2010 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 4: Mike Richards finally steps up

Richards2.jpgPhiladelphia Flyers 5, Chicago Blackhawks 3

Series tied 2-2

Despite how the rest of the team has been playing, if the
Philadelphia Flyers had any hope of tying this series and eventually
going on to win the Stanley Cup, then they would need their captain to
step up and raise the level of his game.

All series long Mike Richards has struggled, whether it’s because of
the Chicago defense or the health of his linemates or just the ebb and
flow of the post, there’s been no doubt that this team needed him to be
better. Coach Peter Laviolette said before the game that he felt that
Richards and the line with Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne was ready to
break out, and while they had just two goals between the three — with
one being an empty-netter — yet Richards set the tone early for his
team and never backed off.

After the game, the rest of the team acknowledged just how big of
difference he made tonight.

“[Richards] always finds a way to step up when it’s time,” said
Claude Giroux. “Obviously, his goal was huge. He just always finds a
way to get that big goal for us.”

That big goal came off an incredible individual effort by Mike
Richards on the power play, who chased down the puck along the boards.
He stole the puck from an unsuspecting Niklas Hjalmarsson and a quick
backhand surprised Antti Niemi. It opened the scoring and set the tone
for what would be a great first period by the Flyers.

It wasn’t just that goal though, as Richards and his line
continuously put the pressure on the Hawks. In the past, the Hawks had
been able to easily shut down the top line yet was burned by the second
and third lines of the Flyers. Tonight, with Richards playing so well,
it opened up the game for the Flyers in all areas as they completely
controlled the flow and the energy for the first two periods.

Mike Richards says the key for him was easy: keep it simple.

“I think sometimes when you try to do too much, you almost go the
opposite way and not do enough,” the Flyers captain said after the game.

“Just keep it simple, try to relax, play hockey, and at the end of
the day, just don’t try to do too much with the puck, or don’t try to do
too much without the puck. Then you just dig yourself in the corners.”

Richards provided the leadership on the ice tonight that we’ve been
waiting for all series long, as the rest of the team has made up for the
top line’s shortcomings. It’s not just about scoring goals, and in the
first three games Mike Richards was nearly invisible. Not so tonight, as
he stood out on every single shift. It seemed as if the Hawks just
weren’t ready for his energy and the pressure he was putting on their
defense.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Blackhawks and Flyers game if one team
didn’t come roaring back in the third period. This time around, it was
the Hawks who had the big third period, getting within 4-3 with two late
goals. It seems in this series that holding onto a lead for any amount
of time is nearly impossible to do, and Richards says that turnovers
certainly don’t help when you’re playing a team like the Hawks.

“We know they’re great on transition,” Richards said. “I mean, to
lead to your next question, that’s when we kind of caused some problems
for ourselves, was turning the puck over.”

“We got the puck in
deep. When we hit their defense, we had success. When we didn’t do
that, they came back fast the other way. Not the greatest way that we
wanted to finish the game. But I think we have confidence in ourselves
with a one-goal lead. Closed it out when we needed to.”

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    NHL Bubble Wrap: Lightning get through to Stanley Cup Final

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    • The Tampa Bay Lightning are going to the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in franchise history.
    • Anthony Cirelli helped them making history by winning another series with an overtime winner.
    • Brayden Point returned for Game 6 after missing Game 5 on Tuesday.

    Tampa Bay Lightning 2, New York Islanders 1 (OT) (Lightning win series 4-2)

    It was starting to look like it was not going to happen for them, but the Tampa Bay Lightning finally broke through in overtime on an Anthony Cirelli goal to win Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final and punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final. For the Lightning it will be their third trip to the final and the first since 2014-15 when they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games. They previously won the Stanley Cup Final during the 2003-04 season. For the second game in a row the Lightning failed to convert on an extended power play that carried over into overtime. This time, though, they were on the right end of a 2-1 decision. Victor Hedman scored the other goal for Tampa Bay, continuing what has been a magnificent postseason. The Lightning also had Brayden Point back in the lineup after he missed Game 5 due to injury. The Islanders played Thursday’s game without one of their top defenseman, Adam Pelech, who will need surgery according to coach Barry Trotz.

