It's Friday the 13th. Don't fear it, but embrace it by exploring the five unluckiest moments from the Stanley Cup playoffs.
I'm not particularly superstitious, but you know what's the worst? Realizing partway through Friday the 13th that it's Friday the 13th. Minding your own business, not dreaming up any negative self-fulfilling prophecies, and BAM, someone mentions the date.
Instead of cowering under our beds, we may as well make something of this scary day. Embrace the bad juju. What are the unluckiest moments of the 2013-14 Stanley Cup playoffs? Consider this quintet.
1. Chris Kreider crashes into Carey Price
This is a truly unlucky moment because, sorry Habs fans, it's a fluke. Kreider is mid-scoring attempt here and, to me, there's nothing malicious about the spill he takes into Price. It knocks the star Montreal stopper from the playoffs and, as well as Dustin Tokarski played, we'll wonder forever what might've been if Price stayed between the pipes for the whole Eastern Conference final. Watch:
2. Puck stops on the Ranger goal line TWICE in Game 4 of the Cup final
Let's not kid ourselves. The Stanley Cup final should've been a sweep. Los Angeles embarrassed the Rangers in possession and outshot them 15-1 in the third, yet lost the game. UFC fans: think the Blueshirts felt a bit like Diego Sanchez after the Ross Pearson fight? Worse yet for L.A., it had two pucks stop on the Ranger goal line.
Here's the first. If you put Jeff Carter back in this situation 100 times, he scores 99 goals. Current Phil Esposito, age 72: I'd say 75. Hillary Clinton: 44 goals, easy. A crawling baby? Foot brushes the puck in 16 times out of 100, with a non-kicking motion. Watch:
Here's the second one. Henrik Lundqvist is saved by the snow. Does that make him King of the North?
3. Brent Seabrook blows up David Backes
There's nothing fluky or truly unlucky about the Game 2 hit itself, but Blues fans have to feel cursed. A 2-0 series lead, but concussed captain Backes misses Games 3 and 4. St. Louis doesn't win another game in the series. Backes is back for Games 5 and 6, but isn't his usual self. The momentum has already shifted by then, and Chicago wins four straight. The hit:
4. Rick Nash's existence
Yeah, yeah. "He's paid to score, and he isn't scoring." But it's not like Nash isn't trying really, really hard. No player has more shots than Nash's 81 this post-season. He has three goals to show for it, good for 3.7 per cent accuracy. He's a 12.4 percent career shooter, so it's fair to say Lady Luck hates him a wee bit. He has been much better than the offensive numbers suggest.
5. Ben Bishop's pre-playoff injury
Bending the rules with this one, but any Montreal fan lamenting the Price injury must acknowledge the Habs were lucky to dodge Bishop, arguably the Vezina frontrunner, in round 1. Anders Lindback and his .881 save percentage made life easy.
Here's hoping Friday the 13th and the ghost of Jason Voorhees don't play significant roles in Game 5 of the final. Speaking of Mr. Voorhees, I leave you with this gory, awesome, extremely NSFW montage of every one of his kills from all the Friday the 13th movies. Not for the weak-stomached. You've been warned!
Matt Larkin is an associate editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin