Well, that kicked up a notch, didn’t it?
After Brooks Orpik’s pretty gross hit on Olli Maatta in Game 2 you figured that there would be some kind of retribution. You would have gotten pretty short odds on it being known-hothead and lunatic Kris Letang taking a late run at Marcus Johansson, because that made sense. Once again the refs made things worse when they thought they were making things better by keeping Letang in the game. When you don’t eject someone for a hit that late and that malicious, you’re basically asking the other team to take runs at him all night which is just going to escalate the silliness into something no one wants. And that’s what they got. Maybe one day the NHL will hire refs with balls, but I’m fairly sure I’ll be nothing but dust in the wind by the time they do.
As for the game the Caps got goalied, which seems to happen to them an awful lot in the spring (though that’s probably the main drawback to playing the Rangers every fucking year). There’s not much else you can do when you put Letang on a -17 in Corsi in a game. If anything that seals their fate to have to face Murray the rest of the series. At this point Fleury hasn’t played in a month and going to him cold unless you absolutely have to just isn’t a wise decision. Maybe the Caps should try coming back from 3-1 down because the other way never seems to work out for them.
Anyway, let’s set up tonight:
Lightning-Islanders Game 3 at 6pm
It’s hard to see how the Lightning are going to overcome not having Stralman and Stamkos when the Islanders still have Tavares. The Islanders at home should really turn up the pressure and speed because Stralman is the only other Lightning d-man other than Hedman who can actually move. Basically, they should be doing what the Hawks did to them last spring, and attack the Carles and Garrisons of the world. We’ll see if they do. The Bolts are going to need another big performance out of Bishop to get out of Brooklyn with a win.
Sharks-Predators Game 3 at 8pm
Well now we get to listen to Nashville fans complain about a late start I’m sure. The Preds don’t have to change much from Game 2 when they were the better team but couldn’t find a way past Martin Jones or the Sharks’ PP. The latter is a real problem because you’re not going to go through a whole game without taking a penalty, and the Sharks’ man-advantage seems to be on another level now, especially if Shea Weber continues to get kicked around by Thornton and Pavelski, which he almost certainly will. But I’m not sure Laviolette has too many other options even with last change at home. He’s not throwing Ryan Ellis and Ekholm out there against the Sharks’ top line, because Thornton will just keep him pinned on the glass behind the net all night.
Still, while he’s the Norris finalist and all and Paul Martin is a great partner to have, I still wonder about making Brent Burns really work in his own end. The Preds have the troops for it, and at home they should be tearing apart Polak and Dillon. Maybe that’s where Lavvy sends his best tonight.
Blues-Stars Game 3 at 8:30pm
They should have Foley call this game on NBCSN just for funsies.
Anyway, the Stars seem to be up against it without Seguin who has not traveled to Missouri. But they may have done themselves a huge favor with Sunday’s comeback even if they eventually lost the game. Hitchcock will now know he can’t just sit back against this team no matter the score, but the more aggressive he gets the more it plays into the Stars hands. They just have to hope that whatever goalie Dallas is playing then proceeds to drop whatever it is going into their hands. Hitch can be conservative and trap but needs to do it higher up the ice than his own circles which we saw in Game 2. Klingberg and Goligoski can be trap busters but they play together, Oduya can do it but it’s not really his game and you’d have to think Johns is a bit too raw to be trusted to do it. Basically, the Blues need to be more Trotz than Hitch. We’ll see if he’s got it in him.
-And now, to Hockeenight. There isn’t much I can add to the plaudits since they announced they were shutting up shop. The biggest tribute I can pay is the amount of stuff I stole from them for the program, at least I hope saying that prevents a lawsuit. They always made me laugh, but more importantly they are good friends. Fork especially has been there when things got rough in my personal life, and I’ll be thankful for that. They certainly added a lot to what we tried to do here and the prison talent show feel we’ve always strived for. I hope they can find a place to at least enjoy hockey and the Hawks again. Best of luck to everyone there.