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PHT Morning Skate: Ducks fight to avoid falling 2-0 at home

May 5, 2014, 8:05 AM EDT

Mathieu Perreault, Jake Muzzin, Drew Doughty, Mike Richards AP

Chicago earned a 4-1 victory yesterday to become the first, and potentially only, squad to jump to a 2-0 lead in the second round.

Last year the final four teams in the playoffs were also the last four Stanley Cup winners — Chicago, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and Boston. While the 2014 second round is still young, it’s entirely possible that we will see the same Conference Final matchups again this year.

It will still be a bit before we know if that’s going to happen, but we’ll be one step closer to finding out after NBCSN’s doubleheader tonight.

Game 3: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers [Series tied at 1-1] (7:30 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

The Penguins and Rangers were given an uncommon series schedule in the sense that they have been asked to play three games in four days. Pittsburgh and New York fought last night, with the Penguins earning a 3-0 victory.

It was Pittsburgh’s first shutout of the postseason and they frustrated the Rangers by denying them on four power-play opportunities. The Rangers are now 0-for-25 with the man advantage in their last seven games.

The Penguins got a bit of a breather before this series started, but the Rangers’ first round matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers went to seven games. This will consequently be New York’s fifth contest in seven days. That’s brutal and while Rangers coach Alain Vigneault insists it shouldn’t be a factor, it’s hard to see how it’s not taking its toll on the Rangers.

This is a great opportunity for the Penguins to take the lead before this series’ schedule gets a little lighter.

Game 2: Los Angeles Kings vs. Anaheim Ducks [Los Angeles leads series 1-0] (10:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

This might not be a must-win for the Anaheim Ducks, but it’s pretty close. Los Angeles is a tough team to win a series against under any circumstances, but if the Ducks drop their first two games at home, then it would take a substantial effort on their part to get back into this.

The good news for the Ducks is that winning Game 2 would not be a monumental task. They know they can beat the Kings after going 4-0-1 against them in the regular season and coming within a hair of beating them in the series opener. It took a historic effort by Kings forward Marian Gaborik to change the outcome of that game.

“It’s a 3-2 overtime game where both teams battle and no one dominated. Either team could have won,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau remarked after the game.

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Ducks and Kings look fairly even tonight as well.

  1. micasa81 - May 5, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    One would think there must be some hunger on the Ducks’ part considering that this must really, truly be their last opportunity to win another for Teemu. Not that hunger is necessarily enough to get them past the Kings. I still say it’s going 7. The guys that have stepped up for the Ducks this year make them a deeper team than most people give them credit for. Bonino, Perrault and Cogliano have given plenty of secondary scoring, and Lindholm, while he hasn’t had a great playoffs so far, is a stellar young D that almost nobody in the East knows about.

    • fpstratton - May 5, 2014 at 2:36 PM

      The Ducks have a lot of depth and talent, but they don’t seem to be playing as well so far in the post-season as they did in the waning weeks of the regular season. Some of their people are banged up, so that has something to do with it, but I think they are capable of a higher level of play than we have seen. The only showed flashes of their regular season brilliance against the Stars, and they played very well against the Kings in game 1. I would expect a huge game 2 from them tonight, but can they solve Quick?

  2. patthehockeyfan - May 5, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    GKG!!!

  3. jason9696 - May 5, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    Why do the Penguins and Rangers play 2 games in 2 nights. While Boston and Montreal get an extra day off and don’t play again until tomorrow night? That makes no sense at all.

    • fpstratton - May 5, 2014 at 2:30 PM

      Yes, I don’t understand the logic or necessity of having to play playoff games on consecutive nights. It must have something to do with television, as sports scheduling always does, but the teams should just play every other day. Keep it simple.

  4. blomfeld - May 5, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    “THE GERMAN ASPARAGUS ARE FABULOUS !”

    MESEBERG, Germany — The first President Bush, famously, didn’t like broccoli. Apparently his son feels differently about asparagus. And he wants the people of Germany to know it.

    In a news conference Wednesday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Bush thanked his host for a most gracious dinner the night before. He and first lady Laura Bush had been treated to schnitzel, asparagus and a bowl of fresh strawberries.

    “Laura and I loved our dinner last night,” Bush said. “For those in the German press who thought I didn’t like asparagus, you’re wrong. The German asparagus are fabulous.”

    • cyggyx1 - May 6, 2014 at 1:04 AM

      Douchebag!

      Posting political war criminals on a freakin sports site.

      G.F.Y, I’m outta here.

  5. fpstratton - May 5, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    First five minutes are key. If the Ducks jump out to a lead, they could win going away. The longer the game stays tied, the more likely the Ducks are to start getting nervous, and the Kings could capitalize.

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