Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Morning Player Notes in the Playoffs (May 17)

The Eastern Conference Finals resumed on Tuesday night, with the Pittsburgh Penguins already down a game in the series, so they needed to come out with a little bit more grit to keep up with the Tampa Bay Lightning and that's just what they did.

The Lightning were without their number one goalie, Ben Bishop, whose lower-body injury kept him out of Game 2, but he's only listed as out day-to-day.  They were also without forward Ryan Callahan, who was dealing with a bout of the flu, he's also out day-to-day.  On the Pittsburgh side, they re-inserted defenseman Justin Schultz for Game 2, as Olli Maatta was taken out to be a healthy scratch.

After an exciting 1st period, where both teams were locked in at 2-2, the goaltending really started to shine between two young non-pool goalies.  Andrei Vasilevskiy and Matt Murray were dynamite in this one, as the same score line went right through until overtime.  Vasilevskiy was the busier of the two, making 36 saves through regulation, compared to Murray's 19, and it was Pittsburgh's relentlessness that earned them the victory.

40 seconds into the extra frame, Sidney Crosby was the hero, scoring the winning goal and leveling the series at one game a piece.  Given the nature of the scoring, he was the only notable player in the pool in this game as well,

This series will now shift back to Tampa Bay for Game 3 on Wednesday night and if these first two games are any indication, this series is far from being unexciting.

ImplicationsSo far, after three games in the Conference Finals, Kristy has pulled 2 points back on Stuart, which has lessened the lead to only 12 points, but it still remains quite the long shot that this trend continues.  Nevertheless, any story is a good story at this point. Kristy's hold on 2nd place has gotten stronger, as her 10 points so far, is 3 points better than Scott's total and 5 points better than Brenda's, which is really shutting down that story.

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