At around 8 p.m. Pacific standard time on June 11th, Simon Gagne had finally earned the right to hoist the Stanley Cup over his head.
Despite a series of unfortunate events that had spanned several seasons and a near tumble when he tried to pick up the Cup for the first time, Gagne had finally reached the peak of the hockey summit where he rightfully belonged.
Too often the term "playoff-like game" gets thrown around in the NHL, but Tuesday night in Tampa Bay was not one of those oversights.
The Capitals and Lightning battled with a playoff-like feel in regular season game No. 49 for both Southeast Division clubs.
The game saw the Caps battle back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game early in the third period before going into overtime.
After Matt Hendricks opened the scoring for the Caps with a highlight-reel spin-o-rama goal, Tampa Bay responded with three unanswered goals from Teddy Purcell, Martin St. Louis and Nate Thompson to put the Bolts up 3-1.
There was a ceremonial face off in the Bell Centre featuring Yvan Cournoyer, Paul Henderson and Vladislav Tretiak. Very nice ovation for the two hall of famers and one that possibly should be in the hallowed halls. The scratches for this game were Yannick Weber and Peteri Nokelainen.
The The much anticipated follow up game to the Eller game started off slowly for the Habs. The Lightning scored the dreaded first goal by Vincent Lecavalier with assists by Eric Brewer and Dominic Moore. The Habs did not have any shots until approximately the six minute mark. After scoring the first goal, the Lightning went into their defensive shell.
The Montreal Canadiens were unable to build on their performance against the Ottawa Senators earlier in the week, as they dropped tonight's matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning by the score of 4-3 despite being up 3-1 past the halfway mark of the second period.
Vincent Lecavalier completed Tampa's rally at 8:37 of the 3rd and former Canadiens JT Wyman and Marc-Andre Bergeron scored for the Lightning. Steven Stamkos was the one who opened the scoring just under four minutes into the game, redirecting a Pavel Kubina shot for his third goal in two games.
Steven Stamkos is one of the NHL’s most prolific offensive players. So, when the forward gets open looks in front of the net the Lightning are tough to beat. The Flyers found out the hard way on Tuesday night in a 5-1 defeat.
With two goals tonight Stamkos tied the Rangers’ Marion Gaborik with 22 goals for the season and the lead for the top goal scorer in the league.
Stamkos’ first goal came 8:30 into the second period, breaking a 1-1 tie. Stamkos took the rebound from a Ryan Malone shot and put a backhand shot past Ilya Bryzgalov.
Bryzgalov let in five goals on only 16 shots. The theme throughout the game was missed Flyer opportunities that turned into Lightning goals. Usually when a team dominates on shots, possessions, and scoring opportunities they find themselves on the celebratory side of a blowout.
Lost in the goalie mix since the 2011 playoffs is Johan Backlund?
Backlund started one game for the Flyers in March 2010 and left after two periods due to a groin injury. He was out until the playoffs where during the second round comeback against Boston. He played just over one minute of game action in relief of Brian Boucher.
In 2010-11, Backlund spent most of the season as the Phantoms starter, before Michael Leighton arrived in January via waivers.
This season, he was part of a three goalie rotation with the Phantoms with Leighton and Jason Bacashihua before suffering a hip injury in November.
The last time these two teams met, the Flyers stood in their defensive zone, while the Lightning stood in the neutral zone. All the while, millions of people watching the nationally televised event began changing the channel to something that actually had a pulse.
The Islanders, who are boasting the worst offense in the league with only a dismal 59 goals for (the second worst team is the L.A. Kings with 63), were heavily criticized for one specific thing over the past three months; not scoring enough goals. (Shocking, right?)
After being shutout several times this year, the Isles were becoming a one-trick pony; if the line of Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau wasn't scoring, then there wasn't anything to worry about if you were the opposing team. However, the Isles have been on a recent streak after coming away with points in their past six games played.