Tyler Seguin, Chris Kelly, Dennis Seidenberg, Michael Ryder

Tyler Seguin, Bruins explode in second period, hang on to tie series 1-1

A lot of people watched Tyler Seguin’s astounding four-point second period and wondered what Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien was thinking when he made him a healthy scratch for two rounds. Yet it’s quite possible Seguin benefited from having fresh legs and the motivation to never watch a playoff game in street clothes again. Either way, it’s hard to imagine the second pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft being a healthy scratch again anytime soon.

If ever, really.

Boston 6, Tampa Bay 5; Series tied 1-1

There really wasn’t a dull moment in this game, which surprised many considering the defense-first strategies both teams normally employ. The Lightning will inspire yet another round of “striking fast” puns thanks to Adam Hall’s goal, which happened just 13 seconds into the game. The Bruins dominated most of the first frame and tied it up 1-1, but Steven Stamkos sent a brilliant blind pass to set up a Martin St. Louis 2-1 goal with just seven seconds left.

That goal left the Boston crowd stunned, but it turned out be a prelude to two more dramatic periods.

Tyler Seguin, Bruins chase Dwayne Roloson in the second period

In a second period some might call “The Revenge of the Law of Averages,” the Bruins finally took over Game 2. Obviously, the biggest story was Seguin, who set a single-game playoff record for a teenager with four points (according to Versus). We’ll have more on his special night in a separate post, but if you need a taste of just how special he was, check out this video.

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Seguin wasn’t the only Bruins forward who dominated in the second period, even if he clearly produced his first true star-making moment. Michael Ryder scored two goals himself, for example. Another heartening trend for the Bruins was their improved power play (and, by extension, Tomas Kaberle, who produced two assists). That much-derided unit produced two goals on six opportunities and plenty of shots in the process.

It’s important to note the timely (and difficult) saves made by Tim Thomas. The Lightning received a disturbing amount of (partial or full) breakaway opportunities, but Thomas made some huge saves to maintain what became a 6-3 lead. In keeping with the theme of this crazy game, the game was far from over even if elderly godsend Dwayne Roloson was chased from the Lightning net.

Tampa Bay storms back in third

As Keith Jones pointed out in the post-game recap, the Bruins missed Patrice Bergeron the most when they were trying to hold onto what should have been a secure 6-3 lead in the final frame. Say what you will about this Lightning team, they won’t just slump their shoulders and quit.

They didn’t end up tying the game, but the Bolts can take some momentum going into their home games. Stamkos continued his own excellent night by firing an absolute laser beam over Thomas to make it 6-4, giving his team hope once again.

Dominic Moore ended up making it 6-5 on a bizarre interchange. It seemed like Victor Hedman scored a goal seconds before a wild scrum, but Moore was wise to punch it back in as Thomas was bowled over. Check out footage of that moment below.

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That goal came with almost seven minutes left in the third, so there were plenty of breath-taking moments. If you ask me, the closest the Lightning came when Marc-Andre Bergeron nearly scored on a rebound attempt 16:09 into the third. Thomas ended up stopping it, though, and the Bruins held on for dear life with some resourceful last-minute plays.

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This was a wild and memorable game, so we’ll have a little more on Seguin’s special night and how each team should feel going into Game 3 shortly.

Kesler believes Ducks are ‘too good to not be in the playoffs’

Shane Doan, Ryan Kesler
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It’s been 24 games for the Anaheim Ducks, more than a quarter of the season, and still they’re having trouble winning.

Friday against Chicago, they surrendered two goals in the last two minutes of regulation and lost in overtime.

Currently, the Ducks sit five points out of a playoff spot with a record of 8-11-5.

Still, forward Ryan Kesler is confident they’ll find a way into the postseason.

“If we keep playing like we are, we’re going to get into the playoffs — this team is too good to not be in the playoffs,” Kesler told The Province ahead of tonight’s home game versus Vancouver.

“We had a bad start and, to be honest, some guys weren’t ready to start the season. There’s a lot of hockey to be played and we’re ready for the challenge.”

To match the 45-30-7 record the Flames squeaked into the playoffs with last year, the Ducks would need to go 37-19-2 over their next 58 games.




