Quick Strikes: Rookie Anthony Cirelli is “Mr. Reliable”

The Crunch’s second-round series starts tonight!

The Bolts

The Tampa Bay Lightning have found a way to systematically defeat the Boston Bruins, at home and on the road. They won game 3, 4-1. Steven Stamkos got a monkey off his back with the power play empty-netter to seal the win. [Raw Charge]

Playoff hockey, the never-ending rollercoaster of emotion that drives hockey fans insane. The second-round series between the Boston Bruins and the Tampa Bay Lightning promised to have goals, saves, hits, and nastiness—it’s delivered that. Game three was the nastiest one yet as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Boston Bruins 4-1 to take a 2-1 series lead.

We have a new nickname for rookie Anthony Cirelli. Here is the story of how “Mr. Reliable” was able to be so effective in Game 3. [Sportsnet]

“Well, I mean, he’s just Mr. Reliable,” Steven Stamkos said of his 20-year-old teammate, who scored a big goal in Wednesday’s 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. “He’s very comfortable in his style of game. He knows what he has to bring. You never really have to tell him to do anything, he just does it.”

The Lightning got what they needed early and were resilient all throughout game 3. [NHL dot com]

Heading into Game Three, the first home game for the Bruins in this series, many expected the Boston to come out of the gates flying. The Bruins hoped to apply consistent and relentless pressure on the Lightning and enjoy the majority of the puck possession (something that didn’t happen during the first two games at Amalie Arena). But, thanks to the Lightning’s dominant start and clinical defensive performance, the script for Game Three was entirely different. As a result, the Lightning grabbed a 2-1 lead in the series.

The Prospects

With the Syracuse Crunch travelling up north to play the Toronto Marlies in the second round, Syracuse.com takes us through a visual history of the Crunch, concluding that this era is the best one of them all. [Syracuse]

Compare that to six seasons as a partner with Tampa Bay: a 231-145-41-30 record for a .584 points percentage. The team reached its first two Calder Cup finals twice in that span. The Crunch has seven playoffs series wins (7-3) in six years of the Lightning affiliation. In its first 18 seasons, Syracuse had just four series wins (4-10).

At what point do we stop calling Cirelli a prospect? First NHL playoff goal?

The second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs starts today! Raw Charge will have you covered top to bottom, including a series preview coming out sometime today, as well as game previews and recaps before and after all games. Field reporter Hardev (hey, I know that guy!) will be on location in Toronto for games 1, 2, 5, and 7.

The Game

Tom Wilson hit someone in the head, again. This time he finally got a suspension, three games is the count. [SB Nation]

Wilson was been suspended twice previously for illegal hits this year, with both coming in a span of two weeks during the preseason. The league doesn’t like to suspend players during the playoffs, just like its referees let lots of penalties go in the playoffs. It’s a longstanding NHL thing that the rules don’t apply the same in the spring.

The Dallas Stars appear to be hiring Jim Montgomery, a hockey man who had previously been the head coach of Denver University. [Defending Big D]

While the Stars had no official comment in regards to these rumors, plenty of big wigs around the media are reporting it’s all but a done deal. Until the deal is done, nothing is a 100% certainty, but the general sense is that the Stars are really impressed with Montgomery. He’s been linked to the New York Rangers too, and you can’t ever discount the allure of the Big Apple.

Headline: “Peter Chiarelli Does Not Have A Fundamental Grasp On How To Manage His Team’s Salary Cap” *kisses fingers* [Copper n Blue]

The Oilers have some key contracts to figure out (Darnell Nurse, Ryan Strome, Matt Benning), as well as some unknowns that will likely require a trip to the free agency counter (a couple of third line players, a couple of extras to play forward, and a couple of third pair defencemen). Depending on how high the cap goes up, the Oilers will have between 14 and 18 million to figure out eight contracts.

The magic appears to be wearing off as the San Jose Sharks dominate the Vegas Golden Knights once again, winning 4-0 and taking a 2-2 series tie back to Vegas. [Fear The Fin]

Though Vegas powered through and created a few good chances early on, Marcus Sorensendrew first blood. After Eric Fehr ran a pick play that Vegas thought should have been a penalty, play continued and Sorensen followed through, weaving between Knights in front of Marc-Andre Fleury and exercising every bit of patience he had before tossing the puck between the pipes.

and it’s our Highlight of the Night: