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Pregame primer: Stanley Cup Final Game 2


Pregame primer: Stanley Cup Final Game 2

News, notes and quotes as the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks get set to resume the Stanley Cup Final tonight in Tampa with Game 2 [7:15 p.m., NBC]:

Series at a glance: The Blackhawks won the series opener 2-1 when forwards Teuvu Teravainen and Antoine Vermette scored back-to-back, third-period goals.

Comeback kids: Dating to Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final – which also featured the Blackhawks – five of the past seven Stanley Cup Final games have seen the victorious team overcome a deficit at any point in the contest, including four in the third period.

Last Seven Stanley Cup Final Games

2015: Game 1 – CHI 2 at TBL 1 (CHI trailed 1-0 in 3rd period)
2014: Game 5 – NYR 2 at LAK 3 (2OT) (LAK trailed 2-1 in 3rd period)
2014: Game 4 – LAK 1 at NYR 2*
2014: Game 3 – LAK 3 at NYR 0*
2014: Game 2 – NYR 4 at LAK 5 (2OT) (LAK trailed 4-2 in 3rd period)
2014: Game 1 – NYR 2 at LAK 3 (OT) (LAK trailed 2-0 in 1st period)
2013: Game 6 – CHI 3 at BOS 2 (CHI trailed 2-1 in 3rd period)
Winning team did not trail.

Including Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, the Blackhawks have led for a combined 5:33 in their last two Stanley Cup Final games (out of 120:00 total) – both wins.
The last two Stanley Cup winners have trailed for more time than they have led during the course of the series. The Blackhawks led for 21.0 percent of total playing time in 2013 (BOS: 23.1 percent) and the Kings led for 18.8 percent of total playing time in 2014 (NYR: 30 percent).

The Kings, who won Games 1 and 2 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final vs. NYR, did not hold the lead in either contest until scoring the decisive goal in overtime.

NBC ratings: Game 1 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final produced a 3.34 household rating and averaged 5.547 million viewers, making it the most-watched Game 1 that did not require overtime in 18 years and NBC’s second most-watched Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final ever.

Viewership of Game 1 was up 16 percent compared to Game 1 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final between the Kings and Rangers (4.785 million viewers). The only Game 1 on NBC to surpass Wednesday’s viewership was Game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final between the Blackhawks and Bruins, which was decided in triple-overtime (6.315 million viewers).
The game peaked with 6.433 million viewers from 10:30 – 10:45 p.m. ET. 

RELATED: What changes would you make for next NHL season?

What the Lightning are saying:

“This will be a different test for our group. I think we look at all the positives in [Game 1]. There was a lot. I know that was the first game for a lot of us in the Final, but I don’t think that’s an excuse for our group anymore. We got that out of the way. We played extremely well, especially the first two periods. If we’re in that position again, we’ll make the necessary adjustments. But there’s a lot of good things, and we’re going to build on that.” – Lightning captain Steven Stamkos

“We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to try to win every playoff game. I think that’s the way you approach it. You approach the game, you want to win it. You want to do everything you can to do it. That’s the way we’re going to approach tomorrow, the same way we approached Game 1.” – Lightning forward Ryan Callahan

“We’re here for a reason. I think we’re a really good team. We need to be able to understand that we can lock it down by playing our game, skating forward, forechecking, taking the puck out of their hands. They’re a really good team, too, if you give them too much time and space. They can hurt you.” – Lightning forward Brian Boyle

“We respect everybody, but there’s no fear in the room. Especially after playing [Wednesday] night’s game, when you’re feeling out your opponent a little bit . . . We got a taste of who we were playing against. It’s probably in our style. This is four series; third one where we’ve lost Game 1. We’ve never made it easy on ourselves. But we came here to win this thing, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.” – Lightning head coach Jon Cooper

What the Blackhawks are saying:

“I think we know that we didn’t play our best game. I think we finally started to find our game late in the game. You can go over and over the parts of the game where they could have opened it wide up and maybe we wouldn’t have had a chance to get back and find ways to win the game. But [Corey Crawford] played great. It’s not the first time he’s stolen a game for us in these playoffs and throughout this season. So for the most part I think we found our game slowly as the game went on.” – Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews 

“This is very exciting. It is something I was looking forward to. I’ve been saying all along this is a great opportunity. Trying to make the best out of it. We have a good group, great players. This is a very exciting moment. Every time you have a chance to play at that time of the year, this is something you want to grab and take advantage of it.” – Blackhawks forward Antoine Vermette

“I think there’s always a feeling in our locker room when we’re down a goal or couple of goals that we might come back. There’s always a feeling. I think it’s just a great thing to have there.” – Blackhawks forward Teuvo Teravainen 

“I thought Game 1 we weren’t quick enough to begin. I think we found out how fast they really are. Certainly got our attention. When you’re down in the third period, you’re pressing. I’m not saying gambling, but you’re pushing the envelope. We got a couple of breaks. But there’s not a lot of room out there, not a lot of time. But I think our team realizes now everything’s got to be fast, quicker. The strength of our team is finding ways to win. [Wednesday] was a good example.” – Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: End of season review: Mike Green

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Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game


Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game

You thought the Caps had a goalie rotation before, but now they have added a third netminder in the mix.

