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NHL Playoff Game Night: 4-13-16 Red Wings at Lightning

Mirror Jon Cooper and the Lightning manufacture a key Game One win.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals


Tampa Bay Leads the Series 1-0

Ben Bishop allowed 2 goals on 36 shots for the victory. The stat line looks good, but Bishop did not look comfortable in this game. That's actually a hopeful sign for this series. Bishop had a bit of a shaky performance and the Lightning still managed to get a big win. You have to figure Bishop will find his form and settle down.

First Period
6:23 TB Kucherov(1), (Johnson, Killorn)

Second Period
2:11 DET Green(1), (DeKeyser, Tatar)
4:07 DET Abdelkader(1), (Quincey)
9:29 TB Kucherov(2), (Coburn, Nesterov)

Third Period
8:52 TB Killorn(1), (Johnson, Kucherov)

Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson, and Alex Killorn were the game's three stars.

Let's recap: the Lightning came into this game sans Stamkos and Stralman with some question marks about the health of Johnson. Ben Bishop looked uncomfortable all night long. Detroit got the benefit of some puck luck on at least one goal and, I would argue, of the officiating in the game, as well. The Lightning still fought through it and got the win. If you believe puck luck balances out and that Bishop will find his form (I won't blow smoke that the officiating against an Original Six team will ever even out for Tampa Bay in this league) there's a lot to be hopeful about as the Lightning look to survive and advance deeper into these playoffs where, hopefully, some healthy reinforcements await.

It was not without blemishes. The defensive coverage tonight was poor and the Lightning continue to retreat off their blueline against the rush far too easily without Stralman. Detroit got a ton of good scoring chances that they outright blew tonight. Needless to say, the Lightning need to tighten up defensively. And, they need to improve their discipline against a Detroit team that needs their dangerous power play to score goals to win. Grit and guts were a good enough spackle tonight, though.

Credit to Mirror Universe Jon Cooper for some excellent line combinations and player usage tonight. You know it was Mirror Universe Jon Cooper because he's growing a goatee... and because Jonathan Drouin started the game... and because Jonathan Drouin played 17:39... and because Jonathan Drouin saw key shifts late in the Third Period of a 1-goal game. Really, it wasn't that difficult a choice for Mirror Jon Cooper to make, because Drouin played a whale of a game. You can ding him for being a little overspirited physically tonight and in jumping offside on the Hedman goal that was overturned on replay, but you can also make a strong argument he was the best player on the ice tonight. He was creating chances and he was playing with an absolutely nasty edge to his game. That's some of the best hockey Jonathan's played in a Lightning uniform, bar none. It's enough to make you wonder what this team could look like if it can stay alive long enough to get Stamkos and Stralman back. It could be the most potent lineup the Lightning have ever iced if Mirror Jon Cooper can keep regular Jon Cooper stuffed in the mirror universe.

And, of course, credit to the Lightning for not sagging after Hedman's 3-on-2 goal was disallowed. That was a real maturity-testing moment, and they passed with flying colors as they surged like crazy after that play. Not only did they get the Killorn goal, but they also should've had the insurance marker with Coburn banging one off the crossbar staring at an open cage. When you consider they could've easily had 3 goals over a span of about a 5 minute span in the Third Period, you realize Detroit should probably feel a little lucky too that they hung into the game.

Side note: there's a big difference in quality between the was Mrazek was playing at this time last year and Jimmy Howard this year, and if the Lightning can keep the pressure up, it should mean the goals flow a little easier for Tampa Bay.

Another side note: I hate Justin Abdelkader, and I hope all the bad things in life happen to him and only him.

Box score and extended statistics from

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-13-16

KHL Gagarin Cup Final
Magnitogorsk 1 vs. CSKA 0
Series Tied 2-2
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, SO, 30/30, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 sv%
Playoff totals: 16 GP, 12-4-0, 3 SO, 1.57 GAA, .947 sv%
Regular season totals: 50 GP, 22-15-9, 4 SO, 2.12 GAA, .925 sv%

Vasily Koshechkin rebounded from an off Game Three to blank CSKA on 30 shots for a huge 1-0 Game Four win. 23 year old undrafted Czech centerman Tomas Filippi had the game's lone goal for Magnitka.

Juniors Playoffs Game Night: 4-12-16

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Saint John Sea Dogs 1 @ Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 4
QMJHL Second Round
Best-of-7 series tied, 2-2

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 0-0-0, E, 17 PIM, 1 SOG, 3 Hits
Playoff totals: 8 GP, 1-2-3, -2, 23 PIM
Season totals: 47 GP, 7-12-19, -3, 84 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: Did not play (injured – out for playoffs)
Playoff totals: 5 GP, 5-2-7, +4, 8 PIM
Season totals: 58 GP, 33-40-73, +35, 57 PIM

Imama was tossed for boarding and could be facing another suspension. Imama hit the puck carrier so hard (from the side it appears) he flew into the boards and was injured. (Watch) Game 5 is Friday.

Shawinigan Cataractes 6 @ Charlottetown Islanders 2
QMJHL Second Round
Best-of-7 series tied, 2-2

W Dennis Yan, SHAW: 1-0-1, E, 4 PIM, 3 SOG, 2 Hits
Playoff totals: 9 GP, 4-4-8, +8, 22 PIM
Season totals: 62 GP, 32-37-69, +8, 86 PIM

Yan’s fourth goal of the playoffs, scored on the power play, gave the Cataractes a 2-0 lead in the first period they’d later relinquish. Shawinigan responded with four unanswered goals to take the 6-2 win. Game 5 is Thursday.

Western Hockey League

Brandon Wheat Kings 1 @ Moose Jaw Warriors 7
Eastern Conference Semifinals
Brandon leads best-of-7 series, 2-1

C Brayden Point, MJ: 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 8 GP, 5-10-15, +3, 8 PIM
Season totals: 48 GP, 35-53-88, +24, 36 PIM

The Warriors made home ice stand up Tuesday with a resounding 7-1 win over the higher-seeded Wheat Kings. Brayden Point got in on the fun, scoring his fifth goal of the playoffs. Moose Jaw had a 4-0 lead after two periods, then gave up the first goal of the third before adding three more. Game 4 is Wednesday.

Lightning Sign D Matthew Spencer to Three-Year Rookie Contract

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Matt Spencer to a three-year, entry-level contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Spencer, 19, skated in 60 games with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League this past season, recording five goals and 24 points to go along with 46 penalty minutes. He ranked third among all Petes defensemen for assists with 19 during the regular season. The 6-foot-2, 204-pound defenseman also appeared in seven OHL playoff games, posting one assist and 13 penalty minutes.

The Guelph, Ontario native has played in 191 career OHL games, all with Peterborough over the past three seasons, posting 12 goals and 69 points to go along with 143 penalty minutes.

Spencer was selected by the Lightning in the second round, 44th overall, at the 2015 NHL Draft.

Juniors Playoffs Game Night: 4-11-16

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Saint John Sea Dogs 5 @ Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 2
QMJHL Second Round
Saint John leads best-of-7 series, 2-1

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 1-1-2, +1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG, 1 Hit
Playoff totals: 8 GP, 1-2-3, -2, 6 PIM
Season totals: 47 GP, 7-12-19, -3, 84 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: Did not play (injured – out for playoffs)
Playoff totals: 5 GP, 5-2-7, +4, 8 PIM
Season totals: 58 GP, 33-40-73, +35, 57 PIM

Imama scored his first career playoff goal in 32 games to help the Sea Dogs to a 5-2 Game 3 win in Sydney. He also had an assist. Game 4 is Tuesday.

Shawinigan Cataractes 3 @ Charlottetown Islanders 4
QMJHL Second Round
Charlottetown leads best-of-7 series, 2-1

W Dennis Yan, SHAW: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 5 SOG, 1 Hit
Playoff totals: 8 GP, 3-4-7, +8, 18 PIM
Season totals: 62 GP, 32-37-69, +8, 86 PIM

Charlottetown and Shawinigan combined for 95 shots in the Islanders’ 4-3 Game 3 win. The Cataractes are down 2-1 in the series facing a pivotal Game 4 Tuesday.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-11-16

KHL Gagarin Cup Final
Magnitogorsk 2 vs. CSKA 3
CSKA Leads the Series 2-1
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Loss, 34/37, 2.35 GAA, .919 sv%
Playoff totals: 15 GP, 11-4-0, 2 SO, 1.67 GAA, .944 sv%
Regular season totals: 50 GP, 22-15-9, 4 SO, 2.12 GAA, .925 sv%

Ex-Senators farmhand Stephane Da Costa scored a power play goal 18:12 into OT to deliver Magnitogorsk a 3-2 Game Three win over Magnitogorsk. Da Costa also had an even strength goal in the match. Ex-NHLer Alexander Semin had a helper in defeat for Magnitogorsk.

KHL Playoff Game Day: 4-9-16

KHL Gagarin Cup Final
CSKA 1 vs. Magnitogorsk 2
Series Tied 1-1
Vasily Koshechkin, Magnitogorsk, Win, 25/26, 1.01 GAA, .962 sv%
Playoff totals: 14 GP, 11-3-0, 2 SO, 1.60 GAA, .946 sv%
Regular season totals: 50 GP, 22-15-9, 4 SO, 2.12 GAA, .925 sv%

Undrafted 21 year old defenseman Alexei Bereglazov scored the GWG 1:30 into the Third Period to lift Magnitogorsk to a 2-1 Game Two victory over CSKA. Longtime KHL star Danis Zaripov had the other goal for Magnitka.

