Seen Stamkos? Before today’s Game 5 if you said you had seen Steve Stamkos you’d be a bad liar. Today changed all of that as Stamkos scored twice to help the Lightning blow out the Pittsburgh Penguins 8-2 and force a Game 6 back in Tampa on Monday.
Stamkos wasn’t the only two-goal scorer in this game as Simon Gagne and Pavel Kubina each scored twice while Vincent Lecavalier and Dominic Moore each added a goal of their own while Dwayne Roloson was able to play it cool and saving 31 shots to help Tampa draw to within 3-2 in the series.
The Lightning were able to blitz the Penguins and starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for four goals in the first 25 minutes of the game chasing Fleury after making just 10 saves on 14 shots. Brent Johnson would relieve him and fare no better allowing four goals on 11 shots. While the Lightning have struggled to score goals and generate shots in this series, they found the net in a big way with help from the power play as the Lightning went 4-7 on the man advantage.
The biggest development in this game aside from the win for the Lightning was the breakout games for Stamkos and Gagne. Both guys have been silent all series and with how streaky both guys are as goal scorers, the Penguins should be a bit worried about seeing both guys find the net twice this afternoon. Stamkos also added an assist to make it a three point game for him and if he’s found his way, the Penguins have another offensive wizard to worry about. Amazingly enough, the Lightning’s best player in the playoffs, Martin St. Louis, was kept out of the net but still assisted on two goals.
For Pittsburgh, getting blown out this badly doesn’t sting as bad the way a one-goal loss or an overtime loss would feel. After the game gets to 5-0 or, in this case, 7-0 at one point you let it all roll off your back and start to think ahead to the next game. Getting blown out, while appearing impressive, doesn’t sit and fester in a player’s mind as badly. The Penguins felt very comfortable playing in Tampa Bay for Games 3 and 4 and won both of them. Expect them to be equally on point in Game 6. Marc-Andre Fleury won’t get eaten alive in Game 6 again and the Penguins will make sure not to be as reckless with the penalties or their power play.
In other words, re-rack it for Monday night in Tampa and let’s see it again. The key now is whether or not Stamkos and Gagne’s offensive spark today is what the doctor ordered for the Lightning to press forward through this series.
You know, it happens. Maybe not always in those exact words.
The Washington Capitals carried the play during portions of their 3-2 Game 1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and even down 1-0 in the series, just about every player seemed happy with their overall game.
(Granted, Braden Holtby picked apart two of the three goals he allowed, and so on.)
Still, Alex Ovechkin shrugged off the disappointment in a way that wasn’t quite Rated R, but probably ranks in the PG-13 range:
The penalty element is interesting, though.
When asked after the loss about the lack of power plays, Matt Niskanen merely offered a “no comment.”
The Penguins experienced some sprawling moments, yet they avoided taking a penalty each time. Often, when a team carries long sequences of play, they’ll go on the PP (especially with home-ice advantage) … but not the Capitals in Game 1.
via Natural Stat Trick
It’s a situation to watch as the Capitals hope to even the series against the Penguins with Game 2 coming on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. (You can watch online, via the NBC Sports App and follow the livestream here).
It’s just about a consensus that the Washington Capitals believed that they generally played a strong game despite falling 3-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Braden Holtby‘s teammates likely wouldn’t agree with his assessment that the Game 1 loss is on his shoulders, but the perennial Vezina candidate took the blame for Sidney Crosby‘s first goal of the night and Nick Bonino‘s game-winner.
Noting that the Penguins are a dangerous rush team – making them a different threat than the Toronto Maple Leafs – Holtby believes that he should have had his glove in position to stop the 1-0 goal. He said he’s capable of making such a stop and “will next time.” Check out Crosby’s two goals below, with Holtby having a beef with the first one:
It’s really difficult to place too much blame on Holtby for giving up Nick Bonino’s game-winner, as it seemed like a great rush play that few goalies would be able to stop.
Judge for yourself in the highlights:
The Penguins were ultimately able to take a 1-0 series lead, but the Capitals seem capable of shrugging off questions about frustrations, even with naysayers starting to gain confidence in claiming that there will be more than the same.
If Washington’s going to get over this big hurdle, Holtby is likely to be a big part in doing so.
The Pittsburgh Penguins pulled off a 3-2 Game 1 win against the Washington Capitals, but Thursday’s thriller probably prompted a sigh of relief.
(Washington, meanwhile, might have uttered a sigh at such unpleasantly familiar feelings.)
The first period ended 0-0 in part thanks to Jake Guentzel‘s sprawling “kick save.” Business really picked up in the second after Sidney Crosby raced off to two quick goals, only for Alex Ovechkin to give Washington a shot thanks to a booming goal and some physical play.
It sure felt like this one might head to overtime, especially after Evgeny Kuznetsov was tying things up and flapping his arms like wings. That was not to be, however, as Nick Bonino took advantage of a pretty area pass to beat Braden Holtby for the decisive tally.
Now, it was only decisive because Marc-Andre Fleury was at the top of his game. Oh, and also because the Penguins did a collective Guentzel impression in frantically denying a tying tally.
Makes you want to wipe some sweat from your brow, eh?
The Capitals dominated by just about every statistical measure … except, of course, goals on the scoreboard. Pittsburgh will gladly take that 1-0 series lead, then.
Expect a desperate Washington team in Game 2, which airs at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday. You can watch it online and via the NBC Sports App (click here for the livestream link).
Swedish superstars Henrik Lundqvist and Erik Karlsson were both stupendous in Game 1 between the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators.
Still, it was Karlsson’s game-winning goal (from a seemingly impossible angle) against Lundqvist that made the difference as the Senators beat the Rangers 2-1 on Thursday. With that, the Senators are up 1-0 in the series.
That Karlsson goal really deserves a special look.
Whether you blame that 2-1 tally on Lundqvist or not, the Rangers would be foolish to do anything but praise their red-hot franchise goalie. He stopped all 21 Senators shots in the first period and ultimately made 41 out of 43 stops in defeat.
Craig Anderson was strong in his own right, mind you, stopping 34 out of 35 shots (including all 28 at even-strength) to help Ottawa take that tight contest.
Anderson’s strong play highlights the fact that Rangers – Senators doesn’t merely come down to Lundqvist vs. Karlsson … but even so, both Swedish superstars really did stand out in this one.
Game 2 airs on NBC at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App; click here for the livestream link.