The Penguins and Capitals aren't the only second-round series getting a little chippy.
Facing important Game 3s on Tuesday, the Blues, Stars, Islanders and Lightning got a little less gentle with their opponents in varying ways.
Oh, the Lightning and Islanders scored goals. Plenty of them. Offense wasn't an issue, with both teams exchanging leads throughout the game. The two clubs combined for 80 shots on goal. They also combined for 78 hits, many of them as violent as this one:
That was Thomas Hickey laying out Jonathan Drouin, who left and didn't return until late in the third period. He was the embodiment of that whole "offense through physicality" thing in Game 3, assisting on Nikita Kucherov's game-tying goal in the waning seconds of the third.
While the Islanders and Lightning sidled up to the line of legality with some of their hits (Brian Boyle's hit is the exception, and we'll get to that), the Stars and Blues just walked right over it at times. That's no surprise, the Stars were frustrated they were on the wrong side of the biggest playoff beatdown of the year. But that negative energy fed into both teams ...
thank god jamie benn is quick pic.twitter.com/v3nqniDseT— Stephanie (@myregularface) May 4, 2016
May 4, 2016
Both series head to Game 4, meaning there's plenty of time for these teams try to push the physicality even further.
Lightning 5, Islanders 4 (OT)
Blues 6, Stars 1
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3 things we learned
1. The Stars' growing pains are excruciating
Dallas is still an elite team, even if it gave up six goals in the worst playoff defeat for any team in recent memory Tuesday. It was bad. No getting around that. But Dallas is a team with a bright future, playing with unbridled youth. If anything, the Stars' loss in Game 6 was a critical lesson in the value of composure and responsibility when things go wrong in the playoffs. They had neither and paid dearly for it. They might not turn around and win this series, but the loss may help mold them down the road.
In the meantime, this is the lasting image for the Stars this morning.
2. Nashville can rock
OK, maybe we knew that on some level, but man do Predators fans bring it come playoff time. With their team down two games to none, backs against the wall, Bridgestone Arena was louder than any venue we've heard during the playoffs so far. And the Predators clearly fed on it, pressuring the Sharks at both ends with a vigor lacking in the first two games.
3. Colton Sissons is indestructible
SURPRISE! Here's a shocking and horrific GIF.
Yep. That happened. We all were just as terrified as you are.
But guess what? HE KEPT PLAYING. Not only was his leg not shattered, but he was capable of using it to move and stuff. This is usually where I throw out a "wow, hockey players are tough" cliché, but I'm not sure that's appropriate because hockey players are usually humans and Sissons seems to be bionic.
So, Brian Boyle's game-winning overtime goal isn't without some controversy. Here's the goal:
They oh-so-briefly touched on it in there, but Boyle took out an Islander before he entered the zone to score. There was some debate about whether his hit was to the head or not:
angles are everything. brunt of contact is on shoulder, although there is some to the head. pic.twitter.com/rNkDeiu1KU— Stephanie (@myregularface) May 4, 2016
Capuano on Boyle/Hickey: "It’s a direct shot to the head. Probably gonna be suspended for a game...Whole game shouldn’t come down to that."— Peter Botte (@PeterBotte) May 4, 2016
Tweets from Tony
Remember Tony, AKA @soloucity on Twitter, who fell in love with hockey during the Blues/Blackhawks Game 7? We're dedicating a section in our recaps to the gems of his Twitter account during the playoffs.
Why get tweets from Tony when HE'S AT THE GAME:
Looks like @soIoucity is enjoying his first hockey game. #WeAllBleedBlue #stlblues pic.twitter.com/HAsJbu9MWn— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) May 4, 2016
It's not cold.....noted for future references pic.twitter.com/7WjfUqNsjz— Tony X. (@soIoucity) May 4, 2016
Stat of the Night
.@tara9191 (1-2—3) of the @StLouisBlues has posted 20 points in his 1st 23 career playoff games (15-5—20). #DALvsSTL pic.twitter.com/d1pT7NuBNq— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 4, 2016