James O'Brien

I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.

Video: Boyle, Hedman help Bolts put Isles in an early hole

So far, the Tampa Bay Lightning are putting themselves in a prime position to close the New York Islanders out in Game 5.

The Isles still have a period and change to try to tie things up, but as of this writing, the Lightning hold a 3-0 lead.

Two of those goals came from elite defenseman Victor Hedman, while Brian Boyle continues to come up big (as you can see from his impressive 2-0 goal above).

Here’s the opening tally by Hedman:

Can the Islanders lift their level of play or will those early goals be enough for Tampa Bay? You can find out on NBC.

Seems safe to say Seguin won’t play for Stars in Game 6


Dallas Stars fans holding out hope for Tyler Seguin to return to action with the team’s season on the line look to be out of luck.

Perhaps there’s an incredibly unlikely chance that there could be a last-minute change, although the fact that Seguin isn’t even traveling with the Stars to St. Louis for Game 6 seems to seal the deal.

The good news, however, is that there seems like there’s at least an outside chance that Patrick Eaves might return against the Blues for Monday’s contest.

He’s definitely traveling, at least:

Previous Seguin updates didn’t provide a ton of hope earlier in this series, and it sounds like he’s quite a ways from returning.

Then again, if the Stars can push this to a Game 7, who knows? He hasn’t been officially ruled out, if nothing else.

WATCH LIVE: New York Islanders at Tampa Bay Lightning – Game 5


The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with one game on Sunday afternoon as the Islanders try to keep their season alive while the Bolts hope to advance to another conference final.

Here’s how you can follow the action:

NY Islanders at Tampa Bay (3:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 5 will be on NBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here. The Lightning lead the series 3-1.

Check out some reading material to warm up for the action:

– Lightning view elimination victories as “the toughest win to get.”

Nikita Kucherov is lighting it up for the Lightning.

Jason Garrison scored the Game 4 overtime-winner.

Bad blood boils over.

He’s the Guy: Senators name Boucher as new head coach


Bruce Boudreau won’t be coaching the Ottawa Senators, but they’re still landing a guy with plenty of clout and name recognition.

The Senators confirmed that former Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Guy Boucher will be their new head coach.

“Over the past three weeks, Pierre Dorion and our hockey operations staff have undertaken a thorough and comprehensive search for our next head coach. Following a detailed evaluation of all coaching candidates, there was overwhelming consensus that Guy was our top candidate,” Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said. “We wanted a great coach and this process yielded our top pick. I couldn’t be happier. On behalf of the entire Senators organization, the great city of Ottawa and our fans, I want to welcome Guy, his wife Marsha and their three children, Vincent, Mila and Naomi.”

At 44, Boucher is still in the younger range of NHL head coaches, so the Sens bring in a familiar name who doesn’t necessarily feel like as much of a “retread.”

For what it’s worth, it sounds like the term of contract may have been the deciding factor between Boucher vs. Boudreau.

Here’s a quick rundown of his credentials, via the Sens:

Boucher, 44, becomes the 12th head coach in Senators franchise history. Boucher has spent parts of the last three seasons as the head coach of SC Bern of the National League A in Switzerland, posting a 44-29-5 record. Prior to that, he spent two-plus seasons as the head coach of the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning, posting a 97-78-20 record in 195 games. Boucher led the Lightning to the Eastern Conference Final in 2010-11.

Game 5 of Penguins – Capitals drew great ratings for NBC


Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals is a star-studded series, and it showed with Game 5’s ratings in particular.

NBC Sports PR released some numbers regarding last night’s must-win game for the Capitals, with some striking ratings for this latest showdown between Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Nicklas Backstrom and more.

Game 5 set a new bar for a playoff game in the first or second round on NBC:

Here are a few other impressive tidbits: