Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella's pregame speech triggers comeback win

Arnold Nichols
April 14, 2019

Congratulations to the eight teams for making it this far. In the 15 years since 2001-02, the Presidents' Trophy winning team has won the Cup twice. A case could be made neither should be starting for their team. Things are going to get interesting tonight in sunny Tampa, Florida.

The Lightning got within two goals at 3-1 when Sergachev's shot went into the net off Blue Jackets defenceman Markus Nutivaara's skate five minutes into the third.

Game two of the series takes place on Friday. "I'm not anxious about our team, how they handle things". The Leafs are a really good hockey team, but the Bruins are a different team come playoff time. Maybe they can grind out a Round 1 series win against a generally low-scoring Stars team, but maybe not, as special teams might just move the needle. Led by John Tavares' 47 goals and followed by Auston Matthews' 37, this team has no problem shooting the puck. Jake Muzzin and Jake Gardiner will both be ready for the playoffs, but even with those two back and healthy, the Bruins defence is still better. New playstyle classes and player traits also let players customize the way they perform on the ice, allowing fans the freedom to create and compete as the players they've always wanted to be. Add in Mitch Marner and an effective William Nylander, and you have yourself a lot of scoring power. We'll just see how our response is tomorrow. They got loud again in the minutes before the teams emerged from their dressing rooms for the start of the game. The previous three were all in the second round while Trotz was with Washington, and the victor of Penguins-Capitals series went on to win the Stanley Cup each time. "Columbus had no quit in them and good on them".

The Sharks employ a great offense, powered by four 30-goal scorers in Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, and Evander Kane. He finished the season with a 2.39 GAA and a.917 SV%. A team is going to lose every now and then. Everything is going right, from great team chemistry, to fantastic perseverance throughout the games, to determined leaders, showing the team how to get it done, and get it done right.

The Capitals do have some work to do if they want to get past Carolina. Braden Holtby has been rock solid in the playoffs in the past and they hope he recaptures that for another deep playoff run. His 2.81 GAA and.911 SV% isn't going to cut it.

I will look for this game to go Over the total. Players can win to rank up to new outdoor locations and defend their position as king-of-the-hill. It's better they get it out of their system now and not have it rear its ugly head in a Game 7. If there's one team that will figure it out and bounce back, it's the Lightning. Matt Murray made 29 saves. They have San Jose in the 1st round and (likely) Calgary in the 2nd round. In the Eastern Conference, it has the Islanders beating the Penguins in the first round. They have Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Patric Hornqvist, all guys that have plenty of playoff experience and were part of that back-to-back Stanley Cup campaign. It's a tough task to ask any team to limit that much talent over seven games, but I really do believe that this NY team can do it. Their 96 points were three more than the last wild card team. "We have to be able to grind with them". If he can play at the same level as Lehner or Greiss, then the Penguins will make it to the next round. Pittsburgh gave up the sixth most shots during the season (33.3) and were league average in GA/GP (2.90).

If you needed any more convincing that NHL hockey players are built differently, just remember that this American from Plover, Wisconsin took a rock-hard puck off his face and kept on trucking. NY was 18th on the penalty kill this season (79.9%), while the Penguins finished 5th on the power play (24.6%).

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