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 4: Going the Distance.
Describe this episode in 10 words or less
Once again, Quest does its best work not with the action of today, but with the nostalgic charms of bygone teams. Nassau Coliseum was a character in this season's playoff drama, as the New York Islanders pushed all the way to a Game 7 in the last days of the old hockey barn. So it was lovely to spend some time with Denis Potvin, Islanders Hall of Famer, who spoke about the dynasty years and what it was like to win inside of Nassau -- which those teams did with frequency. Did the Islanders really skate out to "We are the Champions?" Because that's a baller move.
Best guest star
Anders Lee played his last game of the season on March 11, before he needed surgery to repair his ACL. But he hung around the team during the postseason and delivered a memorable locker room speech before Game 4: "We're due for an Islanders win. Greasy, ugly-ass goals and a whole lotta f--- you. Let's remind them of who we are," he said, before pounding the wall on the way out. Really awesome stuff here.
Best coffee break
Something I liked in the new QUEST FOR THE STANLEY CUP episode: The little trip to the coffee shop where Lightning players load up on java before games. pic.twitter.com/vy8PYwdPft— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) June 26, 2021
We're suckers for slice-of-life stuff in these shows. Quest takes us to the coffee shop where many of the Lightning players stop before games -- wearing full suits in Tampa humidity! -- to grab some java to go. That the barista is a life-long Lightning fan is beyond charming.
You can never account for the unexpected, and that was certainly the case with Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme testing positive for COVID-19. Great work here by Quest to go inside the Montreal room and record his video conferencing chat with the players.
The episode covers Game 4 between the Lightning and Islanders, and it's exhilarating. Please recall that the Islanders built a 3-0 lead before Tampa Bay roared back with two quick goals in the third period. Lightning coach Jon Cooper joked on the bench that he wanted one goal for every TV timeout, and that they were coming too quickly.
But that rally fell short when Ryan McDonagh's spin-o-rama shot was kept out of a gaping net by Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock. The inside access to the celebration on the ice and in the locker room just adds to that instant-classic moment.
Best fan attire
I also liked this person. pic.twitter.com/TL9TkVTxp0— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) June 26, 2021
"Excuse me? Hey, excuse me? HEY, YOU, WITH THE WEARABLE INFLATABLE PINK FLAMINGO OUTFIT! DOWN IN FRONT!" -- Overheard at T-Mobile Arena, we assume.
Brendan Gallagher. While we're not really buying that it's a surprise Montreal fans have embraced a player with Gallagher's particular brand of whimsy, we enjoyed the focus on the mercurial Canadiens forward in this episode. Especially fun: Gallagher taking us on a tour of the city from the roof of Bell Centre.
While it was cool to hang with Gallagher, we still don't know enough about this Cinderella team. The city? Yes. The players? Not quite.
Lingering questions after watching
Why does Gallagher consider the top of Bell Centre to be one of the best views in Montreal when he's clearly surrounded by massive skyscrapers that (A) block his view and (B) have better views?
Is Corey Perry's sunny relationship with referees like an inmate/warden thing at a prison?
Does Robin Lehner really prep for games by doom-scrolling through Twitter?
How quickly after he retires will Anders Lee start coaching a team?