James O'Brien

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One

Video: ‘Pests’ Paquette and Shaw trade goals

Heading into Game 2, Jonathan Toews noted that Cedric Paquette has big shoes to fill compared to the pesky ways of Ryan Kesler. The Tampa Bay Lightning would likely be satisfied if he scores some points.

That happened early on Saturday, as Paquette paid of a stream of Lightning chances with this 1-0 goal:

The Lightning came into the 2015 Stanley Cup Final undefeated when they scored first in the postseason, yet they lost Game 1. Can they hold off the Chicago Blackhawks this time around?

One thing’s clear: the pace of Game 2’s first period is right up there with Game 1’s hectic opening frame.

Oh yeah, and Jonathan Drouin is definitely making his presence felt. Speaking of presences, could we see Kyle Cumiskey as a scratch after that 1-0 goal?

Update: So far, it’s a night for pests, as Andrew Shaw sent home a rebound to make it 1-1. Tampa Bay’s lead did not last very long.

Also, this:

Drouin in (and so is Johnson) for Lightning

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Four
6 Comments

We may not know for sure if Tyler Johnson is hurt or not until after the Stanley Cup Final (if at all), but he’s playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

As expected, Jonathan Drouin makes his championship round debut, as he replaced defenseman Nikita Nesterov.

The Lightning are shifting to a traditional 12-forward, six-defensemen setup. They lost Game 1 with an extra blueliner and one fewer forward, yet they’ve enjoyed some success with that alignment overall in the postseason.

Drouin has been largely ineffective in his sporadic postseason appearances, drawing some ire from head coach Jon Cooper for perceived lacking defense.

To be fair to the 20-year-old, he hasn’t gotten a ton of chances to put up big numbers. Here’s his time on ice per contest:

Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final: zero points, -1 rating, three shots on goal, 14:56 TOI
Game 3 of ECF: zero points, -1, zero SOG, 9:54 TOI
Game 4 of first round (vs. Detroit): zero points, -2, one SOG, 8:42 TOI

With 32 points in 70 regular season games, Drouin has shown some ability to generate points at the NHL level, but it would help if he could gain Cooper’s trust.

Whatever the case may be, Cooper wants more from his depth forwards:

Quick hits: Rheaume’s return, Coach Q’s milestone and more

Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville talks to his team during the second period of an NHL preseason hockey game against the Washington Capitals in Chicago, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
3 Comments

Plenty is going on heading into Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Here are a few things that you may find interesting, even if they’re not full-blown posts.

  • Remember Manon Rheaume, the first (and only) woman to play in an NHL exhibition game? She did so with the Tampa Bay Lightning more than 20 years ago, and tonight mark’s her first visit back. Sportsnet’s has a fantastic Q & A session with her, which includes the shocking realization that she never heard of David Letterman before appearing on his show.
  • Dynasty talk often boils down to semantics. The bottom line is that the Chicago Blackhawks have done some special things, and you can see that in one form by noticing the milestones head coach Joel Quenneville (pictured) is starting to pile up. Game 2 marks Coach Q’s 200th career postseason game behind an bench, becoming just the third coach to do so. The list is as elite as they get, too:

One would expect him to pass New York Islanders great Al Arbour, but legend Scotty Bowman’s mark is almost certainly safe.

Quenneville’s record is impressive, too, as he heads in with a 112-87 record in playoff games coached.

  • Should we expect overtime tonight? The league points out that four straight Game 2’s have gone beyond regulation. (Grinds extra coffee beans.)

  • Obvious point alert: the Lightning really, really need to win this one.

WATCH LIVE: Game 2 of Stanley Cup Final – Blackhawks at Lightning

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One

Whether you depict it as the Lightning paying for playing prevent defense or the Blackhawks imposing their will on another opponent, the bottom line is that Chicago has a 1-0 series lead on Tampa Bay. It should be plainly obvious that this is an enormously important game, especially for the Bolts.

Heading into Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, there are questions about strategies and the health of Tyler Johnson. If Jonathan Drouin plays, will he make a difference? Those questions and more will be settled on NBC, while you can also stream the action via NBC Sports Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Breathe easy: McDavid, Eichel can do pull-ups

mcdavidgetty
17 Comments

Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel seem virtually assured to go No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in the 2015 NHL Draft, yet both showed up for the 2015 Scouting Combine anyway. And they both seemed to generate great impressions.

With immense apologies to Sam Bennett, each prospect fared well in the clearly all-important pull-up category. NHL.com passes along word that Eichel enjoyed a better overall showing, shown most simply by this tale of the tape:

source:

Hey, at least they’re both good athletes, right? /Wipes sweat from brow.

Speaking of wiping away sweat, the combine generally provides a few candid/funny photos of prospects. Here are a few shots of McDavid and Eichel that may serve your meme needs.

Connor McDavid
Connor McDavidAP Photo/Gary Wiepert

Some might say that’s reminiscent of the face McDavid made when it was clear the Oilers received the first overall pick …

source: Getty Images
McDavid via Getty

Then again, maybe that is the face …

2015 NHL Combine
Jack Eichel
Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images
Jack Eichel
Jack EichelAP Photo/Gary Wiepert

Really, the most important question is: which prospect made the funniest faces?