Penguins defeat Lightning, GMs of the year nominees announced and more in this morning’s collection of notable NHL headlines.
TRIBLIVE.COM/TAMPA BAY TIMES: The “HBK Line” (Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino and Phil Kessel) came through again as the Pittsburgh Penguins skated to a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final. Hagelin and Kessel each had a goal and an assist and Bonino collected an assist. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby tallied what would be the game winner on a 4-on-3 in the third period. Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy had a busy night, facing 48 shots and at times appearing frustrated with his teammates’ performance.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel’s become the Penguins’ dominant player as these playoffs progress, silencing his critics in the process. Vasilevskiy’s frustration, which included breaking his stick at one point, was understandable. The Lightning’s once-vaunted defense looks porous in this series, giving up nearly twice as many shots as the Pens. If they don’t address that problem soon, they can forget about a return trip to the Stanley Cup Final. Perhaps the problem is they’re so accustomed to Ben Bishop bailing them out that it’s led to some bad habits?
THE MERCURY NEWS/ST.LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: The San Jose Sharks hope their speed and quick puck movement can translate into victories on home ice in Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Final. The Blues, meanwhile, must maintain their composure, as penalties burned them in Game 2.
NHL.COM: Jim Rutherford of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Brian MacLellan of the Washington Capitals and Jim Nill of the Dallas Stars are the finalists for the NHL general manager of the year award.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban will host a Just for Laughs gala charity in Montreal on August 1.
THE SCORE: New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak requires sports hernia surgery, which necessitates a six-to-eight week recovery period.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will hamper any efforts by Isles management to trade Halak this summer. It will certainly prevent them from buying him out next month.
THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators GM David Poile believes his club is headed in the right direction following the best playoff performance in franchise history. The Preds has opened contract talks with restricted free agent winger Filip Forsberg and unrestricted free agent backup Carter Hutton. They’ll part ways with pending UFAs Eric Nystrom and Paul Gaustad. Poile doesn’t expect to make any splashy free-agent signings this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Predators need a better backup goalie to spell off the 33-year-old Pekka Rinne, who struggled at times this season. They could also use a reliable scoring winger for their second line. Poile has depth in young players to perhaps swing a trade if he doesn’t want to go the free-agent route.
TSN: The NHL has lost its second bid to dismiss a class-action lawsuit filed against them by former players over concussion-related injuries.
THE PLAYERS TRIBUNE: St. Louis Blues forward Scottie Upshall penned a piece about growing up, living and playing hockey in Fort McMurray., which was recently ravaged by wildfires.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Detroit Red Wings wish to speak to former Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards as a possible assistant coach for bench boss Jeff Blashill.
MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings Riley Sheahan accepts a cancer patient’s request to be her prom date.
NEWSDAY: Howie Rose, play-by-play man for the New York Islanders since 1995, has announced he won’t be returning next season, as he wants to reduce his workload.
ARIZONA SPORTS: The city of Tucson has approved an AHL arena deal, which was crucial to the Arizona Coyotes’ plan to relocate their farm team from Springfield.