Hey Community! We're back again with our Round 3 Wrap Up!
With Game 7's a plenty, I have a feeling that we're in for a long Cup Final.
For those that missed any games or just missed a game or two, see your entire Conference Finals wrap up complete with videos below.
Saturday, May 16th 2015
Rangers vs Lightning: Game 1
A Saturday afternoon matinée begins our Eastern Conference Final between the New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning. We all know how great both teams have been playing and how great their previous series’ had been, so it’s no secret that this one is going to be something special.
1st period; all New York! But not a thing to show for it. The Rangers clearly had their feet moving and were taking it to the Lightning, outshooting them 11-7. But all that could be mustered were two great chances and a post.
It would be 19:47 of the 2nd period before we saw a goal. Derek Stepan would score his 4th of the playoffs with 13 seconds left in the period on wrist shot from the doorstep of Ben Bishop. Rangers on the board first 1-0.
The Lightning would return come the 3rd period as the Rangers would take a collection of penalties that effectively put them on their heels. Tampa’s Ondrej Palat would score on the power play at 6:45 of the 3rd on a one-timer from Tyler Johnson tying the game 1-1.
New York refused to lie down for the remainder of the period and effectively applied the pressure and turned the tides. Fighting through two penalty kills, Rangers net minder Henrik Lundqvist alone kept his team in the game long enough for Dominic Moore to net his first of the playoffs on a knee deflection from Kevin Hayes at 17:35. New York would hold onto the one goal lead and take Game 1.
Sunday, May 17th 2015
Ducks vs Blackhawks: Game 1
Ducks on the pond, and Hawks in the sky for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. This would be the first time either of these teams would meet in a playoff game, and it began exactly as history would expect it to.
Chicago started their Stanley Cup winning game plan off perfect; skate hard and get pucks deep. The chances were there, but the goals just weren’t forming, and despite outshooting Anaheim 16-7, they still stood down 1 at the end of 20 minutes as Anaheim D-man Hampus Lindholm would score with the help of Jakob Silfverberg and Matt Beleskey from the point.
Despite their lead into the 2nd, the Ducks knew they had been outplayed and weren’t going to let that continue. The 2nd was all Anaheim and they showed why they too were Stanley Cup Champions and were gunning for another. Kyle Palmieri would make it 2-0 Anaheim when he would score his first of the playoffs on a falling slap shot from a pass below the goal line.
But at 19:20 Chicago’s Brad Richards would force a turnover in the Duck’s zone and place a nice little snap shot unchallenged inside the arm of net minder Andersen. Blackhawks half the lead 2-1.
3rd period saw both teams making a push for some safety and insurance. Anaheim took two early penalties and spent the first half of the period on the penalty kill with some breath shortening moments. But Nate Thompson would come to his team’s rescue by jumping on a juicy rebound to put the Ducks up 3-1 with 7:55 to go.
Jakob Silfverberg would deposit the empty netter at 18:42 after hitting the post on his first attempt as Anaheim holds on to the lead and takes Game 1.
Monday, May 18th 2015
Rangers vs Lightning: Game 2
Still in New York for Game 2 and the Rangers are looking to head into Tampa Bay with a 2-0 series lead, but the Lightning aren’t ready to make the same mistakes as Game 1.
We got started with the fun and controversy earlier on when Tampa’s Tyler Johnson picked up on Martin St. Louis blue line ‘tire problem’ and raced towards the net on a shorthanded breakaway. The goal would originally be waived off, before going to review. The review confirmed the puck crossed the goal line before St. Louis knocked the net off, and Tampa goes up 1-0 early at 5:38 of the 1st.
Not feeling down on the recent call, New York fired back as Chris Kreider would score his 6th of the playoffs on the power play to even the score at 8:50. But Tampa would respond 2 minutes and 25 seconds later on the power play too as Tyler Johnson would net his 2nd of the game.
The 2nd would get started with much less controversy, but Tampa wouldn’t let up. Tyler Johnston would once again score completing the playoff hat trick and marking his 11th playoff goal. Lighting now lead 3-1.
Down 3-1, but not giving up; the Rangers continued their game plan pushing the Lighting to up their game. Using the power play courtesy of Tampa’ Cedric Paquette, New York would apply excellent cycle work to get Bishop moving and off balance before bouncing the puck off of Lighting defenseman Braydon Coburn to make it 3-2 at 14:17 of the 2nd.
