NHL Playoff Game Night: 4-30-18 Bruins at Lightning

Point line redemption levels series against hated Bruins.

Eastern Conference Semifinals

BOS-2
TB-4

Series Tied 1-1

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 20 shots for the win. Horribly soft goal on the second goal, but the team didn't pay for it ultimately. He did make several key situational saves up until that point.

First Period
11:47 TB Gourde (2), (Point, Sergachev)(PP)
18:30 BOS McAvoy (1), (Bergeron, Marchand)

Second Period
10:14 TB Johnson (3), (Point, Palat)

Third Period
14:08 TB Palat (2), (Point)
15:58 BOS Krug (3), (Pastrnak, Marchand)
19:34 TB Point (2), (Hedman)(EN)

Tyler Johnson, Brayden Point, and Ryan Callahan were the game's three stars.

That was a Lightning team with urgency and passion and they absolutely deserved the victory in Game Two no matter the protestations from Bruins Pravda, er NBCSN. The way was led by the redemption of Brayden Point's line, which rebounded from the shame of their Game One performance against Boston's Bergeron line to outright win that matchup in Game Two. If that line outplays the Bergeron line, Boston can't win this series. Flat out. So, we'll see what Boston's response is moving forward in Game Three. Also of note in this game was the physicality of the Lightning as they absolutely pasted the Bruins throughout the match. J.T. Miller. Ryan Callahan. Cedric Paquette. Ondrej Palat. Up and down the Lightning lineup they handed out heavy hits and, I think, took Boston completely off guard with the sheer volume of violence they could deploy. With that said, Boston's a big nasty team and I expect them to try and thug it up on their home ice after getting their punk cards pulled in Game Two. The Lightning need to be ready to sustain the physical intensity they showed tonight. Can't be a one night show.

Boston's going to complain about the uncalled slash on the Marchand breakaway in the Third Period. Cry me a river. Brad Marchand got away with literally biting a linesman in a First Period. Not kidding. He literally bit a linesman on the arm. No call. Tim Schaller punches Vasilevskiy in the mask skating by his crease in the Second Period. No call. You can lecture me all about the finer points of normal game officiating the second you cut crap like that and throwing skate blades and licking your opponents out of your game. Not before.

Tampa Bay gave themselves a chance with the win tonight, but the heaviest lifting is left to come. Task one: get at least one of Game Three or Four in Boston and, at a minimum, make this a 3-game series where the Lightning have home ice. It's going to take an even sharper, direct, and physical performance than what we saw tonight, but I think this Lightning team has it in them. They've had the possession advantage, big time, in both games. If they mix in the snarl to go with it and the Point line continues to at least break even with the Bergeron line I like Tampa Bay's chances.

Anthony Cirelli was -1 with 2 shots and was 75% on 8 draws in 11:09.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-29-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

#1 Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 2 @ #9 Charlottetown Islanders 3 (OT) (Game 6)
Semifinals
Series tied at 3-3

C Alex Barré-Boulet , BLB: 1-1-2, -1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 8/15 FO
Playoff Totals: 12 GP, 10-9-19, +11, 12 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 53-66-116, +28, 67 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 65 GP, 29-52-81, +10, 42 PIM

Cameron Askew (undrafted) scored a power play OT game-winner for Charlottetown, forcing a Game 7 Tuesday night back in Boisbriand. The Islanders led after the 1st period on a Brett Budgell (2019 draft eligible) power play marker. Lightning prospect Alex Barré-Boulet scored a power play goal of his own early in the 2nd period to knot the score, and then assisted on an Alexandre Alain (undrafted) power play goal later in the period. But the Armada failed to hold the 2-1 lead, surrendering a late 3rd period tally by Nikita Alexandrov (2019 draft eligible) to force overtime.

Ontario Hockey League

#1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 3 @ #2 Kitchener Rangers 4 (OT) (Game 6)
Western Conference Finals
Series tied at 3-3

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Playoff Totals: 17 GP, 13-12-25, +11, 8 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-43-85, +53, 30 PIM
’16-’17 Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, SSM: 2-0-2, -2, 0 PIM, 10 SOG, *Third Star*
Playoff Totals: 17 GP, 12-14-26, +3, 10 PIM
Season Totals (SSM): 28 GP, 18-21-39, +14, 14 PIM
Season Totals (ER): 30 GP, 15-29-44, +10, 16 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 33-50-83, +24, 30 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 42-67-109, +67, 37 PIM

Kole Sherwood (undrafted) scored the OT game-winner for Kitchener, forcing a Game 7 Monday night back in Sault Ste. Marie. Bolt prospect Taylor Raddysh fired 10 shots, scoring twice in the 3rd period, including a power play marker 85 seconds left in regulation to overcome a 3-1 deficit and force overtime. Raddysh earned the Third Star in the losing effort on the road. Ranger netminder Mario Culina (undrafted) stopped 45 Soo shots for the win. Joseph Garreffa and Givani Smith (DET, 2016 2nd round pick) both scored a goal and added two assists to pace Kitchener.

NHL Playoff Game Day: 4-28-18 Bruins at Lightning

Bruins top line humbles Lightning in Game One defeat.

Eastern Conference Semifinals

BOS-6
TB-2

Boston Leads the Series 1-0

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 5 goals on 23 shots for the loss. None of those goals were soft, necessarily, but at the end of the day Rask made a ton of big situational saves and Vasilevskiy didn't. He needs to rise to the occasion in this moment.

First Period
17:11 BOS Nash (2), (Pastrnak, Bergeron)(PP)

Second Period
0:42 BOS Bergeron (2), (Pastrnak, Marchand)
2:31 TB Girardi (1), (Paquette, Hedman)
12:33 BOS Nash (3), (Krejci, Pastrnak)
13:22 TB Sergachev (2), (Point, Gourde)(PP)

Third Period
3:32 BOS Marchand (4), (McAvoy)
10:11 BOS Bergeron, (Marchand, Pastrnak)
13:41 BOS DeBrusk (6), (Marchand, McAvoy)(EN)

Well that was certainly frustrating. The Lightning actually had a very good first 20 minutes and could've easily built themselves a lead were it not for some excellent situational saves by Rask, only to see a penalty and a faceoff loss turn into a greasy goal by Boston to stake them to the 1-0 lead at the opening intermission. The Lightning then promptly failed to show up for the opening shift of the Second Period and quickly found themselves down 2-0 before starting to find their legs in the middle frame. They got the score to 3-2 after 40 minutes and had actually carried the bulk of the play at 5v5 up until that point and then they just completely laid an egg against Boston's top line in the Third Period and ended up getting blown out.

Bottom line up front: I think the Lightning are the deeper of the two teams. I think the first and third lines, in particular, had pretty good games today even though they really failed to find the scoresheet largely due to Rask's heroics. None of that matters, though, if the Bruins' top line is allowed to run wild to the tune of 3 goals and 11 points, collectively. The Lightning's second line of Palat/Point/Johnson drew that matchup in this game and they absolutely got eaten alive, whether it was Point losing key draws to Bergeron or Johnson losing his mark in and around the circles in the defensve zone or atop the blue paint. Of the three guys on that line, I think Palat's the only one who had any bright moments in this game and Johnson, in particular, got absolutely abused by Marchand and later Bergeron. So, I think Jon Cooper's got a lot of soul searching to do in order to find some better matchups. And, honestly, that could mean moving Gourde onto that line (who played really well) in Johnson's place or it could mean moving Kucherov onto that line and giving him the challenge of trying to best Boston's best. It's a problem that will require an innovative solution that isn't entirely clear to me at this juncture.

Boston's accomplished everything they came to Tampa to achieve by taking home ice in Game One. Game Two is an opportunity for them to try to shorten this series while the Lightning will just be trying to stay, realistically, alive. Back against the wall time already. All hands on deck.

One other thing I want to say after this game is that I think it's a joke the way the NHL coddles the Boston Bruins. Rask has a hissy fit and does something incredibly dangerous throwing a skate blade on a call that the referees properly made and they do nothing. Guys are cross checking guys in the kidneys and slashing guys after the whistle and the Bruins have the gall to stay out during Second Intermission to talk to the refs as if they were aggrieved. Why do they feel so entitled? Maybe because the league treats the Bruins like an overly permissive parent treats a spoiled brat grandchild. "Oh, excuse me little Brad. If it wouldn't be too much trouble could you, um, well, try not to lick another person without their permission. Please?" When you limply rebuke things like that and turn a blind eye to the kind of crap Rask pulled today it contributes to the appearance of lawlessness in the league, at least where the Bruins and a handful of the league's other "chosen grandchildren" teams are involved. And, frankly, it's not a good look.

