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Canadiens sweep, Lightning eliminated: and then there were 15 (NBC on Yahoo Sports)
(Wed, 23 Apr 2014 06:31:19 PDT)
Your browser does not support iframes. If you look at sports from a purely narrative standpoint, the goal that eliminated the Tampa Bay Lightning fit into the story perfectly. Capping off a season full of adversity and tough breaks for the Bolts, the Montreal Canadiens received a highly questionable power play with a little more than two minutes left, and Max Pacioretty scored the deciding goal that clinched a first-round sweep. Though luck haunted the Lightning during a season full of nightmarish breaks, but it all became too much in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs. Games 3 and 4 really spotlighted this series of tough times, as there was almost a “What will happen next?” feel — from a goal being disallowed and Steven Stamkos getting banged up in Game 3, to a gut-punch loss in Game 4. With no Ben Bishop in the entire series and a struggling Anders Lindback pulled in the second period of tonight’s affair,  Kristers Gudlevskis played masterfully and the Lightning showed resilience in storming back from a 3-1 deficit to tie it up in the third period. Officials decided not to call Rene Bourque for what many believed was a clear goalie interference call, setting the stage for Cedric Paquette ‘s third-period penalty and that game-clincher. That said, it’s unfair to rob the Canadiens credit for sweeping the Lightning. They generally and sometimes glaringly out-played the Bolts for large portions of this series. The bottom line is that Montreal performed at a higher level through significant chunks of this sweep and deserved it (maybe in four games). Still, the Lightning probably wrestle with gnawing “What if?” questions about their goalies, officiating and injuries.

Your Top Plays for Today (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 23:56:58 PDT)
Your Top Plays for Today: AP's Sports Guide

Felger calls out Marchand for faking injury (Comcast SportsNet New England)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 23:33:45 PDT)
Brad Marchand drew a tripping call on Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith after skating into a leg-on-leg hit to his left leg. When falling to the ground, Marchand clutched his right leg, forcing Michael Felger to believe the winger was faking. "Brad, if you're going to be a weasel," said Felger, "If you're going to be a cheater, if you're going to act like a Montreal Canadien.

Stanley Cup Playoffs Three Stars: Marleau plays hero for Sharks; Habs eliminate Lightning (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 22:52:56 PDT)
No. 1 Star: Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks  The Sharks forward recorded a two point night with a goal and an assist as San Jose beat the Los Angeles Kings in overtime 4-3 to take a 3-0 series lead. After Tomas Hertl's goal midway through the third period tied the game, it was Marleau who ended things 6:20 into the extra period: No. 2 Star: Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins Rask stopped 23 shots as the Bruins shutout the Detroit Red Wings 3-0 to take a 2-1 series lead. The shutout was the fourth for Rask in his playoff career. Patrice Bergeron assisted on Dougie Hamilton's opening power play goal and later added an empty-netter, while Jordan Caron scored his first goal since Oct. 5. No. 3 Star: Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens The Canadiens completed the sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 4-3 victory on Pacioretty's winner with 43 seconds to go in the third period. They now wait to face the winner of Boston-Detroit. After building a 3-1 lead, the Lightning made a third period comeback, but a late penalty helped seal their fate and end their season: Honorable mention:  The sweep was Montreal's first since their 1993 run to the Stanley Cup ... 11 different Canadiens recorded a point ... Dan Girardi and Martin St. Louis each scored a goal and recorded an assist, while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 31 shots as the New York Rangers downed the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 to take a 2-1 series lead. The Rangers blocked 28 shots to the Flyers' 11 ... Victor Hedman should have called "bank!" on this goal: Did You Know? : " The Sharks have won five straight overtime playoff games and 10 of their past 11, with Marleau scoring four game-winning goals during that remarkable stretch. " [AP] Dishonorable mention:  Anders Lindback was pulled for the second time in three games after allowing three goals on 20 shots.

Bruins continue shutdown defense vs. Red Wings (Comcast SportsNet New England)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 21:33:43 PDT)
DETROIT The Boston Bruins simply arent giving the Detroit Red Wings any room to breath. In their best show of suffocating D in a series thats been extremely sound in the defense department, the Bruins shut the Wings down for a 3-0 win at Joe Louis Arena in Game 3 of their first round series. It was the first win of any kind at Joe Louis Arena since 2007, and pushed the Black and Gold to a 14-1 record in Game 3 settings with Claude Julien as the head coach. It also means that the Bruins have allowed just two goals over the first three playoff games against the Wings, have held them to an 0-for-9 showing on the power play and have held Detroits top six regular season scorers (Daniel Alfredsson, Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, Gustav Nyquist, Johan Franzen and Tomas Tatar) to just one assist in building a 2-1 lead in the series.

