Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens - Game Six

Canadiens hold on to force Game 7 tomorrow, beat Bruins 2-1

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It can’t be a Bruins-Canadiens game in Montreal without massive amounts of controversy. Tonight’s game provided enough from all angles to keep tinfoil hat wearers for both teams busy for the next year. In spite of all that, the Canadiens pulled a 2-1 win out in Game 6 to force a Game 7 tomorrow night in Boston.

The controversy began three minutes into the game when an apparent goal by Brian Gionta after a big rebound from Tim Thomas (25 saves) was put home for an apparent goal. The problem being that referee Kevin Pollock had blown the play dead after losing sight of the puck from his position on the opposite side of Thomas and the puck. Upon blowing the play dead, Habs fans at the Bell Centre littered the ice with rally towels and rained boos down on the call.

The Habs would be undeterred though as Mike Cammalleri would make it count at 10:07 of the first period on the power play to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead. The Habs would hold that lead until the second period when at 48 seconds in, Dennis Seidenberg would even things up slipping one past Carey Price (31 saves) to tie it up.

That lead would be short lived as Milan Lucic would provide more of the night’s controversy after boarding Jaroslav Spacek at 4:37 of the second. Lucic would receive a five minute major and a game misconduct. Patrice Bergeron would make the situation worse after getting a delay of game penalty for putting the the Habs on a 5-on-3 power play. There, Brian Gionta would score to put the Habs up for good 2-1.

The third period would roll along in classic Habs style with the Canadiens frustrating the Bruins and the Bruins unable to fight through and get the equalizer. Montreal’s win now forces a winner-take-all Game 7 tomorrow night in Boston to see who moves on to the second round.

For Montreal it was a classic game for them. They scored first (twice even!) and put the pressure on the Bruins to fight back all night long. When the Bruins evened it up, they were able to put them back in a hole right afterwards with a little help from Lucic. The Canadiens will want to do more of that in Game 7 to make the Bruins sweat it out.

For Boston, they have to do something with their power play. It’s a dire situation for them on the man advantage as they’ve still not scored on the power play in the playoffs. If the Bruins want to get out of this series, nevermind winning the Cup, they have to figure out what’s wrong there and get Tomas Kaberle going.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

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After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.

Islanders believe Boyle should be suspended for hit before OT goal

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Thomas Hickey is involved in a controversial hit, yet the greater debate may revolve around the one he received rather than the one he delivered.

In the second period, the New York Islanders defenseman connected for a thunderous hit on Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin, which sidelined Drouin for a chunk of Game 3.

Many believe that hit was legal:

The Islanders are upset about the Brian Boyle hit on Hickey in overtime, which came moments before Boyle scored the game-winning goal. You can see the full sequence here, with the hit happening around the 50-second mark:

Islanders head coach Jack Capuano believes that it was a suspension-worthy hit.

You’re not going to believe this, but the Lightning disagree.

Boyle clearly didn’t receive a penalty on that sequence, yet one would imagine that the league will at least take a look at that hit.

Lightning take dramatic OT win vs. Islanders, go up 2-1 in series

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Brian Boyle was part of the fight before Game 3 even started … and then he ended it in overtime.

In a Tampa Bay Lightning win in which they just kept rolling with the New York Islanders’ punches, it only seems fitting that Boyle battled to land a big hit and then score the clinching goal for a 5-4 overtime victory.

This gives the Lightning a 2-1 series lead heading into Game 4.

Also fitting? Boyle landed a big hit on Thomas Hickey, the guy who sidelined Jonathan Drouin for a chunk of this contest.

That sequence prompted a brief goal review, but it ultimately stood:

(Was that Boyle hit on Hickey dirty, by the way?)

Drama was in the air from the beginning, yet Drouin really stole the show when he came back from what some believe was a concussion to assist on Nikita Kucherov‘s last-minute goal, which sent the game to overtime.

In some ways, this win feels like a microcosm of the Lightning’s season. They keep getting hit in the mouth with injuries and near-injuries, yet they just won’t stay down.

The Islanders saw three leads disappear in this contest, but one would think that they won’t roll over, either.