The Montreal Canadiens swept the Tampa Bay Lightning aside earlier this week. Blame Tampa’s goaltending, its defense or a combination of the two: either way, the city of Montreal was in celebration mode Tuesday night.
And Dale Weise was wearing a mic for it. Though the Habs allowed Tampa Bay to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the third and tie Game 4, Max Pacioretty’s power play goal with less than a minute left in regulation propelled the Habs into the second round.
Here is a short clip of the Canadiens’ reaction to the winning goal – as heard through Weise’s mic – a glimpse into the post-series handshake line, and a brief look into the locker room celebration after the game. Read more
What did Michael Jordan once say? “To learn to succeed, you must first learn to fail.”
There’s not much basketball and hockey have in common, other than the fact they both have nets. But that statement from basketball’s greatest player ever is just the right balm for the battered and bruised pride of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who would do well to memorize that advice verbatim, because their future has success written all over it.
Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean apologized for his careening remarks about Quebec-raised referee Francis Charron in the wake of Montreal’s Game 3 victory over Tampa, one in which the officiating certainly was on the dicey side. In bringing up Charron’s ethnicity, MacLean stepped into a hornet’s nest involving one of Canada’s distinct cultures – not to mention the only NHL team left in French-Canadian territory.
Was Charron’s goalie interference call, the one that nullified a Tampa Bay goal in a 1-1 contest, a poor one? Sure looked like it:
But this was not a matter of malice on the ref’s part. If anything, it was one of indecision – and that speaks to Charron’s inexperience, not his home province.
Although the Tampa Bay Lightning turned a Game 4 stinker into a thriller, they were unable to overcome poor defense and even poorer goaltending that nagged them throughout Montreal’s sweep.
As was popularly predicted, the loss of goalie Ben Bishop to injury was too much for the Lightning. He had emerged as the backbone behind a work-in-progress defense and had a significant hand in Tampa’s evolution and growth this season. He entered the Vezina conversation as a top 10 goalie in GAA and SP, but without Bishop, the Lightning more closely resembled the team that missed the playoffs the past two years. Read more
The NHL’s unrestricted free agency period is a crapshoot and sometimes the emphasis is on the crap. For every savvy signing – say, Tampa Bay’s five-year contract with Valtteri Filppula, or Boston’s one-year deal with Jarome Iginla – there is at least one free agent deal that sends fans screaming for the weeping tissues. Here are the worst free agent deals signed last summer:
10. Damian Brunner, Devils, two years, $5 million. Some devout Red Wings fans were sad to see Brunner depart the organization after a rookie NHL campaign that included 12 goals and 26 points in 44 games last season. They were less sad after watching him score just 11 times in 60 games this year while averaging only 13:32 of ice time.
9. Derek Roy, Blues, one year, $4 million. Yes, Roy only signed a one-year contract with St. Louis, but it hardly could’ve gone worse for him. The onetime 32-goal-scorer had only nine goals in 75 games as a Blue and was a regular-season and playoff healthy scratch. There’s no chance the 30-year-old returns to the team or makes nearly as much money next season.
8. Daniel Briere, Canadiens, two years, $8 million. Briere is renowned as one of the league’s good guys and seeing the Montreal native head home to play for the Canadiens made for a nice off-season story. It didn’t translate on the ice, though: he had only 13 goals and 25 points in 69 games – nearly one-third of the totals he posted for Philadelphia in 2010-11 (34 goals and 68 points in 77 games). Read more
Nobody could sleepwalk through a season the way Dustin Penner did the past few years in California. Then come the Stanley Cup playoffs in the springtime and Penner would come to life.
Is Montreal’s Rene Bourque the Dustin Penner of this year’s playoffs? With three goals in three Canadiens wins – and probably nary a mention in a hockey pool from coast to coast – Bourque is up from his season-long slumber.
If the Canadiens are to do any damage in the second round of the playoffs (yes, this is getting ahead of things slightly, but it’s just postulating), they’re going to need secondary scoring and physical play from the big body of the big man from Lac La Biche, Alta. At his best, Bourque can be Milan Lucic. Problem is, Bourque has rarely been at his best in recent seasons.
As a 20-year old with SKA St. Petersburg in 2011-12, Vladimir Tarasenko had a terrific playoff performance. He was acquired by the team late in the season via trade, since his old team, Sibir Novosibirsk, figured he was leaving for the NHL at the end of the season. So Tarasenko became the newest member of the top seed in the Western Conference.
St. Petersburg played 15 games in that Gagarin Cup run, but failed to meet expectations by losing in the conference final. Tarasenko, however, exceeded what was expected of him. He led the team with 10 goals and 16 points to finish fourth in overall playoff scoring. And he was six points better than the next player who didn’t qualify for the final.
And now Tarasenko is lighting it up in the Stanley Cup playoffs – and against the best competition he’s faced in the NHL yet. Read more
The Montreal Canadiens deserve full credit for their Game 3 win – and their 3-0 series lead – against Tampa Bay, but if you’re a Lightning player, coach or fan, you’ve got to wonder if things would have taken a different turn had Ryan Callahan’s goal with less than five minutes left in the second period counted instead of being waived off for goalie interference.
I, like most people, thought at first that the goal should have counted, but after digging into Rule 69.3 (after reading a tweet from former NHL referee turned TSN analyst Kerry Fraser), I started to waiver.
Rule 69.3 states… Read more