Canadiens sweep Lightning after 4-3 win (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 21:16:04 PDT)
The Montreal Canadiens swept their way into the second round of the NHL playoffs, and now look forward to some rest. The first team to advance, Montreal won the best-of-seven series with Tampa Bay 4-0 thanks to a 4-3 victory Tuesday night, and now faces a long wait for the Eastern Conference semifinal against the winner of the Boston-Detroit series. Max Pacioretty got the winning goal with 43 seconds remaining on a power play. Pacioretty, who played for the United States at the Olympics in February, is glad to get some time off.

Canadiens complete series sweep of Lightning (The SportsXchange)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:11:17 PDT)
MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens finished off their first four-game sweep in 21 years to move on to the second round while disposing of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who were dispatched from the playoffs in four straight for the first time ever. Montreal left winger Max Pacioretty scored a power-play goal with 42.6 seconds remaining in the third period as the Canadiens completed their first series sweep since 1993 with a 4-3 win over Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Montreal, which will face the winner of the Boston-Detroit series in the second round, swept Buffalo in the second round in 1993 and went on to win its 24th and most recent Stanley Cup. Canadiens center Daniel Briere, who opened the scoring with his first Montreal playoff goal 2:24 into the first period, recalled watching that series while he was growing up.

Canadiens 4, Lightning 3 (The SportsXchange)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 19:05:21 PDT)
MONTREAL -- Left winger Max Pacioretty scored with 42.6 seconds remaining in the third period as the Montreal Canadiens completed their first playoff series sweep in 21 years with a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

Montreal Canadiens sweep Lightning, avoid scare from Latvian nemesis (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 19:04:06 PDT)
For a moment, it appeared that Kristers Gudlevskis was going to finally get the best of a Canadian team. But the moment belonged instead to Max Pacioretty and the Montreal Canadiens. Pacioretty scored his first goal of the playoffs on the power play at 19:17, giving the Habs a 4-3 victory in Game 4 of their divisional semifinal against the Tampa Bay Lightning, completing a sweep and becoming the first team to advance in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Gudlevskis, the Lightning’s rookie goalie, entered the game at 5:42 of the second period after starter Anders Lindback gave up his third goal on 20 shots at Bell Centre. If that name sounds familiar, it should: The Lightning goalie nearly pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Winter Olympic history back in February, when his 55-save performance gave eventual Sochi gold medal winner Canada the scare of its tournament in a 2-1 loss for Latvia. Against Montreal in Game 4, Gudlevskis made 16 saves and backstopped a two-goal third-period rally for Tampa Bay to tie the game 3-3, on goals by Victor Hedman and Tyler Johnson. But a late tripping penalty by rookie Cedric Paquette gave Montreal the power play that would end it. Thomas Vanek and P.K. Subban had the assists on Pacioretty’s goal, tucked through the pads of Gudlevskis on a deflected puck. “That’s my first playoff goal in my career,” said Pacioretty, who had 39 goals in the regular season. “Coach has been on me, saying I’ve been playing really well. Sometimes you don’t trust them when you’re not playing well.” He picked the right time to break through. It was the 22nd time in franchise history the Canadiens swept a series, more than any other franchise in pro sports. Carey Price made 20 saves. Danny Briere, Lars Eller and Brendan Gallagher scored for the Habs, who completed a dominating series against the shorthanded Lightning, who were without starting goalie Ben Bishop in the series. Goaltending ultimately wasn’t the issue for Tampa Bay – but team defense was. The Habs scored 16 goals in four games, often looking like they were skating at a different speed than the Lightning. Gallagher scored three goals in the series victory. Subban now has five points. So the last Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup, in 1993 – and the only Canadian team in this year’s tournament – plays on to the Atlantic Division final, where they’ll face the winner of Boston and Detroit’s series. Something tells us the Canadiens would love their crack at the Bruins. As would the rest of the hockey world outside of Detroit.

And then there were 15: Lightning eliminated (NBC Sports)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 18:50:05 PDT)
Tampa Bay hits a wall called Montreal.

