2011 NHL playoffs update: Bolts one win away from Eastern Conference Finals

Last night in Nashville, the 19th overtime was played in this spring’s NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. That’s roughly one-third of the 59 games played so far. This time it was the Predators and Canucks who required extra time to determine a winner with visiting Vancouver ultimately winning 3-2 on Ryan Kesler’s power play goal.

It was the second straight time those two teams needed more than 60 minutes to settle matters.

Kesler’s game-winner came after Preds defenseman Shea Weber was called for hooking him along the boards. It was a call Nashville coach Barry Trotz strongly disagreed with.

“He chicken-winged the stick and kept moving, and really if you look at it, Webs is pushing on him, trying to pull his stick out of there,” Trotz stated after the game. “I’ve seen it before. One of the earlier games, he drew a couple penalties like that by chicken-winging the stick and just holding it there and keep moving and see if he can sell it.”

So far in that series the finals scores after three games have been 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict the game-four score will be 4-3.

Speaking of 4-3…that’s exactly what the final score was in game-three of the Lightning-Capitals series with Tampa Bay once again coming out on top. With the victory, they now take a commanding three games to none lead and stand one win away from advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals since they won the Cup in 2004.

It was the sixth consecutive playoff win in a row for Tampa Bay after falling behind the Penguins three games to one in the opening round.

The Bolts trailed the top seed in the east 3-2 after 40 minutes of play, but a pair of goals by Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone just 24 seconds apart in the third changed all that. It also left the Capitals scratching their heads.

“They’re uncanny when they want to get a goal. It’s like they just snap their fingers or hit a button. They just dial it up,” Caps forward Mike Knuble said. “You can see it’s like they’re flipping a switch. … It leaves you flabbergasted. You don’t know what to say about it.”

All this means, of course, is that hockey’s Grim Reaper will now get a chance to harvest his first soul of the second round tonight. He’ll be standing near the Zamboni during game-four tonight in Tampa looking for the Lightning to strike down the Capitals.

I’ve been told he’s also brought the Fat Lady along with him…she’s schedule to perform if the Caps indeed fail to keep themselves alive. Meanwhile, she and The Reaper will enjoy the day on the beaches of Clearwater just across the bay.

Also this evening, the Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks will both get a chance to also go up 3-0 in their respective series. The Bs will be at home for game-three while the Sharks play on the home ice of The Big Red Borg.

Three games tonight. And given the way thing have gone so far this postseason, odds are that one of them will require overtime.

55 comments Add your comment

Hoof Arted

May 4th, 2011
10:04 am

Hoof Arted

May 4th, 2011
10:04 am

Yesssssssssssssssssss!!!!!

Moe

May 4th, 2011
10:16 am

Boudreau is considering Varlamov in nets tonight, what a mistake if he goes through with it..

james c.

May 4th, 2011
10:16 am

Unreal…no way I would have guessed the Capitals would be down 3-0 against Tampa Bay!???

Can you imagine the language Boudreau must have used to address his team in between periods and after the game? I think it would make NAVY SEALS blush! LOL!

Matt from MN

May 4th, 2011
10:27 am

Alexander “The Not So Great” needs to learn to pass the puck instead of trying to make those long solo rushes up the ice.

Fan from Carolina

May 4th, 2011
10:33 am

The most embarrassing thing about the Caps is Boudreau blaming the refs afterwards. That may have sealed his fate as the future Caps coach. He actually thought the disallowed PP goal was in without 6 men on the ice. How wrong was that? Then whining about the Malone goal? Man! It may end tonight as the way Knuble talked afterwards and the invisible play of Backstrom and most of the Caps was really evident of a team getting ready for golf. The only plus factor tonight for the Caps is Roloson playing in back to back games. It may be a stretch for him to pull off another good performance. He had trouble during the regular season.

Moe

May 4th, 2011
10:33 am

And what about non-existent Backstrom…he’s the real reason they haven’t won a game in the series yet.

Red Light

May 4th, 2011
10:37 am

Wouldn’t it be a huge shock if the Sharks and Bruins go up three games to none, and the Lightning close out the series tonight? After six of the eight first-round series went to six or seven games, having the second round end quickly would be quite a change. Last year, two of the conference semis went seven games, one went six and one went five games.

This year might mirror 2008, when the four series included a sweep, two five-game series and one decided in six games. The winner that year was Detroit, which swept the ZAvs out of the playoffs, a year in which they went 16-6 in the playoffs to win the Cup.

