Just as hopeful as it seemed for the Washington Capitals getting out of Round 1, their fate in Round 2 is equally as quick and stunning as the Tampa Bay Lightning swept the top seed in the Eastern Conference out of the playoffs with a 5-3 win at home.
Once again it would be Sean Bergenheim and Dwayne Roloson standing out as the heroes for Tampa Bay as Bergenheim scored two goals while Roloson stopped 33 Capitals shots in Game 4 to secure the victory.
Bergenheim’s two goals came in the second period to give the Lighting a 3-1 lead and while John Erskine would score for Washington to cut the lead to 3-2 heading into the third. In the third though, Marc-Andre Bergeron and Martin St. Louis would score to make it 5-2 and ice the game. A late John Carlson goal would make it 5-3 but it was all over.
Tampa Bay’s sweep of Washington is stunning because they didn’t just win, they won both convincingly and heart-breakingly for Capitals fans. Close games or blowouts like tonight, Tampa just found ways to get it done. Whether it was high skill or big breaks everything went the way of the Lightning.
It wasn’t just all that that made them quick winners over the Caps, it was a frustrating and stifling defensive plan that found ways to to make everyone except Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble wither under the stress. Whether it was poor planning on the part of the Caps, poor countering, or just flat out poor play it’s a fourth straight disappointing end to the season for the Caps.
Getting swept out of this round by a team they ultimately should have beaten will leave lots of questions going into the offseason and most of them will center around Bruce Boudreau and whether or not he should continue to be the head coach. GM George McPhee will also have to answer a lot of questions about his own roster as well as there were a lot of players out on the ice in this series that looked like they’d rather be anywhere but there.
Tampa Bay’s incredible run continues on. After being pushed to the brink against Pittsburgh being down 3-1 at one point in that series, the Lightning have now won seven straight in the playoffs and now they’ll await the winner of the Boston-Philadelphia series to see who they’ll face in the Eastern Conference final. The Lightning are tough, they’re getting offense from three lines, and Dwayne Roloson is playing awfully tough. Whoever faces them in the next round is going to have their hands full.
Last week, the Flames stated they would no longer pursue a new arena in Calgary after two years of discussions with the city.
On Monday, Flames president and CEO Ken King said the organization is now receiving funds as part of the National Hockey League’s revenue sharing.
He said the team used to be among the top 10 revenue-earning teams in the NHL who, under the league’s revenue-sharing agreement, contribute funds to the lower-earning teams.
“We have now crossed the line. We are now receivers. We’ll get a cheque this year. Isn’t that ridiculous, in this beautiful market?” he said.
“And I can say, sadly, that we have crossed one of the remedies off the list, and that is the new facility. I honestly do not know where that part of the story is going to end.”
He also stated that the organization’s decision to publicly state it will no longer pursue a new arena in Calgary was not political posturing.
The Flames currently play out of the Saddledome, which is 34 years old and has drawn criticism from the team, as well as NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
Last week, the Flames released a report online and in local newspaper advertisements, saying they were prepared to contribute $275 million in funding toward a new arena. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi responded, saying there were some “errors of omission” in what the Flames released.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has issued another two-game preseason suspension, this time to Andrew Desjardins of the New York Rangers.
The incident occurred during the first period of Saturday’s game between the Rangers and New Jersey Devils, as Desjardins delivered a hit to the head of Miles Wood.
Desjardins received a match penalty for an illegal check to the head, and a two-game preseason ban on Monday.
“Desjardins, looking to prevent Wood from cutting to the front of the net, steps in front of Wood and delivers a high hit, which makes the head the main point of contact on a hit where such head contact was avoidable,” stated the Department of Player Safety in a video explanation.
“It is important to note that Wood is eligible to be hit on this play, provided it is done in a legal manner. However, rather than taking an angle of approach that results in a legal, full-bodied check, Desjardins takes an angle of approach that picks Wood’s head, making it the main point of contact.”
The Rangers are in action right now versus the Philadelphia Flyers. They have one game remaining on their preseason schedule after tonight, as they take on the Flyers again tomorrow.
Desjardins was attending Rangers camp on a professional tryout.
Tough night for the Ottawa Senators and, specifically, goaltender Mike Condon on Monday.
Playing the New Jersey Devils in the Kraft Hockeyville showcase in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Condon allowed seven goals on 17 shots before the midway point of the second period.
Andrew Hammond then entered into the game for Ottawa, with the Senators down 7-0.
Marcus Johansson started the scoring onslaught for New Jersey. Nico Hischier gave the Devils a three-goal lead before the eight-minute mark of the opening period, and John Quenneville scored twice in less than 30 seconds to put New Jersey up by seven in the second period.
The Vegas Golden Knights have chosen an interesting way to honor their season ticket members, as the organization inches closer to starting its inaugural NHL regular season.
The Golden Knights will, for the first time, play on their home ice at T-Mobile Arena on Tuesday against the L.A. Kings in preseason action. To commemorate this historic season, the organization will embed the names of its season ticket members into the ice surface at their home arena.
(You can check out the video here. Very cool.)
“That it was feasible, if we wanted to do something special on the ice, that we had the ability to put texture to something on the ice, before the laid the last round of it,” said Todd Pollock, Golden Knights vice-president of ticketing and suites.
“It’s in the thousands, the number of names out there. Many thousands.”
The Golden Knights have played four preseason games so far — all on the road. They open the regular season with two games in two nights on the road, on Oct. 6 versus the Dallas Stars and the following night versus the Arizona Coyotes. They return to Vegas for their home opener against the Coyotes on Oct. 10.