WATCH LIVE: San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings (Game 3) (NBC Sports)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 18:39:18 PDT)
Another blowout coming?

WATCH LIVE: New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers (Game 3) (NBC Sports)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 16:14:05 PDT)
Steve Mason backs up Ray Emery for Philly.

WATCH LIVE: Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings (Game 3) (NBC Sports)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 15:42:43 PDT)
Who can take a 2-1 lead?

Playoff primer: Are you ready for some hockey? (Comcast SportsNet Mid Atlantic)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 14:35:22 PDT)
News and notes as the Stanley Cup playoffs continue with four games on tap tonight [times and channels below]:

Montreal police urge fans not to celebrate in streets if Habs sweep (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:43:26 PDT)
It's been six years and a day since the last time the Montreal Canadiens won a playoff series at home. On April 21, 2008, the Eastern Conference champion Habs closed out the Boston Bruins, 5-0, in Game 7 at the Bell Centre. It was a happy day for Montreal fans.  But not so much for Montreal police, who spent the rest of the evening trying to quell a downtown riot. From the CBC: The jubilation degenerated into mayhem around midnight, however, as some hockey fans turned violent. "It started pretty well," police spokesman Const. Laurent Gingras told CBC News Tuesday. "Unfortunately, at a certain point some people gathered on Ste. Catherine Street. A couple fights broke out and police cars were also attacked at that point." In the end, 16 people were arrested, as many police cars were damaged, and the city was left wondering what sort of Hell they had in store if the Canadiens won another round. Fortunately, the Philadelphia Flyers did what the police couldn't, preventing another riot by knocking the Habs out in five games in the second round. But now, the after after the sixth anniversary of that unfortunate evening, the Canadiens have another chance to win a playoff series at the Bell Centre, heading into Tuesday night's Game 4 leading the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-0. And the police would like to remind you that if the Habs take the series, their fans are not to take to the streets . "Our goal is to keep the flow of traffic and keep open streets," said Laurent Gingras, the spokesman for the  Service de police de la Ville de  Montréal.  " This is not to allow people to take the streets.   What we want to avoid, especially, is that people gather in large numbers to celebrate in the streets.   That's our goal." According to Bylaw P-6, which was enacted shortly after the Quebec student protests of 2012, spontaneously  assembly -- "a procession or a crowd for which the location or route has not been communicated" is a public violation.  Good luck enforcing that if the Canadiens win their first home series in six years.   In other words, if you're wondering who the Montreal police are cheering for tonight, it's probably the Lightning. One assumes they would just prefer the Lighting fend off the sweep and get eliminated in Tampa Bay.

Haggerty's Morning Skate: Tuesday, April 22 (Comcast SportsNet New England)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 12:32:33 PDT)
*NHL scoring is down this season, and USA Today hockey scribe Kevin Allen has some good reasons behind the entire situation.*Alan Muir takes the Tampa Bay Lightning to task for risking Steven Stamkos in a playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens after the Bolts forward took a major knee to the side of the head.*Pierre Lebrun has the Los Angeles Kings looking to pick up the pieces after getting decimated by the San Jose Sharks.*Eric Wilbur breaks down Phil Kessel getting lambasted on twitter for saying that nothing is better than night fishing. ...

PHT Morning Skate: Canadiens aiming to sweep Lightning (NBC Sports)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 05:38:39 PDT)
There are four games on tap tonight.

Dose: East Earners (Rotoworld)
(Tue, 22 Apr 2014 03:45:00 PDT)
The latest playoff Dose ponders Eastern Conference playoff players with expiring contracts.

Bruins not worrying about Habs, second round (Comcast SportsNet New England)
(Mon, 21 Apr 2014 16:05:51 PDT)
The divisional rounds have already spurred on plenty of conversation, and the Bruins seem to be one of the test cases given their possible collision course with the arch-rival Montreal Canadiens in the second round. One could make an easy argument that the Bruins couldnt have had a more difficult road in the first two rounds of the playoffs than potentially going through Detroit and Montreal, and that isnt really befitting the team that worked excellently all season to secure the NHLs best record. The Bruins are locked in a first round series tied at 1-1 with the Detroit Red Wings headed back to the Motor City for a pair of games, but the Habs have taken a commanding 3-0 lead on a Tampa Bay Lightning beset by issues and injuries. Ben Bishop going down right before the series started was a killer for the Bolts, and Steven Stamkos was a bit foggy after taking a knee to the head in Game 3 on Sunday night.