    [NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

    Three Stars

    1. Anthony Cirelli, Tampa Bay Lightning. When you score the goal that sends your team to the Stanley Cup Final, you get top star honors for the night. Cirelli is one of the Lightning’s most underrated players, but remains a key part of their lineup. He is already one of the league’s best defensive forwards and is developing into a strong offensive player. He is the perfect complement to the superstar talent at the top of the roster.

    2. Semyon Varlamov, New York Islanders. Yeah, his team lost. But he is the only reason his team made it to overtime and the only reason it had a chance. He stopped 46 out of 48 shots on the night and did everything he could to single handedly keep the series going. The only other thing he could have done was actually score a goal himself.

    3. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning. He only had to face 27 shots, but he made an absolutely massive save in overtime to stop Brock Nelson on a breakaway that could have sent the series to a decisive seventh game.

    Highlights of the Night

    Anthony Cirelli scores the game-winning goal.

    Hedman’s goal to tie the game for the Lightning in the first period.

    Devon Toews scored the only goal for the Islanders.

    Factoids

    • Tampa Bay’s win on Thursday is already its sixth overtime win of the postseason. [NHL PR]
    • This is the sixth time in NHL history that both Stanley Cup Final teams advanced to that round with overtime wins. [NHL PR]
    • No team has played more overtime hockey in a single postseason than this year’s Lightning team. [NHL PR]

    Stanley Cup Final Schedule

    Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars

    Game 1: Saturday, Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m. ET – NBC
    Game 2: Monday, Sept. 21, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
    Game 3: Wednesday, Sept. 23, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
    Game 4: Friday, Sept. 25, 8 p.m. ET – NBC
    *Game 5: Saturday, Sept. 26, 8 p.m. ET – NBC
    *Game 6: Monday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m. ET – NBC
    *Game 7: Wednesday, Sept. 30, 8 p.m. ET – NBC

    *if necessary

    Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

    Cirelli’s overtime goal sends Lightning to Stanley Cup Final

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    Thanks to Anthony Cirelli‘s goal at the 13:18 mark of overtime, the Lightning are on their way back to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since the 2014-15 season.

    It is there that they will play the Stars. Game 1 of the series takes place on Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBC) in Edmonton.

    Cirelli’s goal ended a slugfest of a game that saw the Lightning pepper Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov with 48 shots and completely dominate territorially.

    His goal had to be a massive relief for Lightning fans, not only because it sent their team to the Cup Final, but because this game was starting to take on an eerily similar feel.

    One of the biggest issues the Lightning have had in the playoffs in recent years has been finishing series because of a slumping offense that could not convert on its chances. It happened to them in the 2015 Cup Final, and it happened to them in the 2016 and 2018 Eastern Conference Finals.

    After scoring one goal in Game 5 and only one goal through 70 minutes of hockey on Thursday it looked like it might be happening again.

    [NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

    It was also the second game in a row that the Lightning were given a four-minute power play at the end of regulation — this time due to an Andy Greene high-sticking call — that would carry over into overtime with a chance to clinch the series.

    For the second game in a row they failed to capitalize on that opportunity.

    Not only did they fail to score on that power play on Thursday, but Brock Nelson nearly ended the game for the Islanders on a breakaway only to have Andrei Vasilevskiy make his biggest save of the night.

    Later in the period the Lightning were guilty of a too many men on the ice penalty that gave the Islanders a power play, but Tampa successfully killed the penalty by not allowing a single shot on goal. That successful kill set the stage for Cirelli’s overtime goal.

    Cirelli had briefly exited the game in the second period after a collision at the blue line with Islanders captain Anders Lee.

    Every series win for the Lightning this postseason has ended with an overtime goal.

    2020 STANLEY CUP FINAL (Rogers Place – Edmonton)

    Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars

    Game 1: Saturday, Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m. ET – NBC
    Game 2: Monday, Sept. 21, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
    Game 3: Wednesday, Sept. 23, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
    Game 4: Friday, Sept. 25, 8 p.m. ET – NBC
    *Game 5: Saturday, Sept. 26, 8 p.m. ET – NBC
    *Game 6: Monday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m. ET – NBC
    *Game 7: Wednesday, Sept. 30, 8 p.m. ET – NBC

    *if necessary

    Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

    NHL schedule for 2020 Stanley Cup Final

    2020 nhl stanley cup final schedule
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    The Stanley Cup Playoffs continue on Saturday, Sept. 19 in the hub city of Edmonton. Now that we are through the conference finals, the full 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final schedule has been announced.  

