Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
A Montreal Canadiens executive walking out of the Bell Centre well after the game ended Saturday night observed that the rink was as loud as it had been in a long time.
Imagine what it would sound like for a Game 7?
The Tampa Bay Lightning have no intention of finding out. But what they do know is that the Habs aren’t going away quietly, Saturday’s 2-1 win by the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge suddenly making this a very interesting series.
“I said it in Game 3 before the game, and unfortunately it didn’t go our way, but I said it’s easy to tell the guys that want to keep playing and you can tell by the effort and sacrifice that guys are making on the ice," said Habs star blue-liner P.K. Subban, who had his best game of the series. "Right now, as part of the leadership group, there’s not one guy who isn’t carrying his weight or looks like he doesn’t want to play. Everybody is on board and energetic and it has been that way for the most of the of series."
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
“I definitely think that us scoring six goals is huge; it’s huge for our confidence,” Subban said Thursday after the Canadiens staved off elimination in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal with a 6-2 win in Tampa’s Amalie Arena.
Bishop, who has dominated the Canadiens over the past two seasons, was pulled Thursday after giving up three goals on 14 shots.
Tampa coach Jon Cooper said he pulled Bishop to rest him because he was playing on back-to-back nights. That makes sense, but at the same time Bishop didn’t look comfortable, giving up several rebounds and for the second time in this series he allowed a goal that was in his glove, embarrassing for someone who grew up playing baseball.
“I think Bishop sort of was sitting on a horseshoe for a little bit there,” Subban said. “He’s played well, but he’s been lucky as well. I think seeing him pulled out of the net is a confidence booster for our team.”
When told about Subban’s horseshoe comment, Cooper told the Tampa Bay Times: “He may be right. Or Ben might be a good goalie.”
from Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times,
So, a reason for concern or merely a small bump in the road?
In the grand scheme of things, you would still rather be the Lightning than the Canadiens. After all, in a best-of-seven series, you would rather have three victories than one right now.
So just bump in the road for the Lightning, right?
Well, not so fast. True, it's one game, and it's hard to imagine the only team in the NHL that didn't lose three games in a row all season is now set up to lose four in a row. But the Lightning is not playing its best hockey at the moment. Not by a long shot.
Montreal probably should have won Game 1 and absolutely deserved to win Game 3. Tampa Bay won both only because of sensational work by goalie Ben Bishop, who was yanked after giving up three goals in less than half a game on Thursday.
What does it matter which team has looked better? Well, the best way to predict the immediate future is to examine the very recent past. And if the first four games have shown us anything, it's that the Canadiens, quite frankly, have been better than the Lightning.
"It's not even so much what they're doing," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "It's our lack of execution, our compete and our structure. When we stray from that, this league is too good to just go out and win hockey games on skill."
The Montreal Canadiens have a group of five (Alex Galchenyuk, Max Pacioretty, P.K. Subban, Brendan Gallagher, and Andrei Markov) that should equal success on the power play, but there’s something missing.
from Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,
Tonight’s third game in the series will be the sixth meeting between the teams in less than 60 days and the first of back-to-back games, which comes with physical challenges.
“Can’t stand here and say I’m a big fan of back-to-backs,” said Tampa captain Steven Stamkos.
Following brisk morning skating sessions, players from both sides insisted the focus is solely on tonight as the Habs attempt to dig themselves out of trouble, while the Lightning shovels will be busy trying to make the hole deeper.
After two days spent recuperating, and in Montreal’s case ruminating over a 6-2 loss in game two, the clubs were mostly trying to channel their energy and find playoff-level focus.
The Habs talked about the benefits of rest – “We need to play fast to have success,” said winger Alex Galchenyuk – and the need to avoid a familiar pitfall: penalties.
The Tampa power-play suddenly roared to life in the last game, the Habs will doubtless be encouraged to know such a thing is possible. They are 1-for-26 in the playoffs with the man-advantage.
“We’ve got the right Xs and Os, we’ve just got to make the plays,” said centre Lars Eller, who was sent out more regularly on the power play in game two.
The Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers currently face uphill climbs in their respective series, if either want to return the Eastern Conference Final, they’ll need to step it up.
from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,
It took two wins this playoff series — seven wins, if you count the regular season — but the Lightning have rattled le Club de hockey Canadien into a whimpering, whiny mess.
To be continued?
A Tampa Bay sweep might be a public service. I mean, Canadiens pouty game misconductor Brandon Prust threw his smelly elbow pad into the Lightning bench near the end of the Lightning’s 6-2 Game 2 rout in Montreal. If this thing went seven games, Prust would be down to his skivvies, or less. No thank you.
The naked truth: The Lightning appear to be inside the Canadiens’ heads.
To be continued?
Just last season, on the way to being swept by the Canadiens, the Lightning put up a brave face as they headed to Montreal down 0-2. That lasted 11 seconds into Game 3, when Rene Bourque scored for the Habs.
Now the skate is on the other foot.
On to this Game 3.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
That’s coach Michel Therrien’s optimistic view as the Canadiens look to snap a seven-game losing streak against the Tampa Bay Lightning when the teams meet in Game 3 of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series Wednesday night at Amalie Arena.
The Lightning swept the five-game, regular-season season series against the Canadiens and won the first two playoff games at the Bell Centre. That puts the Canadiens in a must-win situation Wednesday night, but the players appeared upbeat after a fast-paced but short workout Tuesday afternoon.
Therrien said the confident attitude was genuine and was based on the team’s play in the 2-1 double- overtime loss in Game 1 and a strong performance in the first period of Game 2.
“We’ve played well 5-on-5,” said Therrien, who gave his troops a lecture on the importance of staying disciplined after allowing four power-play goals in the 6-2 Game 2 loss. “The guys came in today and they were upbeat and they know where we have to be better. We have to make some adjustments on the special teams, but this group has been through some tough times through the course of the season and they react the right way all the time.”
NEW YORK -- Montreal Canadiens forward Brandon Prust has been fined $5,000 for derogatory public comments directed toward Referee Brad Watson during his post-game media availability on Sunday, May 3, the National Hockey League announced today.
"Brandon Prust's post-game comments were both baseless and demeaning of a referee whose 20-year career in the League has been marked by professionalism, integrity and a high degree of respect from players, coaches and management," said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell.
Montreal Canadiens forward Brandon Prust apologized on Tuesday for the comments he made about referee Brad Watson following a Game 2 loss on Sunday.
Prust said he wishes he could take back what he said about the official.
"I was emotional," Prust told the media on Tuesday.
Prust said he figures he will be speaking with the league about his comments.
Prust, 31, said that Watson verbally assailed him following a roughing penalty late in the first period of Tampa Bay's 6-2 win over the Habs in Montreal.
"I thought the original call was kind of soft and I let him know on the way to the box," said Prust.
added 3:47pm, video of Prust talking to the media is below...
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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