Tag:2011 NHL Playoffs
Posted on: May 26, 2011 7:13 pm
Edited on: May 28, 2011 10:39 pm

Horton won't face suspension over fan incident

BOSTON --- Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton will not be suspended for squirting water and then throwing the bottle at a fan after Game 6 on Wednesday night, CBSSports.com has confirmed.

The incident came moments after the Tampa Bay Lightning held on for a 5-4 victory to force a Game 7 at TD Garden on Friday. The video, apparently shot by a fan who probably didn’t get implied or express written consent from the NHL to film the action, first made the rounds after it was posted by Mike Corcoran of WHBO-AM, an ESPN Radio affiliate in Tampa. 

<iframe width="640" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/9
tHthrBLU7Y" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Plastic noisemakers handed out to the fans as they entered the St. Pete Times Forum rained down on the ice, one hitting Bruins forward David Krejci on the helmet, as this video shows:

While Horton won’t be suspended, there’s likely a fine in the offing.

So what makes this different from New York Rangers coach John Tortorella’s bottle toss at a Washington Capitals fan during the first round of the playoffs two years ago? He was forced to sit out Game 6 of that series. For one, Tortorella’s team wasn’t being pelted with pieces of hard plastics and secondly a coach needs to set a better example.

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: May 26, 2011 1:35 pm
Edited on: May 26, 2011 5:03 pm

Stanley Cup Finals schedule is set

We don't know who will be playing the Canucks in the Stanley Cup Finals, but we know when the games will be played.

Game 1 will start in Vancouver on Wednesday, June 1 -- it just seems so wrong playing hockey in June, but I digress. Game 2 won't be played until Saturday, an extra day off thrown in because of arena conflicts.

If the series goes to a Game 7, it won't come until Wednesday June 15.

Every game, despite being in different time zones, will start at 8 ET, which equals a 5 o'clock puck drop in Vancouver. I'm sure there will be plenty of "doctor's appointments" or whatever other excuse you can come up with to get out of work early.

All games will be broadcast on either NBC or Versus in the U.S.

Here's the schedule, courtesy of nbcsports.com.

-- Brian Stubits

Stanley Cup Finals
TBA vs. No. 1 Vancouver - Series tied, 0-0
Date Site Time/Result
June 1 at VAN 8 p.m.  
June 4 at VAN 8 p.m.  
June 6 at TBA 8 p.m.  
June 8 at TBA 8 p.m.  
June 10 at VAN 8 p.m.  
June 13 at TBA 8 p.m.  
June 15 at VAN 8 p.m.  
Posted on: May 25, 2011 3:57 pm
Edited on: May 25, 2011 3:58 pm

Boucher 'very aware' of ref set to work Game 6

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher sounded like he’s not only going up against the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals tonight.

He also inferred that he’ll have an obstacle in stripes at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Boucher said he’s “very, very aware” that referee Eric Furlatt --- one of two refs set to call tonight’s game --- has called 24 penalties on the Bolts versus nine on the opposition in the four Tampa Bay games he’s worked this postseason.

“It has been a part of our discussions quite a few times in the last game, the last games we did have that particular ref,” Boucher said. “And it is lopsided, but the only thing we can control is what we do on the ice and hope that things will be fair like it is with everybody else.”

Furlatt, who Boucher never mentioned by name, called Game 2 of this series, a 6-5 Bruins victory. The Bolts were whistled for eight penalties --- two more than the Bruins --- and Boston converted on two of their six power-play chances.

“You want to ignore it, but you're right, after repetition, it is a concern,” Boucher said. “But we're planning on being strong mentally and forcing whoever is a ref to see that we're very disciplined.”

-- A.J. Perez

Posted on: May 25, 2011 1:17 pm

Video: Canucks celebrate after Game 5 win

Ever wonder what an NHL locker room is like after a series clincher in the postseason? Take a look at the Canucks after Game 5 Tuesday night against San Jose.

Quite a contrast from the baseball world, where every step up the ladder is celebrated the same as the last for most every team -- with champagne goggles and beer-soaked jerseys. Instead, this is a team that is certainly thrilled to be moving on, but realizes the goal is still another series away.

It is nice to see, though, that perhaps the happiest man in the room is Manny Malhotra, the last in the receiving line. Malhotra, of course, hasn't been playing since he took a puck to the eye near season's end.

If the Canucks are lucky enough to get one more series win, it's unlikely to be as subdued.

-- Brian Stubits

Posted on: May 25, 2011 3:54 am
Edited on: May 25, 2011 4:37 am

Sharks fall short again, but core remains

Different species, but the venom stung the same.

The San Jose Sharks were snake-bitten in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals as the Vancouver Canucks advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in team history with a 3-2 victory in the second overtime on Tuesday night.

Instead of the inability to win at home (see Calgary Flames in 2004) or failure to win anywhere (see a sweep by the Chicago Blackhawks last season), the Sharks saw their best chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in club history end when Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa -- in what seemed like a hidden-puck trick -- bounced a slap shot past San Jose goalie Antti Niemi in midway through the second overtime.

Of course, it wasn’t that clean-cut as a 3-2 double OT loss, as described by The Mercury News’ Mark Prudy:

It happened when the puck seemed to mysteriously disappeared for a few seconds after Vancouver defenseman Alexander Edler tried to flip it behind the net but instead sent it bouncing high off a metal dividing stanchion in the glass above the boards. It left the eyesight of everyone -- until Canucks' teammate Kevin Bieksa saw the rubber disc suddenly drop in front of him and whacked it with a crazy bounce into the net while Shark goalie Antti Niemi was looking in another direction.

"I thought the puck was out of play," Sharks center Joe Pavelski said. "I think the only guy who saw it was the guy who had it on his stick."

That was Bieksa, who bounced the puck home.

“It's one of those things that you absolutely have no control over,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “We can talk about it all we want. It went off a stanchion. When you watch the replay, the officials didn't know where it was, Nieme didn't know where it was, Vancouver, San Jose, nobody knew where it was. It came right to Bieksa. One more bounce he probably whiffs on it we're still playing. Nothing we can do about it”

That freakish bounce is probably why we won’t see major chances in Silicon Valley. GM Doug Wilson and coach Todd McLellan have a good thing going in San Jose, even if they came up short.

Had they had a bounce go their way in a 54-save effort by Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo, we could be heading to Game 6. Still, it’s hardly to fault Niemi. There are a few others on the Sharks who may need to look inward.

Dany Heatley, who made $8 million this season, was a ghost in this series. He had one point (an assist) through the five games. He was the lone superstar on the Sharks that was lacking, although you could fault forward Patrick Marleau -- at least a little -- for not knowing the Canucks had pulled Luongo in closing seconds --- who could have sealed a Sharks win in regulation.

“I think that's ridiculous,” McLellan said when asked if the window was closing the Sharks to win their first Cup. “We have some very talented players that are under contract. We have a real strong core. We've learned a lot of lessons along the way. We've grown as a team. In my opinion, there's absolutely no reason why we can't be an elite team again next year, as we were the last three, four, five years. We expect to be there. That's the standard we live by.”

Maybe no player set that standard on Tuesday like captain Joe Thornton. He missed the final 11 minutes of Game 4 with an undisclosed injury --- at least it was undisclosed until after the Sharks were eliminated. Thornton apparently suffered a separated shoulder on a check from Canucks bruiser Raffi Torres.

“Obviously, that's a very courageous game for him to play,” McLellan said. “He did separate his shoulder last game. It was very painful. Our training staff and doctors did a tremendous job in preparing him to play.”

The Sharks could have a roster very similar to what they put on the ice on Tuesday. Devin Setoguchi is a restricted free agent, San Jose’s only star that could be plucked this offseason. Role players Scott Nichol, Jamal Mayers, Kyle Wellwod, Ben Eager, Kent Huskins, Ian White and Niclas Wallin will be unrestricted free agents come July 1. Expect Wilson to keep the core together for at least one more run.

“It's hard to find passengers today,” McLelland said. “But we obviously didn't get the win, and that's what we came here before. The series itself, we lose a game possibly because of fatigue. We ran out of gas in Game 1. We lose our composure in Game 2. We get to Game 4 and it's a matter of about four minutes' worth of penalties. Tonight was bounces, in my opinion. We got better as the series went on. “

It just ended after five games. Now, the Sharks will have to play another 82 before they can prove they belong.

