Stamkos, Lightning have Canada's best Stanley Cup shot on ropes; Sunday's best
Best game: Anaheim 3, Calgary 0. The Ducks threw 29 shots at Calgary goalie Karri Ramo through two periods, but the only one they got past him came after a perfect, cross-ice saucer pass from Ryan Kesler gave Matt Beleskey an open net with which to work. Ramo was brilliant, making 31 saves, but Anaheim has found no equal in this postseason. Defenseman Hampus Lindholm's first career postseason goal gave the Ducks insurance with 8:45 left in regulation, the Ducks added an empty netter and Anaheim goalie Frederik Andersen turned aside all 30 shots he faced. Calgary's Cinderella story is rapidly drawing to a close against the red-hot Ducks. Anaheim is 6-0 in the postseason while personally adding to Canada's misery and 21-year Cup drought. The Ducks eliminated one of Canada's five playoff entrants, Winnipeg, in the first round. They're well on their way to dispatching another. Only one other team since the 2004-2005 lockout has won its first six playoff games. Pittsburgh did it in 2008 when it advanced to the Cup Finals.
Best at being worst: Carey Price, G, Montreal. Valtteri Filppula's goal that tied the game, 1-1, with 24 seconds left in the first period was soft. Other than that, it would be hard to find fault with the next five Price allowed. But hey, when you're a Vezina Trophy and Hart Trophy candidate, you've got to do more than stop 18 of 24 shots — especially when your team is down 1-0 in a series and facing the next two games on the road. Montreal is in a world of hurt in this series. A sweep is a strong possibility.
Best visual: Crawford's possible concussion. Chicago goalie Corey Crawford (30 saves) stopped Marco Scandella's bomb with his mask in the third period and the puck appeared to daze him. It was fair to wonder whether Crawford had sustained a concussion after the shot, even though he said after the game that he was fine. He took several moments to regroup before exchanging his dented mask for a fresh one. He was never examined by a trainer at the time. Where was the NHL's supposed concern about concussions on this one? You can't take a player's word for it. They're almost always going to say they're fine. It's the culture. That's the kind of thing that has to be taken out of the player's hands.
Best quote, via ESPN: "I thought the original call was kind of soft and I let him know on the way to the penalty box. He kept provoking me. He came to the box and called me every name in the book. He called me a piece of you know what, a mother ----er, coward, said he'd drive me right out of this building. I just kept going, 'Yeah, OK, yeah, OK, yeah, OK.' He kept on me, he kept on me. I wasn't looking at him. He teed me up. That's the ref he is. He tries to play God. He tries to control the game and he did that tonight." — Montreal forward Brandon Prust on his first-period exchange with referee Brad Watson after getting whistled for roughing. The NHL is reviewing Prust's comments and his decision to toss an elbow pad into the Tampa bench, but the NHL should examine Watson's decision to follow Prust to the bench and what he said. If he acted unprofessionally, he should also receive punishment.
Best charitable donation: Steven Stamkos, C, Tampa Bay: After Canadiens forward Prust made contact with Tampa goalie Ben Bishop, Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn went after Prust to let him know the goalie was off limits. Prust didn't get the message, throwing an elbow pad at the Lightning bench. Instead of retaliating, Stamkos, Tampa's captain, decided to donate the equipment to a fan by tossing it over the glass and into the stands behind the bench.
Best thing to look forward to Monday: New York at Washington, Game 3. The Rangers won Game 2 at Madison Square Garden to even the series, but New York fans probably never felt comfortable, given the way the Capitals kept coming and kept pounding New York, physically. Through two games, traditionally karma-poor Washington has been the better team in this series. Can it take advantage of home ice to put the Rangers in a hole?
#StanleyCupMoments Steven Stamkos tells @ScottOake he has no problem catching elbow pads. He'll just give it to fans. http://t.co/dE3kvT7FKQ— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 4, 2015
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