Top Line: Penguins on brink of disaster; Wild have comeback in them; more links

Monday May 12th, 2014

By Allan Muir

An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:

• Katie Strang says alternate phases of tragedy and triumph over the past three days have galvanized the Rangers and powered them to an unexpected Game 7 meeting with the Penguins.

• New York is driving Sidney Crosby to distraction. When we're talking about his possible spears and drive-bys of the goalie rather than highlight reel goals, you know he's off his game.

• Dejan Kovacevic predicts the nuclear option is in play if Pittsburgh loses Game 7. It won't just be coach Dan Bylsma who loses his gig. Big changes would be the inevitable result of another postseason letdown.

Even Sid's not immune to the heat.

• For a guy who says he has nothing to prove, Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist sure is playing like a guy who feels as if he has something to prove.

• Jim Matheson ponders the mysteries of Rick Nash's playoff disappearing act. Love his anecdote about Jaroslav Pouzar in the lede.

• More Matheson, this time some quick hits on the future of Adam Oates, Barry Trotz and Ryan Johansen, along with rumors from around the league. Good stuff, as always.

• Outstanding piece here by Bruce Arthur on P.K. Subban's fight to be himself and find his place in the NHL.

• More on Subban, this time Montreal's failed handling of his contract two year ago and what it will cost them to fix it this summer.

• A voice from out of town says that the Bruins' improved depth has them poised to go all the way.

John Gibson's impressive playoff debut only highlight's the Ducks' embarrassment of riches in goal. Bruce Boudreau was only joking when he said that Igor Bobkov hasn't had his turn in this series yet ... right?

Is Gibson a modern-day Ken Dryden? Maybe we let him win a series first, eh?

• The Blackhawks needed a hero in Game 5. Of course it was Jonathan Toews who stepped up.

• Losing a lead, then a game, on Sunday night was tough on the Wild. But this is familiar territory and they have what it takes to bounce back.

• Despite the loss, Ilya Bryzgalov is outplaying Corey Crawford by a wide margin in this series.

Bob McKenzie suggests that the Senators are prepared to trade a significant player. Not sure how they'd get full value on a deal like this, but it's clear the current recipe isn't working.

• The Maple Leafs are said to be shopping Dion Phaneuf. They must be prepared to swallow some of his contract, or to take back diminished value in return. And if they are ... why?

• This Leafs fan did not take the news of Randy Carlyle's contract extension very well.

• Now this is pretty cool: an expanded CHL stats package from McKeen's Hockey. Just in time for draft talk! • Finally, it's not hockey but it is awesome: the wife of Montreal Aloutte's GM Jim Popp protected her children by punching a shark in the face. And that's why we have Mother's Day.

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