With Tampa Bay coming into today’s Game 4 trailing 2-1 in the series, they needed to come out with a jump. They did that for about the first five minutes before the turnovers started and changed the pace of the game.
Hedman would try to reverse the flow of play back to defensive partner Brett Clark, only Clark couldn’t handle the pass and Patrice Bergeron would score off the turnover to make it 1-0. Five minutes later, another turnover would lead to a Bruins 2-on-1 that saw Michael Ryder attempt a shot that bounced off of Mike Lundin’s stick and past Roloson to make it 2-0.
Nearly two minutes later, the Lightning would go on the power play with a chance to swing the momentum of the game and get back into things. That wouldn’t go according to plan, however, as Steve Stamkos turned the puck over to Patrice Bergeron who then ripped a shot through the five hole of Roloson to make it 3-0. That would be the end of the game for Roloson as coach Guy Boucher pulled him in favor of Mike Smith. Roloson would finish the game making six saves on nine shots.
Bergeron’s two goals get him back into the saddle as the Bruins’ leading man when it comes to scoring and seeing him do it both at even strength and shorthanded proves what his worth is to the team. The fact that the Bruins are dominating play right now while the Lightning continue to flub the puck speaks a lot to the pressure the Bruins are applying to the game.
The period wouldn’t end quietly, however, as a scrum erupted as time ran out that saw an odd fight between Marc-Andre Bergeron and Rich Peverley break out. Tampa agitating forward Steve Downie would pick up a minor for roughing and a ten-minute misconduct. The Bruins starting the second on the power play, even despite their struggles, is not the way the Lightning want to start off.
Tim Thomas was again strong in goal stopping all ten shots he saw. He also wasn’t about to take any guff from Lightning players crashing his net.
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By just about any measure, Monday’s been lousy to Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.
He was pulled with a few minutes remaining in the first period after Chicago Blackhawks built a 3-1 lead, scoring those three goals on just eight shots on net.
You could summarize Vasilevskiy’s awful start by those numbers, or by how rare the 3-1 goal was for the scorer.
Tomas Jurco failed to score a goal or an assist in 16 games with the Red Wings, then went pointless in nine more games with Chicago before finally scoring his first goal of the season on Monday.
Now, Jon Cooper didn’t pull Vasilevskiy because Jurco scored that tally. Still, it rubs a little extra salt in his wounds all things considered.
Here’s the Jurco goal:
Patrick Kane‘s 2-1 goal might have hurt the most, actually, as it quickly dissolved a tying tally by Ondrej Palat:
Update: The Lightning decided to put Vasilevskiy back in net to begin the second period. Interesting.
The bad news is that Artem Anisimov seems likely to miss all – or at least most – of the regular season for the Chicago Blackhawks with his lower-body injury.
The good? Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville believes that Anisimov will be ready once the playoffs swing into motion, as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus reports.
Anisimov was hurt when he got tangled up with Canadiens forward Alex Radulov on March 14:
The Blackhawks have been filling Anisimov’s typical spot alongside Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin with Ryan Hartman and Nick Schmaltz lately. There have been flashes of brilliance with Schmaltz, but Chicago would probably feel most confident with Anisimov back in his familiar place.
Chicago’s Central lead is pretty secure over the Minnesota Wild at the moment, which likely reduces motivation to rush Anisimov back before he’s truly ready. The Blackhawks close out their regular season on April 8, so there’s still time for him to heal up.
The Anaheim Ducks are flying high – er, waddling with some swagger? – right now thanks to Jonathan Bernier‘s somewhat shocking turnaround, but the pending return of John Gibson is promising.
(Especially since the Ducks will likely want him to shake off some rust before the playoffs begin.)
While it’s not clear if he’s exactly 100 percent healthy just yet, the Ducks sending Jhonas Enroth back to the AHL is a strong sign that Gibson is close.
Enroth actually never got a shot to start for the Ducks, as his last NHL appearance came on Nov. 30, closing off his ill-fated run with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Considering that Enroth was once a fairly hot commodity as at least a promising backup, it will be interesting to see how his 2017-18 season pans out. Will he get more or less of a chance than he received this season?
Bernier, meanwhile, is richly rewarding the Ducks for sticking with him.
He’s provided them with a Vezina-caliber March: 9-1-1, 1.71 GAA and .943 save percentage with one shutout. You almost wonder if there’s at least some potential for a goalie controversy if Gibson stumbles whenever he gets back into action … but hey, having two good goalies to choose from is better than none.
(Which was the scenario that must have scared the Ducks when Gibson got hurt in the first place.)
The Tampa Bay Lightning almost certainly haven’t faced the Chicago Blackhawks in a game this important since the two teams were vying for a Stanley Cup.
While the Blackhawks have already punched their ticket to the postseason and are merely trying to pad their lead in the Central Division, the Bolts are fighting for their playoff lives. At the moment, they rank three points behind the Boston Bruins for the final spot in the East. With a game in hand, they can make up a lot of ground tonight.
With all of that in mind, it should be an entertaining contest. You can check it out on NBCSN, watch online or via the NBC Sports App.
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