Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
So there sat Lundqvist, a King with a crown tarnished by an ultra-talented group that seems to have his number … or numbers, as in a 4.75 GAA and .840 save pct. in six meetings this season covering the regular season and this round.
There he sat alone until general manager Glen Sather entered the room, walked to his franchise player’s stall, and offered quiet, private words of love and encouragement.
Lundqvist will need much more than those words as he seeks to find answers between now and Friday’s Game 4, for when he met the press a few minutes after Sather had left the room, it was clear that the goaltender had been shaken out of the Conn Smythe-worthy comfort zone in which he had been living until the Lightning became his — and his team’s — worst nightmare.
“For some reason I didn’t really pick it up,” the beleaguered goaltender said of the winner on which Palat cut across the zone from the right before unleashing the drive that beat him to the far, stick side. “I’m going to have to look at the video to see why.
“It’s really challenging for me, the way they move the puck and find open ice for the shot, the way they get scoring chances from right in front,” said Lundqvist, who had blundered by directing a soft initial shot onto Steven Stamkos’ stick for the Lightning’s first goal. “They’re good, but I need to be more consistent with my game plan.”
Watch the game highlights below....
Puck drops sometime after 8:00pm ET and the game is on NBCSN, CBC and TVA.
Series tied at one, first game in Tampa.
Should be an exciting one and feel free to discuss the game tonight or anything hockey related.
from Flip Bondy of the New York Daily News,
“Their big boys put on the big-boy pants,” Vigneault said, after the Pittsburgh Penguins had badly beaten the Rangers. “I need mine to do that.”
If ever Vigneault needs his big boys to put on their extra-extra-large pants, it is now heading into Game 3 in Tampa Bay, after a rare, systemic collapse during Game 2 at the Garden, a 6-2 disaster. The Rangers hadn’t been beaten by four goals in the playoffs since 2009, and the team’s biggest stars are simply not producing at an adequate level — while Ben Bishop, Tyler Johnson, Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman have been at the top of their games for Tampa Bay.
Not everyone is guilty here. Ryan McDonagh has had a great run and has done the right thing, calling out his teammates for “stupid, selfish penalties,” for “shooting ourselves in the foot.” Henrik Lundqvist had a lousy game on Monday, but he is excused because of his other recent performances. The others don’t get a pass. They get an ultimatum: Finish your chances, and stop taking dumb penalties, or this series will end with a very disappointing handshake line.
Rick Nash and Marty St. Louis have combined for two goals in the playoffs, despite plenty of power-play time.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
A year ago, Tyler Johnson informed the hockey world of the immensity of his skill set in his rookie season.
This spring he’s telling us about the enormity of his heart.
Monday night’s hat trick at Madison Square Garden to lead his Tampa Bay Lightning to a 6-2 win over the New York Rangers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals will go down as one of the more memorable nights in these playoffs.
A short-handed goal with his team down two men, a power-play goal and an even-strength goal that was all second effort -- it was breathtaking.
Just another day at the office for Johnson, who padded his playoff lead to 11 goals, and the goals weren't even his most impressive play of the night.
Below, watch Johnson post-game with Scott Oake...
from Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star,
Finally. Finally a game that swung and sloshed and whistled around the place like someone let off fireworks, where goals happened and then happened again. Finally, some leashes were slipped and mistakes were made and the game felt like something that could spin out of control, one way or the other. Hockey’s fun, when it does that.
The Eastern Conference has spent most of the playoffs playing 2-1 games or games that resembled 2-1 games, and the New York Rangers had all but perfected the art. You can play an exciting 2-1 game, but play 10 of ’em and the thrill dissipates, somewhat. Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final wasn’t that, though. No, it wasn’t that.
Instead, Tyler Johnson was the biggest man on the ice, and Tampa Bay blew a wild game open on the power play to win 6-2 and tie the series 1-1, going back to Florida. There was pace, skill, and a gift basket’s worth of mistakes, which allowed skilled players space to do something. The coaches will gnash their teeth and try to fix it, which is why I’d be thrilled to ban coaches from the bench during games. Or practices.
Either way, we got a game that felt less like a race to a coin-flip goal than a swashbuckling ride, until it spiralled out of reach midway through the third. That was fun.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
You know the old, “It isn’t you, it’s me?”
Monday night, in Game 2 of the conference semis at the Garden, it wasn’t the Lightning. It was the Rangers.
It wasn’t as much Tampa Bay’s talent, though it was abundantly clear just how plentiful it is, as it was the Rangers’ outright carelessness and lack of discipline that was infectious throughout the lineup and infected the performance pretty much from start to finish.
One after another the Blueshirts went to the box, one after another on needless, senseless penalties on a night officials Chris Rooney and Kelly Sutherland actually made use of the rule book. What a concept.
And one after another, the Lightning accepted the Rangers’ generosity, scoring three times on the power play while getting another one just seconds after a miscreant had been released from the box and hadn’t been able to get into the play.
“It’s embarrassing,” a furious Ryan McDonagh said in the wake of the 6-2 spanking the Blueshirts bent over and took from the Lightning that squared the series at one-all. “There are a lot of things you want to say right now but talking doesn’t do much.
“Our guys better figure it out quickly here and realize that stupid, selfish penalties are going to cost us against this team.”
The puck drops just after 8:00pm ET and can be viewed on NBCSN, CBC and TVA.
The Rangers would like to go up 2-0 while home and the Lightning certainly do not want to go 0-2 in New York.
Expect more grit from Tampa but the Rangers do seem to be on their game.
Feel free to discuss the game as it plays-out.
Linda Cohn and John Tortorella preview game 2, Rangers/Lightning.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
Henrik Lundqvist is human. The Tampa Bay Lightning are trying to remind themselves of that fact.
Goals are not easy to come by in the playoffs, especially when you’re facing a goalie with a .945 save percentage. So as the Lightning prepared for Game 2 at Madison Square Garden on Monday, they did all they could to ignore the ominous shadow occupying the New York Rangers crease.
“I think the one thing you have to combat is the aura,” said coach Jon Cooper.
Lundqvist has that, just as Carey Price did in the last round. When facing goalies of that calibre, there is a danger of thinking too much and trying to create perfect plays.
Of course, hockey is not a game of perfect. The Rangers won Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final when Dominic Moore had a shot deflect in off his right shin pad.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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