Quick Strikes: Playoff day for the Tampa Bay Lightning, Syracuse Crunch, and Adirondack Thunder

And seriously this time, no more licking.

The Bolts

Game 5 today of the Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Boston Bruins series is today, y’all, and that means the Bruins are going to be desperate to embarrass the Bolts at home and force a Game 6. Yesterday, GeoFitz spelled out what we need to turn the thumbscrews and deliver a pass to the next round in front of home fans. [Raw Charge]

The Lightning’s penalty kill has gone back to being an Achilles heel for them. They’ve done the work necessary to shut down the Bruins at even strength. In the past three games, of the six goals the Bruins have scored, only two have been at even strength. Three have come on the power play, and one short handed.

Cooper, one win from eliminating Boston, was big fan of Orr, Bourque as kid. [NHL.com]

“I still haven’t met Bobby since he signed that card for me at a Vancouver Canucks game at Pacific Coliseum all those years ago, but I did see him on the scoreboard in Game 3,” Cooper said. “And Ray Bourque is a guy I’ve never met.”

Bruins’ defenseman Torey Krug went feet-first into the boards on Friday, sustaining a left-ankle injury, and was on crutches after Game 4. In his place will be Nick Holden, who will play with Adam McQuaid. Matt Grzelcyk will return to his d-partner Kevan Miller.

“Nick’ll go in. He did a good job for us when he was in. We’re going to miss Torey. He was obviously a good player for us and really adds to our offensive side of things,” said Cassidy. [Associated Press]

Cassidy wasn’t as certain about the forwards he’ll use in Game 5. Ryan Donato and Brian Gionta played for the first time in the series in Game 4 with Danton Heinen and Riley Nash scratched. Tim Schaller also went back in for Tommy Wingels, who replaced him in Game 4. [NHL.com]

These odds are a little hilarious. From the story, Lightning beat Bruins 4-3 in OT to take 3-1 series lead. [NHL.com]

The Lightning are 6-5 under coach Jon Cooper when they can close out a playoff series, including 5-3 at home. Cooper said previous playoff experience should increase the sense of urgency to end the series Sunday.

[But on the other hand:]

Tampa Bay will have history on its side. They have won all five previous Stanley Cup Playoff series they have led 3-1, and in four of those ended it in Game 5.

Can Brad Marchand keep licking people during the game? No, actually. To which I say, good. [AP]

Senior vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell spoke to Marchand and Boston general manager Don Sweeney on Saturday about the latest incident. The league said it was made clear to Marchand that his actions were unacceptable and he will face supplemental discipline if it happens again. Marchand, whose 17 points are second on the Bruins and fourth among all players in the playoffs, could face a fine or suspension if he licks another opponent.

Even in Nashville, Brad Marchand’s lick being discussed in NHL dressing rooms. [Subscription Content: The Athletic]

Should there be a penalty?

“Yeah, unsportsmanlike I guess,” said Turris. “I mean, to be honest, it might be the last thing that would ever come to my mind. I’ve never thought, ‘Oh, I’m going to lick somebody or somebody is going to lick me.’ It’s just a weird. … It’s just kind of a weird thing. It crosses the line. It’s gross.”

The Prospects

The Toronto Marlies are up 2 games in the series, but not for lack of trying. Hardev was at the game and had to write this headline: 95 minutes and nothing to show for it; Syracuse Crunch lose 2-1 to Toronto Marlies. [Raw Charge]

But it was all for naught, as Frederik Gauthier scored the game-winning goal, 15:10 into the second overtime period. There is no loser point in the playoffs, not even after 95 minutes of even hockey. Speaking to the team after the game, you can see and feel the dejection they felt in their hearts and faces, minutes after losing such a close game.

Reading Hardev’s interview with Benoit Groulx is extra important before today’s Game 3: The Syracuse Crunch need to find another gear if they want to win in Toronto. [Raw Charge]

“I don’t think four penalties is a lot, but the goals are too much, obviously — it was probably a difference in the game,” said head coach Benoit Groulx after the game. “For me, I don’t think we were undisciplined, it was a hard-fought battle out there, and penalties are part of the game.”

Trace gives some of the best Thunder reporting on the internet. We cover the prospects THOROUGHLY, y’all. Tampa Bay Lightning ECHL affiliate summary: Adirondack Thunder Playoff Update #4. It’s a 2-2 tie in Round 2 of the Kelly Cup Playoffs as the series shifts to Manchester for the next 2 games. [Raw Charge]

The second round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs continued this week for the Adirondack Thunder as they hosted Games 3 and 4 against the Manchester Monarchs. After a strong outing in Game 3, the injury bug has struck the Thunder. They now head east to New Hampshire this weekend, needing two more wins to reach the ECHL’s Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in team history.

The Game

In Pittsburgh vs. Washington land, the Capitals actually took the series lead last night, 3-2, with their victory. From RMNB: Jakub Vrana’s thrilling game-winning goal gives Caps 3-2 series lead over Penguins. [RMNB]

Saturday night, Barry Trotz finally made the obvious move in the third period of Game Five. Trotz promoted Jakub Vrana to the first line. And the Capitals won because of it.

Not all might be well, however. [RMNB]

But the Capitals may be in for a rude awakening in the morning. Nicklas Backstrom, the maestro of Washington’s offense, is hurt. He went down the tunnel to the locker room in the third period of Game Five, which the Caps won 6-3, and did not return to the game.

In the west, the Winnipeg Jets are keeping Canada in contention for the Stanley Cup. They won last night to put them ahead of the Nashville Predators in the series, 3-2. Game Five Recap: Jets Push Preds to the Brink. [AIH]

The Winnipeg Jets are one win away from the Western Conference final after their offence came alive in the second and stayed alive in the third, beating the Nashville Predators 6-2.

And Nashville’s side of the story. [On the Forecheck]

“We’re a character group. We’ve got a ton of experience in here. We’ve had our backs against the wall before and we’re going to go to Winnipeg, we’re going to win a game and we’re going to come back here. Every single guy in here believes that, so for us we’ve got to park this real quick and just get ready to win a Game 6 on the road. It’s going to be a great atmosphere, it’s going to be great for a way to build a lot of character in that game and bring it back here.”

Our “highlight of the night” is not a highlight so much as an awesome story. Martin Fennelly wrote about the tale of the Humboldt Jersey that is making its rounds of the Lightning playoff arenas, to raise awareness for the team lost in a bus accident: How a Lightning fan’s Humboldt Broncos tribute is catching on. [Tampa Bay Times]

The story of the Humboldt jersey began with Dan Gitzler, who lives in Parrish and works in Sarasota as a quality control manager. Gitzler is a longtime Lightning fan. He also served six years in the Marines. He grew up in Tampa but was born in Canada. Seeing the tragedy, the ex-Marine fell into a sense of mission.