***** National Hockey League Previews from The Sports Network *****
Sunday, May 3
(All times Eastern)
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (1-0) AT MONTREAL CANADIENS (0-1), 6 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Montreal Canadiens lost a tough one in the opener of
the Eastern Conference semifinals and hope to recover when they host Sunday's
Game 2 battle against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Lightning jumped out to an early lead in this best-of-seven set on Friday,
taking a 2-1 double-overtime victory in Game 1 at the Bell Centre. Nikita
Kucherov delivered the winner in a contest which featured some controversial
decisions by the officials.
One of those disputed plays came moments before Kucherov snapped the game-
winning shot from the slot just 2:06 into the second overtime period. Replays
showed Tampa's Valtteri Filppula was offside by a few inches before Brian
Boyle carried the puck into the zone. However, the officials didn't see it and
shortly after the missed call, Kucherov received a backhand pass from Filppula
in the slot and made a quick move on Montreal's Tom Gilbert before beating
Carey Price to his glove side.
"It's really frustrating losing a game on an offside. Those things are not
supposed to happen," said Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper also may have had cause to complain if his team
lost Game 1. Only a few minutes into the first overtime, Kucherov appeared to
score on a breakaway against Price, but officials ruled the Lightning player
pushed Montreal's goaltender into the net on the play. After consulting with
replay officials in Toronto, it was ruled that the call on the ice stood as
the play was not reviewable.
"It was just another play in the hockey game," Cooper said. "We were still in
the hockey game, and that's the way the guys saw it."
Tyler Johnson had the other goal for Tampa, giving the speedy forward an NHL-
best seven goals in this postseason. Kucherov has recorded four points (1G,
3A) over his last three games.
Ben Bishop made 43 saves for the Lightning, who defeated the Red Wings in
seven games in the opening round. Bishop made 31 saves for a shutout in a 2-0
win over Detroit in Game 7 on Wednesday.
"Clearly, (Bishop) was on tonight," said Cooper.
Bishop had an excellent night overall, but he'd probably like to have another
crack at the lone goal scored by Montreal. The Canadiens tied the game with
5:13 left in regulation on a heavy wrister by Max Pacioretty. Tampa's
goaltender had a clear look at the shot, however, and the puck caught the top
of his glove before falling behind him and trickling into the net.
It was the first goal allowed by Bishop since early in the third period of
Game 6 against Detroit, halting a shutout streak of 133 minutes, 8 seconds.
Price, a Hart and Vezina Trophy finalist this season, stopped 33 shots in
"I thought we played a pretty solid game tonight and deserved a better fate,"
Montreal is hoping to tie the series tonight before it shifts to Tampa for
Games 3 and 4. The clubs will get two days of rest after Game 2 before meeting
again at Amalie Arena on Wednesday.
This is the third playoff meeting between these clubs. The Lightning swept the
Canadiens in the 2004 conference semifinals, while the Canadiens returned the
favor in the opening round last spring
Tampa dominated the regular season series with Montreal, winning all five
games and outscoring the Habs, 21-8.
MINNESOTA WILD (0-1) AT CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (1-0), 8:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Wild gave the Chicago Blackhawks a scare
after falling behind by three goals in the opener of the Western Conference
semifinals. Down 1-0 in the best-of-seven series, the Wild know they need to
do more than threaten the Blackhawks on Sunday when the clubs meet in Chicago
for Game 2.
The Blackhawks were able to hold on for a 4-3 victory in Game 1 on Friday
despite coughing up a 3-0 lead gained in the opening period. Minnesota tallied
three times in a span of 9:30 to begin the second stanza, but after tying the
contest the Wild allowed Chicago's Teuvo Teravainen to score the game-winner
with under a minute left in the middle period.
"You want to take all the good things with you and move on and learn from the
things we need to do better and start preparing for Game 2," said Wild captain
Mikko Koivu. "It's a good thing we were able to come back, but at the same
time you don't want to fall behind three goals."
Teravainen, seeing his first action since Game 2 of the opening-round series
against the Nashville Predators, fluttered a shot from along the boards that
got past Minnesota's Devan Dubnyk at 19:01 of the second.
It was the first career postseason goal for the 20-year old Teravainen, who
replaced an injured Kris Versteeg in the lineup. Chicago head coach Joel
Quenneville was mulling starting Teravainen over Versteeg even if the latter
player wasn't battling a lower-body issue.
Dubnyk, Minnesota's Vezina candidate goaltender, stopped 31-of-35 shots in the
loss and was kicking himself for allowing the game-winner.
"I certainly felt real good as the game went on, just real disappointed in
myself for giving up that fourth one," said Dubnyk.
Brandon Saad, Patrick Kane and Marcus Kruger all scored in the first period
for Chicago, which has eliminated the Wild in the playoffs the previous two
Corey Crawford made 30 saves for the Blackhawks, who defeated Nashville in six
games during the first round.
"It's important," said Crawford. "That team is playing with a lot of
confidence. We came out and got the start we wanted."
Jason Zucker, Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund lit the lamp for the Wild, who
reached the second round by beat St. Louis in six games.
Minnesota forward Justin Fontaine will miss Game 2 with a lower-body injury
suffered in the second period of the opener. It's unclear who will replace
Fontaine in tonight's game, as head coach Mike Yeo is expected to choose
between Sean Bergenheim, Ryan Carter, Erik Haula and Jordan Schroeder.
The Wild are desperate to even this series before hosing Game 3 in St. Paul
this Tuesday. However, Chicago is unbeaten on home ice in these playoffs,
winning its first four tests at the United Center.
This is the third postseason series between Chicago and the Wild. The
Blackhawks beat Minnesota in five games two years ago in the opening round
before taking the 2014 conference semifinal encounter in six.
CALGARY FLAMES (0-1) AT ANAHEIM DUCKS (1-0), 10 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Calgary Flames will try to put an embarrassing loss
behind them when they visit the sizzling Anaheim Ducks on Sunday for Game 2 of
the Western Conference semifinals.
The Flames are coming off their first playoff series win in over a decade, but
the club may have been caught resting on its laurels Thursday night at
Anaheim's Honda Center.
The Ducks scored six straight goals to open the game and cruised to a lopsided
6-1 triumph, grabbing the early advantage in this best-of-seven set. Anaheim,
the top seed in the West, has yet to lose in the 2015 postseason after
sweeping Winnipeg in the opening round.
"It's a good wake-up call for us, for sure," Calgary forward Mikael Backlund
said. "We got a taste of what a really good playoff team is like."
Corey Perry had two goals and two assists while Ryan Getzlaf added a goal and
three helpers to lead the rout. Emerson Etem, Patrick Maroon and Matt Beleskey
also lit the lamp, while Frederik Andersen turned away 23 shots in the easy
"We've had so many let-downs in the year that we wanted to keep our foot on
the gas the whole game," said Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau. "Against a
team like Calgary, you don't want to give them any chance because they never
Sam Bennett had the only goal of the game for the Flames. The 18-year-old
rookie notched his third marker of the postseason to end Andersen's shutout
bid with 9:16 left in the third period.
Calgary defeated the Vancouver Canucks in six games during the opening round
to take its first series win since 2004, when the club made it to the Stanley
Cup Finals before losing in seven games to Tampa Bay.
The Flames now hope to regroup and deal Anaheim its first loss of these
playoffs before heading home stuck in a 0-2 hole. Calgary is set to host Game
3 on Tuesday.
"We know what we have to do and we have two days to get ready for the next
one," said Calgary forward Matt Stajan. "We just have to come out way harder
Former Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller had a rough Game 1 for the Flames. He was
pulled early in the second period after allowing three goals on 14 shots,
while Karri Ramo also gave up three goals on 21 shots.
It marked the second straight time Hiller was pulled from a game. He started
Game 6 against Vancouver but was replaced early in the contest by Ramo after
allowing two goals on three shots. Ramo earned the victory in the clincher
after stopping 17 shots.
Head coach Bob Hartley is expected to go with Ramo as the starter for Game 2.
It would be the first career playoff start for the 28-year-old Finn.
Hartley used both goaltenders fairly evenly in the regular season with Hiller
getting 44 starts compared to Ramo's 32.
In addition to picking a new goaltender for tonight, Hartley is hoping he
won't have to replace forwards Jiri Hudler and Michael Ferland in the lineup
after both players left Game 1 with injuries and did not return.
The veteran Hudler paced the club with three goals in Round 1 while also
adding three helpers. Ferland, a 23-year-old rookie, set the physical tone in
the matchup against Vancouver. He also scored twice in Game 6 and added two
assists in the series.
Hudler is expected to play in Sunday's contest, while Ferland is questionable.
For the Ducks, backup goaltender John Gibson did not dress for Game 1 due to
the flu, leaving Jason LaBarbera as the No. 2 option behind Andersen. Gibson
was unavailable for the first round due to an upper-body injury, but returned
to practice last week and could suit up tonight.
This is the second postseason encounter between the Ducks and Flames. The only
other playoff meeting was in 2006 when Anaheim ousted Calgary from the first
round in seven games.
05/03 10:45:00 ET