Morning Mashup: Sharks, Lightning Go Up 2-0


On a night where two giants were expected to make good quality comebacks in their respective series comebacks just weren’t in the hockey gods’ cards. Both the Washington Capitals and the Detroit Red Wings find themselves down in a hole trailing 2-0 after two games played with Washington losing both games in their own building.
If the old saying of “You’re never in trouble in the playoffs until you lose at home” is true then Washington is really up the creek without a paddle. What is happening to the Capitals? Is it the Guy Boucher 1-3-1 adaptation of the trap? Is it Tampa’s relentless work on the forecheck, or is it the spectacular veteran goaltending from Dwayne Roloson? Could be the almost perfect playoff PP of the Lightning. I’d argue that it’s a combination of all four things coming together at just the right time for Guy Boucher’s men. Not to mention the play of Marty St. Louis who currently stands 2nd playoff scoring. His main partner in crime isn’t Steven Stamkos who, although improved, still hasn’t matched his regular season heights. No, that mantle goes to Vincent Lecavalier, their captain who proved very captain like last night scoring the OT game winner. Washington is indeed controlling the play for most of those two games but does so with a distinct individualistic taste. There are not going hard to the net and their stars are trying to do too much, but most importantly, they are not winning puck battles and playing like last year’s Capitals. We all know where that got them.
Don’t look now but the Sharks are now 6-1 in their last seven playoff games against the Red Wings. What other team can ever claim such dominance? It might be true that all their wins were 1 goal games, but that speaks volumes for San Jose’s willingness to win. This may be a very even matchup, but the Sharks are finding ways to win. Tale of the tape – crowding the crease. Joe Thornton and other grey sea creatures sprayed Jimmy Howard with so much snow he might end up with a fever after this one. An almost perfect game by the Sharks special teams killing off 5 Detroit powerplays before giving up a PP goal and scoring one themselves courtesy of our very own Ian White. Same as with Luongo and the Blackhawks one could say that the Sharks are in Howard’s head now. The most surprising thing for me is the turnaround of Joe Thornton. He’s been a beast all these years but never really played playoff and Cup winning hockey until this year. Backchecking, playing a good physical game this might not be a 100 point plus Joe Thornton but is the kind of Joe Thornton that has 6 points in his last 6 playoff games and could very well lift the Stanley Cup.

Onto your mashup with Greg

Leafs Links:

Could young stars be the answer for Leafs?

Steve Simmons looks at the possibility of the Leafs tendering offer sheets to the likes of Steven Stamkos, Shea Weber and Drew Doughty.

Playoff Links:

Sharks put Wings in deeper hole

Former Leaf defenseman Ian White scores the game winner in San Jose’s 2-0 victory over Detroit.

Lightning shock Caps in OT

Lecavalier nets the overtime winner to give the Lightning a 2-0 series lead going back to Tampa.

Predators top Canucks in OT to even series

Recap from Nashville’s Game 2 win on Saturday night.

Gretzky rookie card goes for $94,163

Gretzky card sells for highest price ever paid in an online auction Sunday.

World Championship Links:

Canada crushes France 9-1 at hockey worlds

James Reimer is now 2-and-0 at the World Championships after a 22-save performance against France.

Your Say:

Did you expect the Lightning to have a 2-0 series lead heading back home to Tampa Bay? Are they a darkhorse to make it all the way to the finals? Will the Red Wings respond in Game 3 at home on Tuesday against the Sharks?