Ryane Clowe says he didn't want to fight Morrow

We covered plenty of the highlights from the Dallas Stars’ thrashing of the West-leading San Jose Sharks from Tuesday night, but we really didn’t get into meat behind the game. The Sharks actually came out playing well in the game, but Kari Lehtonen made some big saves early and the Stars were able to get ahead with a power play goal. From there, it was a snowball effect as Dallas continuously outplayed and outworked San Jose en route to a big 8-2 win.

There was also some extra-curricular activity that needed mentioning. It all seemed to start with Ryane Clowe’s hit of Stephane Robidas in open ice. It wasn’t exactly a blind-side hit, but it did seem to come well after Robidas had released the puck.

There were some ensuing fights in the game, one involving Clowe and Krys Barch, until Robidas was tossed from the game for a boarding penalty on Clowe that left him with a bad cut above his eye. It wasn’t necessarily a vicious hit — and certainly not as bad as Wisniewski’s hit on Seabrook — but it was boarding and Clowe was hurt, so Robidas was rightfuly given a misconduct.

What’s interesting about the situation is how Clow apparently turned down the chance to fight Brenden Morrow immediately after the original hit on Robidas. From David Pollack of the San Jose Mercury News:

“He moved the puck and I hit him with my shoulder,” Clowe said of the
play, which didn’t warrant a penalty.

After that, Clowe said, Brendan Morrow skated by and asked him to
fight.

“I told him I wasn’t going to fight him, that I’d fight Barch,” said
Clowe. “I probably should have fought him (Morrow), but I have a hard
time fighting guys who are the top players on other teams. I don’t
know.”

Morrow isn’t exactly a pushover when it comes to fighting, but I guess that Clowe felt it would be disrespectful to take on a top player on the other team. He certainly stood up for himself and the hit by taking on Barch, I guess. At the time, the game was just 1-0 in favor of the Stars so this wasn’t a case of the Ducks just looking to get after the Stars in a blowout, although that came later.

I guess you have to respect Clowe here. I’d still like to see him take on a player that challenges him, even if it’s the other team’s captain. If he pounds him, well then that’s Morrow’s fault for getting into something he couldn’t handle.

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    PHT’s Three Stars: Vasilevskiy, Callahan lead Lightning in Game 5

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    1st Star: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning

    Vasilevskiy’s great play continued in Game 5 after a bit of a stumble to start the series. In making 28 saves, he helped the Lightning beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 to take a 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference Final. He’s now stopped 100 of the last 106 shots he’s faced. Tampa can clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Final with a win Monday night in Game 6 (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

    2nd Star: Ryan Callahan, Tampa Bay Lightning

    Callahan had his biggest game of the playofs with a goal and an assist in the Tampa win. He first assisted on Cedric Paquette‘s opening goal 19 seconds into the game and followed that up with an early tally himself in the second period. His goal, which would end up standing as the game-winner, came just 33 seconds into the middle period.

    3rd Star: Dan Girardi, Tampa Bay Lightning

    The blue liner logged 19:34 during Game 5 and blocked a game high four shots, including one in the final minute on Alex Ovechkin to help preserve the lead.

    [Quick-striking Lightning on verge of Stanley Cup Final berth]

    Highlight of the Night:

    John Carlson might have nightmares about this save by Vasilevskiy with seconds to go:

    Factoid of the Night:

    Sunday’s schedule: Vegas Golden Knights at Winnipeg Jets, 3 p.m. ET, NBC, live stream (Vegas leads series 3-1)

    MORE:
    Conference Finals schedule, TV info
    NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub

    ————

    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

    Quick-striking Lightning on verge of Stanley Cup Final berth

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    You can’t spot a team a 3-0 lead and expect to win in the playoffs.

    And while the Washington Capitals tried desperately to not fall victim to their own undoing earlier in the game, they simply ran out of time in a 3-2 loss on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    The Lightning now lead the best-of-7 series 3-2 as the series shifts back to D.C. for Game 6 on Monday. Tampa is 7-0 all-time in Washington in the playoffs and has now won three straight in the series after falling behind 0-2.

    In the first period and into the second, the Capitals appeared to be the same old disappointing playoff team — they just delayed their arrival this season for an extra round.

    [PHT’s Three Stars: Vasilevskiy, Callahan lead Lightning in Game 5]

    This does look like vintage Capitals collapse, no?

