The New Jersey Devils are going to be fighting hard this afternoon to stave off elimination. Last night, two other teams did just that -- the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Penguins, 4-2, in Pittsburgh last night, and Andrew Hammond stole a game for the Avalanche, making 44 saves to defeat Nashville 2-1. Winnipeg, on the other hand, completed their Game 5 win against the Minnesota Wild, 5-0, for their first-ever franchise playoff round victory. Congrats, Thrashers.
In honor of the other series being played, Clark’s poll this week asks, who do you think moves to round 2? [Raw Charge]
The New Jersey Devils are getting a lot of advice about how to stave off elimination today. [NJ.com]
”You can always find a lane. The important thing is, you have to make that decisions a little bit quicker,” Hynes said. “There has to be a little bit more deception. You’ve got to change the angle on your stick. You might have to stop and check up a little bit more. It’s not a big tactical thing. There’s just some slight tweaks with decision making and timing. If we clear that up, there will be more pucks delivered on the net.”
Ryan Callahan may not be the Lightning’s most prolific goal-scorer, but he provides a service the Lightning is in dire need of at this point in the series. Callahan is a player who is well-versed in delivering the hard hits and knocking his opponents off the puck. During the regular season, Callahan led Lightning forwards in hits with 138, which gives Cally an average of 2.1 hits per game.
The Department of Player Safety analyzes four recent hits to explain how we determine if a player’s head is the “main point of contact” https://t.co/FoG3xm6sif— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) April 20, 2018
What are the other storylines for tonight? One is about the health of first-pair D, Sami Vatanen. [Fox Sports Sun]
Hynes had no update on whether defenseman Sami Vatanen would go Saturday after sustaining an upper-body injury on a check by Lightning star Nikita Kucherov, who was not suspended by the league. Kucherov has been the series’ leading scorer, with four goals and five assists, far more than New Jersey’s Taylor Hall, who has just two goals and four assists.
Is McDonagh effective on the ice? Roger Mooney thinks so: Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact. [Tampa Bay Times]
McDonagh was the Lightning’s best defenseman during the first four games of the first-round playoff series against the Devils that continues this afternoon with Game 5 at Amalie Arena. McDonagh leads the Lightning defensemen with three points, all on assists. He has helped the offense transition up the ice during 5-on-5 play and is a big reason the Lightning has killed off 15 of 18 penalties.
And here’s All About the Jersey with their worries about the Bolts’ forward depth. Forward Depth Issues Catching up to Devils Against Tampa. [AATJ]
The Devils limitations with the current roster are clear, though. They have plenty of decent or even good players, but for the most part they lack any players outside of Hall who can be a consistent matchup issue for opposing teams. While a team like Tampa can roll three lines of gifted offensive players, the Devils have struggled to find any scoring punch away from their potential MVP winger.
Yesterday, Joe Smith asked Victor Hedman about booping Nico Hischier in the cup area with his stick. I spent some time thinking it through. [Raw Charge]
On his Game 3 incident with Nico Hischier: "That's one of those plays that don't belong on the ice. Obviously, frustration sets in. That was an immature play by my part, so I texted him right away after and apologized."#TBLvsNJD practice day | Victor Hedman: pic.twitter.com/jwkesg3emF— #GoBolts (@TBLightning) April 20, 2018
Justin is going to be writing a quick recap immediately after the game, and a longer one the day after. Here’s his quick writeup: Gabriel Dumont’s hat trick leads Syracuse over Rochester in Game One victory, 6-2. [Raw Charge]
Gabriel Dumont’s second goal of the game came on a five-on-three power play as he deflected an Erik Cernak shot from the point. Mathieu Joseph picked up the other assist. With Ullmark on the bench for an extra skater, the Amerks were able to pressure the Syracuse Crunch defense, but they held fast until Dumont could escape with the puck and seal the victory with an empty net goal.
Three Warriors Join AHL Teams [Discover Moose Jaw]
Sosunov was an instant fan favourite with the Warriors with his height, standing in at six-foot-eight, but he showed over the course of the season that he could play as well. The Russian rookie import finished with seven goals and 26 points in 71 games for the Warriors. He had a plus-35 rating during the regular season. Before the season, Sosunov signed a three-year entry level contract with the Lightning and following the Warriors’ second round playoff loss, he was assigned to the Crunch in the AHL.
Couturier inspires Flyers in Game 5 win against Penguins. [NHL.com]
”All day, the past few days, you think about it,” Couturier said. “It can get tough mentally, but you take it one shift at a time, one battle at a time, and you go from there. If I could last the whole game, it’s a good sign. Moving forward, hopefully it can get better and better.”
Penguins/Flyers Game 5 Recap: Pens cough up a lead and lose. [Pensburgh]
At the end of the day the Pens were up 2-1 and got sloppy. Bad play to cough the lead up and eventually the game. They had a ton of pressure and it’s tough to take a loss even carrying play for so long, but mistakes doomed them. You can’t get away with that this time of year and we’ll see if it’s a lesson learned for Game 6 on Sunday.
Hamburglar Steals the Show, Avalanche Steal Game 5 with 2-1 Victory. [MHH]
I cannot say enough about Andrew Hammond’s play tonight. He needed to be peak Hamburglar, and was peak Hamburglar all night. This game could have easily gotten out of hand multiple times, but Hammond played with focus and controlled his rebounds well. This is a goalie who played one NHL game this season, and is only on this team as a salary dump from Ottawa, filling in for two injured goaltenders ahead of him on the depth chart. How did he handle the situation? Oh, just by turning in a 44 save performance on the road in an elimination game against the President’s Trophy winners (that really should have been a shutout).
Game Five Recap: Where the Wild Things Aren’t. [AIH]
To quote Ilya Bryzgalov the Winnipeg Jets came out “like gorillas coming out of a cage”. They struck early and they struck often, much to the delight of Winnipeg Jets fans and the chagrin of the Wild.
Highlight video — this is a pretty cool video of the Jets’ first playoff series win.