Blackhawks edge the Wild, Rangers and Capitals prepare for Game Two, Mike Babcock’s status and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
Game Recaps and Playoff Headlines.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE/TWINCITIES.COM: Teuvo Teravainen fluttering shot late in the second period eluded Devan Dubnyk and held up as the game winner as the Chicago Blackhawks held off the Minnesota Wild for a 4-3 victory in Game One of their best-of-seven second-round series. The Blackhawks blew an early 3-0 (on goals by Brandon Saad, Patrick Kane and Marcus Kruger) by giving up three goals (by Zach Parise, Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund) in the second period. Dubnyk had an uncharacteristic shaky performance for the Minnesota Wild, but defensive breakdowns were also to blame for the club’s loss in Game One.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wasn’t exactly a solid defensive performance for either club. The Blackhawks went through a couple of games like this in their opening round series against the Nashville Predators, but this was unusual for the usually defensively-disciplined Wild.
NOTE: Games involving Canadian NHL teams are recapped in “Canadian Corner.”
THE WASHINGTON POST/NEW YORK POST: Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin has become a two-way force, while Rangers coach Alain Vigneault remained irate over his club’s performance, the Capitals hitting from behind and the officiating in Game One.
TSN.CA/DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Detroit Red Wings definitely want Mike Babcock to return as head coach. Babcock said he won’t take long to reach a decision, suggesting family and the Wings future will factor into his decision. Whatever he decides, Babcock claims money won’t be a factor. Meanwhile, Justin Abdelkader rushed back to action after having surgery before the playoffs to insert two pins in his fractured right middle finger. Other injured Wings included Jonathan Ericsson (broken left big toe), Pavel Datsyuk (bone bruise, ankle) and Marek Zidlicky (concussion-like symptoms). Defenseman Kyle Quincey, plagued throughout the season by bone chips in his left ankle, will soon have surgery to repair the injury.
NJ.COM: A broken index finger has forced Devils forward Stefan Matteau to withdraw from playing for Team USA in the IIHF World Championships.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: While NHL commissioner Gary Bettman claims the league has no plans to relocate any current franchises, the Carolina Hurricanes future in Raleigh remains shaky if the franchise doesn’t show significant on-ice improvement in the near future.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before anyone starts claiming Carolina is a lousy hockey market, remember the ‘Canes enjoyed solid fan support when they were a playoff contender in the last decade. Like any franchise in any NHL city, the fans will come out and support a competitive team. Prolonged losing, however, will erode that fan support over time.
LAS VEGAS JOURNAL-REVIEW: An MGM executive claims the NHL could vote on expanding to Las Vegas in September.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league was quick to call that claim “extremely premature”, but they didn’t exactly come right out and dismiss it. Perhaps that MGM executive let the cat out of the bag. Not that expansion to Vegas is surprising, as everyone knows it’s going to happen.