NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 12, 2022
The Lightning defeats the Rangers to advance to the Stanley Cup Final, the latest on the Flyers and Golden Knights’ search for new head coaches and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: For the third straight year, the Tampa Bay Lightning are heading to the Stanley Cup Final. Steven Stamkos scored twice and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 20 saves as the Bolts defeated the New York Rangers 2-1 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals to take the series 4 games to 2. Frank Vatrano replied for the Rangers while Igor Shesterkin made 29 stops.
The Lightning will face off against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday, June 15, in Denver.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Experience, a commitment to defensive play and their best players stepping up were keys to the Lightning winning back-to-back Stanley Cups. Those factors also enabled them to overcome a 2-0 series deficit against the Rangers.
The Bolts didn’t get rattled after dropping the first two games in New York. They effectively neutralized the Rangers’ top offensive players as the series went on, holding the Blueshirts scoreless in the final two games and limiting them to one goal in each of the final three games and just one five-on-five goal in the final four.
Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman and Ondrej Palat rose to the occasion over the final four games. Shesterkin was outstanding for the Rangers, but Vasilevskiy won the goaltending duel.
The Lightning will also get a boost to their roster for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Center Brayden Point is expected to be ready to rejoin the lineup after being sidelined by a lower-body injury since Game 7 of their first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
THE DENVER POST: Speaking of the Avalanche, Mike Chambers agrees with Wayne Gretzky’s opinion of Cale Makar as the best defenseman since Bobby Orr. “The closest player we’ve ever seen offensively and defensively that can make an impact on the game that much – probably Bobby Orr,” Gretzky recently said on TNT. He considered Makar to be the Avalanche’s best player on the ice during the Western Conference Finals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Makar has been an impact player since his arrival with the Avalanche in the 2019 playoffs. He’s the favorite to win the Norris Trophy this season and should be a perennial candidate for that award for at least the next 10 years.
Makar is a big reason why the Avs reached this year’s Stanley Cup Final and have a legitimate shot at dethroning the Lightning. He has to be considered among the leading candidates for the Conn Smythe Trophy.
DAILY FACEOFF: Sources tell Frank Seravalli that the Philadelphia Flyers have narrowed down their list of head coaching candidates. Former bench bosses Barry Trotz and John Tortorella are believed to be among the finalists.
YARDBARKER: cited Seravalli reported the Vegas Golden Knights have zeroed in on Bruce Cassidy in their search for a new head coach. Cassidy was recently relieved of his duties as coach of the Boston Bruins.
THE SCORE: cited NJ.com’s Ryan Novozinsky reporting New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald met recently with winger Jesper Bratt and the two sides are trying to get a deal done this summer. The 23-year-old Bratt is coming off a career-high 73-point performance. He’s slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights on July 13.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fitzgerald indicated his intent to pursue a long-term deal with Bratt during his end-of-season interview last month. The Devils GM could seek an eight-year deal while the winger’s camp could be looking for a raise of over $7 million annually.
TSN: The NHL Board of Governors is set to meet this Thursday in New York City.