Depends who you ask.

Anaheim’s playoff chances will depend a lot on how Pacific Division teams like San Jose, Arizona, and Vancouver finish. The Ducks may need to leapfrog two of those three to get in.

Yes, there’s always the chance four teams from the Pacific qualify, because it’s not like Colorado, Winnipeg, and Minnesota don’t have their problems. Even Nashville you have to wonder about lately. Heck, even Chicago isn’t assured of anything yet.

Bottom line, though, the Ducks have dug themselves a hole, and it’s starting to look a lot like the one the Kings dug last year.

In the NHL, even good teams don’t always climb out.

Related: Boudreau does the playoff math, and it’s no ‘easy task’ for Ducks

Video: Ryan Suter doesn’t seem very happy with his coach


As you can see in the video, apparently Ryan Suter doesn’t like being paired with fellow lefty Jonas Brodin.

The Wild defenseman rather openly questioned the coaching staff’s decision-making today after practice.

“Yeah, I don’t know what they’re thinking,” said Suter. “I need to play with a right-handed defenseman. To give me more options. Neutral zone. Offensively. And even coming out of the D zone, it’s not fair to put a guy on his off side.”

Suter didn’t know if the pairings were just for practice or not. The Wild play tomorrow in Chicago. Minnesota has just one win in its last seven games.

Suter also had something to say about that.

“It does no good to pout and get pissed off at each other,” said Suter. “You’ve got to come together and dig out of this. Now’s when you need leadership more than ever. It’s easy to be a coach and a leader when things are going good.”

Yeo, by the way, has not been very happy with the Wild lately.  In fact, one could go so far as to say he’s been acting pretty “pissed off.”

For example, at today’s practice:

The Star Tribune has more on what went down today.

Yeo, you may recall, went a little “nuts” during a Wild practice last season.

Goalie nods: Sparks to make NHL debut for Leafs

Garett Sparks

We already knew this yesterday, but in case you missed it, Garret Sparks will make his NHL debut in goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight against Edmonton.

Sparks, 22, has been excellent in the AHL this season, going 8-2-1 with a .938 save percentage. He spent most of last season in the ECHL, where he also posted good numbers.

Sparks is getting the nod tonight because James Reimer is hurt and Jonathan Bernier has been struggling badly.

“He’s got an opportunity like lots of kids have had before him and it’s up to him to grab it,” Leafs coach Mike Babcock said, per NHL.com. “He’s got the [second-best] save percentage in the AHL and he’s winning all the time down there. Obviously we’re in need of some saves and we’ll have to play well in front of him for sure. But it’s an opportunity for him.”

Bernier, meanwhile, will have to sit and watch. The 27-year-old has allowed at least four goals in four of his last five starts. His save percentage has fallen all the way to .888.

Anders Nilsson will be in net for the Oilers.


Cam Ward for the Hurricanes. Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers, who will try not to rely on him so much.

Semyon Varlamov for the Avs. Thomas Greiss for the Isles.

— The Canucks aren’t saying if it’ll be Ryan Miller of Jacob Markstrom. For the Ducks, it’ll be John Gibson.

Vigneault: ‘After three losses in a row, I think we’ve got everybody’s attention’

Alain Vigneault

Alain Vigneault has maintained for much of the season that the New York Rangers needed to play better.

The head coach said it a week ago, after the Blueshirts had beaten the Predators, 3-0, despite getting outshot, 31-19.

He’d said it a couple of weeks before that, after they’d beaten the Hurricanes in very similar fashion. (Final score: 3-0. Shots: 33-23 for Carolina.)

But as long as the Rangers kept winning, it was tough, according to Vigneault, to get the message across.

“Sometimes, the results might be going your way, so when you’re pointing out certain things, it might be a little bit more challenging for them to understand because the results are so positive,” Vigneault said, per the New York Post.

“But after three losses in a row, I think we’ve got everybody’s attention.”

Derek Stepan‘s injury — he’ll miss 4-6 weeks with broken ribs — has no doubt captured their attention as well. (Oscar Lindberg will center Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast tonight at home to Carolina.)

The Rangers also play Wednesday, in Brooklyn against the Islanders (on NBCSN).