Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Boone of Hockey Inside/Out,
One game does not a series make. And one double-overtime loss doesn’t end the Canadiens’ season.
It was, however, the Canadiens sixth straight loss to Tampa since Pacioretty’s series winner. The Lightning won all five regular-season games against the Canadiens in 2014-’15. And Nikita Kucherov’s goal, just over two minutes into the second OT period Friday night made it six straight – in a game the Canadiens should have won.
While the Canadiens completed their opening-round elimination of Ottawa last Sunday night in Kanata, the Lightning had to battle back from a 3-2 series deficit against Detroit, finally knocking off the Wings in a seventh-game squeaker Wednesday night.
As the series against Tampa began, the Canadiens were the rested team. And as overtime wore on, the rested team should have had an advantage.
That might have been the case had the game lasted longer. But Kucherov ended it before the Canadiens could register a shot on Ben Bishop in the second OT period.
Most of the stats favoured the Canadiens: a 44-35 shot advantage, 34 blocked shots to 27 for Tampa Bay, a 43-32 margin in hits, 55 wins in 89 faceoffs.
But we all know the only stat that counts is the final score.
Below, watch Sportnet's 'Mashup' of the game...
from Mike Johnston of Sportsnet,
Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien certainly thought it was a blown call saying "offside is black or white" unlike penalties, which are judgement calls.
"Losing a game on an offside, those things are not supposed to happen," Therrien told reporters at the post-game press conference. "It was clearly an offside and we end up losing the game."
from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,
The Lightning's season ended here stunningly last April, getting swept in the first round by the Canadiens. Tampa Bay hasn't been playing up the revenge card, pointing out how its a much different team than the one that lost last year. Just look at the handful of new players in the lineup, especially goalie Ben Bishop.
"That's a very big difference," Cooper said.
So is this. The Canadiens, which won the Atlantic Division and have home ice advantage, are calling themselves underdogs, per coach Michel Therrien. How did Cooper respond?
"They had 110 points, won the division, have a Vezina candidate, Hart candidate, Norris candidate. I guess if we had those, I'd say, 'Yeah he's the underdog," Cooper said. "But we don't have those."
The Lightning comes in confident, and also focused, captain Steven Stamkos said. While Tampa Bay won all five regular season meetings against Montreal, goalie Ben Bishop said that means nothing. As Stamkos said, "This is a brand new ballgame."
"We realize they beat us pretty handily in the playoffs last year," Stamkos said. "I don't think we went into every game this past season wanting to beat them so bad because of it. We wanted to win because they were the team we were facing that night. It's no different now."
from Stu Cowan at Hockey Inside/Out,
Throughout a campaign that saw the Canadiens put more wins together than any other season in 26 years, they’ve been dogged by a question: what if you face Tampa Bay in the playoffs?
The Lightning dominated Montreal at every turn this year, winning all five games they played against the Canadiens, including one in overtime. Now the question that’s lingered for months has become a reality. The doomsday scenario that so many fans and pundits feared is upon us and the Habs say they’re happy to try to prove the naysayers wrong.
“If people feel that strongly about how badly we match up against them then I hope we can prove that we can beat a team like this in the playoffs,” Max Pacioretty said after practice Thursday in Brossard. “It’s extra motivation. I sat here since we beat Ottawa answering questions like, ‘What if you play Tampa? You don’t match up well against Tampa,’ but the playoffs are a whole other situation. We have to make it uncomfortable for them. … It’s a tough task but it’s what we have to do.”
The Canadiens, as we’re so often reminded by the team’s management, are a young squad and one that seems uncomfortable in any other role than underdog. Despite finishing first in their division, the Canadiens played the “us against the world” card as they faced Ottawa in the opening round of the playoffs. Now they’ll use this mindset to try to unseat the National Hockey League’s most prolific offence.
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.
"Obviously cause I'm not scoring, people think you're injured, that's not the case. I feel great. Obviously everyone is going through some bumps and bruises at thsi time (of year). But if I had a couple goals, nobody would ask me if i was injured."
"It comes with the territory. For me, I judge my game on how hard I'm competing, the litte things I"m trying to do well. Obviously I get judged on offense and production and that's something I do judge myself on as well, especially when things aren't going well and the team isn't winning, it gets magified. Hopefully I can break through tonight."
-Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning via Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times where you can read a bit more.
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."
No, I don't agree.
Watching the game last night, Stamkos just didn't appear to be on his 'A' game.
Not sure what it is but the Lightning need him to be better than he was last night.
via Scott Cullen of TSN,
Steven Stamkos – Tampa Bay’s marquee player had team-worst possession stats (3 shot attempts for, 10 against, 23.1%) and his line, with wingers Ryan Callahan and Alex Killorn, was controlled by the Red Wings’ line of Pavel Datsyuk, Darren Helm and Tomas Tatar.
via Gary Shelton of SaintPetersBlog,
“They fed off the building, the intensity,” said Lightning center Steven Stamkos. “We didn’t play well. Just looking at our effort in games one and game two compared to tonight, we were missing something.”
Stamkos played 16:47 last night during 19 shifts, was -1 and had two shots.
For the series his TOI is 17:09, is even in +/- and has two assists.
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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