is to build a stable and competitive franchise through hoarding draft picks and young controllable players, and eschewing the temptation of quick expensive fixes like Clarkson, or Thornton. The best thing for a successful NHL would be a dominant Toronto Maple Leafs team. Given the teams last decade, however, it seems like that wont happen until Hell freezes over. Fortunately for Toronto, most of it freezes over every January, so the wait may not be that long. Cheap China Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NHL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys From China China NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '
Statistics: Posted by fu0222 — Thu 24 Mar 2016, 07:52