Kings One Win Away, Yakupov Visits Oilers
(6/5/12) The Kings all but delivered the death blow to the Devils in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final last night, as they took a commanding 3-0 series-lead with the 4-0 win. Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist, and the 2-point performance moved him into a tie for the playoff scoring lead (18 pts) with Ilya Kovalchuk. Alec Martinez, Jeff Carter, and Justin Williams were the other scorers for the Kings, and Jonathan Quick notched his third shutout and fifteenth win of the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Simon Gagne returned to action for L.A. after missing several months with a concussion, although he wasn't much of a factor, seeing under seven minutes of ice-time and registering three shots, a hit, and two PIMs.
For the Devils, things are looking bleak. Unless they can win four straight against a team that has only lost twice the entire postseason, they'll be heading home empty handed (somebody ask for a measurement of McSorley's stick). The Kings have a chance to match the record for fewest games taken to win the Cup, set by the Gretzky-led '88 Edmonton Oilers team that went 16-2.
In other NHL news, top-rated prospect and potential first overall pick in the upcoming entry draft Nail Yakupov was in Edmonton yesterday for a visit with the Oilers. The thought of him joining a roster already stocked with the likes of Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has us salivating over the possibilities for fantasy production. Of course the Oilers are still in desperate need of defense and goaltending, but who cares? The team is on the verge of becoming a real-life video game, and it would be tough to pass on the best player available. The smart thing might be to trade the pick and fill in the remaining roster gaps, but we're hoping they just load up on offense and open the fantasy floodgates.
Looking elsewhere, Michel Therrien is in as the
old new coach of the Montreal Canadiens. It's a bit of a strange hiring, as Therrien already had one stint with the Habs over three years - one full season and a couple of partial ones between 2001-2003 - that eventually resulted in him being fired. It can't really be much worse in Montreal next year and Habs fans might be happy (or not), but it's not the best news for fantasy owners, as Therrien will bring a disciplined and defensive system to the team.