Anthony Cirelli had 1 shot and 2 hits in 13:37 and was 54% on 13 draws. I thought that third line with Gourde and Killorn on his wings was pretty dynamite and I'm a little surprised they didn't pop one in. I'm a little concerned that Cirelli appeared to have some heavy legs in this game at times, but all in all he was a positive for the Lightning in an otherwise dim afternoon.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-27-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

#9 Charlottetown Islanders 2 @ #1 Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 3 (Game 5)
Semifinals
Armada leads series 3-2

C Alex Barré-Boulet , BLB: 1-1-2, +1, 2 PIM, 8 SOG, 4/11 FO, *First Star*
Playoff Totals: 11 GP, 9-8-17, +12, 12 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 53-66-116, +28, 67 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 65 GP, 29-52-81, +10, 42 PIM

Lightning prospect Alex Barré-Boulet nets the game-winner just past the midpoint of the 3rd period, breaking a 2-2 knotted Game 5 to give the Armada a 3-2 series lead. After a scoreless 1st period, Barré-Boulet set up Drake Batherson (OTT, 2017 4th round pick) for a power play marker that opened the scoring in the 2nd period and then Luke Henman (2018 draft eligible) scored at the game’s midpoint to give the Armada a 2-0 lead. The Armada would then take a pair of minor penalties, and the Islanders would take advantage, scoring a pair of power play goals just one minute apart to tie the score up at 2-2. Barré-Boulet would earn First Star honors for his goal and assist. The series shifts back to PEI Sunday with Charlottetown looking to prevail on home ice and force a Game 7, while Blainville-Boisbriand will attempt to close out the series and advance to the QMJHL finals to face the Acadie-Bathurst Titan who swept the Victoriaville Tigres 4-0.

Ontario Hockey League

#2 Kitchener Rangers 3 @ #1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 7 (Game 5)
Western Conference Finals
Greyhounds lead series 3-2

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff Totals: 16 GP, 13-12-25, +10, 8 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-43-85, +53, 30 PIM
’16-’17 Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, SSM: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, 2/3 FO
Playoff Totals: 16 GP, 10-14-24, +5, 10 PIM
Season Totals (SSM): 28 GP, 18-21-39, +14, 14 PIM
Season Totals (ER): 30 GP, 15-29-44, +10, 16 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 33-50-83, +24, 30 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 42-67-109, +67, 37 PIM

The Soo returned to home ice for Game 5 and Jack Kopacka (ANA, 2016 4th round pick) dialed up four points and a hat trick to lead the Greyhounds to a 3-2 series lead. Jacob LeGuerrier (undrafted) added a pair of goals, and the Soo had 11 players with at least a point, including Bolt prospects Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk each with an assist. The Soo scored three times in the 1st period to take a 3-1 lead to the 1st intermission, with Katchouk setting up Kopacka for his first goal of the game, followed by Raddysh setting up Keeghan Howdeshell (undrafted). The Greyhounds kept their foot on the gas, doubling up the Rangers 4-2 in the last two frames. The series heads back to Kitchener Sunday for Game 6 to see if the home team can hold serve and force a Game 7. Sault Ste. Marie will be looking to steal a win on the road to clinch the series, and earn a berth in the OHL finals against the Hamilton Bulldogs who dispensed with the Kingston Frontenacs in 5 games.

Clark Cup Playoffs (USHL): 4-25-18

United States Hockey League

Fargo Force 2 @ Omaha Lancers 1 (Saturday)
Fargo Force 3 @ Omaha Lancers 6 (Sunday)
Omaha Lancers 5 @ Fargo Force 6 (Tuesday)
Omaha Lancers 0 @ Fargo Force 2 (Wednesday)
Western Conference Round 2
Force wins series 3-1

D Nick Perbix , OMA: 4 GP, 0-2-2, +1, 14 PIM, 13 SOG, *Third Star*
Playoffs: 4 GP, 0-2-2, +1, 14 PIM
Season Totals: 56 GP, 4-25-29, +19, 38 PIM
’16-‘17 Totals (HS): 25 GP, 10-30-40, 6 PIM
Committed to: St. Cloud State University

After Fargo won a best-of-three wildcard series 2-0 against Tri-City, the Force and Lancers tangled for their Round 2 battle. The teams split games at Ralston Arena last weekend in Omaha, with Bolt prospect Nick Perbix earning Third Star honors in Game 2 with a pair of assists and 14 PIMs in a six-goal win. The series switched to Scheels Arena in Fargo with the Force prevailing on home ice to eliminate Omaha 3-1 in the best-of-five series.

