Morning Skate 516: No calls for LucicHorton

Morning Skate 516: No calls for LucicHorton

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON It appears Bs forwards Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton are two of the first beneficiaries of the toughened up stance by Colin Campbell and the NHL Hockey Operations staff. There has been nary a hearing or a phone call to the Bs forwards after the brouhaha between the Bruins and Lightning at the end of Game One that resulted in a pair of punches thrown by the Bs linemates that dropped two Tampa skaters in non-hockey fight situations.In the closing minutes of Tampas solid win at the TD Garden, Dominic Moore cross-checked David Krejci and was then decked by Nathan Horton with a stiff right hand. That was followed by two of the biggest players on the ice Milan Lucic and Tampa defenseman Victor Hedman getting entangled during a scrum with Lucic dropping Hedman with a right-handed jab. The Horton hit looked as if it came with some pretty legitimate force, but the Lucic punch dropped a giant human being like Hedman a bit too easily.Both players were tagged with roughing minors and game misconducts for the infraction, and the NHLs silence is deafening when it comes to supplemental discipline in each case. It was simply boys will be boys type rough play that can escalate at the end of a playoff game. Its actually very similar to the punch Aaron Ward took to his face via Scott Walker during the middle of the HurricanesBruins series three years ago that similarly went unpunished. The Walker sucker punch on Ward was also a bit starker in nature, and that makes sense in it not leading up to any extended fanfare aside from a few Lightning torch-bearers in the media.Bruins coach Claude Julien had already moved on from the topic when it was broached with reporters.I dont know if the referees need to call those things; thats their call, said Julien. I think its part of frustration sometimes in games and liberties are taken. Same thing as usual, its always easy to look at the punch . . . just like that penalty Johnny Boychuk took. How we end up shorthanded is tough to see when Vincent Lecavalier jumps him after a clean hit. Those are things that happen in the game and we can whine and cry about things. We take care of our own business. We are moving on to the next game and we are not even thinking about that.On to the links:Derek Boogaards family decides to donate their late sons brain to the Boston University medical facility thats doing studies on the effect that concussions have on the human brain. Thats a truly selfless act and ray of hope from an utter tragedy.The New York Islanders blog, Lighthouse Hockey, laments the possible passing of the Nassau Coliseum. It is absolutely a dump, but it also honestly has some of the best sight lines from the press box at any NHL rink.It sounds like Jaromir Jagr is determined to remain in the KHL, but never say never when that mullet is involved.Newsdays Katie Strang has an amazing story about a Derek Boogaard punch that changed NHL tough guy Todd Fedoruks life and career forever.The Atlanta Journal Constitution asks if the other NHL owners could save the Atlanta Thrashers. Given that theyre already attempting to save the Phoenix Coyotes, it would appear that their collective plates are full.The Tampa Bay Lighting are outraged theres been literally no reaction by the NHL toward Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. Maybe because there was no wrongdoing aside from what was penalized already during the game. Duh.Vancouver Province has a good look at Maxim Lapierre, Raffi Torres and Jannik Hansen forming a deadly cocktail of a checking line for the Canucks during the playoffs. Lapierre brings some deadly flopping to the mix.Nashville Predators players see their stocks rise and fall during a fun rush to the second round of the playoffs. Smashville never looked and sounded so good before.An excellent piece by the New York Posts Larry Brooks about the legacy left behind by Derek Boogaard following his untimely passing at the age of 28 years old.Another great piece in the Prince George Citizen about Boogaard including an interview with a former teammate he was set to live with in New York City. Boogaards concussion was still bad enough that his head would start spinning in the back of a taxi cab.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

STANLEY CUP FINALS: Guentzel's goal lifts Penguins by Predators 5-3 in Game 1

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STANLEY CUP FINALS: Guentzel's goal lifts Penguins by Predators 5-3 in Game 1

PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh rookie Jake Guentzel beat Nashville's Pekka Rinne with 3:17 left in regulation to put the Penguins ahead to stay in a 5-3 victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.

Guentzel snapped an eight-game goalless drought to help the defending champions escape after blowing a three-goal lead.

Nick Bonino scored twice for the Penguins. Conor Sheary scored his first of the playoffs and Evgeni Malkin scored his eighth. The Penguins won despite putting just 12 shots on goal. Murray finished with 23 saves for the Penguins, who used the first coach's challenge in finals history to wipe out an early Nashville goal and held on despite going an astonishing 37:09 at one point without a shot.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

Ryan Ellis, Colton Sissons and Frederick Gaudreau scored for the Predators. Rinne stopped just seven shots.

The Penguins had all of three days to get ready for the final following a draining slog through the Eastern Conference that included a pair of Game 7 victories, the second a double-overtime thriller against Ottawa last Thursday.

