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Lightning Round: Playing with desperation

That could be the difference in advancing

Tampa Bay Lightning v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Two Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In answering a question about the play of Ross Colton during his off-day press conference, Coach Cooper mentioned that the rookie “plays with desperation”. The highlight from Game Four was his diving stick check on Brock McGinn:

Shortly after the play, Brayden Point put the Lightning up 1-0. It was a head-up play by the young player, but also emblematic of the way the Bolts play in the postseason. It wasn’t just Colton, but Brayden Point streaking back to break-up a two-on-one, Victor Hedman stretching to the utmost to keep the puck in the zone on Steven Stamkos’ power play goal, and Yanni Gourde selling out in the final seconds to block two shots.

When a team that has talent like the Lightning adds that level of desperation they tend to be a tough out in the playoffs. It’s also usually the proverbial “switch” good-to-great teams throw in the postseason that gets them to the next level. It’s hard to play like that over an 82-game season (as much as John Tortorella would have you believe otherwise), but in the compacted nature of the extra season can be the difference.

This isn’t some ode to grit and toughness, but just a nod to the fact that talent alone isn’t enough to win a Stanley Cup. It’s a sign of good coaching. Getting the players to continue to buy into the need to play desperate even after winning a Cup isn’t the easiest thing to do.

With a little desperation tonight, the Bolts might be able to break their recent losing streak they have in Game 5’s (three in a row). They are due for a win on the road in Game 5’s, over their history they are 3-7 outside of the friendly confines of Amalie Arena. Overall their record in the fifth game of a series is a pedestrian 13-12.

If they make it 14-12 they will head onto the Conference Finals I mean Third Round for fifth time in the last seven years. That’s pretty, pretty good.

Lightning Links

Solar Bears end season on a skid

They entered last week with a chance to make the playoffs, but a losing streak at the worst possible time knocked them out of the race. Tracey has all of the details.

David Savard a steady presence on the blueline

He doesn’t rack up the points, but he does the things that make his coach happy - namely block shots and add a bit of snarl.

Lightning Power Play outplays Carolina Power Kill

Carolina’s vaunted penalty kill relies on pressuring the other team’s power play. It worked for a little bit in Game Four, but the aggressiveness turned against them as the game went on. Best advice for Game Five - don’t take penalties.

Hockey Highlights:

The AHL is going to a unified schedule..eventually

If you’re a fan of the AHL you’re used to clicking on the points percentage column instead of the points column to see if you’re favorite team is headed for the postseason. For awhile the different divisions within the league have played a different amount of games (usually due to travel reasons). Starting in 2022-23 everyone will be playing 72 games.

For some teams (like the Crunch) that means they will actually play fewer games in a season while the west coast teams will play more. The AHL will also realign a bit next season and add more teams to the postseason (that will be announced later).

Rod Brind’Amour can’t get enough of coaching

What do you do on an off-day in the second round of the playoffs? How about help out with a 10-and-under tryout?

San Jose Sharks to accept BitCoin/Cryptocurrency

Do you have some spare cryptocurrency in a wallet somewhere? Well, if you do (first of congratulations), second, feel free to use it to buy a suite at a Sharks game. They became the first NHL team to accept the digital currency for larger purchases such as sponsorships, season ticket sales, and luxury suite rentals.

Last Night’s Games

Islanders 5, Bruins 4

New York leads series 3-2

The Islanders are one win away from advancing thanks to three power play goals and 40 saves from Semyon Varlamov. It was a rough night for Tuukka Rask who was pulled in the second period after allowing four goals on sixteen shots.

Canadiens 3, Jets 2 (OT)

Montreal wins series 4-0

Who had Montreal being the first team to advance to Round Three? Heck, who had Montreal even getting to Round Two? Chalk me up for neither of the above. Tyler Toffoli’s goal just 1:36 into overtime completed the sweep for the Canadiens and left the Jets wondering what the heck happened. Carey Price made 14 saves for the shutout. Wait. What? Winnipeg mustered only 14 shots in a must-win game? That’s not great.

Tonight’s Other Game

Vegas Golden Knights at Colorado Avalanche, 9:00pm EST, NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, SN

Series tied at 2.

Each team has won a blowout game and each team has won a 3-2 game. Everyone has won on their home ice. What a fun series this is.