Come the 3rd, we would see things fall apart on the New York Rangers as Tampa would force the Rangers to take four penalties and score three times, twice on the power play to effectively take Game 2 6-2
Tuesday, May 19th 2015
Ducks vs Blackhawks: Game 2
Who doesn’t love this series? In my opinion it’s the best series of the Conference Finals and has my vote as to why the Stanley Cup will return to the West.
Period 1 was a power play paradise as Anaheim’s Maroon would draw a Boarding call at 1:46, and Chicago would convert at 2:14 on tip from the point.
Anaheim would repeat offend and once again send the Blackhawks to the power play where they would net their second at 6:19 putting themselves up 2-0 very early on.
The Ducks would have an answer 3 minutes later as Andrew Cogliano would find his 3rd of the playoffs on a tip in from Nate Thompson, putting the Ducks down by 1 and going into the 2nd.
The 2nd would be a Duck’s shooting gallery as they would outshoot Chicago 19-7 and find themselves on the board for a second time at 17:30 at Corey Perry would score his 8th of the playoffs and tie it all up at 2.
The 3rd would see Anaheim take a penalty early on at 26 seconds, followed by two power plays of their own, but none were able to convert as we would head to OT.
1st OT wouldn’t solve anything as both teams played with caution and wit. Anaheim would have a close one when Sami Vatanen would ring a shot off the crossbar behind Corey Crawford. But we would head into a 2nd overtime frame.
The 2nd OT would be a reflective image of the previous, as Vatanen would once again ding one off the crossbar. Added to the frame would be the ‘No Goal Header’ from Chicago’s Andrew Shaw. Shaw would clearly ‘head’ the puck into the net, causing review and disallowing of the goal. Still tied 2-2 as OT continues.
We would find our answers late in the 3rd OT as Marcus Kruger would find some real estate up close with netminder Frederik Andersen and bang in the original shot from Brent Seabrook to bring an end to the longest game in Blackhawks history and tie the series 1-1.
Wednesday, May 20th 2015
Rangers vs Lightning: Game 3
Fresh off his playoff hat trick and back home in Tampa Bay, the speedy youngster and the Lightning are back where they want to be and ready to do some damage.
New York started rolling right away, determined not to fall into the same hole they dug for themselves in Game 2. Tampa’s Cedric Paquette would take a Roughing call 26 seconds into the period, putting the Rangers on the man advantage early; and it didn’t take long. Derick Brassard would score his 6th of the playoffs as he would air mail the puck from the top of the button and use Chris Kreider’s screen to help put it by Bishop at 1:02.
New York would continue their pace and press the Lightning with coast to coast pressure before Kreider would find fellow winger Jesper Fast moving up through centre ice and hit him with a pass for the breakaway. Fast would fake forehand and then go backhand on Bishop to make it 2-0 Rangers at the 9:55 mark.
Tampa Bay would respond a minute later with a turnover initiated by Captain Steven Stamkos and it would be off to the races for Stamkos and Killorn through centre and into the offensive zone where Killorn would take the pass, the shot and create the rebound while Stamkos picked up the trash and put his 5th of the playoffs away.
We would have to wait almost another entire 20 minutes before we’d see another goal, and this would come at the midway point of the 2nd when it was clear storm clouds were a’brewing. Tampa would tie it up at 10:32 on a power play goal from Ondrej Palat as he would head right to the net after dishing the puck at the blue line to Johnson on the outside. Johnson himself would return the favor to Palat not 3 minutes later as the Lighting would once again gain the zone, control and then move the puck side to side to put it home on a wide open net.
The Lighting ‘strikes’ weren’t done as Alex Killorn would add to the tally 4 minutes later at 17:18 when he’d play the ‘waiting game’ with netminder Henrik Lundqvist and win out.
At this point we’re all wondering “where have the Rangers gone?” Tampa had just spent the past 17 minutes running a clinic on them and they’re down by 2. But, they hadn’t gone anywhere, and not 30 seconds later Jesper Fast would answer by doing the dirty work below the goal line, getting the puck out front and cleaning up the loose pucks left out. Rangers within 1 at the end of the 2nd.
We’d get started fast n’furious in the 3rd like we did in the 1st as Tampa’s Andrej Sustr would go away for Tripping at 1:32 and Captain Ryan McDonagh would tie it up for the Rangers at 2:28 on a slick cycle pass from Kevin Hayes. All tied up early in the 3rd.
