David Desharnais, P.K. Subban, Max Pacioretty

Crashing Lightning: Montreal crushes Tampa Bay, takes 2-0 series lead


Losing in overtime to the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 was a setback for the Lightning, but Tampa Bay’s 4-1 loss tonight before the series heads to Montreal for Game 3 is cause for alarm.

Tampa Bay was missing some key players, including rookie forward Ondrej Palat and starting goaltender Ben Bishop, but the Canadiens and in particular goaltender Carey Price deserve a lot of credit for Friday’s result.

After allowing four goals on 23 shots in Game 1, Price turned aside 26 of 27 shots and came within 1:59 minutes of his fourth career playoff shutout.

Not that he necessarily had to be anywhere near perfect in this one as his teammates were able to provide him with a lot of support.

After failing to find the back of the net with the man advantage for nearly a month, Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban ended the drought with a hard shot that was then tipped in by David Desharnais to give Montreal a 1-0 lead.

Rene Bourque powered his way through the Lightning defenders to provide Montreal with an insurance goal midway through the second period.

Tampa Bay goaltender Anders Lindback’s night only got worse from there until he was pulled in favor of netminder Kristers Gudlevskis midway through the third period. Gudlevskis made a name for himself with Team Latvia in the Olympics but has just one game worth of NHL experience.

With Bishop not expected to return soon, the Lightning might end up starting Gudlevskis on Sunday. Not that the Lightning’s problems can be solved simply by swapping goalies.

Sens demote former first-rounder Puempel

Matt Puempel
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Looks like Matt Puempel won’t be making the leap after all.

Puempel, the subject of Ottawa’s “looking to make the leap” profile during our Team of the Day series, has been sent down to AHL Binghamton one day prior to the Sens’ opener against Buffalo.

Puempel, taken by Ottawa in the first round (24th overall) at the ’11 draft, made his big-league debut last season and looked as though he’d stick around — only to suffer a high ankle sprain after 13 games, and miss the rest of the season.

The 22-year-old came into this year’s camp looking to secure a full-time position at the big league level, but was beaten out by Shane Prince for the final forward spot on the roster.

To be fair, contract status probably played a role. Prince would’ve had to clear waivers to get down to Bingo, whereas Puempel didn’t.

A former 30-goal scorer in the American League, Puempel is expected to get another look with Ottawa this season.

Report: Torres won’t appeal 41-game suspension


Sounds like Raffi Torres is accepting his punishment.

Per Sportsnet, Torres won’t appeal his 41-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The report comes just days after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety levied one of the longest disciplinary rulings in league history, citing both the severity of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ lengthy history of suspensions, fines and warnings.

There was some thought, however, that Torres would try to challenge the ruling.


He does have a history of success in that department. In 2012,Torres successfully appealed his suspension for a headshot on Chicago’s Marian Hossa, and had his punishment reduced from 25 games to 21.

Torres also isn’t considered a “repeat offender” under the current collective bargaining agreement, as his last suspension came in 2013.

Of course, part of that clean record is due to the fact he hasn’t played much. Torres has largely been sidelined by injury for the last two seasons, missing all of last year with knee problems.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman delved further into the repeat offender thing in his latest 30 Thoughts column:

If you read the relevant sections of the CBA, the league takes the position that the repeat offender status is only applicable to fines. Repeaters are fined on a per-game basis, non-repeaters on a per-day basis. (The former is more expensive, because there are fewer games than days in an NHL season.) However, if you go to Section 18.2, among the factors taken into account are, “the status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct.”

So, in the NHL’s view, a player’s history is relevant, even if longer than 18 months ago.

Should the report prove accurate and Torres doesn’t appeal, he will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 14, when the Sharks take on the Oilers.