Stanley Cup Playoffs: What You Need To Know, April 20
Here's what you need to know from Easter Sunday's Stanley Cup playoffs quadruple header.
Every night during the playoffs, we will wrap up all the exciting action and tell you what you need to know about the 2013-14 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Welcome to What You Need To Know.
San Jose Sharks : Even though the score was quickly 2-0 in favor of LA, San Jose was the better team almost from start to finish in Game 2, and boy oh boy were they ever better. The Sharks just kept on coming, wave after wave against the Los Angeles Kings with production coming from all four lines -- yes, four lines. Teams don't make the Kings and Jonathan Quick look as bad as they did in Game 2 ... or Game 1 the other night. This team is terrifying right now, from their forecheck to their marksmanship. Certainly they must have the Kings shaking in their skates after a whooping on Sunday and 13 goals in two games.
LA Kings: The game started well enough but the good vibes went away and by the end the Kings have to be asking some very hard questions about themselves. Even when the Kings were building their lead, the majority of the offense was coming from San Jose and eventually it started to result in goals ... a lot of goals. The Kings are having fits with San Jose's speed and while it didn't help that the Kings were forced to chase the action a bit, the defense that is the strength for LA has been getting torched. Jonathan Quick has not been anywhere near his best but his defense isn't helping him much right now. The deficit is only 2-0 right now but those were two emphatic and question-raising losses.
Play of the Game: How exactly do you break seven goals down to just one top play? Well it's tough but there can only be one so we'll go with Logan Couture 's goal in the third period that made the game 6-2 at that point. Drew Doughty won't like to watch this play again but it was still a strong finish against the grain by Couture. Also it is just another example of the Sharks attacking Quick stick side.
Player of the Game: Joe Pavelski was dropped to the third line in Game 2 but it's not like his play suffered as a result. By dropping him down to that line it gave the Sharks three waves of offense to turn to -- and four really in Game 2, but that's not something they can realistically count on every game. He finished with a goal and assist with five shots in nearly 20 minutes of ice time. It's hard to pick just one guy for the Sharks in this game as they were all rolling
Turning Point: Even though the Sharks were playing well before and you could see it on the horizon, Dustin Brown 's initial tally is where we'll lean to on this one. First of all, it's just a massive bonus when you get a goal from Mike Brown anyway but that just opened the floodgates. It's tough to remember after seeing him give up seven goals but Quick was actually very good in the first period before the levy broke.
GIF of the Game: As you can imagine with two rivals battling in a game that was getting out of hand, the scrums-per-save rate skyrocketed and it ended up in Raffi Torres being punched in a pileup (via @cjzero).
Montreal Canadiens : The Canadiens grabbed firm control of the series even if they didn't win Game 3 firmly on Sunday in Montreal. There was really nothing to complain about with the Montreal first period, they could have easily been up a few more goals but missed chances gave the Lightning a chance to get back in. Credit to them, though, to reseize the momentum and pull ahead before holding on. Even with the Lightning onslaught at the end, the Habs still outshot Tampa Bay 31-30 in the game. Particularly in the first period they carried play throughout.
Tampa Bay Lightning : Somehow the Lightning managed to survive a brutal first period in which they had lapses galore thanks to the play of Anders Lindback in net. Once they started to get their footing, they made it a game and unfortunately for them, a very controversial call went against them and resulted in a goal off the board (refereeing was questionable all game long, sadly). That only makes a one-goal loss sting all the more. They might have played better in Game 3 but they are still sitting on the verge of being swept with Game 4 in Montreal on Tuesday.
Play of the Game: Brendan Gallagher scored the goal but PK Subban did all the work on the go-ahead tally for the Canadiens. And boy did he do some work. Subban took the puck on the right side and did a full loop around the defense before coming back to where he started, shaking a defender on the way, stopping on a dime and firing a pass to Gallagher. Subban is a pretty special player.
Player of the Game: What has gotten into Rene Bourque? The postseason has brought out the best in him as he was all over for the Habs in Game 3. He got the nod as a starter and rewarded coach Michel Therrien with a goal just 11 seconds into the game but he didn't stop there. He had numerous good chances on Anders Lindback in the Lightning net, finishing the game with eight shots on goal with two attempts blocked and two more missing the net to go with three hits and of course his goal. Oh, and he did that all in just less than 15 minutes of ice time. That's quite the impact.
Turning point: Even though the play itself will garner plenty of dispute, the fact that the goalie interference call that wiped out a Lightning score was the turning point can't really be argued. The Lightning had finally started to get a real footing in the game and looked to take the lead but it was taken away, much to Tampa Bay's dismay. A few seconds later Steven Stamkos was injured and a couple minutes later Brendan Gallagher was finishing the pass from Subban. It was a massive swing for so many reasons. You never want to blame officials for a loss but that impluse will be hard for the Lightning to avoid after this game.
GIF of the Game: This one comes on the play of the game as Subban was just skating all through the offensive zone. Ondrej Palat was chasing him and staying close behind Subban but when PK went around the net, Palat got his stick in the way and tripped up ... and did a flip! (Via @MyRegularFace.)
Boston Bruins : That was more like it. The Bruins, contained well in Game 1, came out like men on a mission to start Game 2. It wasn't until they got some help from a big Red Wings gaffe that they scored but it was in the works and the Bruins taking a 2-0 lead into the first intermission wasn't a fluke; they put up 18 shots on goal in the first alone. They gave up shots but part of that was a byproduct of being comfortably ahead and focusing on defense (score effects) and they were keeping most safely away from Tuukka Rask . It was a Bruins kind of game, complete with hits and numerous scrums.
Detroit Red Wings : Detroit made life tough on the Bruins in Game 1 by utilizing their speed but the Bruins found the antidote for that; physical play. It's not how the Wings want to play and it stymied them. Even though the Wings had 35 shots in the game, they didn't threaten Tuukka Rask all that much. The only goal they did get was of the ugly variety, bouncing in off Luke Glendening in front of the crease. Game 2 won't leave them with a great taste on the way back to Detroit but fact is they still left Boston with a 1-1 split and that's a win.
Play of the Game: Well this was pretty. Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla worked a terrific give-and-go through the Red Wings defense with Iginla threading a pass through to Lucic for the goal. Jimmy Howard nearly made a fantastic save, getting his paddle on it, but Lucic's shot dribbled through. Let this be a reminder the Bruins have a lot of skill too, not just brawn.
Player of the Game: It's the time of year where Zdeno Chara just lives on the ice and impacts just about everything that happens. Game 2 wasn't much of an exception. Chara led all skaters with 26:04 of ice time in the game that included a whopping 6:31 of penalty killing. He had a pair of shots, four hits and two blocked shots to go with the power-play goal that made it 4-1, a perfect example of how difficult he is on the man advantage this season.
Turning point: The aforementioned Milan Lucic goal is a pretty good place to start. At that point the Bruins' lead was down to 2-1 and the Red Wings were crawling back into the game to make things interesting but then Lucic and Iginla executed their play to perfection to reinstate the two-goal lead and from there on in it was (mostly) smooth sailing. We would also accept the turnover from Howard that led to the first goal.
GIF of the Game: We already shared the REAL GIF of the game with Zdeno Chara and Brendan Smith 's dance but this is a good runner-up. It just was a tough day for the Smith brothers as Reilly Smith was on the receiving end of a classic Niklas Kronwall hit. Indeed, Reilly just got Kronwalled (via @MyRegularFace).
GIF of the Game Part II: This game was just so GIFable that we couldn't leave it with just one. Here's Carl Soderberg Twerking, or something (via @WorldofIsaac).
New York Rangers : There was certainly nothing wrong with the start for the Rangers, carving up the Flyers defense in the first period but as the game wore on, they were looking almost tired. The tough part will be the fact that they jumped out to a two-goal lead and were buzzing but weren't able to sustain that throughout the game and, as was forecasted before the series began, were beaten in special teams. Going 1 for 6 on the power play isn't going to cut it, especially when the Flyers were leaving the door open with some undisciplined play.
Philadelphia Flyers : For the first time in 10 tries dating all the way back to 2011, the Flyers took a victory out of Madison Square Garden when out of the gate it didn't look like they would. The Flyers struggled in the opening frame with discipline issues and a couple of bad turnovers but came out buzzing in the second period and got some pretty stellar goaltending to take a 1-1 series back to Philly. They were chasing the Rangers a bit at times but were able to exploit the Rangers on the rush and keep the Rangers on the outside defensively and when the Rangers did shoot, they were blocking shots as if John Tortorella were their coach. It was close to a perfect road game.
Play of the Game: The game-winning goal from Luke Schenn deserves honorable mention as he was able to finish over Henrik Lundqvist on a rush up the ice with a delayed penalty but we're going to go with Jakub Voracek 's goal that got the Flyers on the board late in the first period. It wasn't a play that made your jaw drop but the strength with which he carried the puck and beat Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi before Lundqvist was very impressive.
Player of the Game: Ray Emery . In the opening minutes Emery gave up the only two goals he would cede all game and neither could be put entirely on his shoulders as the Rangers carved up the Flyers with some cross-ice passing. The goal from Benoit Pouliot is one he could have had but still wasn't all on him. From there on out, though, he was excellent and ended up stopping 31 of 33 shots, adjusting very well to the Rangers' plan to test his movement post to post. Not bad for a backup.
Turning point: The Flyers' comeback officially began with that Voracek goal but they seemed like a different team when they came out for the second period. The Flyers came out with more speed and turned up the physicality with the game getting nasty in the second stanza, something the Flyers will never shy away from.
GIF of the Game: As mentioned, the nasty started to enter this series in Game 2, mostly in a chippy second period. Nothing quite exemplifies that much better than this dustup between Scott Hartnell and Dominic Moore . (GIF via @MyRegularFace.)
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