Lightning-Canadiens Preview (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 21 Apr 2014 15:41:39 PDT)
When Lars Eller and Rene Bourque are outscoring the team's top line, things are going well for the Montreal Canadiens. But it took until the playoffs for the Canadiens to find the balanced attack they have sought all season. Getting offensive production from all four forward lines has helped them win the opening three games of their first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. ''I can't stress how important it is to have everybody involved, everybody contributing.'' Players who have struggled offensively during the regular season, notably Eller and Bourque, have found new life in the postseason.

What if the NHL changed its home ice format? (Comcast SportsNet Mid Atlantic)
(Mon, 21 Apr 2014 12:30:13 PDT)
On the final day of the regular season, before his team clinched home ice in the first round of the playoffs with a 1-0 shootout victory over the Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper wondered if the NHL would ever consider changing its home and road playoff format. Having home ice is unreal if you win the first two, if you take care of it, Cooper told a small group of reporters at Verizon Center. A little more than a week later, the Lightning are trailing their first-round playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens, three games to none.

Barry Trotz says goodbye; Senators falling apart; MacKinnon in arcade mode (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 21 Apr 2014 11:40:14 PDT)
Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

Time to close loophole in NHL goalie interference rules (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 21 Apr 2014 11:01:56 PDT)
Former NHL referee Kerry Fraser nailed it on his blog about the Tampa Bay Lightning no-goal vs. the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3 of that series, on a play in which it was ruled that Carey Price was interfered with by Alex Killorn. In case you missed it, a refresher on the play. Your browser does not support iframes.   As our own Harrison Mooney noted and Fraser confirmed, referee Francis Charron followed the letter of the law in waving off the goal. Killorn technically interfered twice with Price: The first time on the initial collision and then when he and Price made contact when the Montreal goalie got up and skated to his left. From Rule 69.3: If a goalkeeper, in the act of establishing his position within his goal crease, initiates contact with an attacking player who is in the goal crease, and this results in an impairment of the goalkeeper’s ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed. Again, the letter of the law was followed. It’s just the law itself of garbage. As Fraser writes: Players, coaches, former players and fans don't fully understand the rule application or the standard by which the referees are instructed to enforce rule 69. Until this "loophole" in the rule is closed referee Francis Charron and his colleagues will continue to enforce it in the same manner that we saw last night in Montreal. The NHL needs to come out in support of Francis Charron and the gusty, correct call he made. You did what is not only expected but demanded of you 'kid'. He’s right: It’s a loophole in the goalie interference statute, and Price is one of the netminders that’s taken advantage of it multiple times. From Fraser: Price knows this rule better than most goalies in the NHL and that is why he threw himself into Alex Killorn inside the blue paint. Price has utilized this rule to his advantage on at least three occasions in previous games. Here’s a montage Frasier helped produce for TSN showing previous Price abuses of the rule. Look, we all know why this provision exists: It’s because goalies are coddled by this league. And we all know what the remedy is: a change in the rule book to lessen goalie-instigated interference calls, and having coaches challenges to ensure it’s enforced.

