James O'Brien

Petr Mrazek

Video: Mrazek makes astounding save, Stamkos brawls again

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As of this writing, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s lead remains at 2-0. The Detroit Red Wings have goalie Petr Mrazek to thank for that.

Mrazek’s stick save against Brian Boyle might just be the best of the playoffs, and would probably be in the running for save of 2014-15, in general:

Here’s the Mrazek save in GIF form:

The second period was pretty wild early on, really, as Mrazek made another big save and Steven Stamkos became involved in another penalty-filled fracas:

Lightning – Red Wings is a Game 6, but they’re bringing some Game 7 intensity (or at least mutual dislike) to this one.

Video: Lightning strike twice early against Red Wings

Tampa Bay Lightning v Detroit Red Wings - Game Six
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The Tampa Bay Lightning have a long way to go to force a Game 7, especially as they hand the Detroit Red Wings some early power-play opportunities.

Even so, the Bolts have generated the start their fledgling offense really needed. It’s no surprise that Tyler Johnson scored the 1-0 goal, either, really:

Steven Stamkos still hasn’t scored a goal, but he probably isn’t too flummoxed by at least getting a point, as he assisted on Jason Garrison’s 2-0 tally:

Again, the Red Wings could come back here, especially considering their star power and home-ice advantage. This could be a nice confidence-booster for the Lightning, however.

Some question Tampa Bay for scratching Drouin again

Tampa Bay Lightning v Montreal Canadiens

If the Tampa Bay Lightning get bumped from the playoffs after struggling to score against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 6, many might linger on Jonathan Drouin being a healthy scratch once again.

The third pick of the 2013 NHL Draft sits at one game played in this series, and it wasn’t pretty. He was a -2 in Game 4 and received just 8:42 of ice time.

That argues for a lack of trust at this point from head coach Jon Cooper, although perhaps some could point to circumstance a bit.

Still, many wonder if the skilled playmaker might help the Lightning get over the hump. Here are a few arguments in that regard.

Tyler Johnson put the Lightning ahead early with a nice burst of speed, so it might be a moot point. Still, make a note of these doubts if things go sour for the Bolts.

(Whether those criticisms are fair or not, they’re there.)

2015 Norris Trophy finalists: Doughty, Karlsson and Subban

Ottawa Senators v Montreal Canadiens - Game Two
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The NHL named the three finalists for the 2015 Norris Trophy on Monday: Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings, Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and the Montreal Canadiens’ P.K. Subban.

To review, the Norris goes “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.” The Professional Hockey Writers Association is responsible for the ballots.

All three blueliners rank as familiar faces.

Doughty hasn’t won a Norris at this point in his career, which is a point that comes up often (especially during the Kings’ Stanley Cup run last year). Injury and suspension issues forced the 25-year-old into the heaviest action of his career, as his 28:59 TOI average barely trailed perennial workhorse Ryan Suter. Doughty is aiming to be the first Norris winner whose team didn’t make the playoffs, at least according to Sportsnet.

Also:

Subban, 25, won the 2013 Norris. Here’s a little more on his great season from the Habs:

Subban, who previously claimed the award in 2013, enjoyed another remarkable campaign on the Canadiens’ back end. In his fifth full NHL season, the Toronto native finished in the Top 10 in multiple offensive categories among defensemen, registering career-highs with 15 goals, 45 assists, 60 points and a plus-21 differential in 82 games played. He also ranked second in the League among defensemen with eight power play goals, while logging a team-leading 26:12 of ice time per game. He was also the Canadiens’ most-utilized player with the man advantage.

Karlsson, 24, won it in 2012. His 27:15 TOI average trailed Doughty by a significant margin, yet it was a career-high and ranked third in the NHL. The splendid Swede’s 66 points led all defensemen while Subban was tied for second with 60 and Doughty finished with 46.

Notice that all three blueliners are in their prime years? A stat like this shows how advanced Karlsson is, yet they’re all at an elite level, which is confirmed by these nods:

WATCH LIVE: Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff action

Nicklas Backstrom, Johnny Boychuk , Thomas Hickey, Marcus Johansson

Monday’s pair of games include the first Game 7 of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs while the Tampa Bay Lightning aim to give the first round one more.

The coverage starts with NBCSN ramping up to the Washington Capitals hosting the New York Islanders in that decisive contest. You can watch it on NBCSN and also stream it online via the link below:

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Meanwhile, the Bolts hope to force a decisive game, but they’ll have to beat the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena to do so. You can watch the Lightning take on that tough task on CNBS and also stream it via NBC Sports Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE