Every week, we'll provide a recap and accompaniment to the latest episode of Quest for the Stanley Cup, the NHL docuseries about the playoffs available exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+.
This week we dive into Episode 3, titled "And Then There Were Four."
These NHL docuseries are always at their best when they take us inside the on-ice conversations surrounding controversial plays. There were two such controversies in Game 2 of the New York Islanders vs. Tampa Bay Lightning series, and the coverage was revelatory.
Brayden Point was given a cross-check by an Islanders defenseman into goalie Semyon Varlamov and received an atrociously bad goalie interference penalty. We see referee Dan O'Rourke make the bad call and then make the "game management" argument that "there are two top-end goaltenders and we want to protect those guys and I don't think that's a good play."
Later, the officiating crew missed the Lightning having seven (!) skaters on the ice when they scored their second goal of the game. We get to see Barry Trotz go wild on the bench.
Best new addition
The birth of Jordan and Blake Coleman's daughter Carson after Game 1 was one of our favorite stories of the postseason, and the episode chronicles his intense gameday, with copious shots of a lovely newborn. One bit of information we hadn't heard: The Lightning organized a police escort for Coleman to ensure he made it to the hospital on time.
Best trash talking
Coleman got into it with Mathew Barzal of the Islanders, exchanging cross-checks as Coleman asks him repeatedly "do you want to go?" as they go back to the bench. "If you're going to give me a cross, let's just go. Why not? Why not? I'm shaking Barzy. I'll drop you like a little boy. A little baby boy," said Coleman. (Good thing his newborn is a girl, one supposes.)
Look, it we're being honest, this gentleman shaved the bowl of the Stanley Cup into his chest a little too largely and sacrificed the length of the trophy in the process. But you go ahead and be the one to tell him that.
Best officiating trend
We see Vegas Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer complain to the referee about Brendan Gallagher and Corey Perry taking liberties after the whistle, and the Montreal bench gets warned about them getting penalized for it. In a Lightning vs. Islanders game, we hear both coaches warn their players that the referees are calling penalties for after the whistle shenanigans.
Tampa readers, what are your opinions of these? pic.twitter.com/IcCOLFz02P— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) June 18, 2021
These floating tiki bars are found in the channels of Tampa. Here, their lonely floatation through the darkness was used as a metaphor for the Lightning's Game 1 defeat to the Islanders. Real Terrence Malick-level imagery here, folks.
Doggos! So yes, in this case, it's Most Valuable Pups.
We get to meet the sweet doggies of Lightning forward Pat Maroon, who has two French bulldogs. While they are hot and tired, they also like to catch lizards. It's adorable.
We also meet Knights forward Alex Tuch and his sweet puppy Teddy, who refuses to chase a toy in their pool but was more than happy to give the camera a nose boop. We should also mention that Tuch's time with Teddy also afforded him the chance to discuss how difficult this season was on the players' mental health -- and why having a fuzzy doggo friend at home who is always happy to see you helped Tuch through it.
None. This was a tremendous episode from start to finish, balancing on-ice action with "hockey players, they're just like us!" stuff off the ice. Also there were multiple dogs.
Lingering question after watching
Who's hotter: The guy standing outside in Las Vegas heat dressed in chain mail and a metal helmet, or the Golden Knights mascot?