Bolts star Stamkos heating up on offense, extends scoring streak to four games

Steven Stamkos (Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

In the first two rounds of the NHL playoffs, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos scored three goals in 13 games. Unfortunately for the New York Rangers, Stamkos has become much more productive in the Eastern Conference Final against them – and Sunday in Game 5, the star center continued his hot streak by scoring for the fourth straight game in a 2-0 Bolts victory.

Tampa was leading 1-0 on a Valtteri Filppula goal 13:29 into the second period at Madison Square Garden, and nearly five minutes later, with the Bolts on the power play, Stamkos tipped in a shot from Ondrej Palat to record his seventh of the post-season and his 14th career playoff goal in 39 games: Read more

Lightning’s Filppula, Stamkos work smoothly together for first goal of Game 5

Lightning star Steven Stamkos celebrates teammate Valtteri Filppula's second-period goal against the New York Rangers in Game 5 Sunday. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

With the incredible contributions made by the Tampa Bay Lightning’s younger players in the 2015 playoffs, veteran center Valtteri Filppula hasn’t been in the spotlight all that often. But in Game 5 of the Bolts’ Eastern Conference Final series against the New York Rangers, Filppula collaborated with star Steven Stamkos to score the first goal of the night.

Game 5 was scoreless through the first 33 minutes at Madison Square Garden, but Stamkos took the puck at the Rangers’ blueline late in the second period and quickly moved it along to Filppula, who wired a wrist shot past Blueshirts goalie Henrik Lundqvist to make it 1-0 for the visiting team: Read more

How one documentarian is bringing the eccentric California Golden Seals back to life

Jared Clinton
The California Golden Seals lost a lot, but they were never dull. (Brad Kurtzberg)

They were the misfit toys of the NHL – a group with green jerseys and white skates, with an owner that wanted orange pucks, flew his players first class and slapped their names on the back of the jerseys. But even if the California Seals were an NHL oddity, documentary filmmaker Mark Greczmiel loved them all the same.

That’s why when he realized that someone needed to do their due diligence and tell the Seals story, Greczmiel stepped up to the plate. The Seals are the perfect team for a documentary, too, because in a way, their time in the NHL is almost akin to if Slap Shot’s Charlestown Chiefs somehow gained entry to the league.

“There’s a gentlemen named Brad Kurtzberg who I interviewed, he wrote a book about the Seals called ‘Shorthanded,’ which is great. His quote was, ‘This was a franchise that could possibly go wrong, did go wrong.’ They were never boring, they lost a lot of games, but they were never boring on or off the ice.” Read more

Corey Perry snaps stick, grabs new one on the fly, nearly scores in one of post-season’s best plays

Jared Clinton
Ryan Getzlaf (left) and Corey Perry  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

If Corey Perry would have scored on his best chance of Thursday’s Game 3 between the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks, it would have made sense had the scoring summary read that Perry scored with assists to Patrick Maroon and the Ducks’ equipment staff.

Perry, who already has eight goals and 16 points in 12 post-season games, was tearing up ice on what looked like it would be a clean-cut 2-on-1 when his stick snapped in half with some help from Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya. Without a second thought, Perry skated straight to the Ducks’ bench and, without missing a stride, grabbed a new stick, picked up a puck rebounding off the boards and fired an attempt right on Blackhawks netminder Corey Crawford. The whole play really is something to watch: Read more

Patrick Kane’s no-look backhand goal will blow (a) your socks off & (b) your mind

Hawks winger Patrick Kane celebrates with teammates Brad Richards and Duncan Keith after his first-period goal against Anaheim in Game Three of the Western Conference Final Thursday. (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

In the first two games of the Western Conference Final between his Chicago Blackhawks and the Anaheim Ducks, superstar right winger Patrick Kane did not have a point. If you know him, that’s kind of unlike him. So he was probably due for a spectacular goal or setup of one – and sure enough, in Game 3 Thursday, Kane added to his already-impressive playoff scoring total with a no-look, backhanded goal most of us couldn’t perform on a video game.

The host Hawks were trailing Anaheim 1-0 late in the first period at United Center when Kane picked up the puck between the faceoff dots and directly in front of Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen; in one fluid motion, he took the puck on his backhand, and, without glancing toward the net, perfectly fired it between Andersen’s right arm and hip for his eighth goal of this post-season: Read more

Lightning’s Stamkos steamrolls Rangers’ Hayes, scores Bolts’ first goal of Game 3

Steven Stamkos. (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos doesn’t care whether he’s in the spotlight, but there was something odd about seeing Tyler Johnson excel thus far in the NHL playoffs while Stamkos struggled (at least, by his standards). But Wednesday in Game 3 of the Bolts’ Eastern Conference Final series against the Rangers, the Lighting captain was a threat to score – and to run the opposition over with a robust physical game that included a massive hit on Blueshirts winger Kevin Hayes.

Just two minutes into the first period, Stamkos leveled Hayes, who was carrying the puck behind the Rangers’ net with his head down: Read more

Watch Marcus Kruger end marathon Game 2 between Blackhawks, Ducks

Marcus Kruger (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

One of the great things about the Stanley Cup playoffs is that when it comes to overtime — and especially double-, triple- or even quadruple-overtime — it’s rarely the player you would expect to get the game-winner that eventually ends the game. Case in point: Chicago’s Marcus Kruger can now add triple-overtime hero to his resume.

In the role Kruger plays on the Blackhawks, he’s not exactly what one would call a sniper or a star. He’s a bottom-six center — one of the best in the league, at that — with some nice offensive tools that doesn’t find the back of the net very often. Granted, he’s usually playing out of his own zone which makes it tougher to score, but that he scored seven goals in 81 games doesn’t put visions of him scoring an overtime-winner into one’s head.

That’s why it was surprising when, of all people, Kruger found himself alone at the side of the Anaheim Ducks goal in triple overtime and evened the Western Conference final at one game apiece:

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Ducks/Hawks marathon thriller ends with Chicago win in triple-overtime

Hawks winger Marcus Kruger celebrates his game winning goal against Anaheim in triple overtime of Game 2 of the Western Conference Final Tuesday. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks played nearly two full games of hockey Tuesday, and by the time Game(s) 2 ended – four hours and 53 minutes after it began in Anaheim – they dodged a number of bullets and beat the Ducks to pull even in their Western Conference Final series.

The Hawks were outplayed by the Ducks for long stretches at Honda Center and Anaheim was the better possession team on the night. Chicago did storm out of the gate with a 2-0 lead on goals from Andrew Shaw and Marian Hossa, but Anaheim cut Chicago’s lead in half before the first intermission and dominated the visiting team in the second period, outshooting the Hawks 19-7 and tying the game on Corey Perry’s eighth of the playoffs.

From then on, it was a goaltending duel for the ages, with both Corey Crawford and Frederik Andersen coming up with a number of huge saves to keep their team alive. The game nearly ended in the second overtime period when Andrew Shaw head-butted – that’s correct, head-butted – the puck past Andersen: Read more