The Los Angeles Kings were road warriors during their Stanley Cup run in 2012. Now they just want to finish the 2013 playoffs with a few away wins.
They remained at one (the series-clinching Game 6 victory against the St. Louis Blues), as the Chicago Blackhawks dominated them 4-2 in Game 2 on Sunday.
- Seriously, what’s the deal with the disparity in play in home vs. away games for the Kings? They only had eight road wins in the regular season, so it’s not a total fluke.
- Could Jonathan Quick’s confidence be shaky after Sunday? Darryl Sutter probably made a wise decision to pull him in the second period.
- How much did back-to-back games hurt the Kings? It’s worth noting that both teams probably experienced similar fatigue coming off of seven-game series.
- Losing Mike Richards was rough, but his replacement Tyler Toffoli seemed to find some nice early chemistry on Jeff Carter’s line. Should Los Angeles move Richards (a team-leading 10 postseason points) to a different line once he’s ready? If not, has Toffoli earned a more permanent spot in the lineup?
- The positive side of the road-weary coin for the Kings is that they’re lights out at home. Do you expect them to “hold serve” at the Staples Center and even this series?
- Were any of the hits in Game 2 over the line?
- We’ve spoken a lot about Quick, but Corey Crawford continues his postseason of excellent (and still underrated) work. Is he for real? Is he at least good enough to survive on a Chicago team that seems primed to be dominant for the near future?
Well, that was quite a third period.
For the Boston Bruins, it was disastrous. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, it propelled them to a critical victory in the playoff race.
Nikita Kucherov completed the hat trick with a pair of goals in the final period and Jonathan Drouin scored what would eventually be the winner, as Tampa Bay snapped its own three-game losing streak in a 6-3 victory, putting the Bolts within three points of the final wild card spot — held by the Bruins — in the Eastern Conference.
The Drouin goal — his 18th of the season but first since Feb. 19, a span of 13 games — is probably one Tuukka Rask would like back.
Drouin teed up the slap shot from the faceoff circle, beating Rask under the left arm.
And just like that, the Bruins have lost four consecutive games. On Saturday, they face the New York Islanders, another team looking to catch Boston in the wild card race.
Read more: Remember this stretch if Bruins settle for a wild card spot (or worse?)
The Islanders are only two points back of Boston.
Despite the win, there was bad news for the Lightning during this game, as defenseman Jason Garrison left with an injury.
The play occurred behind the Lightning goal, Garrison appearing to get his left leg rolled up from behind by a Bruin. Garrison had to be helped off the ice by Anton Stralman and Brayden Point and headed back to the Bolts’ locker room.
The team announced during the second intermission that Garrison sustained a lower-body injury. He did not return to the game.
As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.
On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.
He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.
From CSN Mid-Atlantic:
The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.
Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.
He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.
The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.
There was no call on the play.
Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.
Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.
Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.
That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus: