Anytime you get swept, it's embarrassing, and the Tampa Bay Lightning should be embarrassed on some levels by their meek four-game exit at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens. The series was a disaster for Anders Lindback, who finished with 14 goals against, an .881 save percentage and 3.91 goals-against average, as he tried to hold the fort in the absence of Ben Bishop. In hindsight, coach Jon Cooper should have rolled the dice after Game 2 and gone with the young Latvian Kristers Gudlevskis, who came on in relief in two games and stopped 18 of 20 shots. But the Lightning failed to do many things right in this series, so it would be unfair to pin it all on Lindback. Worth remembering, though, is that the Lightning were the youngest of the 16 NHL teams in the playoffs and boast two of the three Calder Trophy finalists for rookie of the year -- Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson. And Victor Hedman really blossomed this season. But part of moving from expectation to delivering the goods sometimes means taking your lumps in the playoffs, as Hedman and the Bolts can understand.
On the other side of that series, I'm pleased for Montreal head coach Michel Therrien, who has rewarded general manager Marc " Dancin' in the Press Box" Bergevin's faith after Therrien, and the Habs, imploded in the first round last year against Ottawa. And likewise, nice to see Daniel Briere, who struggled through a difficult regular season under Therrien, do what he does best and deliver in the playoffs. Briere finished the series with a goal and an assist, including the primary helper on Dale Weise's overtime winner in Game 1 and the opening goal in the series finale.
Have to give credit to Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau for making the hard decision and scratching future Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne for Game 4 in Dallas. The Stars are a big, physical team and without last change on the road Boudreau figured the team's chances of winning were better with Selanne -- one assist in the first three games of the playoffs and just nine goals during the regular season -- in street clothes. The problem for the Ducks was that they also were without captain Ryan Getzlaf, who was scratched with an upper-body injury. The Ducks couldn't hang on to an early 2-0 lead and lost 4-2, evening the series at two games apiece. Getzlaf's status for Game 5 is cloudy. The Selanne scratch prompted Selanne's son, Eemil, to post a tweet joking that Boudreau had been reassigned to the American Hockey League. It's always tough at this stage of an elite player's career when their history is at odds with their ability to contribute in the here and now. Selanne was not a factor in last spring's first-round playoff loss to Detroit in which the Ducks led early but couldn't close the deal. And he has struggled in the bruising Western Conference this season in spite of a terrific turn for Finland at the Olympics, where he helped lead the Finns to a bronze medal. The Ducks, the Pacific Division champs, are in tough against a Dallas team that is brimming with confidence, so the tough decisions for Boudreau aren't going to go away anytime soon.