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Stanley Cup Daily 5/5: Taking A Licking and Keeping On Ticking

The Lightning survived Brad Marchand’s petri-dish experiment and return home with a two-game lead.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins - Game Four

Each day during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Canes Country recaps the night before, previews the games for that night, and gives you game times and broadcast information.

Friday’s Recaps

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Boston Bruins 3 (TBL leads 3-1)

The Lightning took a commanding 3-1 lead in the series last night, defeating the Bruins 4-3 in overtime. The game was not without its drama as Brad Marchand did more Brad Marchand things. His latest victim was Ryan Callahan, who he licked on the cheek right in front of a referee. Callahan and Lightning coach Jon Cooper were incensed after the game, and the NHL has reportedly stepped in again to tell Marchand to knock it off.

The first period scoring was opened up by Brayden Point, who is having himself a career playoff series. He carried the puck through the neutral zone and danced through the defense to beat Tuukka Rask. Both Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy looked lost on the play, and both of them were at fault for allowing Point an open lane to the crease.

Nikita Kucherov would make it 2-0 on a power play goal, but David Pastrnak answered soon after. A few minutes later Patrice Bergeron evened it up, sending the teams into the third period tied at 2-2.

Seven minutes in Torey Krug laced a beautiful centering pass to Bergeron on the fast break that he redirected past Andrei Vasilevskiy, but as the period went on you could feel that the Lightning would find the net soon, and it happened when McAvoy lost an edge trying to break the puck out from behind his net. The puck was settled by J.T. Miller, who passed to Stamkos in the high slot for a one timer that blew by Rask. The Lightning and Bruins both gained a few scoring chances late in the third, but the game would head to overtime.

Just four minutes into the extra period, Alex Killorn brought the puck up the boards and sent it in to Dan Girardi, who finished it with one hand on his stick to seal the game. The two teams are back in action tomorrow afternoon in Tampa. - Andrew Ahr

San Jose Sharks v Vegas Golden Knights - Game Five Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Vegas Golden Knights 5, San Jose Sharks 3 (VGK leads 3-2)

The Vegas Golden Knights jumped out to a 4-0 lead midway through the third period, and held off a furious comeback by the San Jose Sharks to run out as 5-3 winners at T-Mobile Arena Friday night. Vegas now needs just one more win in the final two games of the series to advance to the Western Conference Finals.

James Neal got the hosts on the board late in the opening frame, depositing a rebound in front of the net with three seconds to play before the intermission. Alex Tuch then doubled their advantage just shy of five minutes into the second period as he hammered home a rebound on the power play. Four minutes later, Erik Haula nabbed a goal from a tight angle that squeaked through Martin Jones for a 3-0 Vegas lead.

Tuch added a second marker in the third period, seemingly putting the game out of reach at 4-0, but San Jose rallied with a trio of tallies in 6:09 to get within a goal of tying the affair. Their comeback bid fell short though, and Jonathan Marchessault’s ENG sealed the Knights’ 5-3 triumph.

Marc-Andre Fleury put forth another masterclass through the majority of the contest and stopped 27 of 30 shots, while Martin Jones turned aside 27 of 31 pucks in the opposite crease. Aaron Dell stopped all seven shots he faced in relief of Jones. - Peter Dewar

Saturday’s Previews

Washington Capitals v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Four

Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals (Series tied 2-2)

7:00 p.m. ET, NBC

  1. Capitals Top Line: With Tom Wilson suspended, the Caps put Devante Smith-Pelly on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov in Game 4. That did not work as planned, as the Caps top line was dominated all night. Ovi was only able to generate two shots and they were out for a goal against. Bary Trotz has a thought that the line needs to have an enforcer type, but in reality they could benefit from more skill opposite Ovi. This line will be the barometer for the Caps’ success in Game 5.
  2. Penguins getting healthy: Evgeni Malkin’s return has greatly helped the Penguins, to no one’s surprise. Now, with Carl Hagelin returning, the Pens are going to add more speed to their lineup. Hagelin is a depth player that will really stretch a Caps team that has struggled all season with depth issues. Adding speed on the third line will be a tipping point in this series.
  3. Focus On Goals: The Caps have been extremely physical in this series. Even after Wilson’s suspension, T.J. Oshie brought hits and dropped the mitts while the Penguins scored an empty-netter on Thursday. However, that’s not what the Caps need from their skilled wingers. They need players like Oshie and Ovechkin to be beating the Penguins with their skill and not with their fists. If the Caps get caught in an emotional battle, it plays perfectly into the hands of the Penguins, who are prepared to make the Caps pay on the scoreboard. - Zeke Lukow

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Nashville Predators at Winnipeg Jets Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Winnipeg Jets at Nashville Predators (Series tied 2-2)

9:30 p.m., NBCSN

  1. Coming Back Down to Earth: Game 3 was about as wild of a playoff game that you will see, especially when the two teams are the Jets and the Predators. Game 4, however, was a tight-checking, low-scoring game - a brand of hockey that Nashville thrives in. The key to their win on Thursday was containing Winnipeg’s offense. Nashville needs to play a focused, structured game in front of their all-world goalie. They won’t be able to score their way out of their problems against this Jets club.
  2. Smashville: Winnipeg’s white-out crowds are a big intimidation for road teams, but as we learned in last year’s postseason, so is Smashville. The crowd can play a massive role throughout the course of a game - game three was a huge example of that for the Jets. Nashville needs to come out early and get the fans engaged. It’ll be a significant advantage for the home team, if they can accomplish it.
  3. D-Cores: So much of this series, including Game 5, will come down to the play of each respective six-man defensive unit. Both clubs boast elite back-ends, and we’ve seen some big offensive contributions from the likes of P.K. Subban and Dustin Byfuglien. To play with speed, you have to get the defensemen involved, especially in today’s NHL where quick puck-moving defensemen are such valuable assets. On the flip side, knowing when and when not to pinch as a defenseman could make the difference between a win, a loss, and a lop-sided loss. Look for the defensemen to stand out in a big way again on Saturday - both teams have a blue line that 75% of the league would give up anything to have. - Brett Finger