Juniors Playoffs Game Night: 4-9-16

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 3 @ Saint John Sea Dogs 4 (OT)
QMJHL Second Round
Best-of-7 series tied, 1-1

W Bokondji Imama, SJ: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG, 5 Hits
Playoff totals: 7 GP, 0-1-1, -3, 6 PIM
Season totals: 47 GP, 7-12-19, -3, 84 PIM

W Mathieu Joseph, SJ: Did not play (injured – out for playoffs)
Playoff totals: 5 GP, 5-2-7, +4, 8 PIM
Season totals: 58 GP, 33-40-73, +35, 57 PIM

Saint John escaped Game 2 with an overtime win, preventing the Sea Dogs from going to Sydney down 2-0. Former first overall pick in the QMJHL draft, Joe Valeno (2018), scored both the game-tying and game-winning goals.

Western Hockey League

Moose Jaw Warriors 2 @ Brandon Wheat Kings 5
Eastern Conference Semifinals
Brandon leads best-of-7 series, 2-0

C Brayden Point, MJ: 1-1-2, E, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 7 GP, 4-10-14, +2, 8 PIM
Season totals: 48 GP, 35-53-88, +24, 36 PIM

The Warriors fell in Game 2 against Brandon and now return home down 2-0 in the series. Brayden Point had a goal and an assist for the second straight game against the Wheat Kings. Game 3 is Tuesday in Moose Jaw.

Juniors Game Night: 4-9-16

United States Hockey League

Omaha Lancers 5 @ Tri-City Storm 4 (OT)

G Kris Oldham, OMA: Did not play
Season totals: 31 GP, 12-15-4, 2.82 GAA, .905 sv%, 1 SO
2014-15 totals: 33 GP, 21-6-4, 2.49 GAA, .908 sv%, 1 SO
(University of Nebraska-Omaha signee)

Omaha got a big win over Tri-City for the second night in a row, so they will finish their year with a win. The Lancers did not make the playoffs. Oldham's junior career ends quietly as he was relegated to backup duty the last month or so. He is committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Dubuque Fighting Saints 6 @ Waterloo Black Hawks 2

D Ryan Zuhlsdorf, DBQ: 0-0-0, +1, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 46 GP, 0-27-27, -2, 59 PIM
With Dubuque: 16 GP, 0-4-4, +5, 8 PIM
With Sioux City: 30 GP, 0-23-23, -7, 51 PIM
2014-15 totals: 56 GP, 3-19-22, +25, 58 PIM
(University of Minnesota signee)

Dubuque outshot JT Brown’s former club, 40-22, en route to a 6-2 win. The Saints made the playoffs.

NHL Game Night: 4-9-16 Lightning at Canadiens

Lightning mail in meaningless game before a very meaningful postseason.


Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 4 goals on 28 shots for the loss. Vasiy had a respectable season for a young backup, and I think anyone who didn't have such high expectations on him as Andrei does would take that at 21 years old and be pretty happy with it. That said, he can get a lot better and he eventually will.

First Period
5:11 MTL Galchenyuk(29), (Gallagher)
16:27 MTL Plekanec(14), (Eller, Emelin)

Second Period
0:27 MTL Pacioretty(29), (Galchenyuk, Markov)
3:44 MTL Galchenyuk(30), (Pacioretty, Markov)(PP)

Third Period
6:33 TB Palat(16), (Filppula)
13:00 TB Drouin(4), (Carle, Palat)
19:54 MTL Pacioretty(30), (Gallagher)(EN)

Jonathan Drouin was the game's third star. It may have been garbage time, but it's certainly nice to see him developing some chemistry with some of the Lightning's scoring liners like Palat.

Coming into the game with nothing to gain and Hedman and Kucherov being held out with nagging injuries, the only thing the Lightning wanted was to get out of town healthy. This game had less meaning than a preseason game, if that's possible, and unfortunately they couldn't even pull that off after Greg Pateryn boarded Tyler Johnson shoulder-first into the boards after the whistle late in the First Period. I am thoroughly unimpressed with Pateryn. The guy's a bum, quite frankly, and the play he made was about as blatant and egregious a late hit as it comes. The guy deserves a suspension that carries over into the next regular season, in my opinion.

The Lightning will draw Detroit in a rematch of last year's opening round series by virtue of the epic meltdown the Bruins had against Ottawa. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of guys (Boston melting down, that is). I'd like to say that's a favorable outcome for the Lightning, but with so much uncertainty now with Johnson possibly being banged up too, the biggest matchup of all looks like it's between Tampa Bay and the injury bug. The big thing in Game One, I think, will be Ben Bishop giving the Lightning a good performance and helping them ease their way into the series while they continue to figure out lines and pairing combinations and ice time rotations. There's just so much retrofitting on the fly and Ben's going to need to be the spackle to cover up some of that mess.

Matt Taormina had 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 15:30.

Box score and extended statistics from

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