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'Quest for the Stanley Cup' Episode 5 recap: 'Zero Room for Error'

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Every week, we'll provide a handy recap of, 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+. The fifth episode for the 2020 playoffs is titled "Zero Room for Error."


Describe this episode in 10 words or less

Lightning, Stars battle for Cup with guest star Steven Stamkos.

Best scene

The NHL's "Quest for the Stanley Cup" and its old "Road to the Winter Classic" series always seemed to churn out unbelievable penultimate episodes. This one was no different. There was great on-ice action and insightful profiles on players like Jamie Benn and Kazakhstan's own Anton Khudobin that paid off later.

But our favorite plot involved the parents of Lightning forward Barclay Goodrow, who were some of the only family members in the Edmonton bubble. We chat with them over Tim Hortons, we watch them react to the game and, in the end, we see the player and his mother share a hug (and some tears) as they're reunited in the arena.

Best reaction

Stars coach Rick Bowness looking at his bench and wondering, "What the f--- is going on?" as they inexplicably take three penalties in the first period of Game 2.

Best look behind the scenes

The episode spends a little time with Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper and the Lightning coaching staff in their video room, and it's great. They break down the game, talk shop and have a candid conversation about Stars forward Joe Pavelski's uncanny ability to tip pucks in front of the net and the fact that he almost signed with the Lightning last summer. A fun hang that we didn't want to end.

Best golf nicknames

As far as we can tell, this is a foursome featuring Tyler "Seggy" Seguin, Corey "Worm" Perry, Jamie "Chubbs" Benn and Blake "Creep" Comeau.

Best coach moment

There's a fantastic bit of editing after the first period of Game 3 (aka "The Stamkos Game") when Jon Cooper and Rick Bowness are addressing their teams.

Cooper, whose team is up 2-1: "Play the game skating forward. Have a little patience. Have a little poise. Call for pucks. Command it! And we'll be fine. We're all good here."

Bowness: "They are struggling with our speed. They are struggling with our forecheck. We outplayed them that period. We're going to outplay them this period."

It was like two politicians rallying their bases. Fun stuff.

Best sign

In hindsight, a freezing-cold take, but a pretty good mantra for Game 2.

Episode MVP

Steven Stamkos of the Lightning. This episode covers his unexpected return to the team for about three minutes in Game 3, which was long enough for the injured star to score a goal on his first shot of the playoffs. The reaction from the Lightning bench is an all-timer. We also get a fantastic (profanity-laden) speech from Stamkos in the Lightning locker room in which he discusses how far the team had come after being swept in the first round a year ago. A tremendous part of the episode all around.

Constructive criticism

While Jamie Benn's penalty in overtime of Game 4 was shown, we didn't get a sense of how upset the Stars were with that call. Nor did we get anything on the Corey Perry stick to Brayden Point's groin, and the fact that Point was given a penalty for ... being in pain? Who knows.

Any lingering questions after watching?

Who won the round of golf, and how much money was on the line for the Stars?

And while we'll find out one day, hopefully: What the heck was up with Steven Stamkos in the playoffs?