To hear Lightning head coach Jon Cooper explain it, Wednesday’s series-opening loss to Montreal — a 5-4 OT defeat in Tampa — was more about what the Bolts did wrong than what the Habs did right.
“We kept shooting ourselves in the foot,” Cooper said, per the Tampa Bay website. “That’s ultimately what we did, and we did it time and time again. We did it on the winning goal and countless others that they scored tonight.”
Cooper was probably talking about the defensive miscues that led to Dale Weise being wide open in front of goalie Anders Lindback on Montreal’s OT winner, when three Lightning skaters were caught beneath the goal line:
The lackluster defensive tone was set early for Tampa, too. Defenseman Radko Gudas, making his playoff debut, had his ankles broken (figuratively speaking) on the Canadiens’ first goal as Tomas Plekanec sent him sprawling to the ice before snapping one past Lindback:
Lightning captain Steve Stamkos, who scored twice on the night, was blunt in his assessment of his team’s performance.
“We didn’t play the way we needed to in order to win this game,’’ Stamkos said, per the Tampa Tribune. “It didn’t feel like we really deserved it all game.
“We do have a lot of guys that have not been in this situation before, but hopefully they get that experience now, get those jitters out of the way and we can focus on our game now.’’
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger