Blues eliminate the Stars, Conference Finals schedule released and more in today’s collection of NHL morning headlines.
NHL Playoff News.
STLTODAY.COM/DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Robby Fabbri, Troy Brouwer and Paul Statsny each had a goal and two assists while Brian Elliott made 31 saves as the St. Louis Blues crushed the Dallas Stars 6-1 in Game 7 of their second-round series. As the Blues advance to the Western Conference Finals and await the winner of the San Jose Sharks-Nashville Predators series, the lopsided loss highlighted defensive weaknesses that must be addressed going forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues had some difficulty putting away the Stars in this series, but they earned this victory, just as they did in their opening-round series against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Stars, meanwhile, were undone by shaky goaltending, inconsistent defensive play and the absence of top center Tyler Seguin.
Of these, the goaltending was the biggest issue. The Stars entered the playoffs with the worst goaltending of the 16 postseason clubs, and were the worst in that category after the opening round. Teams with that type of netminding don’t go far in the postseason. The Stars have over $10 million annually invested in Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi for the next two seasons, so don’t expect either guy to be going anywhere for a while.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel has quietly put up an impressive playoff resume, with 33 points in as many career postseason games.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Sidelined Lightning players Anton Stralman and J.T. Brown are working toward returning to action at some point in the Eastern Conference Finals. GM Steve Yzerman isn’t ruling out Steven Stamkos, who’s recovering from blood-clot surgery, returning to action in the series.
CBS SPORTS: The Conference Finals schedule has been released, with the first game (Lightning at Penguins) starting on Friday, May 13.
Other Notable Headlines.
CSNPHILLY.COM: Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux will undergo hip/hernia surgery next surgery.
PHILLY.COM: Former Flyers star Rick MacLeish is battling multiple medical issues in a Philadelphia hospital, where he’s been for the past six weeks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to MacLeish for a swift recovery. He was one of my favorite players from the Broad Street Bullies days.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames are reportedly looking at former Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo as their new bench boss.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks must decide which model they’ll follow before picking a new coach.