Lightning take 3-2 series lead over the Rangers in Eastern Conference Final, updates on the Ducks, Blackhawks and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Tampa Bay Lightning are on the verge of advancing to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final as they shut out the New York Rangers 2-0 in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Final. The win puts the Lightning up 3-2 in the series, with a chance to wrap things up in Game Six back in Tampa on May 26. Valterri Filppula and Steven Stamkos scored the game’s only goals, while Ben Bishop made 26 saves for the victory.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Rangers dominated the first period-and-a half of this game, you could sense the tide shift midway through the second period. The Lightning withstood the early storm, seized control of the game and never looked back. After being held scoreless in Game One of this series, Stamkos now has seven points in five games. He’s now only point point behind teammate Tyler Johnson for the playoff scoring lead.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks aren’t happy with the disparity of penalty calls in the Western Conference Final. While the Chicago Blackhawks have had 17 power plays, the Ducks have had only nine.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks are dismissing the Ducks “wear them down” strategy, suggesting it’s extracting as much of a toll from the Ducks as it is from them.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whoever wins this series will be pretty beaten up when they advance to the Stanley Cup Final. Have to wonder how much they’ll have left for the next series.
SPORTSNET: Former Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma is scheduled to meet with the Buffalo Sabres later this week…The Minnesota Wild and goaltender Devan Dubnyk are expected to open contract negotiations this week. Dubnyk is an unrestricted free agent who’s nominated for the Vezina and Masterton Trophies…Barring anything dramatic, Ken Hitchcock is expected to return next season as head coach of the St. Louis Blues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubnyk is keen to re-sign with the Wild and they want to keep him. I’ll be very surprised if he’s available when the UFA market opens on July 1.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is trying to simultaneously upgrade the Penguins roster while replenishing their organizational depth.