New York would continue to force their presence upon the Lighting but Bishop would turn them away every time. The Lightning would return to fashion at 14:05 of the 3rd on the hands of Ondrej Palat who showed great hand work and patience in front of Lundqvist. Tampa once again in the lead 5-4, but before you could count the Rangers out again, veteran Dan Boyle would tie the game at 5 with less than 2 minutes to go.
Fives all around and extra time would be needed!
Nikita Kucherov would end it single handedly at 3:33 of OT on a wrist shot from the point as he would enter the zone with speed, untouched and unchallenged by three Rangers.
Lightning take a 2-1 Series lead.
Thursday, May 21st 2015
Ducks vs Blackhawks: Game 3
Here we are, back and the United Center in Chicago, Illinois for Game 3. Is it me, or are we all secretly glad the game started at 8pm and not 9pm EST like last time? Staying up until 2AM for 3 OT’s was painful.
The 1st was played out exactly as the previous nine periods had; technical coast to coast play, between two offensive titans exchanging shots as if they were punches and counter punches. Shots were hard to come by in the first, so it is was no real surprise that when Anaheim got themselves on the board at 12:55 it was from a trigger shot through traffic that ended up beating Crawford five-hole. Patrick Maroon would get credit and record his 5th goal of the playoffs.
Glorifying the definition of ‘clutch’, Chicago’s Patrick Kane would put the home team on the sheet at 19:03 of the 1st with a no-look backhand. We’re tied at 1 at the end of the 1st.
The 2nd would see a return to the ‘punch, counter punch’ style play with Anaheim outshooting Chicago 14-11. We would nearly head into the 3rd still tied, but Duck’s defenseman Simon Despres would choose 19:05 to be the perfect time for his first goal of the playoffs, as he would have a wide open net to beat Crawford for what would turn out to be the game winning goal.
Anaheim would fight off Chicago all through the 3rd to regain the series lead 2-1.
Friday, May 22nd 2015
Rangers vs Lightning: Game 4
Coming back off their OT loss two days ago, the Rangers are looking for some answers and fighting not to go down 3-1.
The early part of the 1st was the measuring stick for both New York and Tampa. Each spent their time feeling the game out and not willing to risk too much. Rick Nash would put an end to that and open the gates at 17:18 when he would bury his 3rd of the playoffs and start to get his own goal train moving.
Tampa would take the lead in the 2nd, applying all the pressure, but receive almost none of the benefits. Captain Steven Stamkos would put his Lightning on the board at 11:30 with a beautiful one timer to tie the game. But Chris Kreider would score his 7th of the playoffs at 15:16 and Keith Yandle formerly of the Arizona Coyotes would get his 1st at 17:04 for a 3-1 Rangers lead. Despite outshooting the Rangers 19-6, the Lightning would enter the 3rd down by 2.
We’d get started in the 3rd with an early New York power play as Nikita Nesterov would get his stick up high on Martin St. Louis. St. Louis would exact his revenge 28 seconds later for his 1st of the playoffs and put the Rangers up 4-1.
Rick Nash would score again for New York at 11:33 putting a 5-1 nail in the coffin of Game 4 and evening the Series 2-2.
Saturday, May 23rd 2015
Ducks vs Blackhawks: Game 4
Back home at the United Centre in Chicago, Illinois; with Anoine Vermette back in the lineup, Chicago looks to make their stand and even the series. While Anaheim desires a 3-1 series lead.
Just as Captain Jonathan Toews promised in the opening interview, the Blackhawks kept their feet moving the entire first and let the Ducks have it. Putting 14 shots on net to Anaheim’s 6, the Blackhawks opened the scoring by way of winger Brandon Saad shorthanded at 19:13 of the 1st.
We would wait a full 19 minutes later at 18:14 of the 2nd before we would see our second goal; as Emerson Etem would use his body to deflect Palmieri’s wrist shot for his 3rd of the playoffs.
Come the 3rd the flood gates opened as Chicago added two more from Johnathan Toews and Brent Seabrook to take a 3-1 lead. But Anaheim would add three goals in 37 seconds to take a 4-3 lead. Playoff antagonist Ryan Kesler would get it started at 8:42, followed by Matt Belesky at 9:05 and followed up by Corey Perry at 9:19 for his 9th of the playoffs.
The forever clutch Patrick Kane would score on the power play at 12:39 to tie the game at 4 and force overtime once again.
Anaheim would run amuck on Chicago in the first frame outshooting them 17-5, but were unable to put anything away.
