Adam Proteau, currently the brand's columnist/writer, has worked for The Hockey News since 2002 and won the Professional Hockey Writers' award for best column in 2006. He also won the Esso Medal of Achievement for most improved player as a 13-year-old at the 'A' level in 1985, but he's less proud of that.
One of the most entertaining NHL playoff showdowns in recent memory would’ve lost a little something if the 2014-15 Western Conference Final between Chicago and Anaheim didn’t end in the maximum-allotted seven games. Fortunately (unless you’re a Ducks fan), hockey fans are in for one more treat Saturday night thanks to the Blackhawks’ dominant 5-2 victory over Anaheim in Game 6 Wednesday.
You didn’t have to be a Hawks supporter to hope this series was extended to a Game 7. If you’re a fan of the game played with a mastery of craft at warp speed, you wanted one more game. If you got your kicks watching hockey played with an urgency matched only by someone transporting their pregnant wife to the delivery room, you wanted at least seven games, and were prepared to petition the league to create a one-time exception and make it a best-of-nine. Read more
Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith is as solid as NHL defensemen come these days – not just in the Blackhawks’ defensive zone, but in the opposition’s end as well. And the veteran provided more evidence in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday with a brilliant pass to Hawks winger Marian Hossa for the second goal of the game.
Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad put Chicago on the scoreboard first at 8:23 of the second period, and a little more than two minutes after that, Keith took the puck from teammate Brad Richards, held it patiently, then slid a quick pass over to Hossa, who calmly scored his third of the playoffs to double the home team’s lead: Read more
The Chicago Blackhawks came out of the gate strongly in Game 6 of their Western Conference Final series against Anaheim, challenging Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen a number of times early in the first period. And they came within a hair’s breadth – well, maybe a toe or two – of scoring the first goal Wednesday, only to have Andersen rob winger Brandon Saad with his foot.
The teams were nearing the halfway mark of the opening frame still looking for the first lead of the night when Saad broke in on Andersen with the puck; Andersen kicks out his left leg, barely getting enough of his foot on the puck to stop it from going in: Read more
In the 2014 playoffs as well as the current Stanley Cup tournament, the New York Rangers have proven adept at pulling themselves back from the precipice of post-season elimination. So to see them pull out a win to force a Game 7 as they did Tuesday in their 7-3 Game 6 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning isn’t the biggest shock in the hockey world.
What is shocking, however, is the way the Bolts and goaltender Ben Bishop are crumbling. A young Tampa team that shackled the Blueshirts’ offense through the first few games of the Eastern Conference Final has become disheveled and disinterested in playing defense. And now they’ve got to go into the world’s most famous arena and beat the defending conference champs to avoid an embarrassing exit. Read more
Lightning goalie Ben Bishop struggled in two of three games prior to Game 6 between his Bolts team and the New York Rangers – and he continued to struggle Tuesday night in Tampa Bay, surrendering five goals on 26 shots before being pulled in the third period. Here’s what kind of night it was for Bishop: even after he made a spectacular save – as he did on Blueshirts center Derick Brassard early in the third period – the Rangers scored seconds later.
This isn’t to blame Bishop for the goal he allowed to J.T. Miller at the 3:02 mark of the third frame. Tampa’s defense was porous all night and did him no favors. He wasn’t wholly blameless either, but goalies know some nights simply don’t go their way – and after Bishop’s flailing save on Brassard was followed by Miller’s first goal of the playoffs (and first career NHL post-season goal in his seventh game), he had to have an inclination the hockey gods weren’t in his corner in Game 6: Read more
If the New York Rangers are going to extend the Eastern Conference Final to seven games by winning Game 6 against the Lightning, they’re going to need star goalie Henrik Lundqvist to play to or above his normally stellar standards. And through the first period Tuesday in Tampa Bay, Lundqvist lived up to his reputation as a big-game goalie, robbing Bolts phenom Steven Stamkos with a brilliant pad save.
The Blueshirts were up 1-0 just past the 14-minute mark of the opening frame when Tampa winger Ryan Callahan fanned on a shot attempt and the puck drifted to Stamkos, who looked to have an open net before Lundqvist threw his left pad out to turn aside the Lightning captain’s shot and preserve the lead: Read more
In what has been a magnificent marathon of a Western Conference Final, the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks have been more or less each other’s equal. Through the first four games of the series, neither team was able to win two in a row, three contests were one-goal games, and two games led to 11 total periods of hockey. In a strange way, that was the case Monday night for Game 5 as well, with some solid and awful play from both sides – but by the time Ducks winger Matt Beleskey scored 45 seconds into the fourth period of hockey, it was clear Chicago was a little more depleted and a little less deep than Anaheim where they need to be.
And for that reason, the Ducks hold a 3-2 series lead after their 5-4 overtime victory at Honda Center. Read more
Jonathan Toews’ playoff exploits need no embellishment to impress even the most casual hockey fan. And once again – this time, with just 38 seconds left in regulation time in Game 5 Monday – the Chicago Blackhawks superstar center showed he lives for this time of year by scoring twice in the final two minutes of regulation to send the game to overtime.
Game 5 looked to be a lost cause for the Hawks after Patrick Maroon scored at 14:45 of the third to make it 4-2 Anaheim, but Toews brought the visiting team to within a goal when he scored his sixth of the playoffs at 18:10. And 72 seconds later, Toews scored at a virtually impossible angle at the 19:22 mark to tie things up: Read more