Pheonix Copley has been recalled from the Hershey Bears and will backup Philipp Grubauer for Washington's game in Detroit, the team announced Thursday.

The move comes in response to an injury concern for Braden Holtby.


Dallas Stars forward Remi Elie collided with Holtby midway through the third period on Tuesday as Holtby was extending to make a save. Holtby reacted awkwardly to the collision and could be seen skating and flexing his leg during the next stoppage.

With only nine games remaining in the regular season, Holtby's injury is a major concern. Given his recent struggles, the final few weeks of the season offered a chance for Holtby to get his game back to form. Just where his game will be when he is 100-percent healthy again is certainly a storyline to watch.


The good news for Washington, however, is that Grubauer is perhaps more ready this season to lead the team than he ever has been and confidence in him around the team should be high.

Since Thanksgiving, Grubauer has played in 22 games with a 17-11-4 record, a .939 save percentage, 1.85 GAA and two shutouts. No goalie who has played in 20 games or more has registered a better save percentage or GAA. He will certainly be looked upon to carry the load until Holtby returns. Whether this means he now has the inside track on starting in the playoffs, however, remains to be seen. That will depend largely on just when Holtby is ready to return and how Grubauer plays down the stretch.

Copley, 26, has gone 14-16-6 with two shutouts, a .898 save percentage and 2.86 GAA in 38 games in Hershey this season. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Washington in 2014. He was traded to the St. Louis Blues in the package that netted the Caps T.J. Oshie, but was reacquired by Washington in Feb. 2017 in a trade deadline deal that included Kevin Shattenkirk.

At the time, it was believed Copley would be the team's backup for the 2017-18 season with Grubauer likely headed to Vegas in the expansion draft. Vegas, however, took Nate Schmidt instead which led to Copley spending the season in Hershey. The Caps now will be happy for the extra goalie depth for as long as Holtby's health remains a concern.

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Why the suggested tweak to the goalie interference rule makes sense to Barry Trotz


Why the suggested tweak to the goalie interference rule makes sense to Barry Trotz

Goalie interference has become one of the most controversial calls in hockey and that has led to the general managers calling for a tweak to the rules before the playoffs.

As the general managers wrapped up their meetings in Florida on Wednesday, they issued a recommendation to the league’s Board of Governors that the final decision for all coach’s challenges for goaltender interference come from the Situation Room in Toronto where a retired referee will be included in the process.

If approved, the change will be enacted for the start of the playoffs.

The issue with goalie interference is consistency. It is an inherently subjective call so on any given night, it is hard to know how the rule will be officiated. That is a problem considering these calls can take goals off the board. The hope is that by requiring that all calls be made by the Situation Room, it will bring more consistency.


The news was met by skepticism from Capitals goalie Philipp Grubauer.

“I can't tell you right now at this point if that's going to change anything,” he said. “If they still communicate with the linesmen, I'm sure they do, but in the end it's a grey area and it's been a grey area for a bunch of years now.”

One issue with the change is that while the Situation Room will make the final call, it will not always have the same personnel for each game and the retired referee to be included will not always be the same individual. Saying the Situation Room will make the call sounds great, but if the calls are still being reviewed by different people every night, will that really lead to greater consistency?

Head coach Barry Trotz thinks so. He applauded the change Wednesday explaining that different factors can weigh on a referee when he is the one making the call.

“Some referees who are more established and more sure of themselves, they won't reverse their calls,” Trotz said. “They just almost say, that's the way I saw it and that's the way it is and live with it. Others get swayed by what they see or maybe the crowd or another coach or how the game is going. It's no different than the student marking their own papers. Let's have a non-emotional person who has no skin in the game and is not in an emotional environment to make those calls and I think you'll find it'll be more consistent.”


If the main issue of the goalie interference was the referees being made to judge their own calls, then yes, this new rule change will go a long way towards fixing the consistency problem.

But perhaps it is unreasonable to expect calls to ever be black and white on a play and a rule that never is.

“Every situation is different,” Grubauer said. “There's no situation that's the same. Did he get bumped in? Was it intentional? Was the goalie intentional making contact? All points they have to look at and it happens so fast. I hope it's going to get better and I hope they will get a foundation down for it.”