The returning Antoine Vermette would score at 5:37 of the 2nd OT picking up his own rebound to put the Blackhawks over the Ducks 5-4
Sunday, May 24th 2015
Rangers vs Lightning: Game 5
The ‘Blue Shirts’ are back on Broadway and the thunder and Lightning have followed; each looking to go up 3-2 in the series and put the other on the brink of elimination.
With how much is on the line, one would expect that the 1st period would have been full of more. In fact anything to be honest, as it appeared both Tampa and New York were playing it cautious, both not wanting to give up the first goal. So cautious, that only 10 shots were to be had in the 1st between the two teams.
There would be some heart palpitations as Stamkos would lay one on the Rangers net, only to be robbed in broad daylight by the ‘King’ himself.
The 2nd is where we got our action as the Lightning were the first to wake up and take the battle to the Rangers. Finland’er Valtteri Filppula would net his 3rd of the playoffs at 13:29 as former Ranger Anton Stralman would hit Captain Stamkos with a geometrically astonishing stretch pass banked off the boards, who would then dish it to Filppula for the snipe and 1-0 lead.
The Lightning would strike again late in the 2nd at 18:22 on the power play to put Tampa up and over the Rangers 2-0 and take a 3-2 Series lead.
Monday, May 25th 2015
Ducks vs Blackhawks: Game 5
The Duck’s are back on the pond, looking to take a 3-2 Series lead and man did they push their weight around early. Anaheim struck swiftly and very early as they put 2 on the board within 32 seconds; Cam Fowler first at 5:10 and Ryan Kesler at 5:42 for his 6th of the playoffs and the 2-0 lead.
Anaheim would tack on another at 14:37 as Sami Vatanen would air mail it to Crawford right from the faceoff, taking a 3-0 lead into the 2nd and outshooting the Blackhawks 11-3.
Chicago would collect itself during the intermission and former Finnish World Junior Champion Teuvo Taravainen found some breathing room and squeezed one by Frederik Andersen to cut the Duck’s lead to 2.
Chicago would further cut the lead as Brent Seabrook would net his 5th of the playoffs at 19:35 of the 2nd given much needed confidence to the Chicago squad going into the 3rd.
The 3rd would be a battle. Neither team willing to give up anything and playing as cleanly as possible, not to upset the balance of play each had worked so hard to lay down. But Anaheim; always playing the game changing role increased the pressure when Winger Patrick Maroon slotted the final piece of beautiful tic-tac-toe play, putting the Ducks up 4-2 more than halfway through.
After that, it was all Captain Jonathan Toews doing Captain like things. With Crawford on the bench, Toews would score at 18:10 on a slapshot off the post and then follow it up at 19:22 with a wrist shot from an impossible angle to beat Andersen and tie the game at 4.
OT would be needed, and Anaheim’s Matt Beleskey would end it in 45 seconds all with the flick of a wrist. Ducks take Game 5 and move within a win of the Stanley Cup Final.
Tuesday, May 26th 2015
Rangers vs Lightning: Game 6
Facing elimination, New York is back in Tampa and looking to play the spoiler. On the other side, the Lightning look to earn their first Stanley Cup playoff berth since their 2003-2004 cup win.
Knowing they were on their heels, the Rangers wasted no time in getting to work as Derick Brassard would put his team on the board first at 3:36 when he would get in real close to Bishop and find the five-hole to make it 1-0.
Later on; former Coyote Keith Yandle scores his 2nd of the playoffs on a deflection to widen the gap to 2 at 15:30.
A minute thirty later we’d see a dust up in the Rangers’ zone that would send Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan and Tampa’s Steven Stamkos to the box for a two minute timeout. Twenty seconds later; Callahan puts his Lightning on the sheet. Solo effort, and the score is 2-1 moving into the 2nd period.
There would be no goals scored in the 2nd, but the Rangers would better their losing shot count from 7-13 in the 1st period, to 11-13 at the hands of the Lightning.
New York found the gas pedal again in the 3rd as they would put together 3 goals in 4 minutes and 15 seconds; two from scoring newcomers J.T. Miller and James Sheppard and the third from Derick Brassard, his 8th of the playoffs for a 5-1 lead.
Kucherov would also get his 8th of the playoffs off a laser of a shot at 7:50 to make it 5-2 and give some sort of hope to the Lightning.
But, Rick Nash would take it all away a few minutes later on the power play as he too would get in close on Bishop and return to his scoring ways.
Amazingly Kucherov would show himself again 3 minutes after Nash’s goal to score one of this own, 9th of the playoffs no doubt, making it 6-3 New York.
