Stanley Cup Playoffs: What You Need To Know, April 22
The Montreal Canadiens are moving on to the second round after a sweep of the Lightning and more of what you need to know from Tuesday's playoff action.
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.
Sharks win 4-3 (OT) | SJ leads series 3-0 | Game 4 Thur.
Los Angeles Kings : Well, that's probably going to do it. The Kings were going back and forth with the Sharks in this one but in the crucial third period they spent the majority of the time defending against the San Jose attack. It's been unusual for this team to play without the puck as much as they have in this series against an equally strong possession team and it has given the Kings fits. They took penalties tonight that really hurt with San Jose's power-play unit but they were equally good on the man advantage. Unfortunately for them, Jonathan Quick has been very mortal this postseason. He made some very quality saves in this one but still didn't have the kind of game that we have come to expect from him. It's not over but it feels like it not only with the Kings down 3-0 but with how they were outplayed in the first three games of this series, including Tuesday night.
San Jose Sharks : This team is for real. The Sharks did not have the dominant look that they did in San Jose, which was to be expected, but they still got the better of the Kings, particularly in the third period. The Sharks came out and just overwhelmed LA in the third, firing a whopping 23 shots on net. Their power play was a thing of beauty, recording nine of those 23 third-period shots itself. In the overtime they took the Kings' best punches and somehow withstood it all then get the game-winner on their only shot of the OT period. They got some breaks to go their way, including that winner, but you need that on the road in the postseason. Fact is they made a lot of breaks for themselves. Now this series is just waiting for them to close it out. Heck of a game.
Play of the Game: So the game-winner is probably the play and if not it's Marian Gaborik's highlight-reel goal or even any number of quality saves from Jonathan Quick and Antti Niemi but we have to share the first goal of the game from Brent Burns because it's a bit on the hilarious side. Dan Boyle missed his shot big time but it hit off Burns and deflected, going the other way from Quick for the score.
Player of the Game: So that old misnomer about Patrick Marleau not being clutch? It should officially rest in peace. Over his career Marleau has actually seen his productivity increase in the playoffs and now with an OT winner on the road, that should be the nail in the coffin. He was also the only Sharks player with two points (one assist as well) and led all Sharks in ice time, one second more than Dan Boyle.
Turning Point: When the overtime began the Kings came out as a desperate team and it showed. They were flying at the Sharks but Antti Niemi was up to the task with some massive saves. The biggest sequence, though, was when the Sharks finally managed to get the puck out of their zone and get fresh bodies on the ice. There was a sequence where the Sharks spent more than a minute -- much more -- in their own zone that included one icing and a timeout. Even after that the Sharks just couldn't get the changes they needed and as a result the Kings were creating chances all around them. Getting the puck out and getting fresh bodies on the ice was a huge moment and very shortly after the game was over.
GIF of the Game: Jonathan Quick is used to holding on to pucks so he took the next step in that natural evolution. Or something. Logan Couture came a little too close to Quick's crease so the LA goalie just held on. No idea how this wasn't worthy of a holding penalty, the referee wasn't far away. Couture was upset but it was effective; LA took the numbers up ice and created a good scoring chance out of it (via @PeteBlackburn).
Rangers win 4-1 | NYR leads series 2-1 | Game 4 Thur.
Philadelphia Flyers : So about that talk of Ray Emery playing so well ... Certainly Emery is not alone in the fault but he was not very good in this game. He let in a couple of goals that you normally expect your goalie to make and eventually was pulled in the third period after giving up his fourth goal of the game. At this point you should expect to see Steve Mason in net for Game 4, considering he was the one that relieved Emery. They did have the kind of desperation you want to see, though, when down in the game but the start was once again way too slow. They attempted 80 shots in the game compared to only 39 for the Rangers, pure domination from a possession stand point (aided by the score effects though, no doubt) but at 5-on-5 they got nothing (nor did they get anything at 5-on-4, an issue right now).
New York Rangers : For the second straight game the Rangers got out to a quick two-goal lead but unlike Game 2, this time they played a full game and didn't give it up. They were much more sound in their defensive-zone and neutral-zone play (though still hardly perfect) and it certainly helps having Henrik Lundqvist in between the pipes. They went into a shell perhaps more than you'd be comfortable seeing after they built the lead -- 10 shots in the final 40 minutes -- but the Rangers still have that in their roots and they went back to their shot-blocking ways with a whopping 28. Just like that, home-ice advantage is back in their control.
Play of the Game: The Flyers only scored one goal but that one goal from Mark Streit was pretty nice. It wasn't so much the shot from Streit in the 4-on-4 situation that was so impressive (though it was a really good read by him to step up), but the takeaway in the neutral zone from Claude Giroux and the dime from Jakub Voracek were pretty excellent.
Player of the Game: Rick Nash had a game that is worthy of his superstar label in Game 3, the kind of guy making things happen. He didn't have any goals but he did assist on two of the Rangers' four goals and also led the team in shots with five. Heck, he even got in on the shot-blocking party with three. There was no complaint about his performance on Tuesday. Same can be said about Henrik Lundqvist (as per usual).
Turning Point: The Rangers played a strong first period to build up their lead and really settled in a bit over the final two but Dan Girardi 's goal five minutes into the second period was massive, building back the two-goal cushion and nip the Flyers' momentum in the bud at that point.
GIF of the Game: Dan Carillo is explosive. It's why he's nicknamed Car Bomb. He was also especially revved up playing against his former team, after taking a bad hit to his head and then being called for a very dubious penalty. So when he got out of the penalty box and immediately scored on the rush, he was more than willing to combat the Flyers fans by the glass. What a glorious GIF (via @MyRegularFace).
Bruins win 3-0 | BOS leads series 2-1 | Game 4 Thur.
Detroit Red Wings : At this point the Wings have to be wondering what they can do to get anything going against the Bruins. They didn't really come out ready to play, as the old cliche goes, being outworked and outplayed by the Bruins in the early going. At this point they have to be getting very concerned with this matchup and what they can do to generate offense. It doesn't help that they took some uncharacteristically bad penalties early in the game as well. The Bruins don't need any help, they're good enough already. The series is just 2-1 so there's plenty of time to rebound but the Wings right now have no answer for the Bruins defense.
Boston Bruins : The Bruins are just so sound in everything they do. Defensively they have really clamped down and in Game 3 they limited Detroit to only 23 shots on goal for the entire game. The Wings have speed as we all know but the Bruins weren't doing anything to allow Detroit to take advantage of its strength. The amount of odd-man rushes in this game for the Wings could be counted on one hand. Perhaps you only need one finger even, they were that solid up and down on Tuesday night. They are really looking like the team that was the best in the NHL this season and a Cup Finalist a year ago.
Play of the Game: Dougie Hamilton had the game-winning goal but that's not really why it's also the play of the game. Hamilton went nearly coast to coast, taking the puck well into his own defensive zone and just gliding up ice before wristing one past Jimmy Howard . Granted the Wings didn't provide a ton of resistence but still a pretty nice rush from start to finish for the young defenseman.
Player of the Game: Seriously, Tuukka Rask is doing it again. Even though the Red Wings didn't severely test him with just 23 shots on net, Rask still gets the star treatment for Game 3 with the shutout. That means now in 180 minutes against Detroit so far he has given up two goals. That's it. The Bruins are already scary, now with Rask in lights-out mode, they're terrifying.
Turning Point: This game didn't really much of a turn in it, the Bruins came out strong and stayed strong for the majority of the game. In the first period the ice was titled in Boston's favor big time and though it did even out a bit over the final 40, Boston never lost its grip on the game.
GIF of the Game: In the postseason the octopi really make a return in Hockeytown and in the pregame celebration one Red Wings fan apparently thought Tuukka Rask could use some company during the national anthem so he/she nearly hit Rask with an octopus (via @PeteBlackburn).
Canadiens win 4-3 | MTL wins series 4-0
Montreal Canadiens : The Canadiens came out clearly wanting the sweep and they got it. Once again they were the stronger team in this game for the first two periods, really putting the screws to the questionable goaltender for Tampa Bay, Anders Lindback . Perhaps they got a bit too comfortable when they went up 3-1 into the third period, though, as they sat back a bit too much in the period to allow it get even. But now they'll have plenty of time to rest up for the winner of the Bruins and Red Wings, the reward that comes with a sweep.
Tampa Bay Lightning : The Lightning will feel like they were victims of the officials after their two games in Montreal and while there is certainly some merit to that, they didn't help themselves much either. The Lightning didn't come out looking like a team that was fighting for its season at all. Through the first two periods they had just 13 shots on net to Montreal's 29. That doesn't exactly scream desperation. By the time they settled into the game they were dangerous and came back to tie the game in the third but it was too late, the damage had already been done. It was a great season for the Bolts and the future is certainly bright but this series isn't the way a team wants to go out.
Play of the Game: No surprise, it's the series winner from Max Pacioretty . It wasn't the prettiest goal you'll ever see but it was Pacioretty doing what he do so well, getting in the dirty area. Game and series over.
Player of the Game: Max Pacioretty was rewarded for a strong game with the game-winning and series-clinching goal. It was the first time in his playoff career he scored a goal and it couldn't have come at a better time, with less than a minute to go in the game. Honorable mentions? Rene Bourque had another tremendous game, Kristers Gudlevskis was very strong in relief and, oh yeah, the officials kinda helped the Habs too if we're being honest.
Turning Point: We hate to say it, truly, but the turning point in this game was clearly the very questionable tripping call on Cedric Paquette with 2:11 to go in the game. The Lightning had come storming back in the third period and made it a game, approaching overtime with the pressure on the Habs but his penalty gave the Habs a power play they wouldn't waste.
GIF of the Game: Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin was hanging out in his suite watching the end of regulation play out and then as soon as Pacioretty scored he had no time to celebrate, he was OFF AND RUNNING to get down stairs (via @PeteBlackburn).
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