Lindy Ruff

Today’s war of words: Lindy Ruff vs. Mike Richards

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It seems like everyone’s got something to say in the series between Buffalo and Philadelphia. Ryan Miller has been busy chirping not only the media but his old friend and teammate Daniel Briere. Briere has been saving his shots for the officials after a Game 4 loss to Buffalo. Now you can add Sabres coach Lindy Ruff and Flyers captain Mike Richards to the list of combative speakers.

Earlier today, Ruff spoke out to the media and blew up about how the Flyers were upset about the five-minute major given to captain Mike Richards for elbowing Patrick Kaleta and Ruff is frankly tired of hearing about.

Given that Lindy Ruff strikes us as the sort of guy that doesn’t have a high tolerance for complaining in the first place, hearing him snap off today doesn’t surprise us in the least.

“I just feel that they’re doing a lot of whining,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said at his Thursday press conference. “They’re really doing a lot of whining.

“I didn’t hear any whining when they had 10 power plays in Philly, and I didn’t hear any whining when the power plays in the first game were lopsided. But all of a sudden there’s all this whining about, ‘We’re getting away with murder.’

“That’s a bunch of crap. That’s for the media. That’s for the officials to read. That’s, ‘Here, let’s get the next call.’ That’s a bunch of crap. Let’s just play.”

Simmer down now big Lindy, Mike Richards had a few words of his own he wanted to get off his chest about what you said. Consider hostilities to be elevated between these two.

“That’s fine, that’s fine, we’re focused on tomorrow night,” Richards said of Ruff’s remark. “He seems to have a way with the media.

“He does this, I think, every time they’re in the playoffs. We’re just focused on tomorrow night, getting a good start and getting our licks in on some of their good players and not worry about the other stuff.”

Shots fired and shots returned.

The craziest part of all this is that both sides have a point. Everyone is politicking to get things to go their way and in this series, both teams have been running afoul of the rules a lot. The Sabres have been hit for 30 penalties so far in the playoffs, tied with Anaheim for most in the playoffs. Philadelphia isn’t too far behind them with 28 penalties of their own.

The problem for Philly has been they’ve been poor at converting on the power play scoring just 9.5% of the time while the Sabres have had a lot more success comparatively scoring on 15.8% of their power plays. Those marks aren’t outstanding given the sample size of games in the playoffs, but they’ve been giving each other enough opportunities to score while up a man (or two) that both sides should probably just shut up and play.

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.