Game 3 in a series is almost always a big one. Either a team can seize control of the series and put a team on the brink of elimination or they can seize momentum for at least a day or two and make their opponents sweat things out on the way to Game 4. Tonight’s Game 3 between Boston and Tampa Bay sees the latter come into effect as both sides have come out swinging in the Eastern Conference finals. With the series shifting to Tampa Bay tonight, the Lightning will hope that their run of great play at home will continue.
Boston @ Tampa Bay – 8 p.m. ET (Versus) – Series tied 1-1
Boston comes into Game 3 with Patrice Bergeron looking to make his first appearance of the series and hoping to give the Bruins the edge at forward they were hoping to find all along. With Tyler Seguin doing his part and lighting things up through the first two games (three goals, six points in all) getting Bergeron into the mix would make the Bruins more than formidable across three lines worth of talent. While Milan Lucic has sat out the last two morning skates for the Bruins he’s good to go and will be hoping to make his first line with David Krejci and Nathan Horton more of an offensive force than they have been.
Both the Lightning and Bruins have some things to work on in tonight’s game and while we doubt there’ll be another goalfest like we had in Game 2, Tampa Bay will be hoping they can get a solid bounce back game from Dwayne Roloson. Roloson gave up six goals in Game 2 before being lifted in favor of Mike Smith. Roloson is prone to have games like this on occasion but he always comes back improved the following game. Tampa will need that from him tonight as they’ve been continuing to bring tons of offense to the playoffs scoring five goals in both Game 1 and Game 2.
Expect to see the Lightning’s top three lines to get things rolling even more on home ice and look for Guy Boucher to get the right lines out there against Boston to try and stir things up. Tampa’s been solid throughout the playoffs and while they rattled off eight wins in a row in the postseason and a let down can be expected at some point, Tampa will have to tighten things up to make sure it doesn’t turn into a losing streak.
Expect tonight’s affair to be as harsh and tough checking as it’s been all playoffs as we’re betting Boucher and Claude Julien put their teams to the task to get better defensively. Tampa Bay’s found ways to counter all strategies so far through the playoffs and they’ll need to do it again tonight. While the focus is on Seguin, we’ll be watching Steve Stamkos to see if the goal he got in the third period in Game 2 is what the doctor ordered to get his game rolling again.
Optimism won’t come as easily for Lightning after ugly loss to Canucks
They were able to find the bright side of recent troubles, but what do you really say after a 5-1 loss to the struggling Vancouver Canucks?
The Lightning have lost two straight, six of seven and seven of nine during a deeply worrisome run. While they did generate more shots on goal tonight, they’ve now given up at least 30 in all but three of their contests since the start of November.
If the playoffs began today, the Lightning would easily miss them.
“It’s time for us to step up here,” Ben Bishop said after a game in which he was pulled heading into the third period. “Nobody is going to feel bad for us.”
Blame it on injuries if you’d like, but Steven Stamkos isn’t coming back anytime soon. If they don’t get things back together, they won’t be playing for much once he can return.
#tblightning Cooper: "I don't even remember losing games by four goals. Ever. Maybe one a year. Now we're losing them once a week."
One team just can’t be denied. At times, the other team just can’t seem to defend.
It was a pretty wild one between the Edmonton Oilers and the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night, with the ultimate result being a 6-5 win for the Flyers.
The ride was bumpy, dramatic and will probably provide Oilers head coach Todd McLellan with a lot of “teaching moments” (or, let’s be honest, reasons to yell really loud).
Things started promising enough for the Oilers, who built an early 2-0 lead thanks to a goal and an assist by Leon Draisaitl. You could then cue the horror music, as the Flyers scored three goals in a minute and 12 seconds to grab a brief 3-2 lead:
There might be some concern about a young team like the Oilers cratering from such a letdown, yet they bounced back … to an extent.
Edmonton rattled off three unanswered goals, giving them a 5-3 lead about five minutes into the third period. It seemed like it would be a redemptive moment after that three-goal blunder.
The Oilers? They didn’t even get what sometimes feels like a customary “charity point” by getting to overtime. Three isn’t a magical number for Edmonton lately, as they’ve now lost three in a row. It’s probably safe to say that this one will burn the most.
Avalanche beat Bruins, even as Pastrnak remains almost unstoppable
David Pastrnak is scoring at an astounding pace. Sometimes it’s still not enough to earn a win for the Boston Bruins.
The 20-year-old wunderkind scored both of the Bruins’ goals on Thursday, giving him a patently absurd 18 in 23 games. Pastrnak now has five goals in his last three games (not to mention a five-game point streak with those five goals and two assists).
Calvin Pickard was perfect against Bruins not named Pastrnak, however, and the Colorado Avalanche beat Boston 4-2.
Perhaps part of the problem was that the Bruins “other” MVP wasn’t in action, then. Tuukka Rask has been right up there with the NHL’s best, but it was Anton Khudobin in net, and he gave up four goals on just 22 shots.
Rather than taking a step up the ladder, Pastrnak’s made leaps. Similarly, Rask is more than merely rebounding from what was – for his lofty standards – a disappointing campaign in 2015-16.
The Bruins need more from their supporting cast members, however, especially when one of these two players can’t suit up.
Even the best goalie in the world – one who makes it look easy – can lose his cool sometimes.
(Heck, that used to be the domain of Patrick Roy, right?)
It was quite the sight on Thursday nonetheless: Carey Price absolutely lost his cool and went after Kyle Palmieri during the Montreal Canadiens’ game against the New Jersey Devils. You can watch that spectacle in the video above.
Palmieri received an interference penalty while Price received a roughing double-minor. Apparently fits of Price anger are rare:
Carey Price loses it?! That's like seeing a unicorn.