Tampa Bay Lightning, Quebec’s team, takes last stand against big bad Boston Bruins

Posted: May 27, 2011 in 2011 Playoffs
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Friday’s night game is shaping up as THE game of the playoffs thus far. In one corner, the pesky Tampa Bay Lightning, a club that pretty well no one expected to go this far in the post-season (including their own management team), and in the other corner the nastiest team in the Real Season, the Boston Bruins. If you’re a Habs fan, the choice is simple, no? (The best line I heard came from my friend Karsten. He said he hopes the Bruins win so that they can be totally and utterly destroyed in the final by the Canucks!)

We hate the Bruins. Always have. But more so now than ever. Need I remind you? I just have two words for you – Zdeno Chara. Then there’s the fact that we lost in OT of game seven to the Bruins. So like I’ve been saying ever since – though the other teams don’t seem to be listening – I want to see the Bs lose in humiliating fashion. Maybe tonight’s the night for that.

On a more positive note, as a proud Quebecois hockey fan you just gotta cheer for the Bolts. The team is led by two of the province’s greatest hockey players of this generation, Ile Perrot’s very own superstar Vincent Lecavalier and diminutive Laval dynamo Martin St. Louis. St. Louis had a career season with 31 goals, 68 assists, and 99 points, which is why he was one of three finalists – and the likely winner – of the Hart trophy.

The pure laine Tampa line-up also includes blue-line Howitzer specialist Marc-André Bergeron – who was delivering those eye-catching slapshots for the Habs last year – and ultra-talented forward Simon Gagné. Imagine if Montreal had four franco stars of this calibre!

But the guy I really love on Tampa is Teddy Purcell. This is the Newfoundlander who has five goals in six games against the Bruins and a whopping 17 points in the post-season. This is an under-achiever who was never drafted, was passed over by every NHL club, flubbed it in his first stint with the Los Angeles Kings, and was traded to Tampa in return for – irony or irony for Habs fans – Jeff Halpern (who also stiffed with the Kings). This guy sure looks like a natural goal-scorer now.

Montreal filmmaker and hockey scout Simon Boisvert – whom you can follow as @simonsnake70 on Twitter – said Purcell flew under the radar as a result of poor pro scouting. “This guy was a natural scorer waiting to blossom,” tweets Boisvert. “He didn’t get a fair chance with the Kings.”

One guy who did see Purcell’s potential was my fellow Top Shelf blogger – and my ten-year-old son – Keane. He picked him in our neighbourhood playoff hockey pool and that pick is the main reason we are still in a horse race with one other family for the top spot. If Tampa wins tonight, we might just nab the ice-cream winnings this year!

– Brendan

Check out this beauty of a goal from Purcell in the first minute of game six.

And here’s his second goal from the same game – not quite as nice, but we’ll take it.

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