    The top four teams during the regular season in both conferences played a three-game round robin for seeding in the First Round. The eight winners of the best-of-5 Qualifying Round advanced to the First Round.  

    Rogers Place in Edmonton will host 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final.  

    Here is the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final schedule.

    2020 STANLEY CUP FINAL (Rogers Place – Edmonton)

    Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars

    Game 1: Saturday, Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m. ET – NBC
    Game 2: Monday, Sept. 21, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
    Game 3: Wednesday, Sept. 23, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
    Game 4: Friday, Sept. 25, 8 p.m. ET – NBC
    *Game 5: Saturday, Sept. 26, 8 p.m. ET – NBC
    *Game 6: Monday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m. ET – NBC
    *Game 7: Wednesday, Sept. 30, 8 p.m. ET – NBC

    *if necessary

    [NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

    CONFERENCE FINAL RESULTS

    EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
    Lightning beat Islanders (4-2)

    WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
    Stars beat Golden Knights (4-1)

    ***

    SECOND ROUND RESULTS

    EASTERN CONFERENCE
    Lightning beat Bruins (4-1)
    Islanders beat Flyers (4-3)

    WESTERN CONFERENCE
    Golden Knights beat Canucks (4-3)
    Stars beat Avalanche (4-3)

    ***

    NHL QUALIFYING ROUND / ROUND-ROBIN RESULTS

    EASTERN CONFERENCE
    Philadelphia Flyers (3-0-0, 6 points)
    Tampa Bay Lightning (2-1-0, 4 points)
    Washington Capitals (1-1-1, 3 points)
    Boston Bruins (0-3-0, 0 points)

    Canadiens beat Penguins (3-1)
    Hurricanes beat Rangers (3-0)
    Islanders beat Panthers (3-1)
    Blue Jackets beat Maple Leafs (3-2)

    WESTERN CONFERENCE
    Vegas Golden Knights (3-0-0, 6 points)
    Colorado Avalanche (2-1-0, 4 points)
    Dallas Stars (1-2-0, 2 points)
    St. Louis Blues (0-2-1, 1 point)

    Blackhawks beat Oilers (3-1)
    Coyotes beat Predators (3-1)
    Canucks beat Wild (3-1)
    Flames beat Jets (3-1)

    ***

    FIRST ROUND RESULTS

    EASTERN CONFERENCE
    Flyers beat Canadiens (4-2)
    Lightning beat Blue Jackets (4-1)
    Islanders beat Capitals (4-1)
    Bruins beat Hurricanes (4-1)

    WESTERN CONFERENCE
    Golden Knights beat Blackhawks (4-1)
    Avalanche beat Coyotes (4-1)
    Stars beat Flames (4-2)
    Canucks beat Blues (4-2)

    Lightning get Brayden Point back for Game 6; Islanders lose Pelech

    Brayden Point
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    The Tampa Bay are getting major a lift for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final as they attempt to punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final.

    Brayden Point will be back in the lineup against the New York Islanders on Thursday after missing the Lightning’s Game 5 loss on Tuesday.

    It was the second game he missed this series, with those two being the only games the Lightning have lost in the series.

    He will skate in his usual spot on the top line between Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat.

    [NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

    Point has been the Lightning’s best overall player this postseason and has emerged as one of the leading contenders for the Conn Smythe Trophy. He enters Thursday’s game with 25 points in 16 games, including at least one point in 14 of those games. He has seven points in the Eastern Conference Final alone even though he has only played in two-and-a-half games in the series.

    But while the Lightning are getting one of their most important players back, the Islanders are losing one of their top players.

    Defenseman Adam Pelech will not be available for Game 6, a development that will leave a significant hole on their blue line.

    Pelech’s absence during the regular season was one of the biggest factors behind their second half slide. Losing him on the same night that Tampa Bay gets Point back is going to be a major issue for the Islanders.

    Noah Dobson will be in the lineup for the Islanders in Pelech’s place.

    Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.