Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times,
You can open your eyes now. Go ahead and exhale.
The Lightning is still alive.
It is moving on after Wednesday's thrilling Game 7 victory over the Red Wings.
For the past week and a half, Tampa Bay gave you doubts and tested your faith as well as your blood pressure. Each game, each night, each shift left you breathless or exhilarated, frustrated or anxious. One moment, the Lightning looked like a team that could be fitted for Stanley Cup rings. The next, it was being measured for coffins.
Up and down. Back and forth. You've cheered and cursed, applauded and booed. You couldn't wait for the next game or wished never to see another hockey game again.
That's what the playoffs can do to you. That's what the Lightning has done to you. It's delicious and nauseating at the same time. And this has only been one round!
"It's fun," Lightning center Brian Boyle said. "It's the playoffs."
Tampa defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2-0 in game 7 and will play Montreal starting on Friday.
A tightly played game with not many scoring chances.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
... But full marks to the DoPS, a group that too often falls short on the common sense scale. Then again, Kronwall's actions didn't leave them much wiggle room. By any definition this was a dangerous foul, a hit that involved leaping prior to the collision and the victim's head as the primary point of contact.
In fact, the infraction was so obvious that it leaves only one question: how did the on-ice officials miss it?
Given what was involved this was impossible to defend as a legitimate hockey play. And yet neither Dave Jackson and Steve Kozari, who can be seen in various replays to be looking directly at the two players at the moment of contact, thought it crossed the line. No penalty was called.
It's not like their whistles were stashed away. The pair called a total of 17 infractions on the night. All were minors, and not all of them blatant. In fact, many appeared to be of the “game management” variety. You know the type—send a couple guys to the box specifically to prevent a heated situation from escalating.
Those aren't bad calls. Some of them are ticky-tack, sure, but they suggest the officials are in control.
So given that apparent level of vigilance, how do they miss the single most blatant and dangerous violation of the rules on their watch?
But hey, at least they were consistent. They also overlooked a clear charge by Ondrej Palat that culminated in an elbow to the head of a vulnerable Luke Glendening behind the Detroit net.
Letting the boys play is one thing. Letting them play recklessly is something else entirely. The standard they set is one that could get someone seriously injured. If the league has any real interest in player safety, neither Jackson nor Kozari should be allowed to call another game in these playoffs.
added 8:25am, Below is the hitg on Glendening Muir is referring to...
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
The Canadiens will work out roughly 12 hours before knowing whether they’ll face the Detroit Red Wings or Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 2.
“No cheering from the press box,” the sportswriting saying goes, impartiality required to properly cover a game.
Well, forgive me if I cheer unashamedly for the Red Wings on Wednesday night in their sudden-death tilt vs. the Lightning in Tampa Bay.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the history of hockey and the legends and the traditions of the game. With all due respect to the Lightning, the Red Wings leave them in the dust in that regard.
The view from this keyboard, not to disrespect some wonderful rivalries throughout the NHL, is that Original Six playoff hockey trumps all. It was a special atmosphere when the Canadiens swept the Lightning in their Eastern quarter-final last season, but there was something magical when they beat the Bruins and then fell to the Rangers.
Maybe it’s the magnificent crests on the jerseys. Maybe it’s the history woven through them. But in a 30-team NHL, a meeting between two of the “original” clubs is cause for celebration.
Hockey Hall of Fame look at Marcel Pronovost.
Below, a video feature on him.
from Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times,
The Lightning's top scoring threat was held without a goal for the eighth consecutive playoff game, dating to last season's first-round defeat against Montreal. Including the regular season, Stamkos is on a six-game drought without a goal and has only three in his past 14 games.
"It's tough," said Stamkos, who was second in the league with 43 goals during the regular season. "Obviously I want to produce. It's not for lack of effort. … It's just not going the way I want it to right now."
Detroit's defensemen have been a big reason for that, limiting him to two assists in Game 2 and nothing since.
The Red Wings have made it a focus to limit Stamkos' opportunities by keeping the puck away from him. He had only two shots Saturday in 19 minutes on the ice, including 2:43 on the power play.
"Obviously when you look at their team, the guys who are going to get the most attention are (Tyler) Johnson and Stamkos," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "You do everything you can to make sure those guys have the fewest touches possible."
via Dave Hodge of TSN,
It's pretty hard to say Detroit has a goaltending problem when the Red Wings are tied 1-1 with Tampa Bay because rookie Petr Mrazek stole the first game with a 44-save performance, but Detroit has a goaltending problem, to which thumbs must be turned down.
It was said here previously that Mrazek runs hot and cold like water taps and Jimmy Howard wouldn't be too long on the bench if the Red Wings didn't play a lot better in Game 2. They didn't, he wasn't, and Detroit goes home without much confidence in either goalie, or in themselves. Mike Babcock says he's sticking with Mrazek and he would probably deny the use of a coin in reaching that decision.
Chicago's situation is somewhat similar. The Blackhawks stole their first game in Nashville because of Scott Darling's superb netminding in relief of Corey Crawford. Coach Joel Quenneville showed faith in his Stanley Cup-winning goalie and started Crawford again in Game 2, but the 6-2 loss to the desperate Predators has forced Quenneville to send Darling out for his first playoff start back in Chicago for Sunday's Game 3.
Crawford shouldn't relax. It's a tough way to win a playoff series when goalies have to be pulled and starters are never certain.
from Martin Fennelly of The Tampa Tribune,
The first shot he faced in his Stanley Cup playoff career, nine minutes into the game, got past him. Not really his fault. The fourth shot he faced in his Stanley Cup playoff career, eight seconds into the second period, that beat him, too. Not really his fault. The third one, on the 12th shot, the game-winner, he has to stop. Bad goal.
I’m not saying Ben Bishop lost Game 1 for the Lightning.
But he didn’t win it, either.
He had a lot of company in that regard as his team dropped Game 1 to the Detroit Red Wings, 3-2 at Amalie Arena.
Where was That Line, Johnson, Kucherov and Palat? Where was Steve Stamkos? Where was the power play? Where were the Lightning with all those chances?
But you can’t get around the fact that at one point in the third period, the Red Wings had taken 12 shots on Bishop, and three of them had gone in. That’s one out of four.
Reminds us of when John Tortorella lambasted keeper John Grahame after Grahame allowed four goals on 17 shots against Ottawa in an ’06 playoff game, saying he was tired of “the 25 percent rule.”
The bottom line is that the Red Wings gave up 46 shots, more than they did in any game this season, and took only 14, the fewest they’d taken all season — and they won.
added 8:28am, from Tom Jones of The Tampa Bay Times,
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
The good news for the Red Wings is that they should be a healthier team when they host the Bruins. On Tuesday, the Wings were without trade-deadline acquisition Erik Cole, Pavel Datsyuk and Riley Sheahan, and they lost Drew Miller early with that harrowing skate blade incident.
After the team's 2-1 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators, Wings coach Mike Babcock said that he expects to have "more hands on deck" against the Bruins, so it's safe to assume that at least a few of those aforementioned players will return to the lineup. A critical two points are up for grabs.
And if Mrazek delivers another performance like he did on Tuesday, stopping 33 of 34 shots while under siege all night, it might be his job to lose heading into the playoffs.
read more hoickey topics with Burnside on Bruins/Wings, Custance on the Sharks and LeBrun on the Canadiens...
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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