What We Learned: Boston Bruins hypocrisy already dialed up to 11 (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 21 Apr 2014 06:26:19 PDT)
Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it. As if things hadn't gone sideways enough in Boston when Shawn Thornton slew-footed and concussed Brooks Orpik just days after talking about how he's viewed as being almost too honorable -- and in doing so highlighted everything that's awful about this current iteration of the Bruins. As if they needed the help being hated. There was no need at all for Milan Lucic to spear Danny DeKeyser in the nuts. None whatsoever. But that he did it at all shouldn't come as any kind of a surprise because this is Milan Lucic we're talking about here. You'll have to recall that he tried to spear Alexei Emelin in the same spot less than a month ago , and this too was a gutless sneak attack from behind that ended with Lucic casually skating away as though he'd done nothing wrong. In both cases, he was not assessed a penalty because of his diabolical away-from-the-play approach to Dr. Hook-ing his opponents McCrackens, and received no supplementary discipline for the Emelin run-in. He has now been suspended twice in his career, and fined twice. He also intentionally ran into Ryan Miller at 6,000 miles per hour and received no supplementary discipline for reasons that continue to baffle to this day. Which makes his protestations that he doesn't “make a habit” of dirty play, and spearing in particular, and “believe[s] in playing within the rules” a remarkably hot load of garbage. Milan Lucic is a player who has no respect for his opponents. Period. He also happens to be a very good power forward who scores a lot of goals for one of the best teams in the league, and a big guy who can play some very physical hockey. But if he was smaller, or European maybe, or didn't put up the numbers, the amount of times you'd hear “rat” in association with his name around this league would be off the charts. He is a rat, the worst kind of actor in the league because he repeatedly plays to hurt, in the cheapest ways possible, and then pulls an aww shucks attitude whenever he's called to account for it. Which, again, isn't often. And all that leads to a lot of intellectual dishonesty. Any sentence that starts with , “It’s just funny. I never do that, I haven’t done that,” and exactly zero words later concludes, “but unfortunately I’ve done it twice in the last little bit here,” shows an amount of cognitive dissonance that should really be studied by scientists. He also took a moment to note that he too has been on the receiving end of spears like this, saying, “It happens more times than not.” Perhaps only Abraham Zapruder has the video evidence though, because I've never seen any of it. But a lot of the reason for it is that people will turn away from it, and let his continued malfeasance go uncriticized. The NHL Department of Player Safety let this pattern of his getting off lightly continue unabated, when you consider that two separate and escalating spearing incidents (the DeKeyser incident being notably worse than Emelin's) about three weeks apart lost him zero games and just $5,000. For a player making Lucic money ($6 million), that's only about one-sixth of his pay for a single day of work this season. One can't and shouldn't expect any real accountability on the play — if you want to call it that given how far outside the bounds of hockey it fell — to come from his coaches. Maybe during the regular season, but certainly not during the playoffs, when Claude Julien has to swear up and down he never saw the spear, either live or on video, because you gotta have your guy's back. Everyone gets that, even if it does make for an eye-rolling quote. This is also true of the Bruins at large, because any time anyone even looks at them crooked they can't help complaining about it for some time (remember, Lucic was still whining about the alleged Emelin low-bridge that prompted the spear two days on). In a between-periods interview during Game 1, Marchand was already bemoaning the amount of hooking and holding the Red Wings were getting away with. And to their credit, the actual Boston media for once didn't fall all over itself to defend Lucic from those who would call his character into question. There was a lot of calling it a “bad” thing that happened, and someone even said that this kind of play had no place in the game. They were not quite so eager the first time this happened a few weeks back, and instead dutifully nodded in assent when Lucic call Emelin a chicken, as is their wont. But save for one dumbass mouth-breather proselytizing fanboy “Well I played the game, and...” correspondent idiot who said that this is just what happens in playoff hockey (story not linked here for reasons which should be obvious), no one took to the ramparts to dump hot oil on Lucic's detractors as they did for Shawn Thornton. That tells you a lot, in and of itself, about the kind of puke Lucic was on this play. But the condemnations were also lacking, whether because this is just the kind of thing they expect in the playoffs (as the pom-pom waving, bottom-feeding moron suggested), or because this is The Big Bad Bruins we're talking about, or because Lucic is always going to play like this and it won't be a big deal as long as he keeps scoring. Had this been a DeKeyser-on-Lucic spear, instead of the other way around, and there'd only been a small fine doled out by the league, the pearl-clutching about What's Become Of Our Great Sport and what a cheap shot artist yellow-bellied punk DeKeyser is would have been splashed across the front page of every newspaper in the city. Hell, they still talk about what a dirtbag Matt Cooke is every time he finishes an innocuous check, and he's had a clean rap sheet for the last three seasons. The reason for that was intervention. Everyone universally agreed, “Matt Cooke has to change, or he has to go.” That's from the league, his team, and pretty much all observers of the game. Lucic isn't on his level — yet? — but at the same time, how many more of these incidents have to come down the pike before everyone agrees that he has to change his game? Lucic is a good player. But for a guy who says he believes in playing “the right way” (haha) it's really weird that this keeps happening to him, and no one seems to care too much. What We Learned Anaheim Ducks : The Ducks' penalty killing has been pretty damn good in the first two games of their series, but one supposes that you can't go around taking five or six penalties a night and hoping Tyler Seguin doesn't pop in a few. Not when you've won both games by a single goal. Boston Bruins : Did you know Reilly and Brendan Smith are brothers ? And they're playing each other in the playoffs? This has somehow not been mentioned yet in this series. I wonder what their mom thinks! Buffalo Sabres : Headline: “ Girgensons amazed by ‘A’ on jersey .” It's true. “Wow,” he said. “How did it get there? Was it magic?” It was magic! Calgary Flames : Hoo boy. A recent poll found that 82 percent of Flames fans were not disappointed the team didn't get a Top-3 pick this year, and 71 percent think Kari Ramo (he of the .911 save percentage this season and .902 career) is the team's goalie of the future. Carolina Hurricanes : Jeff Skinner and Justin Faulk want to become better leaders next season. See if you can get someone to take that Cam Ward contract and I'll believe it. Be men of action. Chicago Blackhawks : The Blackhawks say they're “ confident ” about their ability to come back after losing the first two games of their series in overtime. Huh, even with Corey Crawford back there and your second-best defenseman suspended? Okay guys. Colorado Avalanche : Here, indeed, is the million-dollar question . Columbus Blue Jackets : I am 100 percent shocked that there wasn't a single F-bomb in the Blue Jackets pile after Matt Calvert got them their first-ever franchise playoff win. That's the biggest surprise in all of this. Dallas Stars : Tyler Seguin bought Mike Modano's mansion for less than $2 million . Hell of a deal. He probably left that much in spare change and bills on the floor of his Swiss apartment. Speaking of which, how much does it cost to have a mansion cleaned regularly? Detroit Red Wings : It really is kind of surprising how little space there's been in this series, isn't it? You'd have thought things would be a lot more free-flowing given the quality of forwards on these two teams, but this is playoff hockey, one supposes. Edmonton Oilers : The Oilers' new arena is going to be 60 percent bigger than Rexall Place? Good lord. Florida Panthers : Panthers prospect Mac Weegar is racking up the points with the Halifax Mooseheads this postseason and one imagines that roughly three-quarters were on defensive-zone passes to Jonathan Drouin that were taken 200 feet and deposited in the back of the net. Los Angeles Kings : I just never want this series to end ever . Minnesota Wild : Yeah Darcy Kuemper probably starting a home playoff game . Surely what the team envisioned back in October. Montreal Canadiens : How badly have things gone for Tampa? Rene Bourque has three goals in as many games against them. Nashville Predators, America's Favorite Hockey Team: A nice experiment while it lasted, but Mike Del Zotto should basically not be back in Nashville next season. New Jersey Devils : What can Devils fans look forward to? Their owner, who also owns the Philadelphia 76ers, recently called the basketball team having won just 19 games this season “ a huge success .” Because they tanked good and hard. Imagine if bad hockey teams were smart enough to realize this is how things should go? What a world we would get to live in. New York Islanders : Would it actually be allowed for the Islanders to keep their first-round pick this year — instead of sending it to Buffalo as per the Thomas Vanek trade — and then move it for a first-rounder next year to cover the lack of pick in a deeper draft? It must be. Garth Snow should do that. New York Rangers : Oh, well then by all means . Ottawa Senators : Matt Kassian is almost certainly on the outs in Ottawa, and apparently the Sens are still looking for a “harder forward that can play the game hard and stick up for his teammates if necessary.” Good idea. How could that go wrong? Philadelphia Flyers : Steve Mason says he wants to start Game 3 . The way Ray Emery played in Game 2, I'm not sure that's the best idea. Phoenix Coyotes : Shane Doan says the Coyotes have a chance to win a Cup within the next few years . C'mon Shane. Pittsburgh Penguins : The speed and finish on this Brian Gibbons goal is something else. San Jose Sharks : Turns out Tomas Hertl and Matt Nieto are great . Who knew? St. Louis Blues : I don't know if you can really call not trying to kill someone when you have a five-minute power play at the end of regulation “ smart ” so much as “obvious.” Tampa Bay Lightning : Sorry, guys, but Ben Bishop's not walking through that door . Toronto Maple Leafs : Right now, Brendan Shanahan is only definitively a good hire for the Maple Leafs insofar as he can't do worse than the current guys. Vancouver Canucks : Alex Burrows is off to Worlds for Canada . So far, 12 of the 20 players named to the team play in Canada, which is a bad sign for that team's chances for success. Washington Capitals : I always forget teams can make trades during the playoffs . Thanks to the Caps and Preds for the reminder. Winnipeg Jets : Now that the Blue Jackets won a postseason game, the Jets/Thrashers are the only franchise in the league to have never picked up a playoff W. Play of the Weekend Which is more impressive on this goal: Nathan MacKinnon's speed, Paul Stastny's no-look pass, or Gabriel Landeskog's finish? Boy oh boy, what a line. Gold Star Award

