HOTH readers, I have a mission, if you choose to accept it. Track down the maker and/or eater of this birthday cake, and find a logical explanation for its existence. If this cake was made for a Bruins fan who wanted to mock the Habs, that would certainly be acceptable, but the Sacred “CH” logo of the Canadiens isn’t sufficiently tarnished to convince me of that motive. If the Habs logo was somehow distorting the writing that’s promoting the Bruins, then that would also make the cause clear, but that’s not happening either. We must have an answer.

Monday pun-days!

I don’t know about you guys, but nothing gets me geared up for a night of playoff hockey quite like an endless stream of puns. In their magnificent feature published at least once, and sometimes several times a week depending on the glory whipped up by NHL.com’s headline writers, the Royal Half gives us the best in puns from the league’s website.

Sticking with tonight’s matchups, those Ron MacLean worshipers offered up some real gems earlier in the Kings/Sharks series, but nothing beats this…

Kings lines locked in

Kings head coach Terry Murray tinkered with his lines prior to Game 5, and made changes that seemed to generated improved offensive chemistry. He told the Pasadena Star-News that he won’t be doing any more juggling tonight.

Recently dubbed the “OHL connection,” the line of Kyle Clifford, Brad Richardson, and Wayne Simmonds definitely won’t be touched after the three combined for two goals in Game 5.

“They like to play for each other,” Murray said of the trio. “The fact that you’re looking at a young player (Clifford), a rookie, putting some pucks into the back of the net, it really doesn’t surprise me.

Antero Niittymaki has a kind, understanding soul

During these early days of the playoffs, two major trends have emerged: no lead is ever safe, and goalies are either brilliant or terrible, and nothing in between. Sharks goalie Antii Niemi joined the ranks of terrible goalies in his last start, but he’s still getting the nod tonight, a decision that backup Antero Niittymaki fully understands.

Guy Boucher may moon-light as a psychic

The Penguins have their second chance to finish off the Lightning tonight, but following his team’s crushing 8-2 victory in Game 5, Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher had some haunting thoughts. As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes, they’re especially nightmarish for anyone who values sleep.

In talking about things such as momentum and carryover, Boucher said, “A game can be 8-2, and the next game can be 0-0 through five periods.”

Staal needs to show up eventually

Hey, have we ever told you that Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin aren’t in Pittsburgh’s lineup? No? Well they aren’t, so other forwards have had to pick up the scoring slack. Given the absence of their two mega-stars, it’s remarkable that the Pens are one win away from the second round.

But what’s discouraging for this offensive miracle run moving forward is the sputtering output of Jordan Staal. The Penguins centre is goal-less so far in the playoffs, and head coach Dan Bylsma knows how crucial Staal is to the team’s success.