Tag: Corey Crawford

Cedric Paquette

Cooper: ‘This is going to leave a scar, no doubt’


CHICAGO — And then, there’s the losing side.

In the wake of their loss to Chicago in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night, the Lightning were forced to do what the losing team does: watch someone else celebrate, listen to the cheers from the dressing room, and wait to field the questions.

Not just any questions, but those questions. The ones nobody likes to ask and even fewer like to answer.

How does it feel? What do you say? How much does it hurt? Can you describe your emotions?

Jon Cooper, credit to him, tried his best to respond.

“We’ve got a group of young men in there, but they’re kids at heart, and they’re crushed,” he said. “It was really hard to look at them and see how crushed they truly are. I’m crushed for two other people. I’m crushed for [assistant coach] Rick Bowness. I envisioned handing him the Stanley Cup. And I’m crushed for [other assistant] Steve Thomas because I envisioned doing the same thing. Guys have been in this league for a long time and you just want to see other people succeed and be a part of the success.

“Maybe we’ll look back weeks from now and somewhat treasure what we accomplished. But we’ve got unfinished business to do. The Montreal series last year stung, but that pales in comparison to what this feels like.”

The Lightning were visibly gutted following tonight’s 2-0 loss — the first time they’d been shut out in 19 playoff games. That lack of offense was a recurring theme over the final three games of this series, all Chicago wins; the Bolts only put two pucks past Corey Crawford through Games 4-6, with captain and former 60-goal man Steve Stamkos failing to find the back of the net all series.

“Ultimately, we didn’t score enough,” Cooper admitted. “If you would have told me at the beginning of the playoffs that we were going to be the team that scored one goal in the last two games, that wasn’t our MO.

“We were only giving up two goals a game. When this team only gives up two, we win a majority of those games. The pucks just didn’t go in for us. It was a tough time for us to go cold, have the well go dry, especially since we carried this on the whole year.”

Ultimately, this will serve as a learning experience for the Bolts. The team is young, talented and thanks to GM Steve Yzerman’s managerial savvy, well-positioned to remain a title contender in a salary cap world.

But that’s of little condolence on a night when their Stanley Cup dreams were dashed away.

“This is going to leave a scar,” Cooper said. “No doubt.”

Sweet home Chicago: Blackhawks are your 2015 Stanley Cup champions


CHICAGO — They’ve done it again.

But this time, they did it at home.

For the third time in the last six years — and for the first time in Chicago since 1938 — the Blackhawks ascended to the top of the NHL, beating Tampa Bay 2-0 on Monday night in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, winning the series four games to two.

Tonight’s game was, like every game this series, a thrilling affair with little separating the two teams. While the final didn’t go the full seven games and failed to feature a single overtime, the Bolts and ‘Hawks combined for one of the most tightly-contested championship series the NHL’s seen in a long time.

Perhaps that’s why it took a special play from a special player to decide it.

Duncan Keith, the Conn Smythe winner as playoff MVP, scored the winning goal late in the second period on a terrific solo effort, picking up his own rebound before firing past Ben Bishop. That Keith scored the winner was fitting and cemented himself in Blackhawk lore; with the goal, he became the first ‘Hawk to score a cup-winning tally at home since Carl Voss beat the Maple Leafs at the old Chicago Stadium 77 years ago.

Keith wasn’t the only hero on the night, however.

Corey Crawford, outstanding in the latter half of this series, stopped all 23 shots faced for his first-ever Stanley Cup Final shutout. Over the final three games, the two-time Cup-winning ‘tender allowed just two goals, finishing with a sparkling .975 save percentage.

But there’s another side to Crawford’s heroics.

For as good as he was, the Bolts will have their regrets about failing to beat him. The NHL’s highest-scoring team during the regular season struggled to generate offense as the series progressed, and were shut out in tonight’s elimination contest — the first time they’ve been blanked in 19 games.

And it’s not like the Lightning were without their chances. Captain Steve Stamkos, who’ll undoubtedly face criticism after failing to score in the series, hit the crossbar in the first period and had a breakaway spectacularly saved by Crawford in the second.

As for the ‘Hawks, tonight’s win officially cemented them as the closest thing we’ve seen to a dynasty in the salary cap era. Sure, the group is going look different moving forward, and some familiar faces will say goodbye, but this collection of players has left an unforgettable mark on the city.