Stanley Cup Playoffs Three Stars: Pavelski leads Sharks' rout; Bolts on the brink (Puck Daddy)
(Sun, 20 Apr 2014 22:01:09 PDT)
No. 1 Star: Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks Pavelski had a three-point night in the Sharks 7-2 rout of the Los Angeles Kings, picking up a second assist on the Justin Braun goal that stood as the game-winner, then adding a goal and another assist once the Kings fell apart in the third. The Sharks scored four in the final frame: No. 2 Star: Brendan Gallagher, Montreal Canadiens Gallagher capped off a massive momentum shift for the Canadiens versus the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second period, scoring the go-ahead goal not long after Ryan Callahan has his go-ahead goal disallowed. Then in the third, he helped orchestrate a Tomas Plekanec goal which would stand as the game-winner in a 3-2 victory for the Canadiens. Game 4 now becomes our first elimination game of the playoffs. No. 3 Star: Ray Emery, Philadelphia Flyers The Flyers were outshot 33 to 24, but Emery shut the door, making 31 saves to give the Flyers a 4-2 win over the New York Rangers, their first victory as Madison Square Garden in nine tries. Honorable mention:  Steven Stamkos did his best, assisting on both Lightning goals in the loss, the second of which came after he returned from a nasty head hit by Alexei Emelin... Tuukka Rask made 34 saves as the Boston Bruins topped the Detroit Red Wings,  4-1 , and tied their series at one win apiece... Perhaps inspired by the incredible opening sequence at the Bell Centre, Rene Bourque scored just 11 seconds in: Did You Know? Jonathan Quick has had a rough start to these playoffs: Quick allowed 29 goals in 20 games during 2012 Cup run. Has allowed 12 goals in just under five periods so far. Hardly just him though... — Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) April 21, 2014 Dishonorable mention: It's got to be the LA Kings. Quick hasn't been good, but the rest of his team has been overmatched as well. Seven goals allowed in Game 2. Fortunately, now they go home to the Staples Center, where they're usually better. It's hard to imagine them being much worse... This is some rough stuff from Jimmy Howard and Brenden Smith:

