Purcell's got Lightning-quick hands
STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency
|Lightning forward Teddy Purcell celebrates a goal with teammates during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final against the Bruins in Tampa, Fla., May 25, 2011. (ELIOT J. SCHECHTER/Getty Images/AFP)
If NHL snipers make their names based on a quick release, you'll be remembering Teddy Purcell.
His pair of goals Wednesday night ranked right up there with the likes of Joe Sakic, Brett Hull and Michael Cammalleri.
The Los Angeles Kings castaway — the Tampa Bay Lightning picked him up along with a third-round draft pick in exchange for Jeff Halpern — netted his second two-goal game of the series against the Boston Bruins by proving you don't need a huge windup to beat an NHL goaltender.
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas was angry when the 25-year-old zipped a pass from Steve Downie in for his sixth of the playoffs in the second period of Game 6 Wednesday, but the veteran netminder had no chance.
The puck barely touched the tape on Purcell's stick before it hit the twine.
Purcell also got things going with a similar swipe in the first period, sneaking to the top of the circle and converting a faceoff victory by Vincent Lecavalier into an early 1-0 lead for the Bolts, who went on to force Game 7.
It's easy to see good things in young Purcell's future with the Lightning.
Stops and starts
The Lightning powerplay is as good as the Bruins' man-advantage is bad .. The B's did finally get their first PPG on the road in the series halfway through the third ... Things got off to a rocky start for the Bruins Wednesday, with Purcell scoring on the first shot of the game ... I know people talk about the Lightning and their speed, but the Bruins sure turn their afterburners on when they get a turnover in the neutral zone. Both their first-period goals came because of aggression and quick feet ... Have to wonder how much Lightning forward Marty St. Louis has been hurting this spring. He was really working his jaw after scoring in the second period ... Okay, I'm starting to believe there's substance to this whole 'host the Olympics, win a Stanley Cup' thing now that the Canucks have a legitimate chance of doing what the Montreal Canadiens did in 1977 and Calgary Flames accomplished in 1989.
Downie has a nasty reputation, and CBC analysts Kelly Hrudey and and Scott Oake both figure that's the reason he was called for diving in Game 4 when he was driven head-first into the boards by the B's Nathan Horton. "He didn't get the benefit of the doubt because of his reputation," said Oake. I have to agree on that one. Downie has become a prominent player for the Bolts, taking some of the pressure off the Big Three of Steven Stamkos, Lecavalier and St. Louis all through these playoffs. And Downie is much better behaved than ever. "He gets to the front (of the net) and now he's starting to show great restraint," Hrudey noted. "I think just the evolution of a good player." ... Line of the night courtesy of Hockey Night in Canada's Mike Milbury, who chastised Bruins defenceman Tomas Kaberle (go figure) for his indecisiveness on the awful Boston powerplay. "Hey, Tomas, shoot the puck or I'll staple your Tomas to the bench," would be Milbury's position if he was coaching ... Milbury also gets runner-up for calling Zdeno Chara a "6-foot-8 piece of meat."
Back to the point
Maybe giving goaltender Dwayne Roloson a rest was the right move for the Bolts, but I'm not sure one game off really qualifies as enough rest for an over-the-age-of-40 netminder. Then again, he's never lost an elimination game in his career ... Sucky first-period shift for Stamkos, who takes a high stick in neutral zone and then watches the Bruin who clipped him — David Krejci — score a go-ahead goal ... Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler's performance through these playoffs has been arguably the best individual showing since Mario Lemieux led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup in 1991 after missing 54 regular-season games with a bad back. Of course, Kesler's gutsy showing isn't as flashy, so maybe we'll compare it to Mark Messier's 1994 effort, when Moose led the New York Rangers past the Canucks in the Cup final. Even though he hurt his groin, Kesler played the fourth-most minutes of any Canucks forward and found a way to tie the game in the dying seconds so his team could win it in overtime Tuesday night to earn some much-needed down time ...
"Somehow stayed up for that OT game last night. Now I can barely keep my eyes open for this game. #oldman. How's recchi and roli not in bed"
— Leafs' Colby Armstrong (@armdog)
"I hate team radio broadcasts where the play by play guy doesn't elevate his voice when the other team scores. Like it never happened."
— QMI Agency's Terry Jones (@sunterryjones)
"Teddy Purcell was acquired for 16 games from Jeff Halpern. Tampa also got a third-rounder, proving you can, in fact, add insult to larceny."
— The Hockey News' Adam Proteau (@Proteautype)