Tied In Tampa, Where The Rules Are Made Up and Too Many Men Don't Matter, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Tied In Tampa, Where The Rules Are Made Up and Too Many Men Don’t Matter, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

We know that the Stanley Cup Playoffs have a different rule book than the regular season in the NHL. We’ve agreed to this for many, many years as fans and the players know that the game is going to be called differently. Referees in the postseason tend to swallow their whistles and let the game play out, more than calling the game by the rule book and potentially making a call late in a game that could swing the momentum drastically from one team to another, or even cost a team a game-winning goal. In last night’s Game Two between the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning, we again saw this postseason how the refs, by not wanting to influence the outcome of the game, influenced the outcome of the game.

•   After dropping Game One to the Islanders, the Lightning came out of the gate looking to avoid a second letdown on home ice. Tampa Bay out-shot and out0-chanced the Islanders in Game Two and a familiar face came through early for the defending Stanley Cup Champions…and was a key figure throughout the game.

•   Near the mid-way point of the opening frame, the Lightning got on the board with Brayden Point’s 10th goal of the postseason from a sick pass from Nikita Kucherov.

•   That’s just a nasty awareness on the ice from Kucherov to find Point on the doorstep.

•   Last season in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Brayen Point finished with 14 goals in 23 games, scoring at a .608 goals per game pace. He’s already way beyond that pace this postseason with 10 goals in 13 games, a .769 goals per game pace.

•   Always great to see former Blackhawks succeeding in the postseason when they are not with the Blackhawks anymore, eh?

•   While Point got the Lightning on the board first, it would be a goaltender interference call on him later in the period that would lead to the Islanders getting back into the contest.

•   Yeah…Point was called for a penalty after he was cross-checked into Semyon Varlamov by New York defenseman Adam Pelech. The goaltender interference rule is one of the most inconsistently called and most misinterpreted penalties in the sport today. Any time there is contact with a goalie, you may as well flip a coin and guess who the call will be on, you may have a better chance at getting it right than the refs do.

•   Varlamov would be hurt on the play and would miss some time before eventually returning to the game. On the ensuing powerplay, the Islanders tied the game 1-1 with a Brock Nelson powerplay goal. Refs impacting the game rating: 10/10

•   In the second period, we would see more from Kucherov and company as he setup Ondrej Palat for the 2-1 goal to take the lead once again.

•   BUT, the goal should not have counted as the Lightning were caught on a change with seven and six players on the ice while the goal was being scored. It was not called a too many men penalty and the goal stood.

•   Refs impacting the game rating: 12/10 – ridiculous calls get ridiculous ratings in my book.

•   Kucherov finished the game with three assists on the 1-0, 2-1, and 4-1 goals for the Lightning. He leads the league in postseason scoring with 22 points in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He is seven points ahead of Nathan MacKinnon and David Pastrnak, tied for second in scoring and both eliminated from the postseason. Kucherov is followed in postseason scoring by teammates Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point for active players, both with 14 points.

•   Like, come on, the Lightning are just a cheat code.

•   And like all good Stanley Cup Playoff years since 2017, there has to be a former Blackhawks player involved, right?

•   Good for Jan Rutta.

•   The Lightning took a 4-2 win in Game Two to tie the series 1-1 heading to the Nassau Coliseum for Game Three on Friday night. The Stanley Cup Playoff Semifinals continue tonight last the Vegas Golden Knights host the Montreal Canadiens for Game Two of their series, with Vegas leading 1-0.

•   More former Blackhawks news, as it appears that Lucas Wallmark, traded at the NHL Trade Deadline, is heading to the KHL to continue his career.

•   What was your favorite memory of Wallmark as a Blackhawk?…Me too.

•   Former Blackhawks and IceHogs defenseman Stephen Johns announced his retirement from hockey this week and said he would be doing a cross-country rollerblading tour to bring awareness to mental health.

•   The journey continues for Johns across the Midwest currently. It would be a lot of fun to see if he comes through Chicago soon. #MentalMiles

•   In case you missed it yesterday, the Chicago Blackhawks signed Czech forward Jakub Pour to a two-year entry-level contract. The 22-year-old winger is a former one-time teammate of fellow Czech forward for the Blackhawks Dominik Kubalík.

•   With the latest signing, the Blackhawks are now at 41 NHL-level contracts, as Ben Pope points out. Chicago has 13 players that become unrestricted or restricted free agents this summer and at least half of those players you would expect that Blackhawks to re-sign. Again, as Ben points out, with the addition of so many new contract on the books beginning next season, the roster is starting to get crowded before we even hit July.

•   Chicago will lose at least one player under contract in the Seattle Expansion Draft coming up this summer, but it’s possible we may see more movement leading up to, or during, the Expansion Draft and the NHL Entry Draft in July. This all happening before free agency officially opens, too.

•   One of the players the Blackhawks will have to make a decision on this offseason whether to re-sign or not is defenseman Nikita Zadorov. Although, by the looks of his instagram page, he’s not too worried about that right now.


•   Russia won their Euro Championship match today, for those wondering.

•   Finally, a Happy Blackhawks Birthday today to legend Steve Larmer! The Blackhawks iron-man turns 60 today and has yet to have his No. 28 retired by the team, despite the public outcry and the fact that Larmer really deserves it as one of the unsung heroes of Chicago hockey in the 80’s and 90’s.

•   Retire 28.

•   That will do it for today. Enjoy your Wednesday!

Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.