The Canadien sweep their series with the Lightning, Phil Kessel criticizes by Leafs fans on Twitter, Mark Scheifele excited about playing for Canada at the Worlds, and the latest on the Canucks and Oilers.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Max Pacioretty’s first-ever playoff goal was also the series-winner as the Canadiens edged the plucky Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 to sweep their best-of-seven divisional semifinal. The Canadiens could have a week off before facing either the Boston Bruins or Detroit Red Wings in the divisional final. Lightning goalie Ben Bishop, sidelined from the series, admitted he suffered a dislocated elbow in his final regular season game, preventing him from playing in this series.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expected the Canadiens to win this series but certainly didn’t foresee a sweep. The Habs rolled four lines well in this series while getting solid goaltending from Carey Price, who won his first series since 2008. This also marked the first time since 1993 the Canadiens swept a playoff series. Some observers are concerned the long layoff could hurt the Habs, but I believe it’ll benefit sidelined players like Alex Galchenyuk and Travis Moen, while allowing other banged-up players a chance to heal.
As for the Lightning, they made Game Four interesting, rallying from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game before Pacioretty won it on a late power-play goal. Had Bishop, who was primarily responsible for getting the Lightning into the playoffs this season, not been sidelined, they would’ve been a tougher opponent. The Lightning are a young team (half the roster consisted of rookies) who overcame considerable adversity this season. They’ll be even better next season.
TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs star Phil Kessel incurred the wrath of some Leafs fans on Twitter after tweeting about how much fun he had on a recent fishing trip with friends.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The downside of social media is it provides a medium for jerks and idiots to spew their venom. My advice to Kessel, who did nothing wrong, is to either not comment at all about his personal life on social media, or set up restrictions allowing only family, friends and teammates to see his comments.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets center Mark Scheifele is excited to be playing for Canada at the World Championships.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: With the Canucks having too much money tied up to too many finesse players, Tony Gallagher expects it will take several years for this club to get bigger and badder.
EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers have signed college prospect Dillon Simpson (son of former Oiler Craig Simpson) to an entry-level contract.