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3 Keys: Lightning at Canadiens, Game 3 of Stanley Cup Final – NHL.com

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The Montreal Canadiens on Friday will play their first home game in the Stanley Cup Final since June 9, 1993, when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 at Bell Centre.

It will be the first Canadiens home game in the championship round at a venue other than the Montreal Forum since 1924, when they played at Mount Royal Arena and Ottawa Auditorium.

The Canadiens, who won their 24th Stanley Cup championship at the Montreal Forum in 1993, are 60-19 as the home team in the Cup Final since 1917-18, including 23-5 in the NHL expansion era (since 1967-68).

The Lightning won Games 1 and 2 in Tampa Bay by a combined score of 8-2.

“We have to win tonight,” Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli said. 

Montreal hopes the return of coach Dominique Ducharme will provide a spark at home, where it will play in front of 3,500 fans per Quebec’s provincial government and public health regulations.

Ducharme missed the first two games of the Cup Final and the past six overall in a mandatory 14-day quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 on June 18.

“I don’t think the last two weeks changes what it means to me,” Ducharme said. “That’s everyone’s dream to be playing or being involved in the Stanley Cup Final. Just so happy to be back.”

Lightning forward Alex Killorn will miss his second straight game with an undisclosed injury. He was likely injured blocking a shot with his left leg in the second period of Game 1. He missed the final 19:04 of the third period and hasn’t played since.

Forward Mathieu Joseph will again play in place of Killorn. He had four hits in 11 shifts totaling 6:23 of ice time in a 3-1 win in Game 2 on Wednesday.

“I hope to get him in a little bit more today,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said of Joseph. “Again, special teams kind of dictated that, but when he’s using his speed he can really push defenses back and he’s got a good compete level. And ‘Joe’ has got skill.”

Teams that take a 3-0 lead in a best-of-7 Cup Final are 26-1 (.963) winning the series. Teams that lead 3-0 in a best-of-7 series in any round are 195-4 (.980) winning the series, including 3-0 this season.

Here are 3 keys for Game 3:

 
1. Score first

Cooper said the Lightning shouldn’t change the way they play whether they score the opening goal of the game, but it’s clearly a factor.

Tampa Bay scored first in Games 1 and 2 and is 14-2 in playoff games when it scores first and 0-4 when it doesn’t.

The Canadiens are 11-2 in games when they score first; 1-5 when they don’t.

“When you score the first goal you lock it down more than usual,” Lightning forward Pat Maroon said. “If you’re playing with the lead you’re structurally into the game, playing smart hockey, not making too many high-risk plays, making the right play at the right time, being stronger in the [defensive] zone. 

“When you’re chasing the game, when you don’t have the lead, you’re making more high-risk plays, plays you probably shouldn’t be making, turnovers and all that jazz that we talk about all the time.”

 
2. Canadiens pressure

Montreal was better at forcing Tampa Bay into into turnovers and poor puck management in Game 2 than they were in Game 1, when the Lightning dictated the pace and had the puck more.

The Canadiens had 43 shots on goal in Game 2, but Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 42 saves. Montreal had 19 shots in Game 1, when Vasilevskiy made 18 saves in a 5-1 win.

A repeat performance of Game 2 will give the Canadiens the best chance to win their first game of the series.

“I think we had some really good opportunities [in Game 2],” Toffoli said. “Obviously, he’s one of the best goalies in the League and it’s known. We just have to keep going. We had 40 shots or whatever it was last game, so keep getting there, getting in his face. I don’t know, just score.”

 
3. Adjusting to the atmosphere

The Lightning have been playing in nearly full buildings throughout the playoffs, including at home at Amalie Arena and on the road against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center, the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena, and New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

The Canadiens have played in either empty buildings or in front of limited crowds for all but three of their 19 games in the playoffs (Games 1, 2 and 5 at the Vegas Golden Knights) because of local government and health regulations relating to COVID-19. 

Cooper said it shouldn’t make a difference to the Lightning that there will be fewer fans for Game 3 because they played the entire playoffs last season in empty buildings in Toronto and Edmonton and won the Stanley Cup.

“That’s the irony, right?” Cooper said. “Last year at this time we were in the exact same spot, confined to the hotel room. The whole bubble circumstance has come full circle again. It’s crazy that we’re back in it again, but it’s something we’re most definitely comfortable with.” 

