Monday Musings: Memorable Mother's Day | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaMonday Musings: Memorable Mother's Day

Posted: Monday, May 12, 2014 | 08:00 AM

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Martin St. Louis (26) of the New York Rangers celebrates scoring his first goal of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Mother's Day. (Elsa/Getty Images) Martin St. Louis (26) of the New York Rangers celebrates scoring his first goal of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Mother's Day. (Elsa/Getty Images)

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This week's Monday Musings look at Martin St. Louis's emotional Mother's Day, Montreal's big guns firing blanks, Boston's Carl Soderberg and Anaheim rookie sensation John Gibson.

Some Monday musings from the NHL and the rest of the hockey world to prepare you for the upcoming week that will see:

  • The second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs will conclude and the conference finals could begin as early as the weekend.
  • The OHL champion Guelph Storm will join the host London Knights at the 2014 Memorial Cup tournament, which begins Friday. The last two teams will be determined in a couple of Game 7s with the Edmonton Oil Kings at the Portland Winter Hawks in the WHL final on Monday and the Val-d'Or Foreurs at the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in the QMJHL final on Tuesday.
  • The 2014 IIHF world men's championship in Minsk, Belarus, continues with preliminary round action. Canada will meet the Czech Republic on Monday followed by games against Denmark on Thursday, Italy on Friday and Sweden on Sunday.

Emotional rescue

As the New York Rangers gathered at centre ice to salute their supporters, an emotional Martin St. Louis touched his heart a few times and said, "Thank you" to the Madison Square Garden faithful.

It had a been a difficult and emotional few days for the 38-year-old St. Louis, who unexpectedly lost his mother France at age 63 last Thursday afternoon. He flew home to Montreal to be with his family and then joined him teammates in time for Game 5 in Pittsburgh on Friday.

St. Louis returned to Montreal on Saturday, then flew back to New York with his father Normand and sister Isabelle, who were in the stands and watched St. Louis score the game's first goal in the Rangers emotional 3-1 win at home on Mother's Day.

He scooped up the puck and gave it to his dad after the game.

"It's a puck that's got a significance for everybody that's been supportive of me and my family," said St. Louis, who added that he believed his Mom helped him score the game-opening goal not long after the fans greeted his first shift with "Marty, Marty, Marty."

"Mother's Day, my dad is here, my sister is here. It's been a tough time for my whole family. To be able to get the lead in the first period, it was a good one."

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist admitted that he came close to tears when St. Louis scored.

"When Marty scored that goal, it was such a beautiful moment," Lundqvist said. "I got really emotional to watch that, to see him and what he's been through.

"I think the entire team was feeding off that moment. And the entire building."

Habs big guns

If the Montreal Canadiens hope to force a Game 7 against the Boston Bruins, they know they need more production at even strength. They haven't scored an even-strength goal since Dale Weise's successful breakaway 13 minutes and 52 seconds into the second period of Game 3. That's 147:27 without an even-strength goal.

It also would be nice if one of Montreal's top scorers checked in with a goal. Max Pacioretty, Thomas Vanek or David Desharnais have yet to score in the second-round series that the Habs trail Boston, 3-2.

But Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien refused to call out Vanek or any of his top snipers on Sunday.

"Leadership comes from everyone, it doesn't come from one player," Therrien said. "I ask any player that puts on the uniform, every player that shows up to a game, they have to show leadership.

"Whether it's your first season or you've been in the league for 18 years, in my eyes, you need to act like a leader."

Super Soderberg

With Matt Fraser's overtime winner for the Bruins in Game 4 as well as key goals from Reilly Smith and Loui Eriksson in Game 5, plenty has been made about the return Boston received in its trade with the Dallas Stars in exchange for Tyler Seguin.

But another trade made back in July 2007 also has paid dividends for the Bruins. That's when they acquired the rights to Carl Soderberg from the St. Louis Blues for goalie Hannu Toivanen.

