NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 23, 2022
The Oilers take a 2-1 series lead over the Flames, the Lightning go up 3-0 over the Panthers, the Rangers get their first win over the Hurricanes, the Leafs re-sign Mark Giordano, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: A four-goal second period powered the Edmonton Oilers to a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames in Game 3 of their second-round series. Evander Kane tallied a natural hat trick, Leon Draisaitl had four assists, and Connor McDavid collected three helpers. Oliver Kylington replied for the Flames. The Oilers hold their first lead of this series (two games to one) with Game 4 on Tuesday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was another dominant offensive performance by the Oilers, particularly from scoring stars McDavid, Draisaitl and Kane. McDavid leads all postseason scorers with 23 points in just 10 games, nine of those multi-point contests. Draisaitl sits second with 19 points and set an NHL playoff record in Game 3 by collecting those four assists in the same period. Kane’s hat trick, meanwhile, gives him a playoff-leading 10 goals.
The Flames’ frustration boiled over midway through the third period when Milan Lucic bowled over Oilers goaltender Mike Smith, sparking a melee that saw Lucic get ejected for charging. Smith was initially removed from the game by concussion spotters but quickly returned to action.
Once again, the Flames failed to contain the Oilers’ leading scorers. This time, they couldn’t score their way out of trouble as they did in Game 1 or even take an early lead as in Game 2. Head coach Darryl Sutter will have to find a solution by Game 4 or risk falling behind 3-1 heading back to Calgary for Game 5.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are poised to sweep the Florida Panthers from their second-round series following a commanding 5-1 victory in Game 3. Nikita Kucherov had four points, Steven Stamkos scored twice and Andrei Vasilevskiy turned aside 34 shots for the Lightning. Sam Reinhart replied for the Panthers. With a 3-0 series lead, the Lightning can wrap things up in Game 4 on Monday night.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning took control of this game with two goals in the second period and never looked back. They dominated the Panthers, whose will to win evaporated as this contest went on. The Bolts are reminding everyone why they’re the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, holding this season’s highest-scoring team to just three goals thus far in this series.
A 43-save performance by Igor Shesterkin gave the New York Rangers a 3-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, cutting the latter’s series lead to two games to one. Mika Zibanejad had a goal and an assist while Chris Kreider and Tyler Motte also tallied for the Rangers. Nino Niederreiter had the Hurricanes’ only goal. Game 4 goes Tuesday night in New York.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers’ coach Gerard Gallant’s lineup tweaks paid off for this game, moving Filip Chytil alongside Kreider and Zibanejad and Alexei Lafreniere with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome. Shesterkin was rock solid throughout this contest. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes still seek their first road win of this postseason. Their special teams struggled in this contest, giving up a power-play goal and failing to tally with three man-advantage opportunities.
Gallant wasn’t pleased with Blue Jackets winger Max Domi whacking Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren with his stick in the dying seconds of the game. He sent a none-too-subtle warning toward the Hurricanes during his post-game press conference that “we’ve got the guys to match them” if they want to play that way.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs signed defenseman Mark Giordano to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $800K. Giordano, 38, was slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He was acquired from the Seattle Kraken prior to the March trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a noteworthy signing by the Leafs. Giordano was earning $6.75 million annually on his current contract. Despite his age, he remains an effective top-four defenseman who could’ve earned a lot more than $800K per season on the open market.
Giordano obviously wants to finish his career in his hometown but he was aware of the Leafs’ limited cap space. Taking such a huge discount also shows his belief that his best chance of winning a Stanley Cup is with the Maple Leafs.
STLTODAY.COM: The Blues announced goaltender Jordan Binnington will be sidelined for the remainder of their second-round series against the Colorado Avalanche. Binnington suffered the injury following a collision with Avalanche center Nazem Kadri in Game 3. The Blues have recalled goaltender Charlie Lindgren to back up Ville Husso, who replaces Binnington as their starter.
THE DENVER POST: Speaking of Kadri, the Avalanche are working with local law enforcement to investigate threats against the 31-year-old center following Game 3.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whether you believe Kadri deliberately intended to injure Binnington, that’s no excuse for threatening him. That crap has no place in sports at any level.