Pittsburgh downplayed the notion it was fatigued, figuring adrenaline and a shot at making history would make up for any lack of jump while playing their 108th game in the last calendar year.

Maybe, but the Penguins looked a step behind at the outset. The Predators, who crashed the NHL's biggest stage for the first time behind Rinne and a group of talented defenseman, were hardly intimidated by the stakes, the crowd or the defending champions.

All the guys from the place dubbed "Smashville" have to show for it is their first deficit of the playoffs on a night a fan threw a catfish onto the ice to try and give the Predators a taste of home.

The Penguins, who led the league in scoring, stressed before Game 1 that the best way to keep the Predators at bay was by taking the puck and spending copious amounts of time around Rinne. It didn't happen, mostly because Nashville's forecheck pinned the Penguins in their own end. Clearing attempts were knocked down or outright swiped, tilting the ice heavily in front of Murray.

Yet Pittsburgh managed to build a quick 3-0 lead anyway thanks to a fortunate bounce and some quick thinking by Penguins video coordinator Andy Saucier. Part of his job title is to alert coach Mike Sullivan when to challenge a call. The moment came 12:47 into the first when P.K. Subban sent a slap shot by Murray that appeared to give the Predators the lead.

Sullivan used his coach's challenge, arguing Nashville forward Filip Forsberg was offside. A lengthy review indicated Forsberg's right skate was in the air as he brought the puck into a zone, a no-no.

It temporarily deflated Nashville and gave the Penguins all the wiggle room they needed to take charge.

Malkin scored on a 5-on-3 15:32 into the first, Sheary made it 2-0 just 65 seconds later and when Nick Bonino's innocent centering pass smacked off Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm's left knee and by Rinne just 17 seconds before the end of the period, Pittsburgh was in full command.

It looked like a repeat of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against Ottawa, when the Penguins poured in four goals in the first period of a 7-0 rout.

Nashville, unlike the Senators, didn't bail. Instead they rallied.

Ellis scored the first goal by a Predator in a Stanley Cup Final 8:21 into the second. Though Nashville didn't get another one by Murray, they also kept Rinne downright bored at the other end. Pittsburgh didn't manage a shot on net in the second period, the first time it's happened in a playoff game in franchise history.

Nashville kept coming. Sissons beat Murray 10:06 into the third and Gaudreau tied it just after a fruitless Pittsburgh power play.

No matter. The Penguins have become chameleons under Sullivan. They can win with both firepower and precision.

Guentzel slipped one by Rinne with 3:17 to go in regulation and Bonino added an empty netter to give Pittsburgh early control of the series.

Morning Skate: No surprise cheap-shot artists are running wild

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Morning Skate: No surprise cheap-shot artists are running wild

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while hoping everybody on this Memorial Day takes some time to appreciate all of those that made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. We should also take a moment to say thanks to people like the three heroes in Oregon that stood up to a hateful bigot earlier this week, and in doing so reaffirmed what the majority of people living in the US believe we are all about while trying to live up to that ideal every day.
 
-- A number of NHL legends are shaking their heads at the dirty play that we’re seeing in these playoffs, particularly those plays targeting the superstars that people pay big money to see in the postseason. Why should anybody be shocked by this? The rooting out of enforcers, and fighting, has taken accountability out of the game for the cheap-shot artists and dirty players, and leaves little real deterrant for players looking to take out opponents with dangerous plays. I wrote about this a couple of years ago when the NHL threw the book at Shawn Thornton for going after Brooks Orpik, and in doing so chose to protect somebody trying to hurt opponents (Orpik) and punish somebody trying to protect his teammates (Thornton). It was a sea change for the league, and something players didn’t forget as more and more enforcers were quickly weeded out of the NHL. This is what the rule-makers and legislators wanted, and now it’s what they’re getting just a couple of years later with dangerous stick-work, cheap shots and a general lack of respect for fellow players.
 
-- Here's why the Tampa Bay Lightning would consider trading a player like Jonathan Drouin, and the major impact that could have on the offseason trade market.
 
-- Down Goes Brown has a Stanley Cup Final rooting guide for the other 28 other fan bases now that Nashville and Pittsburgh are in the final series.

-- So which goaltender has the edge in the Stanley Cup Final: Nashville's Pekka Rinne, or Pittsburgh's two-headed monster of Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury?
 
-- Scotty Bowman says winning back-to-back Stanley Cup titles has become monumentally difficult since the advent of the salary cap.
 
-- Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are pushing each other to be betters, and showing exactly how a team should be led by its superstars in the salary-cap era for the league.
 
-- For something completely different: We can confirm through this report that a lot of hot dogs are eaten in the summertime. So glad we have people to research these kinds of things.