NHL Rumor Mill – May 28, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 28, 2022

A look at the Blues’ potential offseason plans plus the latest speculation over Johnny Gaudreau’s future in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE BLUES?

ESPN.COM: Kristen Shilton looked at what could be in store for the St. Louis Blues following their elimination from the playoffs by the Colorado Avalanche.

St. Louis Blues winger David Perron (NHL Images).

She anticipates they’ll re-sign Ville Husso before his eligibility for unrestricted free agent status on July 13. Despite the 27-year-old goaltender’s ordinary postseason performance, he’s a good complement in the crease with starter Jordan Binnington.

Vladimir Tarasenko had requested a trade last summer but that was overshadowed this season by the Blues’ improved performance. General manager Doug Armstrong will have to find the right return if the 30-year-old winger still wants out.

David Perron is also slated to become a UFA this summer. He had a terrific postseason but it remains to be determined where the 33-year-old winger fits into the Blues’ plans.

Armstrong must also shore up his defense corps. That includes new contracts for restricted free agents like Scott Perunovich and Niko Mikkola as well as adding some veterans who can play significant roles.

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: Ben Frederickson recently opined that the Blues must fight hard to keep Perron in the fold. He cites the winger’s value to the club during this postseason, especially during the first-round series against the Minnesota Wild. Frederickson also noted the Blues struggled without Perron during last year’s postseason series against the Avs when he was sidelined by COVID-19.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Frederickson acknowledged Perron’s age and concussion history, but also believes the Blues can’t compete for the Stanley Cup next season without him. He makes a good point. Perron finished this postseason as the Blues’ leading scorer and is second among all scorers through two rounds with nine goals. He always steps up his game in the playoffs.

The problem, as always, is salary cap space. Cap Friendly shows the Blues with over $72 million invested in 17 players for 2022-23 with Perron, Husso, Perunovich and Mikkola as their notable free agents. Nick Leddy is also a UFA but I think he’ll be departing this summer. Ditto 36-year-old center Tyler Bozak.

Perron earned $4 million annually on a four-year deal and might accept a similar salary on a shorter term to stay in St. Louis. Husso’s due for a significant raise over his $750K salary for this season and could get perhaps $4 million annually on the open market.

Assuming Armstrong can re-sign those crucial free agents, he won’t have enough left to bring in some veteran help on the blueline. He’ll have to shed a salary or two. Shipping out Tarasenko if he still wants out will remove $7 million from the Blues’ cap payroll but it creates another problem of finding a suitable replacement.

Armstrong must also ensure he’ll have sufficient long-term cap space to sign rising stars like Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas to contract extensions next summer. The duo will be RFAs with arbitration rights next summer and in line for big raises over their identical $2.8 million cap hits of their current deals.

LATEST ON JOHNNY GAUDREAU

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson wonders what the future holds for Johnny Gaudreau following the Flames’ second-round elimination by the Edmonton Oilers. The 28-year-old winger is coming off a career-best 115-point performance and is slated to become a UFA on July 13. He’s completing a six-year contract with an annual average value of $6.75 million.

Gilbertson reminded us of GM Brad Treliving claiming he’d move heaven and earth to keep Gaudreau in Calgary. Without their first-line engine, they could take a significant step back from this season’s improvement.

If Gaudreau stays, he’ll be getting the richest contract in franchise history. Treliving has the advantage of being able to offer an eight-year deal whereas the winger would get seven years via free agency. Re-signing him, however, could complicate efforts to sign RFAs like Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Sam Carchidi wondered if Gaudreau would sign with the Flyers if he tests the open market in July. He grew up in South Jersey and was a Flyers fan growing up. In 2016, Gaudreau observed that everyone wants to play for their hometown team eventually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I noted the Flames’ cap situation and that of the Flyers in my May 27 Rumor Mill. I don’t doubt Treliving will do what he can to keep Gaudreau in Calgary, but he’ll end up having to dump a salary or two to make room for the winger’s new contract and those of Tkachuk, Mangiapane and Kylington.