This likely draws a close to Perbix’s impressive single rookie USHL campaign, as he is a 2018-19 commit to St. Cloud State University, and we look forward to the start of his NCAA career this fall.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-25-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

#1 Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 3 @ #9 Charlottetown Islanders 4 (OT) (Game 4)
Semifinals
Series tied at 2-2

C Alex Barré-Boulet , BLB: 0-1-1, -2, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, 12/19 FO
Playoff Totals: 10 GP, 8-7-15, +11, 10 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 53-66-116, +28, 67 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 65 GP, 29-52-81, +10, 42 PIM

For the second time in as many games, the Islanders win in overtime and knot the series at two apiece, both teams holding serve on home ice. After Drake Batherson (OTT, 2017 4th round pick) opened the scoring early in the first for the Armada, last night’s OT hero Brett Budgell (2019 draft eligible) scored the equalizer for Charlottetown and the two teams went to first intermission tied 1-1. Bolt prospect Barre-Boulet setup Alexandre Alain (undrafted) for power play goal late in the 2nd period to give the Armada a 2-1 lead at the 2nd intermission. When Thomas Ethier (2018 draft eligible) gave the Armada a 3-1 lead early in the 3rd period, it would seem victory was a scant 18 minutes away. But the Islanders would rally with goals by Derek Gentile (2018 draft eligible) and Sullivan Sparkes (undrafted), and forced the extras session once again with Keith Getson (2018 draft eligible) scoring the OT game-winner for the Game 4 victory. The series shifts back to Boisbriand Friday night for Game 5.

Ontario Hockey League

#1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 @ #2 Kitchener Rangers 7 (Game 4)
Western Conference Finals
Series tied 2-2

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 0-1-1, -2, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff Totals: 15 GP, 13-11-24, +10, 8 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-43-85, +53, 30 PIM
’16-’17 Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, SSM: 1-1-2, -1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 3/6 FO
Playoff Totals: 15 GP, 10-13-23, +3, 10 PIM
Season Totals (SSM): 28 GP, 18-21-39, +14, 14 PIM
Season Totals (ER): 30 GP, 15-29-44, +10, 16 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 33-50-83, +24, 30 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 42-67-109, +67, 37 PIM

The Soo scored four goals in the last 20:07 of the game, but it was too little too late after spotting the home team Rangers six goals in the first 38:14 of the match. Kitchener was paced by two goals from Givani Smith (DET, 2016 2nd round pick) and four assists from Joseph Garreffa (undrafted). With the Rangers up 6-0, Bolt prospect Boris Katchouk set up fellow Bolt prospect Taylor Raddysh for a power play goal with 7 seconds left in the 2nd period. Tim Gettinger (NYR, 2016 5th round pick) and Keeghan Howdeshell (undrafted) helped lead the 3rd period rally for the Soo, with Howdeshell scored twice and Gettinger scoring a goal and an assist. After both teams held serve on home ice, the series pivots back to Sault Ste. Marie Friday night for Game 5.

AHL Playoff Game Night: 4-25-18 Crunch at Americans

Bye, Rochester.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

SYR-6
RCH-3

Syracuse Wins the Series 3-0

Connor Ingram allowed 3 goals on 36 shots for the victory in his playoff debut.

First Period
3:25 RCH Redmond (2), (Porter, Blackwell (2) (PP)
19:16 SYR Peca (2), (Masin, Joseph)

Second Period
7:48 RCH Bailey (2), (Malone)
8:17 SYR Foote (1), (Verhaeghe, Joseph)
8:36 SYR Archambault (2), (Stephens, Peca)
10:49 SYR Stephens (1), (Dumont, Verhaeghe)

Third Period
6:05 SYR Joseph (2), (Volkov, Dumont)(PP)
13:50 RCH O'Regan (1), (Porter, Griffith)
19:08 SYR Volkov (3), (Peca, Condra)(EN)

Mitchell Stephens, Matthew Peca, and Gabriel Dumont were the game's three stars.

