As we gear up in the final minutes before tonight’s game between the
Penguins and Canadiens, Jaroslav Halak’s incredible performance against
the Capitals is still fresh in all of our minds.With two series in the
first round going to a Game 7, there’s been a fast turnaround to the
next round as the Habs will be playing just two days after eliminating
It seems that the quick transition would be good
for Halak, as there’s not exactly an abnormal delay between games for
him. Goaltenders get into zones and there’s no doubting that Halak found
himself in one this past week, With just one day off between games, he
gets a rest without the pressure of trying to stay focused across a
number of days; he just keeps on keeping on with what’s been working,
taking the ice once again with his team on his back.
the Penguins are expecting for Halak to crack at some point. After all,
this level of play is unsustainable Penguins goaltender coach Gilles
“Could be those three games, could be longer,” Meloche told the
Post-Gazette. “I don’t believe you can keep that up for a period of 10,
15, 20 games — not if you keep giving up the kind of chances they gave
up (against Washington).”
You have to wonder if motivation will be a factor for Halak. While
the motivation to win will always be there, this is a goaltender who was
basically laughed at by the Capitals (and the hockey community) after
games 2 and 3. He turned the series into a personal assault on Ovechkin
and this Capitals, playing with an incredible heavy chip on his shoulder
as he set out to prove everyone wrong.
Well, he’s done that much. Now he has to find a way to keep at the
level he was at just days later.
As if Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final couldn’t get any more dramatic, it has — Tampa Bay captain Steve Stamkos, who hasn’t played since Mar. 31, will make his playoff debut against the Penguins tonight.
Stamkos underwent vascular surgery in early April to correct a blood clotting issue, and has remained on blood thinners ever since. While there’s been no confirmation he’s off medication, he did tell Sportsnet he’d be able to return to the lineup once he was.
Stamkos reiterated that he’s still on the same prescription of blood thinners he was given earlier this month. He takes a 12-hour dosage, twice a day, and it has been suggested to him that once he is cleared to stop taking the medication, Stamkos conceivably could return to the Lightning lineup almost immediately.
That’s why I’m trying to stay in shape,” he said.
Per NHL.com, Stamkos took the warmup and participated in line rushes centering Ondrej Palat and Ryan Callahan.
It’s been exactly eight weeks since Stamkos played his last game. At the time of his diagnosis, the Lightning said his timetable for recovery was 1-3 months.
To say his return will be a boost is a major understatement. Aside from the emotional factor, Stamkos led the Bolts in goals this year, with 36, and would presumably spark a power play that’s gone just 2-for-12 in the series.
Steve Stamkos took the team bus to tonight’s Eastern Conference Game 7 in Pittsburgh. As TVA noted, it was the first time he’s arrived early for a game in these playoffs.
In his pregame presser, Bolts head coach Jon Cooper refused to answer any questions about Stamkos’ availability.
And then Stamkos took the warmup.
As such, the drama surrounding Tampa Bay’s captain has reached an all-time high. Stamkos, who’s been out of the lineup since early April due to blood clots, looks as though he’s on the verge of an emotional comeback as the Lightning try to win an ECF Game 7 — on the road — for a second consecutive season.
“If Stamkos is in the lineup, it’s our best foot forward,” Cooper said. “If he’s not in the lineup, it’s because he wasn’t eligible to play.”
No word if No. 91 is still on the blood thinning medication he’s been taking since undergoing vascular surgery on Apr. 4.
EDINA, Minn. (AP) Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise has been rehabilitating his back injury without surgery, putting him on track to be at full strength by September.
Parise said Thursday he’s “happy with the way everything’s going.” He said he’s been able to work out as he normally does during the summer, despite missing the playoffs because of the injury.
Parise said there’s “no question” he’ll be ready to play for Team USA in the World Cup of Hockey tournament.
Parise joined teammates Erik Haula, Jason Pominville, Nate Prosser, Jared Spurgeon and Jason Zucker at an autograph signing to raise money for people affected by the wildfires in Alberta. The parents of Spurgeon’s wife, Danielle, lost their home to a fire in the Edmonton area.