NHL Week in Review (May 31-June 6)

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The Tampa Bay Lightning got a hard lesson in experience as the Stanley Cup Finals began this week.

The first game was the epitome of what everyone was saying about the matchup between these two teams.

The Lightning came into the Finals with only one player who had won a Stanley Cup before and most of their main stars never seeing a Stanley Cup Finals.

They were too young the last time the Lightning made it to the Finals and took home the Stanley Cup.

They were taking on a team that was in their position five years ago but have since won two Stanley Cups.

The core of the Blackhawks have remained together and have remained the main reason why they remain one of the best teams in the league year after year.

All of their core players have their names on the cup and many have their names on the cup twice over the last five years.

They have been through the playoffs every season since 2009 and have seen the bad, losing in the first round in 2011 and 2012, and success, winning two Stanley Cups in 2010 and 2013.

They have been in long series and short series and overall have seen everything that the playoffs can throw at them.

It’s quite a difference between the two teams and when they were matched up for the Finals it became the main story line.

How would the Lightning be able to beat a team that rarely gets flustered in big pressure situations?

In Game 1 that questions was, at least, partially answered. The Lightning dominated in the first half of the first period and earned a 1 goal lead.

They came out strong and overwhelmed the Blackhawks to go ahead but it was clear that the Blackhawks were not going to panic under the pressure.

After the first ten minutes of the game, Chicago began to turn things around and moved the momentum back in their favour.

Still that didn’t result in any boost for the Blackhawks as they couldn’t even the score throughout most of the game.

That was until the third period when the Blackhawks scored two goals in two minutes that gave them the first win of the Stanley Cup Finals and allowed them to take away the home advantage from the Lightning.

The Blackhawks showed exactly what has made them potential Stanley Cup champions as their entire playoffs this year have been a battle.

The Blackhawks have often been on the brink and yet they always find a way to win, which is exactly what they did in Game 1.hockey-sidebar

The Lightning were too comfortable with a 1-goal lead and decided to sit back and try to play defence instead of expanding their lead.

Against a team with the experience of the Blackhawks that is a big mistake and eventually the Lightning were too far on their heels to make another offensive push.

The Blackhawks stayed calm and never panicked as they knew that eventually they could break through and win the game.

It was a showing of the experience that could make the difference in the finals and was a lesson to the Lightning that what they had done to get the Finals might not work as they must change their ways.

Small leads are not good enough and in the second game the Lightning had learned their lesson that sitting back is not going to work.

They fought just as hard as the Blackhawks and although they still couldn’t get any further than one goal away the Lightning took the win to split their home stand.

The Lightning had clearly figured something out in the second game and they did not wait to come forward instead making sure they put on pressure the entire time.

That is what got them the 4-3 win and despite possibly losing Ben Bishop who left twice during the game and finished the game in the locker room.

Now both teams head to Chicago where the Lightning hope to even things up by taking an away game and the Blackhawks try to get a good lead with their home ice advantage.

It is turning out to be the series that most had hoped for and if the Lightning can continue to learn on the fly they might have a better chance while if they can’t that experience could sink them.

(Extra Thoughts on this week in hockey)

The Battle for Ryan
Derek Ryan led the Swedish league in goals this past year and after that performance NHL teams are interested as the American standing at only 5’10” is being pursued by three NHL teams with the Colorado Avalanche seemingly leading the race

Red Wings Find Their Man
The Red Wings were left without a head coach when Mike Babcock left but they hope to continue their success with their AHL coach Jeff Blashill seemingly ready to take over the NHL job this coming week

Penguins for Sale?
The Pittsburgh Penguins have been a very successful franchise over the last decade and according to reports one of the two owners is looking to cash in as they are reportedly willing to sell their stake in the franchise


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