Fan from Carolina

May 4th, 2011
10:46 am

Rawhide, I just read your picks from yesterday. Very impressive thus far.
Brendan, I think the NHL needs to embrace Stamkos over Ovechkin. I mean he is the classic Canadian wonder boy, no? That wrist shot last night was classic Stamkos, just as good as anything the great 8 does, and I think he is still just 20 years old. St Louis may not make for good ratings with all his teeth being knocked out but Lecavalier isn’t chopped liver either. We may see some strategic shifts in who Bettman wants to focus on next season.

ZAvalanche

May 4th, 2011
10:54 am

RL, why do you have to bring that up? Are you trying to punish me? Also, I don’t know if any of you saw this, http://blogs.denverpost.com/avs/2011/04/29/the-nhl-playoffs-the-new-march-madness/7158/#disqus_thread , as it was right before the Ranallo warning, but a good read.

Common Bolts – you can do this but you will ruin my picks…

Thrashersfan

May 4th, 2011
11:00 am

I love Tampa’s new logo.. I would give anything to have the Thrashers get a simple logo like that.

I think Atlanta should rebrand the team as the Atlanta Knights.

Red Light

May 4th, 2011
11:03 am

Fan from Carolina

Personally, I think the NHL needs to stop promoting individuals and focus their marketing efforts on the team concept, which in my opinion, is the game’s greatest feature. I know we’re generally a star-struck or star-centric nation (thanks to ESPN, et al), but as pointed out by neanderthal Keenan last night, one of the great stories is Joel Ward, who I featured last season (link: http://sportssoutheast.com/index.php/red-light-report/59-nhl/189-joel-ward).

To me, he and others like him make it possible for the stars to grab the glory. Sorry, but I just love the grinder aspect of the NHL…Nate Thompson, Adam Hall, Chris Thorburn, for example.

Red Light

May 4th, 2011
11:05 am

I did read it ZAvs, and the playoffs are can’t-miss for me, no matter what teams are playing, even Cornbread’s Flyers.

Alan R.

May 4th, 2011
11:12 am

Agreed, RL. I watch playoff games however way I can. Unless I’m dead tired. Then, I’ll watch as much as I can, and go to sleep…

Dwayne

May 4th, 2011
11:29 am

Since Backstrom is missing, can Mr.Tiller put his picture on a can of Dutch Boy paint?

Tom Lysiak

May 4th, 2011
11:39 am

Red Light mentions Nate Thompson. Every time I see that guy I chuckle at what Boults said when asked about Thompson accusing him of a dirty play. He had hit him knee-on-knee and no penalty was called. He said that he wasn’t surprised at Boults, “not the best player in the world”. When asked to respond Boults said:

“Who is Nate Thompson’”? Classic.

ZAvalanche

May 4th, 2011
12:25 pm

That is funny Tom, truly a classic quote – very Roy-esque when he and JR were going at it in the media.

Nate

May 4th, 2011
12:25 pm

Tom – On a side note, I found that whole exchange between the two really funny because I have a friend named Nathan ‘Nate’ Thompson. Good stuff.

ZAvalanche

May 4th, 2011
12:29 pm

For some reason it posted before I was done, but St. Patrick said “I can’t really hear what Jeremy says because I’ve got my two Stanley Cup rings plugging my ear” in response to JR’s comment: ”
“Should have been a penalty shot, there’s no doubt about it. I like Patrick’s quote that he would have stopped me. I just want to know where he was in game 3. Probably getting his jock out of the rafter”. LOL! Gotta love the playoffs!

ZAvalanche

May 4th, 2011
12:39 pm

And RL, I don’t care who is playing in the post season, if it is one of my teams thats great, but I have seen every game I can and loved every second of it. I still think that Vancouver game the other night was the best I have seen this year and glad the ‘Ville won.

james c.

May 4th, 2011
12:49 pm

Thrashersfan,I actually really like the dark blue jerseys with “ATLANTA” down the side and I don’t mind the white…the red are gone thankfully for next year.

“KNIGHTS” might be a good idea though as it doesn’t exist in any other major league in North America.What color scheme would you envision for that name?

I like the Lightning’s logo but I don’t care for the new socks….kind of ugly if you ask me!

kracker

May 4th, 2011
2:01 pm

I can’t see a name change occuring…unless relocation is involved which nodody here wants to happen. Sooo…how are we going to develop Thashers tradition if the name is changed after 12 years? Anyway, the name is just fine. It’s the level of play that has been lacking.

LAC

May 4th, 2011
2:20 pm

If Washington loses, I have to wonder if Boudreau, will be fired… ????

World Be Free

May 4th, 2011
2:33 pm

Well thanks to Jeff Schultz for another anti-Thrasher article.

LAC-not sure if you can pin this on Boudreau, I just do not think Washington has the team talent to go any further, I think Boudreau has actually got more out of them than would have been onbtained from another coach. Just not that much last Ovie’s line.

Valamov may be showcased in tonight’s game, they have to tarde one of their 3 goalies.

james c.

May 4th, 2011
2:46 pm

Agree with you Kracker…on further reflection Atlanta Thrashers has a nice ring to it and the name has been here for 12 years.Still think the darker blue jersey is one of the nicest in the NHL.

Red Light

May 4th, 2011
3:13 pm

WBF, LAC…don’t worry about Boudreau. Like many fired coaches, he will be hired by another team, and if not he will be the leading candidate to portray Fred Mertz in the remake of “I Love Lucy.”

http://media.photobucket.com/image/fred%20mertz/Christine_Fediuk/ilovelucy12.jpg?o=6

ZAvalanche

May 4th, 2011
3:16 pm

LAC – I think if the Caps lose he loses his job. He has a hell of a team and perhaps they were just mismanaged. But, as was stated earlier, he will have another job in less than a week.

Rawhide

May 4th, 2011
3:33 pm

Personally, I’m of the belief that Bruce is OK regardless of what happens. But the question I would pose to you all is this:

If..if…IF Bruce Boudreau were to be placed on the market, would you want him behind the Thrashers bench?

Put me in the “Oh-Hell-Yes-I’d-Take-Him-In-A-Heartbeat” column.

ZAvalanche

May 4th, 2011
3:38 pm

LOL @ Blog Master! I think he is a good coach but he derailed a train headed to the SCF. However, at this point, I would take the Thrashy Train to the first round, and he can do that.

Spud Webb

May 4th, 2011
3:48 pm

I don’t know if it’s Boudreaus fault or not, but my guess is he’ll get canned. he’s run his course there and isn’t getting it done, bottom line. I’m SHOCKED at these series, loving all of it.
Fell asleep between the 3rd and OT in the Preds game! UGH I hate when I do that. My boss keeps asking me If I’m ok, cause I look like crap the last month, he’s not a hockey fan & wouldn’t understand. ahhahahahahahaha

kracker

May 4th, 2011
4:01 pm

I’m thinking any comment mentioning ‘Fred Mertz’ should be automatically nominated for Comment of the Year. I so nominate Red Light’s 3:13 comment.

In the course of one “I Love Lucy” program, Fred was liking Betty Grable’s legs. Ethyl asked what was wrong with her legs. Fred answered “Nothing. Except you have them on upside down.”

Freak-A-Dump

May 4th, 2011
4:43 pm

wow, tampa is doing it again. Boudreau would make no difference. The thrashers would have to have an entire overhaul from top to bottom. Thrashers are a long way from being like any of the teams that have been in the playoffs this year.

litz

May 4th, 2011
5:45 pm

“Well thanks to Jeff Schultz for another anti-Thrasher article. ”

WBF – the Stanley Cup could be rolling down Peachtree Street in a convertible, and Jeff Schultz would still be writing articles about how crappy the local NHL franchise is.

Brendan

May 4th, 2011
6:55 pm

Thank you, Fan from Carolina. Though, my picks are in the toilet in this round. So, I can forget about catching Red Light this year. I knew last year would be the anomaly, that proves the rule. Unless the Flyers and Caps rally like noone’s business, I’ll be lucky to be .500. I have a halfway decent shot of being 0-4 this round.

I guess … back in October … I didn’t see Tampa Bay as any kinda threat to be in the CF. Boston? Yeah, perhaps. I could see that one, though I had Pittsburgh vs. Washington in the East. Vancouver is getting it done, but … they’re yet to look dominant during these playoffs.

Re: Stars in the “Showcase” event, that’s good for TV-ratings. But, I also think having markets like Boston and Detroit in the Finals would really spark the numbers. Both are excellent hockey cities. If I’m the Commissioner, that’s what I hope for.

Tom

May 4th, 2011
7:28 pm

I just read Tim Tucker’s article. What absolutely amazes me is the sanctimonious quotes from Gearon And Waddell. They mismanaged the franchise after pulling the nepotism card to get the Octocluster to buy the team and then they have the absolute nerve to act as if the loss of the team would be a travesty.

