Quick Strikes: Buffalo Sabres win the draft lottery, twice!

The Syracuse Crunch announce playoff dates that will be confirmed after TORvsUTI this afternoon.

The Bolts

The Tampa Bay Lightning may have been able to turn Tuukka Rask into a wizard, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Boston Bruins in game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at home. Bolts lose 6-2.  [Raw Charge]

It’s no secret that Tampa Bay and Boston were the two best teams in the Eastern Conference this season. It is also no secret they were bound to meet in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The first game of this highly anticipated series took place this afternoon with the Boston Bruins drawing first blood in a 6-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

And if anyone was wondering why the ref ignored Rask, it’s because there’s no rule protecting goalies who get boned like that. Have you ever seen the ref blow the play dead when the goalie loses his stick?

I mean, it happened to Auston Matthews against Boston, right?

There were too many defensive breakdowns against the Bruins in the last game. It’s the playoffs, there are no excuses for that kind of play anymore. [NHL dot com]

“We have to raise the battle level in the defensive zone,” Cooper said. “For all the battle level we had in the offensive zone, if we turn that into the defensive zone for some of those plays, maybe they don’t go in. I think that was frustrating for the guys, spending the amount of time they did in the offensive zone, not being rewarded, and the Bruins were rewarded for just coming down and making a play. But that’s what that line does, they make plays. Right when you think you might have them, they can burn you. That’s what they did to us.”

The Lightning failed to capitalize on scoring chances when they were given to them. This team has scoring talent, those pucks must start going in eventually. [Tampa Bay Times]

“If the guys are getting chances, that means they’re putting themselves in the right position,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “They’re working hard to get chances and they’re getting chances. Sometimes they finish them, sometimes they don’t.”

Rask, who was pulled from Game 5 in Toronto during the first-round series and was shaky early in Game 7, stopped 34 of 36 shots and allowed only one even-strength goal.

The Prospects

On Friday, the Utica Comets beat the Toronto Marlies to send their series to a game 5. Yesterday, the Syracuse Crunch announced dates for their first two home games of the series. It will be games 1, and 2 should Utica complete the upset, or games 3, and 4 should Toronto finish the series at home. [Syracuse]

If the Marlies win, they will have home ice and will host the first two games of the best-of-seven divisional finals. The Crunch would host Game 3 on Sunday, May 6 and Game 4 on Tuesday, May 8.

If the Comets advance, Syracuse will have home ice. The Crunch would host Game 1 on Friday, May 4 and Game 2 on Saturday, May 5.

All those games will start at 7 p.m.

If you want to stay up to date with the Marlies vs. Comets game, stay tuned to my Twitter account because I will be at the game covering it for Pension Plan Puppets. Know your competition!

Toronto Marlies vs. Utica Comets: Game 4

Like the Lightning a week before, the Crunch have been having regular practices, which mean practice interviews!

The Game

The NHL had their draft lottery last night and here’s how it all played out. The Buffalo Sabres, who finished in last place, won the right for the first pick. The Carolina Hurricanes jumped up eight spots from 10 to 2. And finally, the Montreal Canadiens hop one spot from 4 to 3. This means, once again, the Arizona Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks lose out on a lottery pick and will be picking from the second tier of players available. [ESPN]

After having dynamic forwards like Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews go first overall in recent years, Dahlin promises to be a franchise-altering player on the back end. The 18-year-old Swede’s mobility and all-around game have earned him comparisons to Detroit Red Wings legend Nicklas Lidstrom. He’s played professionally in Sweden for the past two seasons.

In fact, the Sabres won the draft lottery twice. After the first and second picks had been awarded, the Sabres’ lottery ball showed up for a second time meaning they needed to draw again, where they picked the Canadiens. Talk about double lucky.

Vegas lives up to it’s name. After a double-overtime thriller that was one of the most entertaining events I’ve seen in a long time, the San Jose Sharks stole victory from the jaws of defeat, winning 4-3 on a goal by Logan Couture. [Fear the Fin]

Despite being outscored by the Vegas Golden Knights 10-4 in this series, the Sharks are returning home in a 1-1 series tie. San Jose pulled off a double overtime, 4-3 win to hand the Knights their first loss of the playoffs.

Take your heart medicine before you read because this one is everything you expect to see in playoff hockey and more, including an overturned goal in OT.


Highlight of the Night: Even Lightning fans need to respect a goal that good.