It was Milan Lucic’s homecoming weekend of sorts in Vancouver. The Bruins power forward spent his formative junior hockey seasons playing for the Vancouver Giants in the WHL and while they did their part to honor him, Lucic did his own job in making sure his Bruins made the Vancouver faithful go home unhappy tonight.
Lucic had a goal and two assists in the Bruins 3-1 win over the West leading Canucks. Lucic’s goal turned out to be the game-winner snapping a 1-1 tie with under five minutes to play in the third period. Lucic then assisted on Patrice Bergeron’s empty net goal to ice it. Lucic helped set up Nathan Horton for his 16th goal of the season midway through the second period that tied the game at one. Manny Malhotra notched Vancouver’s lone goal in the first period.
CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty caught up with Lucic afterwards and he was beaming over the win.
“That’s almost a perfect ending to a perfect couple of days in Vancouver for myself. From start to finish it’s been a hell of an experience,” said a beaming Lucic.
Making it all standup, once again, was Bruins goalie Tim Thomas. Thomas made 27 saves on the night including his usual array of incredible stops to make it all stand up in the win column for Boston. Roberto Luongo was less busy on the night stopping 23 shots in the loss.
With the win, the Bruins move to 4-0-0 on their road trip with a game in Edmonton set for Sunday. The Bruins close out their six game swing with a battle in Ottawa on Tuesday. The win also helps the Bruins stay ahead of the Canadiens who are doing their part to stay on the Bruins heels, especially after their 4-3 win over Carolina earlier this evening.
More importantly, the win over Vancouver helps set the tone that the Bruins are, indeed, for real in the Eastern Conference. After all, beating the West’s top team comes with a lot of caché. Vancouver all year long has been the class of the NHL and for Boston to go into Rogers Arena and take out the Canucks says a lot about where they’re at. If the Bruins make a deep run in the playoffs and play for the Stanley Cup, people will look back on this game as the warning signal that they’re for real.
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.