Anaheim Ducks v New York Islanders

NHL refused Islanders request to postpone tonight’s game because of blizzard

With the northeast part of the country being hammered by a winter storm and blizzard-like conditions a couple of tonight’s games were put directly in danger because of the weather. Games in New Jersey and Long Island are being affected by the weather and the Islanders sought to get their game against the Montreal Canadiens postponed for the sake of fan safety.

With both teams already in Long Island and ready to play, the NHL thought differently on things and rejected the team’s request. Katie Strang of New York Newsday has the details.

Chief Deputy County Executive Rob Walker told Newsday that he discussed the situation with NHL executive Colin Campbell and advised the league disciplinarian to postpone the game.

“The most important thing for us is to ensure that roads are passable for public safety. We asked Nassau County residents to stay home unless it was an emergency. To have people out of their homes at 7 p.m. didn’t feel prudent at this time,” Walker said. “[Campbell] said he understood the issues and would have to discuss the situation with [NHL commissioner Gary Bettman].”

Traditionally the league decides to postpone a game based on the recommendation of the home team, but decided otherwise Sunday.

Although they declined to comment for this story, it is believed the league made it’s ruling because both teams arrived safely and were available to play and because no State of Emergency was declared for Nassau County.

It’s not particularly surprising that the league denied the Islanders’ request, but it certainly doesn’t reflect well on the league to put fans in potential danger having them travel to the game. The NFL postponed tonight’s game in Philadelphia between the Eagles and Vikings because of the snowstorm, but rescheduling an NFL game for two days later is easier than picking out an open date later on for two NHL teams. It makes sense that the NHL made the call they did, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right one.

Fortunately, most fans are staying away from the game to be safe anyhow and the Isles are at least making good on their tickets for fans that missed out. The Islanders are giving fans that had tickets to tonight’s game the opportunity to exchange their tickets from tonight to use in other games this year, including games against the Rangers and Penguins. Apparently attendance is much more of an issue than they let on in New York.

The New Jersey Devils were in the same boat tonight as well but apparently didn’t seek to get the game postponed nor has there been any announcement about reimbursing fans who were snowed out of going to Newark for the game.

Update: Tonight’s attendance on Long Island: 3,136. Safe to say that perhaps postponing tonight’s game might’ve been a good idea as this attendance is even poor by Islanders standards.

Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

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Hot take: the Pittsburgh Penguins probably won’t deal with a goalie controversy going into Game 7.

(Ugh, that’s a failed hot take … you can’t use “probably” in those things, right?)

Matt Murray was fantastic at times during Game 6, much like his counterpart in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s net in a 5-2 win. Granted, there were some tense moments during the Bolts’ late-game push:

Much has been made about experience, especially from those calling for Marc-Andre Fleury earlier in this series. It’s telling that the praise Murray draws sure sounds like what you’d expect from a “veteran.”

“He has a calming influence,” Sullivan said. “He doesn’t get rattled. If he lets a goal in, he just continues to compete. That’s usually an attribute that usually takes years to acquire that, and to have it at such a young age is impressive.”

Thanks in part to Murray’s efforts in Game 6, he’ll get a chance to prove his resolve in something new: a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final.

Once again, his teammates seem pretty confident in this elimination situation.

Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

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The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

Read more about Game 6 here.

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

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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.

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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.