And that’s something that’ll never change.


Patrick Kane finally snapped his scoring slump in the third period, notching his first goal of the series on a nice Brad Richards pass… Keith became the fourth player to log over 700 minutes in a single postseason (since the NHL began tracking in ’98), joining Nicklas Lidstrom, Drew Doughty and Chris Pronger… Keith also matched Chicago’s franchise record for most points by a d-man in a single season, drawing even with Chris Chelios (21 pts, 1992)… The ‘Hawks continued their impressive run of protecting leads tonight — a perfect 33-0-0 when leading after two periods this year, including a 8-0 mark in the playoffs… Ben Bishop finished with 30 saves on 32 shots.

Video: Stamkos slows time on breakaway, still can’t score

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five

It was one of those moments that feels straight out of a sports movie. Instead, it ended up being an even more agonizing moment for Steven Stamkos than hitting another post in the first period.

The frequently frustrated Tampa Bay Lightning star was all alone against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford during a breakaway opportunity in the second period of Game 6.

Remarkably, Stamkos even had the presence of mind to realize he could make an extra deke or two, a very rare thing with space at such a premium this time of year.

Stamkos made what seemed like a delirious move … but he still couldn’t score.

There’s still time for Stamkos to break his goal slump, yet he’s now staring at eight straight games without a goal (and just an assist in that span).

At least he isn’t the only frustrated player out there, mind you, as this game sure doesn’t feel like it should still be 0-0.

The Lightning have had some close calls, yet Ben Bishop was also forced to break up what seemed like a perilous odd-man rush himself.

Kucherov ‘probable’ for Game 6, says Cooper

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Two

CHICAGO — In a Stanley Cup Final where injury updates have been extremely hard to come by, Monday bucked the trend.

Following the morning skate, Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said injured forward Nikita Kucherov — who exited Game 5 in the first period after crashing into the Chicago net — was “probable” for tonight’s Game 6 at the United Center.

Opting to speak in traditional NFL parlance — “what to they use in football?” Cooper joked — the Bolts bench boss decided to reveal Kucherov’s status, a far cry from what he’s done with the health of starting netminder Ben Bishop. To be fair, things were trending in this direction yesterday, when Cooper said Kucherov was “in considerably better shape” than on Saturday night.

Having the Russian sniper available is huge. Kucherov currently sits second in playoff scoring with 22 points, and Tampa Bay is struggling to score goals right now; they’ve only put two past Corey Crawford in the last two games and sniper Steve Stamkos has gone cold, having failed to find the back of the net since Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final against New York.

With offense sputtering, Stamkos says ‘I’ve got to be better’


TAMPA — Two goals, two losses and on the brink of elimination.

That’s the situation the Tampa Bay Lightning are in following Saturday’s Game 5 loss to the Blackhawks. The Bolts have frittered away a 2-1 series lead and seen their offense disappear with it; despite firing 57 shots at Corey Crawford over the last two games, they have precious little to show for it.

At the center of that dry spell? Steven Stamkos.

source:  The Lightning captain is goalless in the Stanley Cup Final, a scoring slump that dates back to Game 5 of the Rangers series. Saturday, he fired just one puck on net (three attempts total, which is also alarming) and was ineffective during a third period in which Tampa tried to rally, but came up short.

“You have to find a way,” Stamkos said following Saturday’s loss. “We had some looks at the end, it’s just not good enough to get looks right now. We have to find a way. We have to find a way to score some goals.

“It starts with me. I’ve got to be better.”

A series that promised to be an offensive showcase — and, at times during Games 2 and 3, lived up to the billing — has morphed into a defensive, tight-checking affair. The teams have combined to score just six goals over the last two games and while Stamkos isn’t the only high-profile player without a marker (remember, Patrick Kane hasn’t scored either), he’s now clearly feeling the pressure as it’s the Lightning, not the Blackhawks, that can’t afford to lose another game.

Even though he’s struggled, Stamkos said he welcomes the challenge ahead.

“We’ve got one game,” he explained. “It’s going to come down to how much we want to extend our season and what we’re willing to do. This group has come too far not to leave it all on the ice next game.

“We’re experienced in these situations. We’ve gone through it already this playoffs, we’ve found a way.”