LIghtning eliminate Red Wings, plus other playoff recaps and more in today’s collection of NHL morning headlines.
NHL Playoff Recaps
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE/DETROIT FREE PRESS: A miscue in handling the puck behind the net by Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek led to Alex Killorn scoring the only goal late in Game Five to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 1-0 victory to win the series in five games. Lightning goalie Ben Bishop made 34 saves for the shutout.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a well-deserved victory for the Lightning, who maintained their poise against the Wings as the play tightened up over the series progressed. It’s particularly notable because they did so without captain Steven Stamkos, who continues to recover from blood-clot surgery.
While the Wings made this series interesting over the last three games, they lacked the depth to pull off the upset against a deep Lightning roster.Once-reliable stars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are showing their age, scorers Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar were mostly quiet in this series, and they need more younger, faster players like Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou. Their goaltending was inconsistent, starting the series with Jimmy Howard and ending with Petr Mrazek. The latter played well in Game Five but his mishandling of the puck behind his net resulted in Killorn’s goal.
If this game was indeed Datsyuk’s last, it wasn’t one for the highlight reel. Indeed, this series won’t be remembered as one of his better ones. It was painfully obvious that age and the wear and tear of his two-way style of play is catching up with the 37-year-old future Hall of Famer.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE/STLTODAY.COM: Patrick Kane scored in double overtime to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game Five of their opening-round series. Kane’s tally saved the season for the Blackhawks, who blew a 3-1 lead in the third period on goals by Blues forwards Robby Fabbri and David Backes to tie the game. The Blues outshot the Blackhawks 46-35, including 12-9 in overtime. The series heads back to Chicago for Game Six with the Blues holding a 3-2 lead.
SPECTOR’S NOTE:The Blues miss a great opportunity to put away the Blackhawls, who have a well-deserved reputation for overcoming playoff deficits. One has to wonder if this was a series-turning moment.
TRIBLIVE.COM/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Evgeni Malkin scored twice and set up two others while Matt Murray made 31 saves as the Pittsburgh Penguins thumped the New York Rangers 5-0, chasing goalie Henrik Lundqvist from the Rangers goal and taking a commanding 3-1 series lead. The Penguins can wrap up the series in Game Six on Saturday in Pittsburgh.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lundqvist wasn’t helped by his teammates, who made costly defensive miscues that wound up in the back of the Rangers net. The Blueshirts looked listless throughout most of this game. If they don’t put up a better effort in Game Six, they’ll be hitting the golf links next week.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER/YAHOO SPORTS: Frederik Andersen’s solid goaltending and a strong penalty kill carried the Anaheim Ducks to a 4-1 victory against the Nashville Predators, evening their best-of-seven series at two games apiece. The series shifts back to Anaheim for Game Five.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks also overcame the Predators 2-0 series lead on Nashville’s home ice. Having blown their first two-game series-opening lead in franchise history, the Predators now face the challenge of beating the fired-up Ducks on the latter’s home ice.
Notable NHL Playoff Headlines.
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS/LOS ANGELES TIMES: The San Jose Sharks will try to close out their series against the Kings in Game Five tonight in Los Angeles. With his club on the brink of elimination, Kings coach Darryl Sutter criticized the officiating in this series.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS/TWINCITIES.COM: Despite the Minnesota Wild being on the verge of elimination in their opening-round series against the Dallas Stars, team owner Craig Leipold claims GM Chuck Fletcher’s job is safe. Meanwhile, Dallas Stars defenseman Jason Demers is finally returning to form after being hampered by a shoulder injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on the future of Wild interim coach John Torchetti, but it’s assumed he won’t be back if his club is eliminated in this series.
THE WASHINGTON POST/PHILLY.COM: Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik (upper body) will remain sidelined for Game Five against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight. Flyers forward Scott Laughton was released from hospital yesterday after being stretchered off the ice in Game Four. He’s reportedly doing well but won’t suit up for Game Five.
MIAMI HERALD/NEWSDAY: As the Florida Panthers hope to take control of their series against the New York Islanders tonight on home ice, Isles defenseman Ryan Pulock (upper-body injury) is likely done for the series. The series is tied at two games apiece.