Lighting win Game 3 over Rangers in Eastern Conference Final, fallout from the Maple Leafs hiring Mike Babcock and more. 

 

NHL Playoff News.

Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate Nikita Kucherov's overtime goal in Game 3 against the Rangers.

Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate Nikita Kucherov’s overtime goal in Game 3 against the NY Rangers.

THE TAMPA TRIBUNE/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Nikita Kucherov scored in overtime to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 6-5 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference series, taking a 2-1 lead in the series. Ondrej Palat scored twice and collected an assist, while Kucherov, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn and Steven Stamkos each had a goal and an assist. Jesper Fast scored twice while Ryan McDonagh and Dan Boyle each had a goal and an assist for the Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This one felt like a throwback to the high-scoring tilts of the 1980s. The Rangers took an early 2-0 lead, the Lightning roared back with four straight goals, the Rangers tied it, the Lightning regained the lead only to see the Blueshirts force overtime. This one certainly wasn’t a goaltenders duel, as the Lightning’s Ben Bishop and the Rangers Henrik Lundqvist looked shaky throughout. It’s also the second straight game where Lundqvist has give up six goals, which has to be worrying for the Blueshirts. The Lightning have used their speed and puckmoving skills to pick apart the Rangers’ defense, using their side-to-side passing to leave Lundqvist at their mercy. If the Rangers don’t find a way to counter the Bolts attack, this series will be over in five games. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER/CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks are hoping to shake off the physical and mental fatigue of their draining triple-overtime marathon in Game Two of their Western Conference Final as they prepare tonight for Game Three in Chicago.

Fallout from Leafs hiring Babcock.

CBS SPORTS/THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Buffalo Sabres’ front office is reportedly “livid” after losing the bidding war for former Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Maple Leafs. With Babcock off the table for the Sabres, Mike Harrington lists Dan Bylsma, Luke Richardson, Paul MacLean, Peter DeBoer, Randy Cunneyworth and Guy Boucher as possible coaching candidates.

STLTODAY.COM: Babcock’s hiring by the Maple Leafs suggests Ken Hitchcock could return next season as the Blues’ head coach.

 

CSNBAYAREA.COM: The San Jose Sharks, who reportedly had some interest in Babcock, are speaking with former Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates regarding their vacant head-coaching position.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: With Babcock now departed, the Red Wings could turn to Jeff Blashill, coach of their AHL farm team, as their new head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reaction from the Toronto media regarding the Leafs winning the Babcock sweepstakes can be found in “Canadian Corner.” The Sabres must be feeling like the hockey gods are against them. Despite having the NHL’s worst record this season, they lost the Draft lottery to the Edmonton Oilers, who are all but certain to select Connor McDavid, who the Sabres openly coveted for months. A month later, just when it seemed they were able to land their top coaching candidate, they lose the bidding war to the Leafs.

Still, the Sabres aren’t exactly being shortchanged. They’ll get a fine consolation prize in the draft in center Jack Eichel, who played very well at the recent World Championships. And there are still some very good coaching candidates available, including Richardson, who was rumored for months to be on the Sabres’ short list of preferred candidates. 

Other Notable NHL Headlines.

BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins yesterday officially announced the promotion of assistant general manager Don Sweeney as their new GM. Head coach Claude Julien’s status remains to be seen. He could return behind the Bruins’ bench but there could be changes to his assistant coaches and philosophy.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues announced Martin Brodeur has signed a three-year contract as their new assistant general manager.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No return to New Jersey with Devils’ management for Marty. Speaking of the Devils…

NJ.COM: Former Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher might be a leading candidate for the vacant post of Devils head coach.

PHILLY.COM: The Flyers signed KHL defenseman Yevgeni Medvedev to a one-year, $3 million contract.