 
Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej PalatBrayden PointNikita Kucherov

Tyler JohnsonAnthony CirelliSteven Stamkos

Barclay GoodrowYanni GourdeBlake Coleman

Pat Maroon — Ross Colton — Mathieu Joseph

Victor HedmanJan Rutta

Ryan McDonaghErik Cernak

Mikhail SergachevDavid Savard

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Luke Schenn, Alex-Barre Boulet, Boris Katchouk, Taylor Raddysh, Gemel Smith, Mitchell Stephens, Daniel Walcott, Fredrik Claesson, Cal Foote, Ben Thomas, Christopher Gibson, Spencer Martin

Injured: Alex Killorn (undisclosed)

Canadiens projected lineup

Artturi LehkonenPhillip DanaultBrendan Gallagher

Tyler Toffoli — Nick SuzukiCole Caufield

Paul ByronJesperi KotkaniemiJosh Anderson

Joel ArmiaEric StaalCorey Perry

Ben ChiarotShea Weber

Joel EdmundsonJeff Petry

Erik GustafssonJon Merrill

Carey Price

Jake Allen

Scratched: Jake Evans, Cale Fleury, Alexander Romanov, Lukas Vejdemo, Laurent Dauphin, Jesse Ylonen, Alex Belzile, Xavier Ouellet, Otto Leskinen, Michael Frolik, Brett Kulak, Tomas Tatar, Cayden Primeau, Charlie Lindgren, Michael McNiven

Injured: None

 
Status report

Each team is expected to use the same lineup and start with the same forward lines and defense pairs it used in Game 2.

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Canada earns first medal in Tokyo with silver in women’s 4×100 freestyle swimming – Sportsnet.ca

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Canada has earned its first trip to the podium at the Tokyo Olympics, claiming silver in the women’s 4×100-metre swimming freestyle relay Saturday night.

Penny Oleksiak, the decorated swimmer who anchored the Canadian women to the nation’s first medal of these Games, earned her fifth career trip to the podium in the process, tying the all-time record for a summer Olympian from Canada. Rower Lesley Thompson-Willie and sprinter Phil Edwards are Canada’s other two five-time summer Games medalists.

“I think it’s kind of crazy,” Oleksiak said after the race. “I think we were all hopeful that we would get a medal. We didn’t know what medal it would really be. I think we all just wanted one. For it to be a silver, it’s pretty crazy I think.”

Kayla Sanchez, Maggie Mac Neil and Rebecca Smith rounded out Canada’s medal-winning crew. Sanchez took the lead position in the final, giving Mac Neil and Smith a chance to inch Canada closer to its eventual silver.

Then, in the final length, Oleksiak took over, propelling Canada out of what could have been a fourth-place finish and onto the podium.

“I just knew I wasn’t going to touch third,” Oleksiak said. “And when I make a decision in the race I have to execute it, so I wanted a silver medal for these girls and I wanted it so bad I wouldn’t accept anything else.”

Taylor Ruck, the fifth member of the team, didn’t swim in the final but competed in the preliminary heats and also received a medal.

Earlier in the night Mac Neil, who replaced Ruck in the final, placed third in her semifinal of the women’s 100-metre butterfly, earning a place in Sunday’s final and a chance to earn an individual medal for Canada.

In that semifinal, Mac Neil, the 2019 world champion and Canadian record holder in the event, posted a time of 56.56 seconds. She finished behind world record holder and Olympic champion Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden, and Yufei Zhang of China, who finished first with a time of 55.89 seconds.

“I know from experience my second swim is usually better because I’m warmed up already,” Mac Neil said. “I was really looking forward to it. Having these girls with me definitely gave me that extra boost to get silver.”

The Australian women’s team earned gold in Saturday’s 4×100-metre freestyle, shattering the previous world record with a time of 03:29.69. Canada managed to beat out the USA by a mere three one-hundredths of a second, as the Americans finished with bronze.

The Canadian relay team secured its place in tonight’s final by posting the third-fastest time in yesterday’s semifinal with a combined time of three minutes 33.72 seconds, narrowly behind the Netherlands and Australia.

This relay team kicking off the nation’s Olympics success isn’t new. Five years ago, during the Rio Games, it was the Canadian women’s 4×100-metre freestyle relay team that earned Canada’s first medal with a bronze.

Canada’s women will seek to secure a podium position in all three relay events during the Tokyo games after achieving three bronze medals during the world championship in South Korea two years ago.

“I have a lot of faith in these people,” Sanchez said. “If you want someone to anchor it’s Penny. And if you want someone to swim second it’s Maggie. And Rebecca is a great trainer and consistent. We just did what we needed to do.”

