The Tampa Bay Lightning can take a 2-0 series lead on the Montreal Canadiens in the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs, and Steven Stamkos has yet to score in this post-season.
That’s now eight straight 2015 playoff games without a goal for Stamkos, who recorded 43 goals during the regular season. It could be that he’s soon due for a breakout performance. But the opportunities to score, he admitted to Sportsnet.ca, have been increasingly more difficult to come by.
In Game 1 against Detroit, Stamkos has eight shots on net. Since then, he’s had only 17 combined in the last seven games.
“It’s just getting tougher and tougher,” Stamkos told Sportsnet.ca. “When you’re out there and you’re trying to get to the net, there’s guys obviously that have a job and they don’t want to be on the video the next day because they let you go in the slot or let you have an opportunity to score.”
Luckily, for Stamkos and the Lightning, Tyler Johnson has taken some of the pressure off with his playoff-leading seven goals. No other player on Tampa Bay’s roster has more than two goals so far since the Stanley Cup tournament began.
The Minnesota Wild has met the Chicago Blackhawks three years in a row in the post-season, getting eliminated in each of the previous two occasions.
With Devan Dubnyk enjoying a resurgence in his career since getting traded to Minnesota out of Arizona and a deep lineup that has gained valuable experience in playoff hardship, the Wild has been a force since turning its season around in mid-January, and this team’s chance of finally getting past the Blackhawks in the playoffs has never been this good.
Still, Minnesota trails this second-round series 1-0 after a loss on Friday.
But the Wild’s valiant comeback attempt, which fell just short despite roaring back from a three-goal deficit in the second period, has the Blackhawks on notice.
“They won the game, but they’re probably not feeling too well about the pushback we had. We came here to get one and hopefully we get one,” said Chris Stewart, as per The Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The Wild and Blackhawks meet in Game 2 on Sunday in Chicago.
“We’re looking at a team that’s played as well as anyone over the last 50 games,” Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville told USA Today.
“That’s our challenge. They’re dangerous, they’re fast. They’re quick. They have a lot of weaponry in their attack. They have a mobile defense. We have a dangerous team on the other side and they’re going to get their turns. Every game is going to be on the line.”
The votes are in. Johnstown, Pennsylvania, will host the inaugural Kraft Hockeyville USA event, which will feature an exhibition game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning on Sept. 29.
The event will be broadcast live on NBCSN. The Cambria County War Memorial Arena will also receive $150,000 in arena upgrades, including to its ice-making equipment and scoreboard.
“The response we’ve seen from these communities and their rallying support for each other has been truly inspiring,” said Jane Hilk, chief marketing officer and president, Kraft Beverages and Snack Nuts Division, in a statement.
“Since the voting period began, we’ve received an astounding 20.4 million votes from passionate hockey fans across the country, and are so proud to award the inaugural ‘Kraft Hockeyville™ USA‘ title to such a well-deserving community.”