After losing a back-and-forth Game 3 in tough fashion, the Ducks needed to step up and do a little bit more to help their struggling goaltending with Ray Emery. Tonight they got a Herculean effort out of Corey Perry who scored a shorthanded goal and added two assists to lead the Ducks to a 6-3 win over Nashville and tie the series at 2-2.
The Ducks got surprising offense as well from Cam Fowler and Brandon McMillan who each added a goal and an assist while Teemu Selanne scored his fifth goal of the playoffs. Emery made 19 saves to get the win while the Ducks were able to chase Pekka Rinne after McMillan’s goal in the third period made it 6-3.
For Anaheim, the win is huge not just in the sense that they tie up the series but also in that they get Bobby Ryan back from suspension in Game 5. While their defense was able to tighten things up a little bit, one thing they have done is shown that Pekka Rinne is very much a mortal goaltender.
The Ducks have done quite well to score on Rinne and make the Predators tough defense look unable to handle the load. Whatever’s happened to Rinne and the rest of the defense needs to be remedied somehow if Nashville wants to win their first playoff series.
What we expected to see in this series was a clash between an offensively tough team like Anaheim and a defensive juggernaut like Nashville. The latter half of that hasn’t shown up yet and if that continues to be the case, the Predators are in big trouble.
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.