Lightning eliminate the Islanders, Senators hire Guy Boucher as head coach & more in today’s collection of NHL morning headlines.
TAMPA BAY TIMES/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Victor Hedman scored twice and Ben Bishop turned aside 28 shots to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a series-clinching 4-0 blanking of the New York Islanders, winning their best-of-seven series in five games. For the second straight year, the Lightning advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning’s depth in talent, even with captain Steven Stamkos and defenseman Anton Stralman sidelined, proved too much for the Islanders. They neutralized Isles captain John Tavares, who collected two points in the first game and never got back on the score sheet again. The Bolts now await the winner of the Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series.
TRIBLIVE.COM/THE WASHINGTON POST: Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan declined to say if he’s planning to change goalies for Game 6 on Tuesday against the Washington Capitals. Sullivan praised the play of rookie Matt Murray, who’s among the top goalies this far in the 2016 playoffs. Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz, meanwhile, was pleased with the performance of his revamped line in their 3-1 Game 5 victory. However, it’s unclear if those changes will remain in place for Game 6.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray didn’t play that badly in the Game 5 loss, and he was outstanding in his previous outings. Marc-Andre Fleury has considerable playoff experience but hasn’t played a game in weeks. Murray’s earned the right to finish the job in Game 6. If he doesn’t, then perhaps they can go with Fleury in Game 7.
THE MERCURY NEWS/THE TENNESSEAN: San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski is a big reason his club is poised to advance to the Western Conference Finals. The Nashville Predators, meanwhile, face what could be the most important game in franchise history as they attempt to stave off elimination in Game 6 against the Sharks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pavelski’s among the playoffs leading scorers, sitting second in goals (8) and third in points with 12. He’s only one goal and five points behind his career-best playoff totals.
STLTODAY.COM/DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Goaltender Brian Elliott has helped put his club in position to advance to the Western Conference Finals tonight in Game 6 against the Dallas Stars. Meanwhile, Stars forward Patrick Eaves (foot injury) traveled with his teammates to St. Louis and could be in the lineup tonight.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Elliot’s performance isn’t receiving as much hypes as Washington’s Braden Holtby, Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray or Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop, but he’s been steady between the pipes for the Blues this spring.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: The Ottawa Senators yesterday announced the hiring of Guy Boucher as their new head coach. Boucher spent nearly three seasons coaching the Tampa Bay Lightning (2010-11 to 2012-13).