Soderberg didn't arrive in Boston until a year ago, when his Swedish club, Linkopings HC, agreed to release him. He played six games for the Bruins at the end of the regular season and dressed for two more outings in the playoffs. But Soderberg hardly displayed the form he exhibited in leading the Swedish Elitserien with 31 goals in 54 games last year.

"Last year, when he came to us maybe a little late, he didn't get much of a chance to play and feel his way through," Boston head coach Claude Julien said. "But a couple of things you noticed.

"He needed to be in better shape, which he did this year, got himself in great shape. And the experience he got throughout the year, eventually he just kind of found his game and he's fitting in extremely well."

Soderberg, a 28-year-old rookie, has centred the third line between Fraser and Eriksson.

"Any time that we've had more than just two lines that can be a scoring threat, that's really helped," Julien said. "Carl Soderberg's line has been arguably our best line so far in this series and they make things happen.

"So you've got to give them a lot of credit. It certainly takes a lot of pressure off the other lines."

Gibson's finest

A year ago, John Gibson returned home from his bronze-medal performance for the United States at the world championship and was in the stands to watch his hometown Penguins get blanked in the Eastern Conference final opener by Tuukka Rask and the Bruins.

Now Gibson has a shutout after his 2-0, 28-save Stanley Cup playoff debut for the Anaheim Ducks at Los Angeles knotted their series with the Kings at 2-2 on Saturday.

Gibson, who grew up in Pittsburgh playing minor hockey with Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad and Rangers forward J.T. Miller, will start for the Ducks in Game 5 at home on Monday.

Here are some stats to consider from the 20-year-old Gibson's impressive debut.

  • At 20 years and 330 days, he became the youngest goalie in NHL history to record a shutout in his Stanley Cup playoff debut, younger than Detroit's Chris Osgood who at 21 years, 145 days, was the previous youngest to turn the trick back on Apr. 20, 1994.
  • Gibson also posted an 18-save shutout in his regular-season debut on Apr. 7 against the Vancouver Canucks. Boston's Tiny Thompson is the only other NHLer to earn a shutout in his regular-season debut (November 1928) and his first playoff game (March 1929).
  • Gibson is the youngest goalie to start a Stanley Cup playoff game since Steve Mason (20 years, 329 days) made his debut with Columbus on Apr. 23, 2009 and the youngest to win a post-season game since Montreal's Carey Price (20 years, 238 days) beat Philadelphia on Apr. 24, 2008.

Second-round excitement

There usually is a letdown when the Stanley Cup playoffs reach the second round because the first round has become jam-packed with excitement. Not this spring. For only the fourth time since the NHL began using a four-round playoff format in 1974-75, all four of the second-round series will be extended to at least six games.

1986 Division finals

  • Montreal over Hartford in 7 games
  • NY Rangers over Washington in 6 games
  • St. Louis over Toronto in 7 games
  • Calgary over Edmonton in 7 games

1999 Conference semifinals

  • Toronto over Pittsburgh in 6 games
  • Buffalo over Boston in 6 games
  • Dallas over St. Louis in 6 games
  • Colorado over Detroit in 6 games

2009 Conference semifinals

  • Carolina over Boston in 7 games
  • Pittsburgh over Washington in 7 games
  • Detroit over Anaheim in 7 games
  • Chicago over Vancouver in 6 games

By the numbers

4 - Wins in four games for the road team in the Los Angeles-Anaheim series.

5 - Wins in five games for the home team in the Chicago-Minnesota series.

6 - Of the Rangers last nine playoff series have been extended to seven games. They have won their last four Game 7s. 

9 - Of the last 11 times Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist has won when facing elimination.

19 - Times in the first 19 second-round games the team that scored first has gone on to win, a streak that was snapped when the Blackhawks overcame a 1-0 deficit to defeat the Minnesota Wild 2-1 on Sunday.

Follow Tim Wharnsby on Twitter @WharnsbyCBC

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