***** National Hockey League Previews from The Sports Network *****
Tuesday, April 22nd
(All times Eastern)
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (0-3) AT MONTREAL CANADIENS (3-0), 7 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Montreal Canadiens will try to complete their first
postseason sweep in over two decades when they take a 3-0 series lead into
Tuesday's Game 4 against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning.
Montreal, the only Canadian team to qualify for the playoffs this spring,
hasn't recorded a sweep since beating Buffalo in four games during the 1993
Adams Division finals. The Habs won their last Stanley Cup title that season,
which also marked the last time a club from Canada won an NHL championship.
After taking Games 1 and 2 of this series in Tampa, the Habs returned home to
post a 3-2 win over the Lightning on Sunday and take a commanding 3-0 lead in
the best-of-seven set.
Montreal didn't waste much time in getting on the board in Game 3, as Rene
Bourque scored the fastest game-opening goal for the Canadiens in almost 37
Bourque's third goal of the playoffs came just 11 seconds into the game and it
proved to be the team's quickest marker from the start of a playoff game since
Bob Gainey tallied seven seconds into the series-clinching Game 6 of the
Stanley Cup semifinals against the Islanders in a 2-1 win on May 5, 1977.
Tampa evened the score at 1-1 midway through the second period, but Brendan
Gallagher restored Montreal's lead 1:50 before the second intermission and
Tomas Plekanec made it 3-1 less than six minutes into the third.
Carey Price came up with 27 saves for the Canadiens, while Gallagher also
added an assist. P.K. Subban contributed a pair of helpers for Montreal, which
can earn a trip to the conference semifinals with a win tonight. The Canadiens
haven't played in the second round since reaching the Eastern finals in 2010.
Ondrej Palat and Matt Carle provided goals with Steven Stamkos assisting on
both for the Lightning.
Stamkos left the game late in the second period after Canadiens defenseman
Alexei Emelin accidentally hit him in the head with his knee, but Tampa Bay's
captain returned for the third period. Stamkos expects to play in Game 4.
Anders Lindback made 28 saves for the Lightning, who have never been swept in
Sunday's game did not come without a bit of controversy as Tampa Bay had a
potential go-ahead goal in the second period wiped out by the officials. With
the game tied at 1-1 late in the second, Tampa's Ryan Callahan was able to put
the puck past Price, but officials ruled that Lightning forward Alex Killorn
made contact with the Montreal goaltender and then refused to move out of his
way seconds before the puck crossed the line.
Lightning head coach Jon Cooper did not mince words when discussing the
"I was pissed off then and I'm pissed now, but that's just my opinion," Cooper
said after the game. "I saw it differently but he's the one making the call.
We played hard and played with passion. I thought we responded real well after
that and I thought they deserved a better fate tonight. This is when it hurts
The Canadiens would grab the lead for good a few minutes later when Gallagher
converted a cross-ice pass from Subban to put Montreal ahead 2-1.
Although Stamkos expects to play tonight after being shaken up in Game 3, the
Lightning will once again be without No. 1 goaltender Ben Bishop, who has yet
to play in this series due to an upper-body injured suffered late in the
regular season. Lindback expects to get the start in Game 4 with Kristers
Gudlevskis serving as the backup.
Lindback has posted an .888 save percentage in this series, stopping just 87-
Tampa Bay now needs to enter NHL lore to advance to the next round. Only the
1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1975 New York Islanders and 2010 Philadelphia Flyers
have won a best-of-seven series after dropping the first three games.
Callahan thinks the team can take some positives from Sunday's loss into the
do-or-die Game 4.
"The chances we created and the spots of the game we were really good and
getting opportunities. We take that and move that into Game 4," said Callahan.
It's one game again."
If the Lightning can stay alive with a win in Game 4, the next contest will
take place Thursday evening in Tampa.
BOSTON BRUINS (1-1) AT DETROIT RED WINGS (1-1), 7:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - After splitting the first two games of a best-of-seven
series, the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings will fight for an edge in
Tuesday's Game 3 battle in the Motor City.
Detroit stunned the defending Eastern Conference champions with a 1-0 win in
Boston to open the series, but the Bruins responded with Sunday's 4-1 triumph
on home ice.
The Bruins, this season's Presidents' Trophy winners, seemed to play their
physical brand of hockey in Game 2, using their size advantage over Detroit to
even the set at one game apiece.
After taking 25 shots in Friday's 1-0 loss, the Bruins had 18 shots in the
first period alone in Game 2 and led 2-0 at the 20-minute mark. Despite
taking a total of 11 shots over the second and third periods, the Bruins were
able to hold a lead the rest of the way.
Justin Florek snapped top-seeded Boston's scoreless drought in the first
period Sunday after Jimmy Howard came out of the net to clear a puck
Florek, 23, was recalled from Providence of the AHL on Tuesday, just two days
after he had been sent down. The winger had one goal and two points in four
regular season games -- his first in the NHL -- but was the first Bruin to
solve Howard in the series after 67 minutes and 28 seconds.
It was a case of being in the right place at the right time -- near the left
circle when Howard came way out of his net as a puck trickled into the slot.
Howard sent the puck off the boards to his right but it deflected right to
Florek, who fired the puck just past Howard's outstretched pads as the
goaltender scrambled to get back.
"It was a good present there," Florek said about his first career postseason
marker. "It was good to get the team going. I think that was the biggest thing
-- get some momentum in the building. So that was a big start for us."
Reilly Smith, Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara also scored and Tuukka Rask made 34
saves, letting in just the one goal after a shot hit off Detroit center Luke
Glendening's glove in the crease.
Jarome Iginla and Torey Krug each had two assists for the Bruins.
"I think we were a little bit better in all areas, from our breakouts with
their pressure to the neutral zone, where we were able to get through that
with a little bit more speed today than we did the last game," said Bruins
head coach Claude Julien. "So we were able to put pucks in areas where we were
able to get on them quick or get to the pucks first."
Detroit head coach Mike Babcock criticized his club for trying to match the
Bruins' physicality in Game 2. The Red Wings, who had the NHL's fourth-fewest
penalty minutes (725) during the 2013-14 regular season, were whistled for
seven minors on Sunday after taking just one penalty in the opener.
Boston went 2-for-4 on the power play in Game 2, while Detroit was 0-for-4.
The Bruins had just one power-play opportunity in getting shut out by Howard
"I just think you've got to decide what you want to do. Do you want to play
like them or play like us?" Babcock said about his club's lack of discipline.
"I just looked at the sheet here; we had one, two, three, four roughing calls.
We haven't had four roughing calls this year. So you've got to do what you do,
not what they do."
Poor discipline in Game 2 aside, the underdog Red Wings got what they needed
from their first two road games in this series. Detroit will now try to take
control of the set on home ice, where it has defeated Boston in each of the
last four meetings.
Detroit, however, was only 18-13-10 at Joe Louis Arena this season, while
Boston had a stout 23-12-6 road record.
The Red Wings will play without Daniel Alfredsson on Tuesday, as the veteran
forward is being held out due to an upper-body injury and will be replaced in
the lineup by fellow Swede Joakim Andersson.
The 41-year-old Alfredsson has no points over two games in this playoff
series, his first for a team other than the Ottawa Senators. Alfredsson had
100 points (51 goals, 49 assists) in 123 postseason games with the Sens, who
he had spent his entire NHL career with before signing with Detroit last
This series is the first playoff meeting between the Bruins and Red Wings
since the 1957 Stanley Cup semifinals. The clubs spent decades playing in
opposite conferences before Detroit moved to the East as part of the NHL's
realignment plan for the 2013-14 season.
NEW YORK RANGERS (1-1) AT PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (1-1), 8 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - After ending a lengthy drought at Madison Square Garden
over the weekend, the Philadelphia Flyers will try to grab a series lead over
the New York Rangers on Tuesday when they host Game 3 of the Eastern
Conference quarterfinals at Wells Fargo Center.
Philadelphia lost Game 1 in New York to see its losing streak at MSG climb to
nine games, but the Flyers were able to halt the slide and take Sunday's
meeting by a 4-2 score. The victory evened the series at 1-1 with the series
shifting to the City of Brotherly Love for Games 3 and 4.
The Flyers only mustered 15 shots on goal in Thursday's 4-1 loss, but came
through with a much better offensive effort in Game 2. Philadelphia was still
outshot by New York, 33-25, on Sunday, but the Flyers converted 2-of-3 power-
play opportunities while only allowing the Rangers to score once on six
chances with the man advantage.
"Our power play had some great looks and they scored two and we didn't,"
Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault remarked. "At the end of the night that was
However, things did not look good for Philly in the early part of Game 2, as
it fell behind 2-0 in the first half of the opening period before digging its
way out of that hole. Luke Schenn netted the eventual game-winner 11:18 into
the second period, scoring the third of four unanswered goals for the Flyers.
Jakub Voracek, Jason Akeson and Wayne Simmonds each scored once, while Ray
Emery, starting back-to-back games for the first time all season, stopped 31
shots for the Flyers, who won at MSG for the first time Feb. 20, 2011.
"We just stuck with it and kept working and I think that's why we won the
game," Voracek said. "After we got scored on, I think we were the better
Emery got the nod in net again with No. 1 goaltender Steve Mason still
recovering from an upper-body injury that has sidelined him since April 12.
The situation in net remains unchanged for Game 3, with Emery as the starter
and Cal Heeter serving as the backup.
Martin St. Louis opened the scoring 4:08 into the game for New York and Benoit
Pouliot added a power-play tally to stake the Rangers to a two-goal cushion at
the 8:22 mark.
Henrik Lundqvist allowed three goals on 24 shots for the Rangers.
Schenn's game-winner came at even strength with 8:42 left in the second
period. Michael Raffl carried the disc through the neutral zone and across the
blue line before touching it ahead to Adam Hall, who threw the puck on net
from the low right side as he was checked to the ice. Lundqvist sticked away
the initial opportunity, but the rebound squirted into the slot, where Schenn
swatted it home with a backhand for a 3-2 lead.
The score stayed the same until Simmonds notched an empty-net power-play goal
with 26 seconds left.
Now it's New York's turn to prove it can win on the road. The Rangers lost
both of their regular-season games in Philadelphia in 2013-14 and have dropped
three straight and four of the last five meetings at Wells Fargo Center.
"We have to step it up," said Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello. "It's 1-1 in
games, so we have to win one down there. It's as easy as that."
This is the first playoff series between these franchises since 1997.
Tuesday's contest is the first postseason meeting in Philadelphia since the
Flyers clinched the Eastern Conference championship with a 4-2 win over the
Blueshirts on May 25, 1997.
Philadelphia has won six of the 10 playoff series against the Rangers,
including three straight.
Game 4 of this series is scheduled for Friday night in Philly.
SAN JOSE SHARKS (2-0) AT LOS ANGELES KINGS (0-2), 10 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Following a pair of lopsided losses in San Jose to begin
the Western Conference quarterfinals, the Los Angeles Kings will aim for a
better showing in front of the home crowd Tuesday at the Staples Center.
Down 2-0 in the series, the Kings host Game 3 against a Sharks team that
simply dominated them in the first two meetings of the best-of-seven series at
Los Angeles trailed 5-0 en route to a 6-3 loss in Game 1. On Sunday, the Kings
actually led 2-0 before San Jose scored seven unanswered goals to post a 7-2
blowout win and take a two-game lead in the series.
Although losing by wide margins in Games 1 and 2 did not look good, the Kings
and Sharks both know this series is far from over.
Last spring, L.A. managed to come back from down 2-0 to win its first-round
series in six games against the St. Louis Blues. In the next round, the Kings
won all four of their home tilts to outlast San Jose in seven games. Of
course, the Sharks also went 3-0 at home in that series and hold home-ice
advantage in the 2014 rematch.
Including the playoffs, Los Angeles has won eight straight and 10 of its last
11 home games against the Sharks. If the Kings fail to extend that home streak
tonight, the club will face a do-or-die Game 4 on home ice this Thursday.
All told, The Kings went 23-14-4 on home ice during the regular season. San
Jose was 22-15-4.
Kings forward Justin Williams did his best to sum up his team's situation
following Sunday's setback.
"It obviously stinks sitting here, talking after another lopsided loss," said
Williams. "But they did what they set out to do and now it's response time.
We're going back to our arena. We won the first two in our arena last year and
they came back and won the next two in theirs. So we're looking to repeat
that, but we need to start with one."
Joe Pavelski collected a goal and two assists to lead the way in San Jose's
Game 2 victory. Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture added a score and a helper
each for the Sharks, who managed to score more in the first two games of this
year's series (13) than in all of last year's seven-game loss to the Kings
Mike Brown, Raffi Torres, Joe Thornton and Justin Braun also recorded tallies,
while Antti Niemi shook off a shaky first period to record a 24-save victory.
"It's just been a couple of great nights for us offensively," Braun said.
"Shored up a few things defensively, Niemi has bailed us out a few times. But
you can't be that disappointed with that many goals in two games. It's been
good so far at home."
Jake Muzzin and Trevor Lewis provided first-period scores for the Kings, but
L.A. failed to score over the final 50 minutes, 27 seconds of the game.
"I don't really know if it's one thing in particular," Kings captain Dustin
Brown said. "Again, we gave up a lot of odd-man rushes. Even in the first
(period) when we were up 2-0, they had a lot of good chances. We need all 20
guys to be on top of their game."
Jonathan Quick was left in net for all seven goals on 40 shots. The Conn
Smythe winner when L.A. won the Stanley Cup in 2012, Quick has a dreadful 7.22
goals against average and .824 save percentage in the first two games of this
set. He was pulled from Game 1 midway through the third period, but Kings head
coach Darryl Sutter didn't blame his goaltender for Sunday's setback.
"I thought he was fine tonight," Sutter said of Quick. "He'll tell you that he
struggled in the first game."
The 28-year-old Quick entered this postseason with a career playoff line of
29-21 with a 2.03 GAA and.929 save percentage. Quick's GAA now stands at 2.19
through 52 career playoff games and his save percentage has dipped to .924.
04/22 11:23:50 ET