It only seems fair that this series went to seven games. Going into this series, the Tampa Bay Lightning seemed like an incomplete (but talented) team carried by timely scoring and great goaltending. Yet more often than not through the first six games, the Boston Bruins have played that role instead.
Both teams are familiar with this situation. The Bruins hosted the Montreal Canadiens in Game 7 after fighting back into that first round series before dropping Game 6. The Lightning played their other Game 7 on the road thanks to their moxie in elimination games.
Boston should feel pretty good about their offense, with David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron trading off strong performances. Zdeno Chara has been a difference maker as usual, but aside from his sturdy but unheralded partner Dennis Seidenberg, the Bruins’ defense has been surprisingly error-prone. Tim Thomas is the main reason those problems haven’t been fatal … yet. If the Bruins make their first Stanley Cup finals appearance since 1990, it will probably be on the back of another elite performance from Thomas.
Tampa Bay should go into Game 7 with even more confidence in their offense. They’re getting great production from expected sources such as Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier and Simon Gagne, but lesser-known standouts such as Teddy Purcell, Steve Downie and (when healthy) Sean Bergenheim are making a big difference too. Much like the Bruins, Tampa must worry about their defense and goaltending. Dwayne Roloson pushed his elimination record to 7-0, but he’ll need to play much better to make it 8-0.
Want a rundown of this series? Here are links to each recap.
Hockey fans can delight in at least one more beloved Game 7, which you can watch on Versus at 8 p.m. ET on Friday. As you dream of all the possibilities, we must know: who do you think will come out on top in Game 7? Let us know in the poll below.
Blackhawks PK has another brutal night in loss to Blue Jackets
There will be no 0-8 start in Columbus this season.
The Blue Jackets were 3-2 winners against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night to earn their first win of the season thanks to goals from Zach Werenski, Nick Foligno and William Karlsson. The first two of those goals came on the power play as the Blue Jackets were the latest team to feast on Chicago’s dismal penalty killing unit this season. Those two power play goals came on Columbus’ only two power play opportunities of the night.
Right now everybody is scoring against the Blackhawks on the power play.
With the two more goals against on Friday, Chicago’s penalty kill has already given up 11 goals through the first five games of the season, becoming just the 18th team in the past 30 years to do that.
Their early season penalty kill success rate has been so bad that as Daily Herald beat writer John Dietz pointed out on Friday that even if they successfully kill off their next 20 shorthanded opportunities their PK would still only be at 71.8 on the season. The worst penalty kill in the NHL a season ago was 75.5 percent. In other words: That is not ideal.
After falling behind 3-1, the Blackhawks attempted to rally thanks to a goal from Richard Panik (already his fifth of the season) to cut the deficit from one. They pretty much took over the game in the third period and threw everything they could at the Blue Jackets’ net, but Sergei Bobrovsky was sensational and holding down the fort and helping the Jackets get their first win of the season.
It was a costly win for the Blue Jackets in some ways though as they lost defenseman Ryan Murray to an upper body injury in the first period. Injuries have been a problem for him throughout his young career.
As for the Blackhawks, the loss drops them to 2-3-0 on the young season. There are a lot of new faces on this year’s team, and a lot of young players filling out the bottom half of the roster. Early on it has been a struggle for pretty much everybody.
Blue Jackets’ Murray leaves game with upper body injury
The Philadelphia Flyers are going to be without forward Dale Weise for the next three games as a result of a suspension handed out by the NHL’s department of player safety on Friday evening.
The league announced that Weise has been suspended due to an illegal check to the head of Anaheim Ducks defenseman Korbinian Holzer during their game in Philadelphia on Thursday night.
Weise was not penalized for the hit.
The incident happened midway through the second period of the Ducks’ 3-2 win, and came just as Holzer was skating with the puck in his own zone.
Here is a look at the play, as well as the NHL’s explanation for the suspension.
Holzer was not injured as a result of the hit.
The Flyers have been hit hard by suspensions so far this season. They played the first three games of the season without forward Brayden Schenn as he served a suspension that carried over from the 2016 playoffs. Defenseman Radko Gudas is still sidelined as he serves a six-game suspension for a hit this preseason.
Weise has yet to record a point in four games for the Flyers this season. He scored 14 goals and added 13 assists a year ago for the Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks.
This suspension will cost him $39,166.68 in salary.
He will be eligible to return to the Flyers’ lineup on Oct. 27 when they host the Arizona Coyotes. He will miss games against Carolina, Montreal and Buffalo.