Tampa Bay was able to win Game 6 without one of their top contributors in the playoffs in Sean Bergenheim. The former Islanders prospect broke out in a big way in these playoffs scoring nine goals, a mark that puts him second in the playoffs behind David Krejci and Martin St. Louis. Considering that Bergenheim is a third line player, his offensive output is stunning and the sort of thing that playoff legends are made of. With him out of the lineup, the Lightning’s ability to score from three lines takes a hit.
This morning, Bergenheim took part in the team’s morning skate getting about 15 minutes of work in and doing some drills. Could we see another miraculous injury recovery out of Bergenheim? Coach Guy Boucher is tempering things just a bit.
CSN New England reports that Bergenheim will be doubtful for tonight’s Game 7.
Q. Sean Bergenheim looked a little bit better out there – at least to us – this morning. How optimistic are you that he’ll be available for you in Game 7 tonight?
COACH BOUCHER: I wouldn’t say optimistic for now. It’s better. He might try the warm-up. We’ll see. I’ve still got to talk to my therapists and doctors. There’s been some improvement. So to what extent, we’ll have to wait and see, but doubtful.
The Lightning did just fine scoring goals in Game 6 without Bergenheim as Martin St. Louis, Teddy Purcell, and Steve Stamkos all stepped up in a big way to provide the offense they needed to win. On the road for Game 7, however, it’s a different beast entirely and hoping that the Bruins will fail miserably on their power play for a second straight game while Tim Thomas struggles is asking for a lot. Chances are things will be tightened up on both sides of the puck and goals will be at a premium.
As for who takes Bergenheim’s spot should he not go, it’ll likely be Dana Tyrell once again. He played in Bergenheim’s place in Game 6 but played just over six minutes on the fourth line. Don’t expect much from him as Boucher is likely to ride the top three lines hard tonight. Then again, Tyrell could end up being the most unlikely of heroes or goats. Game 7’s have a funny way or playing out like that.
For two periods, the San Jose Sharks couldn’t solve Pekka Rinne.
Maybe it was because of that black cat that found its way on to the ice prior to the start of Friday’s game, or the video review that didn’t go in San Jose’s favor in the opening period.
But that all changed in the final period. It started with Tomas Hertl on the power play finding room just under the glove of Rinne to get San Jose on the board. Joel Ward followed that up with a gorgeous deke, tucking the puck in behind Rinne just as he started to go behind the net, as San Jose was able to take advantage of a defensive breakdown.
Logan Couture added the eventual winner. Within the span of 13 minutes, the Sharks had completely taken over, cashing in on two Nashville penalties and a defensive lapse.
When the onslaught was over, the Sharks skated off with a 5-2 win in Game 1 of this second-round series with the Predators, who only wrapped up a seven-game series win over Anaheim on Wednesday.
Ryan Johansen made it interesting, cutting into San Jose’s lead with under two minutes remaining, but any further comeback attempt was quickly halted by a pair of empty net goals from the Sharks.
The game ended with a dust-up along the boards, before cooler heads did prevail.
Another day, another University of North Dakota player deciding to enter the professional hockey ranks.
This time, it was 21-year-old forward Luke Johnson who turned pro following his junior year, as he signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft.
In 43 games with the NCAA champs this season, Johnson scored 11 goals and 21 points, just shy of his college career high of 24 points set the previous year.
Johnson will forgo his senior year at North Dakota, making him the fourth member of that program’s junior class to turn pro since the end of the season. Keaton Thompson signed with the Anaheim Ducks, Troy Stecher inked with the Vancouver Canucks and Paul LaDue signed with the L.A. Kings.
Senior forward Drake Caggiula, now a free agent, has reportedly narrowed down his list of NHL suitors to six teams.
Brock Boeser, Vancouver’s 2015 first-round pick and coming off an impressive freshman year, will return to North Dakota for his sophomore year, as per Canucks general manager Jim Benning earlier this month.
Perhaps it’s an ominous sign of bad luck to come, but for which team?
Prior to puck drop between the host San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators in Game 1 on Friday, a black cat hit the ice at SAP Center, taking a nervous stroll along the boards.
Not sure exactly where it came from, although it’s possible someone was feeling extra superstitious before the start of this series.
Official update on the really important story of the evening:
The Dallas Stars scored a late winner, held on in the final minute and eventually struck first in their best-of-seven second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.
Once again, it was the speed and skill of the Stars that proved to be the difference in the end. Radek Faksa scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving Dallas a 2-1 victory and 1-0 series lead over their Central Division foes on Friday.
As he entered the zone on the rush, Faksa dished off to a flying Ales Hemsky, who was denied by Brian Elliott in alone. But Faksa followed up, jamming in the rebound to give the Stars the lead, as both St. Louis defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo were caught by the speed of the Dallas forwards on the rush.
The Stars held on from there, as the Blues made a late push to tie the game.
Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 of 32 shots for Dallas, while Elliott was busy throughout the night, stopping 40 of 42 shots.
Elliott was furious after the Stars opened the scoring in the second period, as Antoine Roussel tallied on a rebound after yet another nice Dallas passing play in the offensive zone.
Stars forward Patrick Eaves left the game early in the third period and didn’t play another shift after being hit in the lower part of his leg with the puck from a point shot.