Lightning Round: Cooper responds to Lalonde's comments about Vasilevskiy
Former Tampa Bay Lightning assistant coach and current Detroit Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde has been a guest on Hockey Night in Canada during the Lightning vs Leafs series. In most of the intermission segments, Lalonde hasn't sparked any controversy. If I'm being honest, he's very boring for TV. Sounds like a smart and aware coach, but he's very monotone. TV is a different beast. Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked.
Lalonde during the last game perked some ears when he talked about a study the Lightning (presumably) did on goaltenders vs point shots and found Vasilevskiy to be very poor at it, so the Lightning changed their defense structure in order to compensate and reduce those plays.
That makes sense when you think back to Tampa's very aggressive winger strategy at the points and the historically strong defenders in front of the net to move bodies and prevent tips. Those weaknesses are presumably showing up again as the Lightning have struggled to replace the Yanni Gourdes and Ryan McDonaghs in their lineup and more point shots and tips have been coming through. Four of the five goals the Lightning allowed in Game 4 were tips or point shots, with the only pure shot coming from Auston Matthews.
So, what Lalonde is saying makes sense. However, Jon Cooper, can't just say that and admit a weakness in his goalie and in his team. So he did his best to talk around the question while also not going after someone I can safely assume is a good friend. That said, I'd like to see the text chain when Cooper saw the video.
The truth of the matter is the Lightning have been getting scored on by a lot of point shots and tips. Too many for it to be a coincidence. Plus, the Leafs have won the expected goals battle in three of the four games so far in the series, indicating they're getting more chances from in front, too. All of that is to say if the Lightning want any chance at a series comeback, they'll need to take care of the mess in front of their house first and foremost.
Roman Schmidt, defense prospect, has been reassigned from the Kitchener Rangers to the Syracuse Crunch for the rest of the year. The Rangers as the 8th seed upset the 1st seed Windsor Spitfires in the first round of the OHL playoffs in a sweep before falling to the London Knights in the second round in five games.
I have to go back and talk about the Spitfires upset some more, because they stacked up at the deadline, acquiring Shane Wright (SEA) in a massive deal, only to go winless in the playoffs. Junior playoffs are wild.
Florida Panthers 4-3 (OT) over Boston Bruins
BOS leads 3-2
The Florida Panthers stayed alive for another day as they beat the Bruins in Boston in overtime. The Panthers got an early lead in the first before getting hammered for the entire rest of the game in shots until the Bruins tied it. Linus Ullmark made a bad giveaway to give Matthew Tkachuk the winning goal.
Seattle Kraken 3-2 over Colorado Avalanche
Seattle leads 3-2
At the time of writing this before I went to bed, the Kraken had a 2-1 lead over Colorado at the end of the second period. Old friend Yanni Gourde scored the eventual game winner early in the third period.
The Avalanche were without Cale Makar in this game as he had to serve his one game suspension for a high, late hit on Jared McCann. He was "replaced" in the lineup by Jack Johnson, as much as the best defenseman in the league can be replaced by one of the worst defenseman in the league.
The four teams who will travel to Sweden next November for the NHL's Global Series have been named. Minnesota, Ottawa, Detroit, and Toronto will be going.
Sorry to bring this up, but I just have to say I'm not a fan of the company whose name is a phrase often used in descriptions of domestic violence. Doesn't help on top of it that the head of DoPS in the NHL is/was an owner in that company and does promos for them. Really says a lot about the league's adherence to "safety".