Canadiens grab 3-0 series lead with 3-2 win (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 20 Apr 2014 21:23:47 PDT)
The Montreal Canadiens looked as if they would cruise to an easy win when Rene Bourque scored only 11 seconds into the game. But the Canadiens needed a third-period goal from Tomas Plekanec and some fine saves from Carey Price to down the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 on Sunday night and take a 3-0 lead in their NHL Eastern Conference first-round playoff series. The victory gave Montreal a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series with a chance to sweep the Lightning on home ice in Game 4 on Tuesday night. ''We've seen many scenarios in the playoffs and we have to have the same approach for the next game as we had for the last three,'' said Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban, who had a pair of assists.

Canadiens go up 3-0 on Lightning (The SportsXchange)
(Sun, 20 Apr 2014 20:37:46 PDT)
MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens are one step closer to extending their season. Center Tomas Plekanec's early third-period goal stood as the game-winner as the Canadiens took a commanding lead in the Eastern Conference first-round playoff series with a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday night in the Bell Centre. "We've seen many different scenarios in the playoffs and we have to have the same approach for the next game that we've had for the past three games," Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban said of being one win from advancing. Left winger Rene Bourque and right winger Brendan Gallagher also scored for the Canadiens.

Stamkos was ‘good to go’ after second-period injury, says Lightning coach (NBC Sports)
(Sun, 20 Apr 2014 20:28:06 PDT)
Was shaken up after taking a knee to the head.

Shocking: Lightning coach isn’t happy about disallowed goal (NBC Sports)
(Sun, 20 Apr 2014 19:34:09 PDT)
Jon Cooper straddles the line between snarky and careful.

Canadiens push Lightning to brink of elimination with 3-2 win (NBC Sports)
(Sun, 20 Apr 2014 19:09:25 PDT)
Tough breaks for Tampa Bay.

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