A few thoughts before golf courses across Orange County become flooded with phone calls:
-- Just by a show of hands, how many of you believed the Dallas Stars
would eliminate the defending Stanley Cup champs in this opening round?
Despite a 4-8-2 finish to the regular season, Dave Tippett
’s club has moved on in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, while Randy Carlyle
’s team got on a plane late Sunday night wondering what the heck happened.
Yes, the Anaheim Ducks
are done following Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the Stars at American Airlines Center. The same Ducks who battled for a division title following the returns of Scott Niedermayer
and Teemu Selanne
. The same Ducks who lost the first two games of this series on home ice after being so dominant at the Honda Center during the second half of the season.
“We didn’t execute to the level that was required,” Carlyle said.
The elimination is truly is mind-boggling, given the amount of experience on Anaheim’s roster, combined with what the Ducks were able to accomplish last postseason.
Nonetheless, Anaheim is the fifth-straight defending Stanley Cup champion to fail to reach the second round of the playoffs the following season.
Nonetheless, Carlyle is happy with the effort his club put forth during the series.
"Every guy gave everything they had," Carlyle said. "You thank them for their work ethic over the course of the season, but their lack of execution in the playoffs was a concern and we’ll address that in the offseason."
As for the Stars, this victory has been a long time coming. It’s been five years since Dallas last competed in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Not only have the Stars made it, but they could actually host Games 1 and 2 should Calgary defeat San Jose Tuesday night.
"A lot can be said about the magnitude of this series," Dallas goalie Marty Turco
said. "This whole group has stayed committed and doing everything we are capable of. We have that belief in this room, and that's why the last few years have been disappointing. There is a big moment of gratification, but we are going to turn our attention to whoever we have next. It hasn't been an easy road, but those bumps in the road have made us into what we are. We are moving on and that's the fun, to give ourselves a chance to keep winning."
Who Will They Play?
-- Hours after eliminating the Nashville Predators
, the Detroit Red Wings
had a chance of knowing their second-round opponent.
But with the pesky Calgary Flames
earning a 2-0 victory against San Jose Sunday night, the Red Wings are still playing the waiting game. Had the Sharks won, the Red Wings would have been locked into a second-round matchup with the Colorado Avalanche
-- talk about Must-See TV.
“It doesn’t matter,” Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom
responded if he had a second-round preference. “If you look at the Western Conference, there are a lot of good teams. It’s going to be a battle whoever we play. It’s up to us to show up.”
certainly showed up after being called upon by coach Mike Babcock once Dominik Hasek
allowed three goals on 14 shots in Game 4. The 35-year-old netminder stopped all 20 shots he faced Sunday afternoon in a 3-0 victory at the Sommet Center.
“Babs always told me to be ready,” Osgood said. “He had confidence in me this year. I’m 100 percent confident if I’m needed. I don’t even worry about going in. It’s great to get back in there. We’ve got a long way to go. We’re going to need everybody, so everybody’s got to be ready.”
Not Done Yet
-- After losing a series in six games in back-to-back postseasons, the Calgary Flames
were not about to suffer the same fate again Sunday night.
Instead, Miikka Kiprusoff
stopped all 21 shots he faced as the Flames forced a Game 7 with a 2-0 win against the San Jose Sharks
at the Pengrowth Saddledome. The teams will play the decisive game on Tuesday night at HP Pavilion -- marking the first time San Jose will host a seventh game.
“Everyone was really committed and determined tonight,” Flames captain Jarome Iginla
said. “We believed we were going to find a way to win that game and force a Game 7. We're going to need the same type of effort and be more determined. They're going to be desperate like we were tonight and both teams are facing it now.”
“The frustrating part was it wasn't as if we brought our game and they shut us down. I thought we shut ourselves down. We didn't do things to create scoring chances.” - Sharks forward Ryane Clowe
They better be. If the Sharks don’t match Calgary’s intensity in San Jose on Tuesday night, that phenomenal run down the stretch of the regular season won’t mean very much at all.
“The frustrating part was it wasn't as if we brought our game and they shut us down. I thought we shut ourselves down. We didn't do things to create scoring chances,” San Jose forward Ryane Clowe
And while Kiprusoff was sharp, Sharks coach Ron Wilson is expecting more. Certainly, the fans in San Jose will be pumped for Game 7. It’s up to Wilson’s team now to find a way to get the job done.
“Well it's the seventh game, if you don't win you're out,” Wilson said. “If I have to manufacture desperation, we are in dire straits. Our players know what's at stake.”
That would be their season.
Contact Brian Compton at: email@example.com.