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Tokyo 2020: Canada wins first medal after swimming to silver in women's 4×100 freestyle relay – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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The Canadian Press


Published Saturday, July 24, 2021 10:55PM EDT


Last Updated Saturday, July 24, 2021 10:55PM EDT

TOKYO — Canada has its first medal of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay team raced to silver.

Penny Oleksiak and Kayla Sanchez of Toronto, Margaret Mac Neil of London, Ont., and Rebecca Smith of Red Deer, Alta., finished in a time of three minutes 32.78 seconds as Canada picked up a medal in the event for a second straight Games.

Australia won gold in a world-record time of 3:29.69, while the United States finished third in 3:32.81.

Oleksiak swam the anchor leg and narrowly beat out American Simone Manuel at the wall.

Canada’s women are looking to duplicate the success they had in the pool at the 2016 Rio Games, where they picked up six medals.

Earlier on Sunday, Mac Neil also advanced to Monday morning’s 100-metre butterfly final. The 21-year-old world champion in the event posted the sixth-fastest time in the semifinals.

An hour after qualifying for the butterfly final, Mac Neil drew into the relay lineup for Taylor Ruck who swam the heat for Canada. The women posted the third-fastest time in the preliminaries.

Sanchez led off the final followed by Mac Neil and Smith with Oleksiak bringing the team home.

Oleksiak and Ruck won a pair of freestyle relay bronze medals as 16-year-olds in Rio de Janeiro five years ago.

They teamed with Sandrine Mainville and Chantal Van Landeghem in the 4 x 100 to win Canada’s first medal of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Oleksiak also swam the anchor leg in Rio.

Canada’s women aim for the podium in all three relays in Tokyo after earning three bronze at the world championship in Gwangju, South Korea two years ago.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 24, 2021.

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The Edmonton Oilers select big German defender Luca Munzenberger at #90 overall – Edmonton Journal

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The Edmonton Oilers trading down on Day #1 of the NHL draft was converted not 24 hours later into Defenceman Luca Munzenbeger.

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Gotta love the name! Munzenberger is an 18-year old out of Dusseldorf, Germany. He has a late (November) 2002 birth date.

He’s a big, left-handed shot at 6’3, 194 LBS.

Munzenberger spent the majority of 2020-21 with Kolner Junghaie of the DNL U20. In 6 games he went 1-2-3 and served as Team Captain. His time in junior versus pro left open the door for him to play in college. Munzenberger also played for Team Germany at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton (0-0-0 in 5GP). More on that in a minute…

Munzenberger is considered to be an excellent PK man, but possesses a big shot which makes him a threat from the point as well. Scouts say he has a soft set of hands and makes an effective first-pass out of his own zone. Those who have seen him play, namely amateur scout Brock Otten, describe the kid as a “suffocating physical defender” with a mean streak. He’s an above-average skater for his size with a massive stride and a big wingspan. He’s effective at clearing the slot and his reach helps him get to pucks ahead of attackers. In my own viewing of his highlights from the WJC’s, Munzenberger closes quickly and effectively on the opposition along the walls. The foot-speed, reach and size are visibly key tools in his ability to break up the cycle.

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A side note from that tournament that may indicate the quality of his intangibles: Munzenberger was in COVID quarantine at the very beginning ot the WJ’s, but emerged from that status prior to Christmas and rebounded with a strong performance. That would seem to speak to the kid’s resilience. The young man in a foreign country responded to a stressful situation and considerable uncertainty extremely well.

Draft analyst Steve Kournianos says of him: “A big bodied vacuum cleaner on defence… He has ideal size but the mobility and agility to cover faster players… He plays a mean, physical brand of hockey and can be considered a throwback… He has soft hands and delivers clean passes to any area in the offensive zone, but what makes Munzenberger dangerous is his lethal shot — he owns a bomb of a shot, not only for its velocity but for the sheer power he generates with little backswing. His wrister is just as nasty.”

It is fair to consider this pick as somewhat “off the board”. Elite Prospects had him at #214. No other service had him listed at all. One wonders if fellow countryman Leon Draisaitl had and offered any insight on the player to the Oilers draft team? He and his father surely know of every sharp prospect in that nation.

Munzenberger is committed to NCAA University of Vermont in 2022-23 which offers another interesting tidbit. Todd Woodcroft is the coach of that program, the brother of Bakersfield Condors bench boss Jay Woodcroft.  So, there may well be some added insight from that connection.

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