Brassard would score the empty netter at 18:19, recording the hat trick and cementing Game 7 with a dominating 7-3 win.
Wednesday, May 27th 2015
Ducks vs Blackhawks: Game 6
Chicago’s looking to push it to a 7, and Anaheim means to put an end to it here and now. Game 6, here we go.
Period 1 would end in a draw, with 16 shots fired between the two teams and no territory would change hands. Ducks’ net minder Frederik Andersen would have his butterfly tested by Jonathan Toews, but would answer the call and keep the period scoreless.
The 2nd would be a different story as Brandon Saad would open the scoring at 8:23 of the 2nd on a breakaway and find the five-hole on Andersen.
Marian Hossa would add to the Blackhawk advance at 10:41 after Duncan Keith would fake the point shot twice before dishing it to Hossa who was waiting in the open. Chicago advances 2-0.
The 2nd period Chicago push wouldn’t end there as Patrick Kane would score his 10th of the playoffs when he would find room to trickle it in for a 3-0 lead.
The Ducks would mount a counter attack after Chicago’s Brad Richards would go to the box for Hooking. Leading the way would be Patrick Maroon who once again found himself in front of the net at the right time to tip a shot from Cam Fowler. Duck’s get one back and its 3-1 going into the 3rd.
Start of the 3rd and Anaheim continues their counter attack to get a second goal back at 1:57 courtesy of Clayton Stoner and the post, and its 3-2 Blackhawks.
As the 3rd progressed the Ducks’ pressure slowly dissipated until the Blackhawks were able to regain control of the game, control the pace and buy some insurance through Andrew Shaw’s backhand up and over Andersen late at 16:28. Shaw would repeat again on the empty net at 19:11 to force Game 7 this Saturday night.
Friday, May 29th 2015
Rangers vs Lightning: Game 7
A squeaky clean game full of lucky 7’s. I can’t think of a better way to explain this game.
The first two thirds of the game were played to a deadlocked 0-0 tie. New York was able to record 11 shots to Tampa’s 19, but no one was able to capitalize on any scoring chances.
Early in the 3rd viewers were treated with some much needed change as Alex Killorn would score his 7th of the playoffs at 1:54 on an innocent looking backhand.
Tampa would gain the needed insurance and eventually the game winner a little later on at 11:17 from Ondrej Palat; again his 7th of the season to make it 2-0 Lightning.
The Lightning advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since their 2003-2004 cup win.
Saturday, May 30th 2015
Ducks vs Blackhawks: Game 7
The last time the Ducks were this far Captain Ryan Getzlaf was a rookie and they ended up winning a Stanley Cup. While the Blackhawks already have a few cups under their belt. Last season when they were this far; they lost to the Kings.
Not wanting to suffer the bitter taste of Game 7 defeat again, the Blackhawks went to work early and put themselves on the scoreboard at 2:23 into the 1st when Captain Jonathan Toews; doing Captain things batted the rebound past Andersen.
Toews would be back to Captain’in again when Anaheim would take a Hooking penalty at 11:08. Toews would cash in on the snapshot and make it 2-0 Blackhawks.
2nd period and the Blackhawks aren’t done yet. Brandon Saad makes quick work of his first shift and buries the puck in the open net as Andersen would be far out of position.
Chicago would add another to the painful ire of the Anaheim population as Marian Hossa would score his 4th of the playoffs with a turn of a skate. The play would be reviewed, but as no distinct kicking motion would be seen, the call on the ice would stand. Blackhawks lead 4-0.
Anaheim would eventually find themselves on the board when hardworking playoff antagonist Ryan Kesler would put one in from a short and almost impossible angle shorthanded. Chicago still leads 4-1
By the midway point of the 3rd it was apparent that Anaheim was picking up their game and everyone knew that if they even remotely stood a chance at winning this game they would need a little more mustard added to the 18 shots recorded over the 10 from Chicago.
Anaheim would get that much needed hope from resident stud Corey Perry as his 10th of the playoffs would find the back of the net after some dazzling stick work from Patrick Maroon. Ducks cut the lead in half, but the new found hope would be snuffed out just as quickly as it came when Chicago would score less than 2 minutes later on the power play; Brent Seabrook would record his 6th in the process.
While Anaheim would answer back at 19:18 of the 3rd, it was far too late and not enough. The Chicago Blackhawks would make definitive work of the Anaheim Ducks with a score of 5-3.