Here’s what happened in the NHL last night:
- The Auld Enemy completed the sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning, winning Game 4 by a 4-3 score. The Lightning fought back from a two-goal deficit to tie the game up, but Max Pacioretty’s winner with 43 seconds left propelled the Habs to the second round. Kenny MacMillan of A Winning Habit has more on the series-clincher.
- In Detroit, Tuukka Rask made 29 saves as the Boston Bruins blanked the Red Wings 3-0 to take a 2-1 series lead. It was a textbook road game by the Bruins, playing suffocating defense and allowing Rask to take care of the rest. The Wings need a win in Game 4 badly. Nick Tylwalk of Octopus Thrower has the details.
- I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty sick of knee-on-knee hits. Brendan Smith collided with Brad Marchand in the game, earning himself a two-minute tripping penalty. Marchand looked pretty shaken up on the play and had to be helped off the ice. However, he didn’t miss a shift. The sight of Marchand lying on the ice clutching his right knee (which wasn’t the one that collided with Smith, by the way) prompted a derisive chant from the Joe Louis faithful (rhymes with pulpit) and more than a few accusations of diving from the Twitter regime. Billy Bryson takes exception with these folks in a column for Causeway Crowd.
- The Philadelphia Flyers mustered 32 shots on New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist thanks in part to five power plays but could only beat him once, losing 4-1 in Game 3 at the Wells Fargo Center. The Rangers grabbed a 2-1 series lead with the win, and the Flyers will be hoping starting goalie Steve Mason will be healthy for a crucial Game 4. Tom Foti (no relation to Tom Poti, I presume) of Broad Street Buzz takes you through the disappointing showing for the Orange and Black.
- The San Jose Sharks just keep on roll-…er, swimming. Patrick Marleau scored his 60th career playoff goal just under six-and-a–half minutes into the first overtime period to clinch the 4-3 win and a 3-0 series lead over the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings played much better in this one than the two previous games, but still couldn’t find a way to win. Eric He of Blades of Teal talks about the game.
In other news, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said there are “expressions of interest” from people looking to buy the New York Islanders from Charles Wang. One of those names is Philadelphia-based former lawyer Andrew Barroway, who was in the running to buy the New Jersey Devils and is “viewed favourably by the league”. For Isles fans, I’m sure they would welcome anybody but Wang running this team. The report is from Katie Strang of ESPN New York.
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will have plenty of time to rest and recover from an obvious concussion he suffered in Game 3 of their first-round series with his team eliminated from the playoffs. The Lightning are getting a lot of flak for allowing Stamkos to return to that game after his bell was rung, and deservedly so. A renowned neurosurgeon and a leading concussion-awareness advocate were the latest to criticize the Bolts for the decision in this piece by Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post.
Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf (and his most frequent defense partner, Carl Gunnarsson) saw his shot-attempt differential totally crater this season. In fact, as Tyler Dellow finds, it’s actually gotten progressively worse every season for a few years now. Is this a Phaneuf issue, or a system issue? (My guess is the latter, but you probably know that by now.)