Tag: Derick Brassard

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Four

Paquette ‘very questionable’ for Bolts after Game 5 shot block


Lightning forward Cedric Paquette will be a gametime decision for tonight’s potential Eastern Conference Final close-out game against the Rangers, though the decision may have already been made.

“He’s questionable in your terms,” Bolts head coach Jon Cooper said during today’s media availability. “Very questionable.”

Paquette appeared to injure his right hand while blocking a Derick Brassard shot in the first period:

The gritty forward, who’s appeared in 17 of Tampa Bay’s 18 playoff games thus far, returned after some time in the dressing room, but finished with just 5:43 of ice time — well off his 12:36 TOI per game average this postseason.

Paquette then briefly participated in today’s optional morning skate, before retreating to the dressing room.

If Paquette can’t go tonight, it’s expected that Vladislav Namestnikov will draw in. The Russian forward has one assist in 11 playoff games this spring.

Fast and furious: Rangers build lead, Carle and Stepan may be banged up

New Yoprk Rangers v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Three
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The Tampa Bay Lightning survived early penalty trouble against the New York Rangers in Game 2, but the story was different in Game 3.

Cedric Paquette took a foolish penalty in the opening moments. Chris Kreider blocked the vision of towering Bolts netminder Ben Bishop and Derick Brassard made no mistake about this 1-0 goal:

There were a lot of fireworks in Game 2, yet Game 1 finished 2-1. If this contest is more like most of the Rangers’ games in this postseason, then that 1-0 goal could be big.

Update: Jesper Fast scored one of the prettiest goals you’ll see, with a very nice pass from Kreider:

That briefly gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead, but Steven Stamkos made an impact with a big hit and even bigger goal, so now New York is up 2-1.

Note: In the very beginning of that goal clip (and more clearly about 50 seconds in), you can see Derek Stepan and Matt Carle collide. That opened the door for Fast’s goal to some extent, but it’s possible both players might have gotten hurt on that play. Two of a few possible injury issues to watch after a hectic first period …

In case you haven’t noticed, the NHL is a young man’s game


Just for the sake of the discussion — and since everyone’s talking about Tyler Johnson today — here are all the players who have scored at least five goals in these playoffs:

Johnson (11), Corey Perry (7), Patrick Kane (7), Nikita Kucherov (6), Chris Kreider (6), Vladimir Tarasenko (6), Alex Killorn (6), Derek Stepan (5), Alex Ovechkin (5), Derick Brassard (5), Evgeny Kuznetsov (5), Max Pacioretty (5), Matt Beleskey (5), and Colin Wilson (5).

That’s 14 players. Can you pick out the oldest?

The answer is Anaheim’s Perry, who turned 30 on Saturday. Only slightly younger than Perry, Ovechkin will turn 30 in September.

Otherwise, it’s all players who are comfortably in their 20s, their legs still full of burst, their bodies not yet worn down by the grind of taking hundreds of pucks hard to the net, and all the punishment that goes with scoring goals in today’s NHL.

This isn’t to say that once a goal-scorer turns 30 he should be put out to pasture, like the theory about running backs in the NFL. Marian Gaborik, Justin Williams, and Martin St. Louis all had productive postseasons last year. This year is perhaps an extreme case.

But it does show the importance of youth, and how quickly a player — especially a forward — can go from getting drafted to making a significant impact.

True, patience is required when developing prospects. You don’t want to rush them. There’s nothing wrong with learning the game in the AHL. But at the same time, there has to be a sense of urgency in getting prospects ready for the NHL so they can enjoy as many productive seasons as possible, before their peak years (at a relatively low cap hit) are over.

Hence, all the talk surrounding 20-year-old Jonathan Drouin. While it’s not like the Lightning should be hitting the panic button that he hasn’t yet gained the trust of his coach, it’s not unfair to wonder if he’s fallen a bit behind in his development.

In a related story, Capitals GM Brian MacLellan knows “the next three or four years is the window” in Washington. Because, where will Ovechkin’s game be after that? Where will Nicklas Backstrom’s? The Caps have an opportunity over the next few years to get production from both their veterans and their youth. That’s the sweet spot every GM aims for. And those sweet spots don’t last long.

Can the Rangers win the Cup like this?


A great defense creates offense, right? Not always, not if you’re the Rangers right now at least. They’re winning games thanks to their solid defense and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s superb play, but at the same time, they’re averaging just two goals per game in the playoffs.

Which is fine because defense is what wins championships, doesn’t it? It’s an important part, certainly, but they’re pushing that philosophy to its limit and it will be interesting to see if it snaps likes an overstretched elastic band.

If the Rangers win the Stanley Cup while maintaining their current scoring pace, they’ll be setting themselves apart from the previous 16 Stanley Cup winners dating back to 1998. Over that stretch, the worst offensive team was the 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning and even they averaged 2.56 goals per game during their postseason run. They had Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis averaging over a point per game, while the modern Rangers are led by Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan, who each have nine points in 13 contests.

The 2003 New Jersey Devils were a close second last among the list of Stanley Cup winners with their 2.58 goals per game pace in the playoffs. That Devils team lacked the offensive star power of the 2004 Lightning, but it had more offensive depth than Tampa Bay. New Jersey featured 17 different players that scored at least a goal and 11 that recorded two or more markers. The modern Rangers haven’t played in nearly as many contests yet, so it’s not a fair comparison, but so far 10 players have found the back of the net while eight have recorded at least two goals. Only two players have reached the five-goal mark (Chris Kreider and Brassard) while the Devils finished with six players that reached or surpassed that milestone.

Breaking new ground isn’t necessarily a recipe for disaster though and in line with that, the Rangers deserve credit for what they’ve already accomplished. They’ve been in 13 straight one-goal games in the 2015 playoffs and the fact they’ve gotten this far by coming through in clutch situations is amazing. Still, one has to wonder if any team can keep this up.


Five team stats you may find interesting

A good kicking: Rangers best Lightning for 1-0 series lead

Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers - Game One

For a while there, it looked like the Tampa Bay Lightning might steal Game 1 from the New York Rangers. Instead, the Rangers squeaked by with a “greasy goal” to win 2-1.

Officials didn’t even need an extended review of the decisive tally, as Dominic Moore’s leg was clearly stationary as it knocked in the rebound. In an afternoon where many of the bounces went the way of the Lightning and Ben Bishop, the Rangers earned that last one and a 1-0 series lead.

(Actually, there was one noteworthy empty-net post hit by Derick Brassard, but it didn’t end up making a difference.)

New York has now been in 15 consecutive one-goal playoff games, beefing up a record they set in Game 7 against the Washington Capitals.

The Rangers absolutely dominated the first 40 minutes of play. You can take your pick regarding which of the first two periods were most lopsided (probably the first?), but as you can see from this graphic, the differences between the two teams were pronounced:

This marks the first time Bishop has lost to the Rangers, yet it doesn’t end his run of strong play against New York, as he kept Tampa Bay in this game. Henrik Lundqvist was even better (a phrase that seems to be coming up quite often in these playoffs, actually).

The Bolts have a lot of work to do, as they didn’t get a lot done before the third period. One glaring adjustment may come down to benching Andrej Sustr, as his play was critiqued in many circles.

Ultimately, the Presidents’ Trophy winners looked the part on Saturday, even if they only managed another one-goal win.

Click here for more on the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs.