Tomas Tatar

Marchand, Pastrnak come through in Bruins’ 3-2 overtime win against Red Wings

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The Boston Bruins mounted two successful comebacks in the third period on their way to a 3-2 overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.

The Bruins, who have been surging as of late, won for the 10th time in their past 12.

The Red Wings, in quite the opposite scenario, lost their third straight and for the 11th time in their past 12 contests.

By all accounts, the Red Wings deserved a better fate, at least until the third period.

They limited the high-flying Bruins to just two shots in the first period and clawed out a 1-0 lead midway through the second frame, with Tomas Tatar‘s wrist shot finding twine after a perfect screen from Justin Abdelkader.

Boston found the equalizer they needed early in the third frame, and from an unlikely source.

Noel Acciari tied the game 1-1 with his second of the season after getting a couple whacks at a loose puck in front of Jimmy Howard, capping off a solid shift from the Bruins fourth line at 3:02.

Detroit took the lead for a second time, this time short-handed after David Pastrnak got caught pinching, allowing Dylan Larkin to get behind the Bruins rearguard, scoring a beauty on a breakaway to make it 2-1.

Scoring for Boston had been a strength coming into the game.

David Pastrnak, Boston’s top point-getter, came into the game sporting an eight-game point streak. Brad Marchand, sitting just behind Pastrnak in terms of points, have a five-game heater of his own going.

The dynamic duo wouldn’t be denied; the streaks would continue.

Marchand picked out Pastrnak with a perfect back-door feed to tie the game 2-2 with 1:26 remaining in regulation, forcing overtime.

Marchand, now running with good karma, took a backhand pass from Torey Krug and turned it into a partial breakaway, fending off Mike Green, and putting his backhand in the top shelf behind Howard.

Tuukka Rask extended his win streak to five games. Rask, who struggled out the gate to start the season, stopped 31 shots and continues to look like the goalie of years past.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Babcock won’t discuss future yet, but sees challenges ahead for Wings

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Are the Detroit Red Wings a team moving up courtesy of a young core led by Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Danny DeKeyser, and Petr Mrazek? Or are they a fading dynasty having already lost former leaders like Nicklas Lidstrom and on the brink of watching the two stars they have left head off into the sunset?

“Who’s going to replace Pav?” head coach Mike Babcock asked, per NHL.com’s Аrpon Basu. One of the best two-way forwards in the game, Pavel Datsyuk will turn 37 in July. Henrik Zetterberg will celebrate his 35th birthday in October.

“Our team is not as good as it was,” Babcock also noted, according to Postmedia News’ Michael Traikos.

That’s hard to dispute. Detroit has only won a single playoff series in its last four campaigns after reaching the Stanley Cup Final in back-to-back years in 2008-09. They won it all in 2008. Once Zetterberg and Datsyuk are gone or even just less effective, will the Red Wings start missing the playoffs entirely? Do they have anyone on their roster capable of filling that massive void?

Certainly the future isn’t all fire and brimstone for Detroit. The players mentioned off the bat have proven to be solid contributors and with their help, Detroit both made the playoffs and gave Tampa Bay a run for its money in the first round. The fact that the Red Wings came within a hair of advancing can’t be just brushed under the rug.

That being said, Babcock has raised legitimate points, and it will only add fuel to the speculation that the highly regarded coach will walk as a free agent this summer. Babcock didn’t confirm anything tonight, but Edmonton, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Toronto, and likely others would certainly be eager to sign him if he’s available.

Not done yet: Lightning earn Game 7 against Red Wings

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Jon Cooper’s comments about interference didn’t make a difference, but luckily for the Tampa Bay Lightning, some of their big names did.

Steven Stamkos didn’t score a goal, yet he had a nice assist, and one of the best lines in hockey (Ondrej Palat – Tyler Johnson – Nikita Kucherov) did the rest. The Lightning beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 on Monday, forcing a Game 7 on Wednesday.

Johnson scored two of the goals while Kucherov piled up three helpers. Alex Killorn’s splendid 4-2 goal really sealed the deal, as things were tense when Tomas Tatar sawed the Lightning’s third-period lead to one goal early in the frame.

Ben Bishop looked shaky at times, something that has to be considered as the Lightning approach Game 7. Tampa Bay also may have shown some discipline issues, as they gave Detroit six power-play opportunities (versus just two for the Bolts).

The league must also sort out the matter of Niklas Kronwall’s enormous hit on Nikita Kucherov before that decisive contest comes around:

Whatever happens with the Red Wings’ key defenseman, it should be quite the contest in Tampa Bay. It will be hard to top Game 6, too, with all the highlight reel goals and Petr Mrazek saves.

Video: Tomas Tatar tumbles onto Ben Bishop

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The Tampa Bay Lightning struggled mightily without Ben Bishop in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs, so any time he gets bumped, there’s reason to worry.

He seems OK after Tomas Tatar fell on him in the first period of Game 5 between the Lightning and Detroit Red Wings:

It looks like Jason Garrison hit Tatar into Bishop. Either way, there was no penalty on the play, which didn’t exactly delight that Tampa Bay crowd.

Again, Bishop finished up the first period, so it looks like he’s OK … but players also are known to fight through pain in the postseason, so we’ll need to wait and see. Some will argue that Detroit’s crease-crashing really paid off late in the first period, as Justin Abdelkader screened Bishop on the 1-0 goal.

Blashill: No conversations about inheriting Detroit gig from Babcock

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Jeff Blashill, head coach of Detroit’s AHL affiliate and rumored to be Mike Babcock’s heir apparent, said he’s had zero talks with GM Ken Holland about going behind the Wings’ bench.

“We have not had one conversation about it since Ken and I sat down last spring to talk about doing a new contract and me being the head coach of the Griffins,” Blashill said, per MLive. “That’s the only conversation we’ve had.”

Babcock, in the final year of his contract with Detroit, is believed to be highly sought-after by a number of clubs. Toronto, Philadelphia, Buffalo and San Jose all currently have coaching vacancies.

Detroit inked Blashill to a three-year extension last June, which many saw as a precursor to him eventually taking the head gig at the NHL level. Blashill, 41, has been with Detroit since the 2011-12 season, first spending a year behind the Red Wings bench as Babcock’s assistant before taking the head coaching gig with the Griffins.

In Grand Rapids, he’s enjoyed tremendous success. The Griffins won the Calder Cup two years ago and advanced to the Western Conference semis last year; this season, they’ll open the playoffs as the West’s No. 2 seed.

Blashill is thought of very highly within the Detroit organization. He’s overseen the development and promotion of Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco, Joakim Andersson, Luke Glendening and Brendan Smith and, shortly prior to signing Blashill to the aforementioned extension, Holland called him “an NHL coach in the making.”

But it doesn’t sound like he’s ready to make the leap just yet.

“As in the past, I honestly don’t even think about it,” Blashill explained. “I have never been in a job and thought about what’s next. I’ve always thought about right now, and that’s a series with Toronto [Marlies, Grand Rapids’ Round 1 opponent], and that’s my sole focus.

“I signed a contract last year because I really enjoy my job and I really enjoy working for the Red Wings.”