    Giving their opponents a 3-0 lead in just over 20 minutes, including allowing goals at 19 seconds of the first period (Cedric Paquette) and 33 seconds of the second period (Ryan Callahan), isn’t a winning formula.

    Nor is your superstar getting exactly zero shots on goal for the first 58 minutes of the game.

    Sure, Alex Ovechkin hit the bar earlier in the third period, and once he did get shooting, he found twine on his second shot of the game with 1:36 left and the net empty, but it was all too late in the end.

    Tampa is now a team on the verge of a berth in the Stanley Cup Final and the Capitals on the brink of their yearly disappointing exit from the postseason.

    A silver lining: Evgeny Kuznetsov keeps producing. But you’re not winning a conference final riding on the back of one player, as Washington is figuring out.

    The urgency displayed in the third period from the Caps would be better used spread out over all three periods.

    But perhaps most concerning for the Capitals is how Tampa found their stride 5-on-5.

    They didn’t manage to win the puck possession battle (as per usual in this series) but they did have a nearly 3-to-1 edge on high-danger scoring chances for at 15-6.

    All three of their goals came at 5-on-5 and they didn’t have to rely on their power play to get their offense rolling.

    That will be interesting to watch in Game 6. Giving the Lightning a man-advantage was a death sentence. But if they’re scoring 5-on-5 as well, Washington is going to be in a world of hurt.

    This isn’t helping either:

    MORE:
    Conference Finals schedule, TV info
    NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub


    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

    NHL Playoffs 2018: Conference Finals TV Schedule

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    The conference finals are now set with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals meeting in the East and the Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets facing off in the West. The round to determine who will play for the 2018 Stanley Cup will begin Friday.

    Here’s the full Round 3 schedule:

    Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals (Lightning lead series 3-2)

    Friday, May 11, 8pm: Capitals 4, Lightning 2
    Sunday, May 13, 8pm: Capitals 6, Lightning 2
    Tuesday, May 15, 8pm: Lightning 4, Capitals 2
    Thursday, May 17, 8pm: Lightning 4, Capitals 2
    Saturday, May 19, 7:15pm: Lightning 3, Capitals 2
    Monday, May 21, 8pm: Lightning @ Capitals | NBCSN
    *Wednesday, May 23, 8pm: Capitals @ Lightning | NBCSN

    Vegas Golden Knights vs. Winnipeg Jets (Golden Knights lead series 3-1)

    Saturday, May 12, 7pm: Jets 4, Golden Knights 2
    Monday, May 14, 8pm: Golden Knights 3, Jets 1
    Wednesday, May 16, 9pm: Golden Knights 4, Jets 2
    Friday, May 18, 8pm: Golden Knights 3, Jets 2
    Sunday, May 20, 3pm: Golden Knights @ Jets | NBC
    *Tuesday, May 22, 9pm: Jets @ Golden Knights | NBCSN
    *Thursday, May 24, 8pm: Golden Knights @ Jets | NBCSN

    MORE:
    PHT 2018 Conference Finals Roundtable
    PHT predicts NHL’s Conference Finals
    NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub

    ————

    Sean Leahy is a writer forPro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line atphtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

    Paquette sparks quick-start Lightning in Game 5

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    It took the Tampa Bay Lightning all of 19 seconds to get themselves into Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Washington Capitals.

    Yes, the Lightning scored on their first shot on goal as Cedric Paquette took advantage of a neutral-zone giveaway and then some questionable defending by the Capitals in response (and a nifty play by Ryan Callahan).

    Tampa has been plagued by slow starts in this series, so getting a goal within the first thirty seconds of the game couldn’t have been scripted much better.

    Ondrej Palat scored later in the period to give the Lightning a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.

    Both of Tampa’s goals also came 5-on-5, which hasn’t exactly been their strong suit in the Eastern final.

    Neither team has won at home in this series, but Tampa took two big steps in the right direction in Game 5.

    • Stream here
    Series preview
    Capitals vs. Lightning: Three questions facing each team

    Capitals’ Burakovsky will be Game 5 scratch
    Lightning survive barrage to even series with Capitals
    • Baseball team to wear Washington Capitals-inspired jerseys (Photos)
    Capitals confident in ability to continue road advantage vs. Lightning
    Lightning power play, Capitals penalty kill will make or break series

    MORE:
    Conference Finals schedule, TV info
    NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub


    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