Step Seven: Lick this! Bolts rally to beat Boston

by Gary Shelton on May 5, 2018 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Girardi scored the winning goal for the Bolts./CARMEN MANDATO

Girardi scored the winning goal for the Bolts./CARMEN MANDATO

Friday, 3 a.m.

Maybe  you  are offended by the tongue. Who wouldn't be? Tongues are particularly loathsome, after all.

Certainly, Brad Marchand, sleazy guy, the lizard king of the NHL, wants you to be offended by the tongue. That's why he licked Ryan Callahan with it. When a hockey team is being outplayed in the sport of hockey, well, you grasp whatever icky measures that are there to be grabbed.

Maybe it was the low blow that got you.

That was aimed at Callahan, too, who was flipped and sent sprawling by Marchand.

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the GarySheltonSports.com blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on GarySheltonSports.com.

Stamkos finally scored to tie the game at 3./CARMEN MANDATO

Stamkos finally scored to tie the game at 3./CARMEN MANDATO

Maybe you were off-put by a Bruins team that seemed to think that muscle was its only way to get back into their playoff series against the Lightning.

On the other hand, the Lightning won. Again. And suddenly, the big bad Bruins don't look quite so intimidating, do they?

Yeah, you can write off a lot of Boston's tactics to the adage about desperate times calling for desperate measures, But despite it all -- the crowd and the size and the tongue and a rally with three straight goals -- the Lightning won.

Kucherov scored his first goal of the series./CARMEN MANDATO

Kucherov scored his first goal of the series./CARMEN MANDATO

Again.

In the end, none of it was enough to save Boston.The Tampa Bay Lightning, a resilient bunch of skaters if there ever was, took a firm grip on their playoff series against the Bruins Friday night. The Lightning leads the series 3-1 and can close the series out at home Sunday afternoon.

Despite falling behind 2-0, this was the best shot of the Bruins. They muscled the Bolts off of pucks, and they built a 14-4 shot advantage in the second period, and once again, Marchand put the willies in everyone but, evidently, the NHL front office. Two goals by Patrice Bergeron and one by David Pastrnak gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead in the third period.

Ah, but remember the sleeping line of the Bolts? Brayden Point scored. Nikita Kucherov scored. Steven Stamkos scored.

Point got the Bolts off to a  quick start./CARMEN MANDATO

Point got the Bolts off to a quick start./CARMEN MANDATO

And Dan Girardi scored.

Girardi? Really?

Girardi deflected in a crossing pass from Alex Killorn with 3:18 left in overtime for the game-winner. "I set up office there," Girardi said. "It's a lucky goal, but in overtime, you throw anything you can at the net. Good things happen."

For the Bolts, the awakening of Stamkos and Kucherov had to mean good things for the rest of the series. The team has missed them.

“If you want to keep going in the playoffs, you need everybody," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said." We’ve gotten it from everybody. Point’s line’s pointing on a consistent basis but everybody’s chipping in. Those guys are getting chances. It’s just a matter of time. What’s a really good sign for us is they hadn’t been scoring and we’re still winning. And it was just a matter of time. It was almost like

Vasilevskiy has now won three straight playoff games./CARMEN MANDATO

Vasilevskiy has now won three straight playoff games./CARMEN MANDATO

Stammer said 'I’ve had enough.' That thing went in with authority, and obviously a huge goal for us.

"You need your big guns to help you win. In a tough environment, you’re down a goal with under 10 (minutes) to go, especially after giving up a shorty in which they were on the ice for and to sit there and say okay, like I said before, we need you and he showed up and he delivered. He’s done that his whole career. It was just a matter of time. We needed him, and he was there for us.”

It wasn't as crisp a game as Game Three by the Bolts, but it was good enough for the victory. In this one, the Bruins tried to out-muscle the Bolts, and once again, Marchand resorted to licking the Bolts' Ryan Callahan in the face. What stage of desperation is that?

Callahan had an unpleased night against Marchand./CARMEN MANDATO

Callahan had an unpleased night against Marchand./CARMEN MANDATO

"I don't know the difference between that and spitting in someone's face," Callahan said. "It's a game misconduct to spit in someone's face This is as bad or worse."

Cooper, choosing his words carefully, added this: "All I'm going to say is there is no place in our game for that. I don't understand it. I don't. How would you feel right now if I walked over and gave you  one big lick from chin up?"

Marchand also had a low hit on Callahan.

"It's  unfortunate he goes that low to do that," Callahan said. "If my lead foot is planted, I'm probably not finishing that game."

The Lightning, down 3-2, scored the game's final two goals. Stamkos scored at 12:56 to tie things at 3-3, and Girardi scored the winner.

“The whole play, it was just poise all over the place, how Cirelli didn’t pull a groin staying onside to start with," Cooper said. "But it’s battle wins. They won

For the third straight game, Marchand got licked./CARMEN MANDATO

For the third straight game, Marchand got licked./JEFFREY S. KING

that battle along the wall. That is an unbelievable poise play. We’ve done that before. We’ll rotate our guys and throw our D back door. But the whole, when Yanni pulled up and to have the wherewithal and have the poise and give it to Killer and throw it across like that. Usually the big joke is that’s Yanni’s spot. Yanni has 25 goals, I don’t even know if they add up to 25 feet. I guess G’s taken that over now.”

Stamkos said his goal wasn't as important as the victory.

“It’s icing on the cake when you win a game, especially with the magnitude with this one," Stamkos said. "Our line as a whole has been talking a lot about wanting to elevate our game. Obviously it’s not a matter of will. We knew eventually it was going to come. Just had a feeling, saw Kuch score that power play goal early, and you could feel it was coming. He had a breakaway. I had a breakaway. You knew it was going to come, so just sticking with it. Just so happy to do it in a win.”

What must the Bruins be thinking after being swept at home? Are they going to try to score more power play goals? More shorthanded goals? Is Marchand going to lick more opponents?

Sunday's game begins at 3 p.m. at Amalie Arena.

Killorn made the centering pass for the win./CARMEN MANDATO

Killorn made the centering pass for the win./CARMEN MANDATO

 

 

 

 

Share with:Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill MYERS May 7, 2018 at 8:45 am

Just a late question about Marchand’s licking trick. Is this the first time he has pulled this and why is it not a foul like spitting on someone? Maybe a rule change is due!

Reply

Gary Shelton May 7, 2018 at 9:40 am

Bill, it’s the SIXTH time he’s done it. There is no difference between it and spitting. The league drug its heels or lacked the spine to protect it’s own players. Certainly, a rule change is due. The shame of it is the Marchand is a very good player. He doesn’t need the antics.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: