Ryane Clowe of Fermeuse and Teddy Purcell of St. John’s are proving to be extremely helpful fellows this post-season.
The Newfoundlanders both registered a pair of assists Sunday to help their teams take 2-0 in their Stanley Cup second-round playoff series.
Clowe set up both goals in the San Jose Sharks’ 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings, while Purcell’s helpers — one of which came on the game-winner — came in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 3-2 overtime victory against the Washington Capitals.
Sharks 2, Red Wings 1
At San Jose, Calif., the defencemen were scoring, the high-scoring forwards were working in the defensive zone, and Antti Niemi played the same way he did when he knocked the Sharks out of the playoffs a year ago.
That all added up to another win for San Jose and a 2-0 series lead against Detroit.
Ian White and Niclas Wallin scored their first goals of the post-season, Niemi made 33 saves and the Sharks put together a complete performance to beat the Red Wings 2-1 on Sunday.
Niemi helped kill off three penalties in the opening half of the first period and came up with countless big saves in the final two periods of perhaps his best playoff game since helping Chicago sweep San Jose in the conference finals a year ago.
White scored on a power play in the first period and Wallin extended the lead early in the third period as the Sharks put together two of their best back-to-back games to jump on top of the Red Wings for the second straight year.
Clowe not only set up both goals, but was on the ice for the final shift of the third period as the Sharks successfully defended their one-goal lead. By the way, so was Harbour Grace native Danny Cleary of the Wings, who pulled goalie Jimmy Howard for an extra attacker in a futile attempt for a tying marker.
While Detroit could blame a lack of rest for falling into a 3-0 hole to San Jose a year ago following a seven-game first-round series, the Red Wings were well-rested this year after sweeping Phoenix. But that made no difference against a determined Sharks team that has won 10 of 12 games against Detroit.
“We weren’t good enough,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “They won more battles than we did. By doing that they end up with the puck more times than we do. They held serve at home. We have to lick our wounds on the flight home.”
“We weren’t good enough. They won more battles than we did. By doing that they end up with the puck more times than we do. They held serve at home. We have to lick our wounds on the flight home.” - Mike Babcock
Howard was again strong for the Red Wings, making 35 saves, but he got little help from his teammates. The Red Wings hope to change their fortunes when the series shifts to Detroit for Games 3 and 4 starting Wednesday night.
Lightning 3, Capitals 2
At Washington, Vincent Lecavalier did Alex Ovechkin one better. Now Lecavalier’s streaking Tampa Bay Lightning are halfway to eliminating Ovechkin’s top-seeded Washington Capitals.
Lecavalier scored his second goal of the game 6:19 into overtime, and the fifth-seeded Lightning beat the Capitals 3-2 Sunday night for a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Tampa Bay appeared headed for a much simpler victory, leading 2-1 in the third period, but Ovechkin forced the extra period by scoring with 67 seconds left in regulation.
Dwayne Roloson made 35 saves as the Lightning won their fifth consecutive game — and their fifth in a row on the road.
The series now shifts to Tampa for Game 3 on Tuesday, followed by Game 4 the next night.
On the winning goal, the Lightning caught the Capitals in the middle of a line change. Tampa Bay defenceman Randy Jones — playing in his first game this post-season because of an injury to Pavel Kubina in Game 1 — sent a long pass to Purcell off the boards. Purcell then slid the puck across the ice to Lecavalier, who flipped it over rookie goalie Michal Neuvirth to end the game.
Taking a page out of Ovechkin’s celebration playbook, Lecavalier leaped into the glass behind the net before being surrounded by teammates.
Martin St. Louis’ goal — also assisted by Purcell — put Tampa Bay ahead 2-1 about 7 1/2 minutes into the third period, before Ovechkin recorded his first point of the series. Brooks Laich scored for Washington in the second period.