SCREW THEM.

They have driven this team right into the ground. The lack of investment, the lack of professionalism, and the lack of passion has taken what could be a solid NHL franchise and left a steaming turd behind. The only hope for this team is new ownership and the immediate firing of Waddell. That the Octocluster is leaving the interaction with potential investors up to Waddell in indicative of the problems we face.

Red Light

May 4th, 2011
10:40 pm

Same old song and dance about anything or from anyone related to the ownership group.

Rawhide, a few others and I are 1-0 in the conference semis. :) Go Lightning.

Dan Boyle tied it up 3-3 in Detroit. Going to another OT conclusion.

AtlantaFlamesFan

May 4th, 2011
10:42 pm

Gearon’s comments made me sick. He is responsible for this debacle. If the Thrashers leave Atlanta, he and his lying, deceptive co-conspirators are to blame. Since they never intended to keep the hockey team, they should have never bought them. Disgusting slimeball.

AtlantaFlamesFan

May 4th, 2011
10:48 pm

What Jeff Shutlz article are you referring to?

Alan R.

May 4th, 2011
11:25 pm

Detroit lost again. Now I’m scared.

Tom

May 4th, 2011
11:38 pm

Yikes, Detroit lost again. Three of the Four series are ofers.

Brendan

May 5th, 2011
12:25 am

Surprising to see the series being so one-sided, except for Nashville/Vancouver. Coming into this season, I thought the TBL would be improved, perhaps playoff-bound, at # 8. I certainly didn’t envision this. They’ve won seven (7) straight now, since trailing Pittsburgh, 3-1. I do wonder if the schedule makers will hold off, in obeyance of Nashville vs. Vancouver finishing up, or if they’ll let the Eastern Conference Finals start a bit early. Tampa and Boston could, potentially, be looking at a lot of time off before their series starts.

Brendan

May 5th, 2011
12:31 am

So, who deserves to represent the East the most, Tampa Bay or Boston? Let the debate begin! Actually, I suppose we should defer until the Flyers are actually eliminated. They do have the ability to come back. But it’s got to start with a win in Game Four.

R. Stroz

May 5th, 2011
1:49 am

If the Thrashers are sold in a manner which involves relocation, I have a real fun surprise for the owners waiting.

litz

May 5th, 2011
3:25 am

R. Stroz – does it involve the Navy Seals and super secret stealth helicopters?

navy seals team 6

May 5th, 2011
4:43 am

navy seals team six

May 5th, 2011
4:55 am

thanks for share this information navy seals team six

World Be Free

May 5th, 2011
7:25 am

Are the owners preparing the gound? What is the benfit of these statements, as well as Schultz’s article? The stupidity just continues.

litz-and so goes the AJC. He and BRadley need to be shown the door.

Red Light- I was reflecting ont he Caps last night after the game, theinking that Boudreau would be the LAST person I would get rid of in Washington. The core of this team was disinterested in this series, the Caps rely on too many Euros. Brooks Laich, maybe their best all around player is a UFA and will probably head out of town to somewhere his skills will be valued.

Tampa on the other hand, has the right mix of North American and European players. Bergenheim is the steal of last year’s UFA season (as we noted at the time) and Vinny’s game has risen to previous levels. Good for them.

Red Light

May 5th, 2011
7:57 am

Bergenheim now is tied for the lead in playoff goals with seven (JVR and Briere also have 7). Interesting that Marty St. Louis is -5 for the playoffs while Vinny is +4. More reason why +/- is a difficult stat to comprehend.

Old Man River Roloson has a 2.01 GAA and a .941 Save Percentage. Unreal! And, Downie and Purcell have combined for 3 goals and 20 assists in a collective 21 playoff games.

BTW, Backstrom finished with just two assists in the Caps nine playoff games.

JT from Columbus

May 5th, 2011
9:03 am

I, personally, am sick and tired of the negative articles. If they are going to move the team I wish they would do it now. They need to quit stringing the real fans along. I love my team and would hate to see them go, but I don’t want to go through another season of constant rumors about the team leaving. Everytime we get a ray of hope, someone pours water all over it.

ZAvalanche

May 5th, 2011
9:13 am

I said at the beginning of the playoffs that Tampa has one of the best top two lines in the game – I guess they have proven that. Is Bruce going to lose his job? Probably.

I have to be honest, I didn’t see the SJ-Wings series going this way….