Well that was an interesting series considering the bluster from the Americans coming into the series based on their late regular season play against the Crunch. One of these teams clearly had an extra gear or two and the other was Rochester.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-24-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

#1 Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 2 @ #9 Charlottetown Islanders 3 (OT) (Game 3)
Semifinals
Armada leads series 2-1

C Alex Barré-Boulet , BLB: 0-0-0, +1, 2 PIM, 7 SOG, 6/16 FO
Playoff Totals: 9 GP, 8-6-14, +13, 10 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 53-66-116, +28, 67 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 65 GP, 29-52-81, +10, 42 PIM

Sixteen-year-old Brett Budgell (2019 draft eligible) scored 1:14 into overtime to give Charlottetown the Game 3 victory in front of 3400+ fans at EastLink Centre, taking their first game of the series. The Armada played catch-up the whole game, falling behind by a goal twice before Drake Batherson (OTT, 2017 4th round pick) scored with a scant 55 seconds left in regulation to force the extra session. Islanders netminder Matthew Welsh (2018 draft eligible) stopped 37 of 39 Armada shots, as he continues to stymie the potent Armada offense. The series continues in Charlottetown Wednesday night with Game 4.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-23-18

Ontario Hockey League

#1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 0 @ #2 Kitchener Rangers 3 (Game 3)
Western Conference Finals
Soo lead series 2-1

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff Totals: 14 GP, 13-10-23, +12, 8 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-43-85, +53, 30 PIM
’16-’17 Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, SSM: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 0/4 FO
Playoff Totals: 14 GP, 9-12-21, +4, 10 PIM
Season Totals (SSM): 28 GP, 18-21-39, +14, 14 PIM
Season Totals (ER): 30 GP, 15-29-44, +10, 16 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 33-50-83, +24, 30 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 42-67-109, +67, 37 PIM

With the series shifting to Kitchener and the Rangers down two games nil, Kitchener goalie Mario Culina (undrafted) pitched a 24-shot shutout in front of 6500+ home fans at Kitchener Memorial Auditorium. Sixteen-year-old blueliner Michael Vukojevic (2019 draft eligible) assisted on all three Ranger goals. These two teams combat once again Wednesday night in Kitchener for Game 4.

CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-21-18

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

#9 Charlottetown Islanders 0 @ #1 Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 1 (Game 2)
Semifinals
Armada leads series 2-0

C Alex Barré-Boulet , BLB: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, 2/4 FO
Playoff Totals: 8 GP, 8-6-14, +12, 8 PIM
Season Totals: 65 GP, 53-66-116, +28, 67 PIM
’16-’17 Totals: 65 GP, 29-52-81, +10, 42 PIM

Barre-Boulet set up Alexandre Alain (undrafted) for a power play goal 5:02 in the 2nd period, and it stood as the game-winner behind a 28-shot shutout by Emile Samson (2018 draft eligible). The Armada win both home games to start this series, which has the storyline of a being a goaltender’s duel this far. Islanders netminder Matthew Welsh (2018 draft eligible) has stopped 49 of 53 Armada shots. The series shifts to PEI for Game 3 on Tuesday.

Ontario Hockey League

#2 Kitchener Rangers 2 @ #1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 (Game 2)
Western Conference Finals
Soo lead series 2-0

W Boris Katchouk, SSM: 2-1-3, +3, 0 PIM, 8 SOG, *First Star*
Playoff Totals: 13 GP, 13-10-23, +14, 8 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-43-85, +53, 30 PIM
’16-’17 Season: 66 GP, 35-29-64, +18, 46 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, SSM: 1-2-3, +1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG, 2/5 FO, *Third Star*
Playoff Totals: 13 GP, 9-12-21, +6, 10 PIM
Season Totals (SSM): 28 GP, 18-21-39, +14, 14 PIM
Season Totals (ER): 30 GP, 15-29-44, +10, 16 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 33-50-83, +24, 30 PIM
‘16-‘17 Totals: 58 GP, 42-67-109, +67, 37 PIM

Katchouk (pictured) and Raddysh both notched three-point games to lead the Soo to a Game 2 win over the Rangers. Katchouk earned First Star honors for a pair of goals and an assist, while Raddysh earned the Third Star for a goal and two assists. After Adam Mascherin (FLA, 2016 2nd round pick) opened the scoring for Kitchener just 1:44 in the game, the Greyhounds reeled off three straight to put the game away. Katchouk and Raddysh combined to set up linemate Morgan Frost (PHI, 2017 1st round pick) for the equalizer just past the midpoint of the game. With the score knotted 1-1 in the 3rd period, Raddysh set up Katchouk for the first of this two goals to give the Soo its first lead. Katchouk scored his second goal with the Rangers goalie pulled and Kitchener on the power play with just 72 seconds remaining – a short-handed marker that would eventually be the game-winner. Logan Stanley (WPG, 2016 1st round pick) would raise the tension in Essar Centre when he scored for the Rangers with 27 seconds remaining to draw Kitchener to within one at 3-2, but Raddysh would seal the game with an empty netter with 8 seconds left. The series travels to Kitchener for Game 3 Monday night.

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