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IN THE CREASE
Pierre McGuire
May 11, 1998
Canadiens defenseman Vladimir Malakhov (below) has been an enigma since coming to the NHL in 1992-93, but in Montreal's first-round series against the Penguins, which the Canadiens won 4-2 on Sunday, he has proved that when he's focused, he can be as good as any backliner in the league. Not only does the Russian-born Malakhov have a booming shot from the point (one goal and three assists through six postseason games), but he also has the size (6'3", 220 pounds), strength and speed to help shut down a star like Pittsburgh's Jaromir Jagr....
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May 11, 1998

In The Crease

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Canadiens defenseman Vladimir Malakhov (below) has been an enigma since coming to the NHL in 1992-93, but in Montreal's first-round series against the Penguins, which the Canadiens won 4-2 on Sunday, he has proved that when he's focused, he can be as good as any backliner in the league. Not only does the Russian-born Malakhov have a booming shot from the point (one goal and three assists through six postseason games), but he also has the size (6'3", 220 pounds), strength and speed to help shut down a star like Pittsburgh's Jaromir Jagr....

The Senators' ability to contain New Jersey's vaunted cycle game may have been the biggest reason for their first-round upset. Credit Ottawa coach Jacques Martin with having taught his troops how to establish body position down low and how to stick to and pin bigger players....

What was the turning point in the Sharks-Stars series, which Dallas won? Midway through Game 5, San Jose was leading 2-1, and during a 30-second span it had a pair of two-on-ones led by its top offensive players, forwards Jeff Friesen and Owen Nolan. San Jose didn't get a shot on goal either time, and Dallas came back for the 3-2 victory that gave the Stars a 3-2 series lead....

One reason that the No. 2-seeded Avalanche struggled in the first round against the No. 7 Oilers—the series was tied 3-3 through Sunday—was Colorado's lack of depth. Solid right wing Mike Keane signed as a free agent with the Rangers last summer, hard-nosed center Mike Ricci was traded to the Sharks in November, and defensive specialist Rene Corbet broke his left thumb in Game 1. To win in the playoffs, teams need a good supply of skill and grit....

Doug MacLean, the general manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who will begin play in the NHL in 2000-01, has the best job in hockey. He's getting a full salary, and he has the chance to build the Blue Jackets from scratch. Recently MacLean spent three days in Dallas learning how the Stars have successfully marketed their team.

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