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space: pre;">

Posted on: May 24, 2011 3:28 pm
Edited on: May 24, 2011 9:22 pm

Lightning returning to Roloson for Game 6

Guy Boucher's goalie flip-flop continues as the Lightning coach announced he will return to Dwayne Roloson in net for Game 6

Since being acquired midseason from the Islanders, Roloson has been the Lightning's No. 1 netminder. Boucher credited the 41-year-old keeper for Tampa Bay's success and explained his thinking about Mike Smith's Game 5 start.

"He was the guy that took us here and that's how I felt before last game," Boucher said of Roloson. "I felt like it was time to give him a little breather."

Roloson had started the first 15 of the Lightning's playoff games, but he has now had  the last five-plus periods off. Roloson was yanked late in the first period of Game 4 after he allowed three goals on nine Bruins shots.  Smith entered in relief and held the B's scoreless the rest of the game. That earned him a last-minute nod for Game 5, a 3-1 loss in Boston.

Smith allowed two goals on 19 shots in Game 5, but will find himself on the bench at the St. Pete Times Forum, at least for the start of  Game 6 on Wednesday night. Roloson was also yanked in Game 2.

"I felt that Smitty played really well," Boucher said. "So it's a perfect situation to put Smitty in. If something were to go wrong in the previous game, put a new goaltender in for a do-or-die, I don't think it would have been a good moment for anybody."

-- Brian Stubits

Photo: Getty Images

Posted on: May 24, 2011 3:01 am
Edited on: May 25, 2011 8:12 pm

Lightning's Bergenheim scratched for Game 6

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning forward Sean Bergenheim, the top goal scorer of the playoffs, did not skate in warm-ups and was scratched from the lineup for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday night.

"We have to wait," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said before the game. "The doctors are looking at him now, and we have to wait until tonight."

Bergenheim didn't play in the final two periods of Game 5 after he suffered an undisclosed injury early Monday's contest, a game won by the Bruins, 3-1. Tampa Bay entered Game 6 trailing 3-2 in the best-of-7 series.

Center Dana Tyrell, who has played in five playoff games, was tapped to replace Bergenheim, who has nine goals in the postseason and two in this series.

"Well, obviously when you take somebody out that's been a big part of our playoffs," Boucher said when asked what Bergenheim's abscence would mean. "It does take some chemistry out. And I gotta find that." 

Blair Jones was put on the Bolts’ third line with Moore and Downie. Jones and Downie each had scoring chances in the third period, but Bruins goalie Tim Thomas made both stops.

“We are prepared to lose a guy here or there,” Bolts forward Ryan Malone said after Game 5. “We are prepared from all angles. We know injuries are going to happen. I’m not sure if he is injured. I haven’t seen what happened, but we are prepared for guys going down.”

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: May 23, 2011 1:00 pm
Edited on: May 24, 2011 2:33 am

Mike Smith gets start in Lightning net for Game 5

BOSTON --- Mike Smith --- spectacular in relief during the Eastern Conference finals – was only solid in his first career playoff start for the Tampa Bay Lightning, not that their coach second-guessed his decision to bench veteran Dwayne Roloson in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.

“It's a decision I don't regret at all,” Guy Boucher said after the Boston Bruins’ 3-1 victory at TD Garden on Monday night. “I've done it in the past and it worked. I've had it done against me and it worked. . . . It wasn't something emotional at all. It was something thought of methodically and it was unanimous as a staff, that we wanted to give a breather to Roli and give a chance to Smitty to participate in something he's been a part of.”

Since Boucher didn’t give a clear answer even to Smith until lunchtime on Monday, it’s not clear what the Lightning will do in Game 6 as Tampa Bay faces elimination at St. Pete Times Forum on Wednesday.

“I have no expectations, right now,” Smith said. “The game just ended and I am kind of taking a deep breath. It is up to the coach now. I will be ready to go.”

Smith allowed two goals on 19 shots, neither routine as Nathan Horton and Bard Marchand scored in the second period.

“Just kind of a pass from the sidewall there to the high slot,” Smith said. “Horton got a pretty good shot on me. I think I could have gotten a better push across, but it was a tough play.

Roloson started the first 15 playoff games for the Lightning, although he was yanked in two of the last three games. Smith stopped 29 shots he faced in relief.

“We all have confidence in each of our goaltenders,” Lightning forward Steven Stamkos said. “It definitely wasn’t anything that Smitty could have done for us to win it. It falls on us. We had some defensive break downs. Smitty made some big saves when he had to and kept us in it. It is a coach’s decision and we are really confident with both.”

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com