Rangers storm back to tie Eastern Conference Final, updates on the Blackhawks and Ducks, NHL GM of the Year Finalists announced and more. 

Stanley Cup Playoffs Headlines.

Rick Nash scores one of his two goals against the Lightning.

Rick Nash scores one of his two goals against the Lightning.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: Rick Nash scored twice, Martin St. Louis snapped an 18-game goalless drought and Henrik Lundqvist made 38 saves as the New York Rangers thumped the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1, tying their Eastern Conference Final at two games apiece. Steven Stamkos tallied the lone goal for the Lightning, who suffered a series of bad breaks and turnovers despite dominating the Rangers for lengthy stretches. For the second straight game, Bolts goalie Ben Bishop gave up five goals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was also a statement game for Lundqvist (who gave up 12 goals in his last two games) and Nash (who was once again struggling to score in the playoffs), as they faced criticism (bordering on panic from some in the New York media) over their performance in this series. Each stepped up when the Rangers needed them the most. The Lightning seemed to allow their growing frustration over their bad luck in this game to get to them. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks center Antoine Vermette wasn’t pleased over being scratched from Game Three of the Western Conference Final, He’s hoping to return to the lineup for Game Four tonight.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vermette was also scratched from the opening two games of the Blackhawks opening-round series against Nashville. Acquired before the trade deadline, he’ been a big disappointment with the Blackhawks. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks lack a superstar defenseman, but what they do have is a deep, cohesive blueline corps.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In my estimation, the Ducks have the best defense in this year’s playoffs. It’s certainly one of the deepest bluelines in the league and a significant factor in the Ducks’ success thus far this season. 

Other Notable NHL Headlines.

NHL.COM: Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks, Glen Sather of the New York Rangers and Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning are finalists for the NHL’s General Manager of the Year award.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is facing criticism over recent comments insisting there’s no link between concussions and the brain disease CTE. “The fact of the matter is, from a medical and science standpoint, there is no evidence yet that one necessarily leads to the other,” Bettman said. “I know there are a lot of theories, but if you ask the people who study it, they tell you there is no statistical correlation where they can definitively make that conclusion.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I disagree with Bettman, as there is growing evidence suggesting otherwise. From a legal standpoint, given the league is being sued by former players claiming their lives and careers were affected by concussion injuries suffered during their playing days, it’s understandable why he’s making that statement. 

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: WHL coach and former NHL player Dave Lowry could be high on the San Jose Sharks’ list of potential coaching candidates.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Hall of Fame defenseman Slava Fetisov is proposing Russia should introduce a federal law preventing young Russian players under the age of 28 from playing in the NHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In the late-1980s, Fetisov famously fought against the Soviet Union’s restrictions preventing players like himself from playing in the NHL. What’s the Russian word for “hypocrite”?

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild have reached agreement with Michael Keranen on a one-year, two-way contract.