Seabrook's injury continues awful week for Chicago

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seabrook.jpgThe last week has been a nightmare for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Those ever-present questions about their goaltending reared their ugly head again. The weekend saw the young, talented team blow two third period leads in two days. They are now on a rare three game losing streak after a 4-2 loss against the Ducks that saw more than a few questionable calls by officials (seriously, how could Corey Perry get away with checking Brent Sopel from behind while the puck was in the air … a check that opened things up for Saku Koivu’s game winner?).

Still, those blows are of the temporary sort and are largely emotional.

Longer term problems may come in the form of injuries to their defensemen. As we know, Brian Campbell will miss the rest of the regular season and likely a big chunk (if not all of) the playoffs after Sunday’s hit from Alex Ovechkin. Kim Johnsson has missed the last two games with “an upper body injury.” Now, the Chicago Tribune reports that Brent Seabrook is day-to-day because of an unacceptable hit from James Wisniewski.


Wisniewski – a former member of the Blackhawks – administered the hit soon after Seabrook had hit Corey Perry. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville was understandably upset about it. Here’s his quote from a story in the Tribune.

“There are certain hits in a game that are tolerable if you have the puck,” a visibly angry Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “(If) you hit a guy without the puck you can kill a guy. It’s the most dangerous hit in the history of the game. He tried to hurt him. That’s as a bad a hit as you can ever have in the game.”

Seabrook has had concussion problems already this season, so it remains to be seen if he misses a considerable amount of time. ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers reports that defenseman-turned-forward Dustin Bfyuglien moved back to his former position last night, so perhaps the Blackhawks will benefit from not trading the rugged player after all.

Still, if Seabrook misses significant amounts of time, that is two of the team’s top four defensemen, lost in one week. Things are not looking good for the Hawks right now.

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

TAMPA, FL - MAY 24:  Kris Letang #58 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates with his teammates Sidney Crosby #87 after scoring a goal against Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Jason Behnken/Getty Images)
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The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

What if that offside goal counted?

Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

***

Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

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With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.

Video: Phil Kessel displays incredible hand-eye coordination on goal

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This has been a tough postseason for Phil Kessel haters.

The supposed “choker” is on a team that’s in the Eastern Conference Final, but Kessel obviously isn’t just in for the ride with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He scored his 18th point in 17 postseason games by scoring the 1-0 goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6.

(Watch that goal in the video above.)

It was a dramatic first period, with a Jonathan Drouin goal getting disallowed and Andrei Vasilevskiy making some huge saves on tough chances.

Can Pittsburgh protect this slim lead with 1-0 down one period? We’ll see, but either way, what a great postseason for Kessel.

Update: Here’s the goal Kessel accidentally “scored” for the Lightning:

Ouch.

Judge for yourself: Was Drouin’s would-be 1-0 goal offside?

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To start the seemingly pivotal stretch, Andrei Vasilevskiy made an outstanding save on Evgeni Malkin on what sure looked like a scary chance.

The play swiftly shifted from the Tampa Bay Lightning’s end to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ side of the ice, and it seemed like Jonathan Drouin scored a big 1-0 goal in Game 6.

As it turns out, the goal was disallowed thanks to an offside goal review.

Here are a few viewpoints on that moment in GIF form … you can get a fuller view via the video above.

The general feeling among those who don’t have a horse in the race is that it was the right call. (Lightning fans were, uh, not happy.)