Whew. It’s a bit dramatic to say a win in Game Two can be defined as a “must win”, but we can call the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 4-3 (OT) win on Tuesday, pretty darn important. It was the first of a back-to-back set of games and a loss would have meant they needed to beat the best regular season team in four out of five games. That’s a pretty tough ask for anyone.
Thanks to Ondrej Palat’s overtime winner, they don’t have to worry about that scenario. The Lightning pretty much controlled most of the play whenever the Patrice Bergeron line was on the bench, and they absolutely dominated overtime, something they’ve become quite adept at in this postseason.
The Lightning were much more involved from the get go in this game and showed an excellent ability to bounce back, overcoming a waived off goal and a potentially back-breaking, game-tying goal with less than four minutes to go in the game. That’s been a hallmark of the team this postseason. From struggling to crack Columbus’ defense, to being on the wrong side of some iffy officiating, to dealing with Boston, the Lightning have stuck with their game plan and maintained their focus. It’s a good sign for a veteran team.
Now, they just have to go out and do it all over again tonight.
The Lightning Game:
Hardev recapped the game for us on Tuesday night. [Raw Charge]
ONDREJ PALAT WINS THE GAME IN FRONT OF THE NET ON A REBOUND!! The Lightning started the period hot after a strong finish to the third period after the game was tied and they were fully paid off on their effort. The Lightning took 13 SHOT ATTEMPTS, NINE OF WHICH WERE ON TARGET to start the period, hemmed the Bruins in their own zone, and converted one of their many rebound chances, this time off the stick of Palat.
The recap from the Tampa Bay Times contained a nice little factoid about Victor Hedman. [Tampa Bay Times]
With Victor Hedman’s assist on Blake Coleman’s second goal, the Norris Trophy finalist moved into sole possession of fourth place among the franchise’s all-time leading scorers with 54 points (11-44) in 93 games played. Hedman trails Tyler Johnson (27-29), who has tallied 56 points in his postseason career.
The view from the other side of the ice. [Stanley Cup of Chowder]
Let’s give credit where it’s due: Tampa knew what was on the line. Both sides gotta go do this again in 18 hours, and they showed up ready to absolutely destroy, and destroy they did. Boston outside of individual efforts just couldn’t match the blinding pace that the Lightning were willing to go at, and spent a good portion of this game in their own end, and to nobody’s surprise, it did not pay off at all.
The Other Game from last night
Based on the volume of shots this game probably should have been closer, but, hey that’s hockey. Here’s an Elias Petterson highlight for you:
Today’s Other Game:
3:00 pm NBCSN, TVAS, SN
The Islanders quietly go about their business of winning games. Can we give them the title of “Best Team No One is Talking About”? I think we just did.
10:30 pm NBCSN, TVAS, SN
Colorado is reeling due to injuries and desperately needs to win this game. Meanwhile the Stars are suddenly the reincarnation of Gretzky’s Oilers and keep rolling along.
New from around the league
Toronto maintains its pathological need to stay in the headlines as they pull of a semi-blockbuster trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins. There were quite a few pieces involved but the headline is Kasperi Kapanen heading to The Burgh, while a first round pick heads to Toronto. [Pension Plan Puppets]
That’s going to be a decent first rounder this year if the Leafs keep it.
Evan Rodrigues is easily a decent NHL forward who can take up the Kapanen slack
Jesper Lindgren is unlikely to make the NHL in a meaningful way, but he has got skills and he’ll be a loss to the Marllies.
And the reaction from the Pittsburgh side [Pensburgh]
The Pens have also had success recently with a player perhaps with better tools for a third line in Bryan Rust. All Rust did was breakout with a 57 point in 55 game effort in 2019-20, his age-27 season. The expectation for Kapanen would certainly have to be to take his game to the next level that players such as Zucker and Rust have done in their mid-20s.
The Bubble has worked for the NHL (so far) as another week goes by with no positive COVID-19 tests reported. Could the 2020-21 regular season be played in multiple bubbles? The Deputy Commissioner says it’s an idea that hasn’t been ruled out. [NHL.com]
“It’s already a significant amount of time just to complete our playoffs in that type of bubble format. I don’t think it’s going to look like what we’re currently doing, but could it be a variation of what we’re currently doing. I wouldn’t rule that out any more than I would rule out any number of other alternatives.”
Old friend John Tortorella is generously donating $25,000 to the NHL Foundation charity. Not that he had any choice as the league fined him for his brisk news conference after the Game Five loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, [ESPN.com]
In handing down the fine, the NHL was collecting on a “conditional” one issued in January after Tortorella criticized officials and the league for what he perceived as a time-keeping error in a Dec. 29 loss to Chicago. He was required to go the rest of the year without any conduct offenses to avoid the fine.