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If you look at sports from a purely narrative standpoint, the goal that eliminated the Tampa Bay Lightning fit into the story perfectly.
Capping off a season full of adversity and tough breaks for the Bolts, the Montreal Canadiens received a highly questionable power play with a little more than two minutes left, and Max Pacioretty scored the deciding goal that clinched a first-round sweep.
Though luck haunted the Lightning during a season full of nightmarish breaks, but it all became too much in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs. Games 3 and 4 really spotlighted this series of tough times, as there was almost a “What will happen next?” feel — from a goal being disallowed and Steven Stamkos getting banged up in Game 3, to a gut-punch loss in Game 4.
With no Ben Bishop in the entire series and a struggling Anders Lindback pulled in the second period of tonight’s affair, Kristers Gudlevskis played masterfully and the Lightning showed resilience in storming back from a 3-1 deficit to tie it up in the third period. Officials decided not to call Rene Bourque for what many believed was a clear goalie interference call, setting the stage for Cedric Paquette’s third-period penalty and that game-clincher.
That said, it’s unfair to rob the Canadiens credit for sweeping the Lightning. They generally and sometimes glaringly out-played the Bolts for large portions of this series. The bottom line is that Montreal performed at a higher level through significant chunks of this sweep and deserved it (maybe in four games).
Still, the Lightning probably wrestle with gnawing “What if?” questions about their goalies, officiating and injuries.
The bottom line is that they’ll have a long offseason for soul-searching, as they are the first playoff team to be eliminated in 2014. On the bright side, it seems that there are also bright sides to look on:
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Forward Stefan Noesen has agreed to a one-year contract to stay with the Anaheim Ducks.
Anaheim confirmed the two-way deal Monday.
Noesen (NAY-sun) appeared in one game in each of the past two seasons for the Ducks, who acquired him from Ottawa in 2013.
The 2011 first-round pick by the Senators has spent most of the past three seasons in the AHL with Anaheim’s affiliates in Norfolk and San Diego. He scored 32 points in 65 games for the Gulls last season.
The 23-year-old Texas native’s pro career has been hindered by two major injuries. He missed practically all of the 2013-14 season with torn ligaments in his left knee, and he missed four months of the 2014-15 season after an opponent’s skate blade nearly severed his right Achilles tendon.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Twitter will live stream for free one Major League Baseball game and one NHL game per week under a new deal.
The agreement announced Monday will allow viewers to watch games nationally that would normally be available only in the two teams’ home markets. Users will not need to be logged into Twitter to see the games.
The baseball games will also be available outside the U.S., with some exceptions. Twitter did not announce the game schedule Monday.
The social media network is attempting to move into live sports streaming through “over-the-top” broadcasts, which do not require a cable subscription. In April, Twitter reached a deal with the NFL to stream 10 “Thursday Night Football” games this fall.
The Red Wings added some goalie depth on Monday, agreeing to terms with journeyman Cal Heeter.
Heeter, 27, broke in with the Flyers organization a while back and made his big-league debut in ’13-14, appearing in one game.
Since then, he’s bounced around the ECHL, AHL (with the Toronto Marlies) and, last season, split his time between Hamburg of the German League and Zagreb Medvescak of the KHL.
By itself, this signing isn’t especially noteworthy, as Heeter projects to be an American League mainstay next year.
But the contract is kind of interesting when looking and the big-picture goalie situation in Detroit. The Wings now have Heeter, Petr Mrazek, Jimmy Howard, Jared Coreau, Eddie Pasquale and Jake Paterson all under contract for next season, which is an awful lot of goalies.
With that in mind, remember that Howard’s name has been in trade talks for quite some time.
HC Kunlun Red Star, the Beijing-based expansion team that will begin playing in the KHL next season, has added a pair of former NHLers.
Sean Collins, who appeared in a pair of games for the Capitals last season, and Brett Bellemore, a veteran of over 100 contests with the Carolina Hurricanes, have agreed to join the club, per Russian news outlet R-Sport.
Bellemore, 28, was originally drafted by the ‘Canes in 2007 and spent most of his professional career with the organization. He signed on with Boston’s AHL affiliate in Providence last year, and appeared in 56 games.
Collins, 27, broke in with the Blue Jackets before signing with the Caps last season. He spent the majority of the year in AHL Hershey and fared well — 16 goals and 39 points in 75 games — and scored three times in the playoffs, helping the Bears advance to the Calder Cup final.