Programming note: There will not be a POTG Radio show tonight as we will be closely watching the Habs-Flyers game 5. We will also be off for Memorial Day next week but will return with a live remote from the NHL Tweet-Up on June 7.
The Chicago Blackhawks did the unthinkable on Sunday afternoon when they swept the San Jose Sharks with a 4-2 win at the United Center.
The legend of Dustin "Big Buff" Byfuglien grew larger as he had the game winning goal goal for the third time in the four game series. He will receive serious consideration for the Conn Smythe Trophy should he continue on the same pace in the finals.
Chicago missed becoming the 17th team in hockey history to win via a "pure sweep" as they never were behind in the first three games of the series.
San Jose came out and dominated the Hawks early, going ahead 2-0 and looking like they would force the series back to the West coast. Things looked especially grim for the Hawks when Patrick Marleau scored short handed when Chicago was down 1-0 and trying to tie the game on the power play. Chicago came back with two quick goals at the end of the second period to even it up.
The game was played very close to the vest in the third with neither team wanting to make a crucial mistake. When Byfuglien scored with less than six minutes left, you could tell that it was over for the Sharks. When Kris Versteeg got the empty netter with 42 second remaining, the party officially began.
It was another playoff disappointment for the Sharks and their fans, but there is some consolation for them to make it to the conference finals.
The Hawks will move on to the Stanley Cup Finals and they will have home ice advantage and host game one, possibly as early as this weekend, depending on when the Flyers-Habs series ends.
Montreal will travel to Philadelphia tonight to try to extend their season. The Flyers are up 3-1 and don't want to let the Habs come back as they did in the first two rounds against the Caps and Pens.
Michael Leighton has three shut outs in the first four games and played well on Saturday after having his shut out streak broken in the Flyers game three loss. It will be interesting to see which team will come out with more hunger tonight.
Memorial Cup Championship...
The Windsor Spitfires waltzed to the Memorial Cup Championship with a 9-1 victory over the hometown Brandon Wheat Kings on Sunday night. The game was close early but once the Spitfires got on a roll, the contest was over. The only question was how big the margin would be.
Brandon, who got in the tournament as the host team, beaten the WHL champions, the Calgary Hitmen on Friday to play in to the championship game.
Jim Diamond and Jeremy Gover have more on Ryam Ellis and the Predator angle to the story.
The Russians finished off a year of disappointments on Sunday when the Czech Republic beat them 2-1 in the Gold Medal game at the World Championships. After being embarrassed at the Olympics, Russia was taking this tournament very seriously.
On paper, Russia looked unbeatable as they had far more NHL quality players than any team in the tournament. However, the Czechs ended their 27 game win streak and their two gold streak in the World tourney.
Tomas Vokoun won his second gold medal game and had only Jaromir Jagr as a fellow NHL type player on a team made up of mostly local players who played a strong team-oriented game.
Sweden took the Bronze with a 3-1 win over the host German team. Germany's goaltender Dennis Endras was selected the MVP as he took the home team further than they had been since the current format was adopted twenty years ago. He was the first ever German MVP and the first all-star since 1987.
Another Programming Note...
Last night, I was on Connect Community Puck Talk with Su Ring from Daily Su and Cassie McClennon from SB Nation's Raw Charge. They have a new show on BTR that is a good one. Chelsea Alexander was also a guest for her reaction as a Sharks fan seconds after the Sharks lost to the Hawks.
In Pred Nation...
The Cincinnati Cyclones won the Kelly Cup as champions of the ECHL with a 2-1 win over the Idaho Steelheads in game five on Friday night. Preds Goalie prospect Jeremy Smith along with Habs prospect Robert Mayer were named co-MVP of the playoffs.
Five years after the fact, Hockey's Future looks at the Predator's choices in the 2005 Entry draft. It was a good one for the Preds.
David Singleton has a post about Being David Poile at Hockey Independent.
Chris Burton takes a look at the Curious Case of Cal O'Reilly. Will be hang on this season or turn into a lifetime AHLer?
Congrats to RLD's Ryan Porth who will be contributing to Brian Metzer's From the Point starting this week.
Jeremy at Section303 has a post about the Tweet-Up at the Tin Roof on June 7.
Rachel at What The Puck has the first of many Pred's season wrap-ups.
USA has a Predators team report that blames the power play for the Pred's early exit from the playoffs. The post also is a good round-up of where things stand with the team since the season ended.
Around the NHL...
@mirtle: The Sporting News has named Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney as executive of the year and coach Dave Tippett as coach of the year.
Brian Burke is upset with the IIHF and is part of a majority of NHL GMs that would like to not have the World Championships in Olympic years.
Mirtle stirred up Don Cherry on the issue of European goalies. Here's more on the topic at Puck Daddy.
Is @DonaldSCherry real or not. Even if it isn't, it is entertaining.
Here is a nice story about Michael Leighton's parents and the sacrifices that they made for him to play hockey.
@JeffMarek: CHL News: Tyler Seguin named Top Prospect of the Year. CHL Player of the Year is...Regina's Jordan Eberle.
Ken Campbell chronicles the NHL putting the screws to HNIC to cater to NBC.
Steve Lapore has the latest numbers for the Conference Finals.
Hockey Wilderness has an odd evaluation of Tomas Holmstrom's value as a free agent.
What's taking the Blue Jackets so long to hire a new coach? Bob Hunter has some thoughts.
Glenn Miller shoots holes in the theory that being hot at the end of the season leads to playoff success.
Michelle Kenneth has more favorite moments from the season.
Funny Tweet from @TravisHair: Dave Shoalts' least favorite story to write ever. Coyotes Staying put at least for this year. :) On the flip side, there appears to be a December 31 deadline or the league will sell to an out of town buyer.
Odds and Ends...
Here are 100 Thoughts on Social Media from Conversation Agent.
From the folks who brought you People of Walmart they now have JawDrops.
From @consumerist: "KFC says it expects to sell its 10 millionth Double Down later this month." I've not had one. It seems really expensive for what it is at $5.99.
Google celebrated the 30th birthday of Pacman (the game, not the thug) with a logo version of the game.
Talk about on the job training, a guy in Europe has been flying 737's for 13 years without any training or a legitimate license.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass