Lightning eliminate the Canadiens, plus the latest on the Flames, Canucks and Oilers.
TAMPA BAY TIMES/MONTREAL GAZETTE: Nikita Kucherov scored twice, Steven Stamkos tallied the eventual game-winning goal and Ben Bishop made 18 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning crushed the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 to win their best of seven second-round series four games to two.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After the Canadiens dominated the Lightning throughout most of this series, Game Six looked like a re-run of every game between these two clubs during this regular season. Lightning coach Jon Cooper claimed before Game 6 his players were angry over losing the last two games. If so, they successfully channeled that anger into a determined and disciplined effort. The Canadiens never really had much of a chance in this one, despite the heroics of superstar goalie Carey Price, who stopped 24 of 27 shots.
Price publicly took the blame for this loss, but nobody’s faulting him. His teammates couldn’t contain the Lightning’s speed and offensive depth.
The Lightning move on to the Eastern Conference Final where they’ll face either the New York Rangers or Washington Capitals, while Canadiens management will spend this offseason looking to address its roster weaknesses. I’ll have more on that in the “Rumors” section.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames revealed several of their players were hampered by injuries down the stretch and during the playoffs. Among them were Sean Monahan (groin, back), Jiri Hudler (neck and back problems), TJ Brodie (sprained ankle), Micheal Ferland (torn oblique muscle), Josh Jooris (wrist injury) and Joe Colborne (thumb and wrist injuries).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Judging by how those guys played, you’d never know they were hampered by injury.
THE VANCOUVER SUN: While Canucks goaltender Eddie Lack remains committed to improving his performance, his future in Vancouver remains in doubt.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The expectation is the Canucks will retain Lack and trade Jacob Markstrom. We’ll find out over the course of this offseason if that comes to pass.
EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers have signed Finnish goalie Eetu Laurikainen to a two-year entry-level contract.