The Flyers, meanwhile, have much less cap room than the Flames. If they can’t free up between $9 million and $10 million to sign Gaudreau, the dream of Johnny Hockey rocking a Flyers jersey won’t have a chance of becoming a reality.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner mused about the possibility of the New York Islanders signing Gaudreau. With probably $8 million in cap space once they re-sign RFA Noah Dobson, they’ll have to shed salary if they hope to come up with enough to sign him. Cost-cutting candidates could include Josh Bailey, Semyon Varlamov or Anthony Beauvillier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaudreau could be a terrific fit alongside Islanders center Mathew Barzal. I think GM Lou Lamoriello will try to add a scoring forward this summer but could opt for a more affordable option, such as Nashville’s Filip Forsberg.

THE ATHLETIC: Hailey Salvian looked at some possible cost-cutting trade options for the Flames. Milan Lucic is a year away from UFA status but his eight-team trade list is a stumbling block. Mikael Backlund is 33 and has two more years left at $5.35 million annually with a 10-team no-trade list.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 28, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 28, 2022

The Avalanche advance over the Blues to the Western Conference Finals, the latest on the Hurricanes and Rangers, Brad Marchand is sidelined by hip surgery and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 20 years with a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of their second-round series. J.T. Compher scored twice and Darren Helm snapped a 2-2 tie with 5.6 seconds remaining in regulation time. Justin Faulk and Jordan Kyrou scored for the Blues.

Colorado Avalanche forward J.T. Compher (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a nail-biting, tight-checking contest that seemed headed to overtime until Helm’s goal in the dying seconds of the third period. The Avalanche are 5-0 on the road in this postseason and will face the Edmonton Oilers in the Conference Finals.

This was a disappointing end to a better-than-anticipated season for the Blues. They finished third overall in the Central Division with 109 points and defeated the Minnesota Wild in the opening round. Their potential offseason moves will be examined in today’s Rumor Mill update.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant expressed confidence in his struggling stars Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider heading into Game 6 tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. “They’re character players, they’ll do it for us. They’ve done it for us all year,” said Gallant.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Speaking of the Hurricanes, they’ll need more from sniper Andrei Svechnikov. He was scoreless in six games until tallying a crucial goal during Game 5 against the Rangers on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers need Panarin and Kreider at their best to avoid elimination on home ice tonight in Game 6. Meanwhile, Svechnikov’s goal-scoring skills will be vital for the Hurricanes to pick up their first road win of the postseason and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

NHL.COM: The Western Conference Finals between the Avalanche and Oilers begin Tuesday, May 31 at 8 pm ET. The Eastern Conference Finals start on Wednesday, June 1 at 8 pm ET between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the winner of the Hurricanes-Rangers series.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins winger Brad Marchand underwent surgery to repair labral tears in both hips and will require six months to recover.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That means the Bruins will be without Marchand for the first two months of 2022-23. They’ll also be without defenseman Matt Grzelcyk to start the season as he recently underwent shoulder surgery.

THE PROVINCE: Duke Boeser, father of Vancouver Canucks star Brock Boeser, passed away Friday at age 61 following a long battle with cancer and dementia.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Boeser and his family.

CHEK-TV’s Rick Dhaliwal reports Calgary Flames defenseman Chris Tanev played with a torn labrum, a separated shoulder and a sprained neck in the final two games of his club’s playoff series with the Oilers. He’s slated to undergo surgery next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The lengths NHL players will go to play through pain in the postseason never ceases to amaze me. Here’s hoping Tanev makes a full recovery.

MLIVE.COM: Check out the trailer for ESPN’s upcoming documentary on the Avalanche-Red Wings rivalry from 1996 to 2002.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was one of the greatest rivalries in NHL history and certainly among the best I’ve witnessed. The intensity of the games and the hatred between the two teams were off the charts.

SPORTSNET: A change to a Michigan insurance law means Vladimir Konstantinov and thousand of others who suffered serious traffic-related injuries could lose their round-the-clock medical care.

Konstantinov suffered career-ending and life-changing brain injuries from a limousine crash in 1997 and requires constant care at home. The change to the law and the high costs of his home care could force him to be put into an institution where restraints or medication would be required to keep him safe.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings and the NHLPA are reportedly looking into ways to maintain Konstantinov’s home care. Here’s hoping they can work something out for him. At least he has a wealthy hockey club and a players’ union to help him. The other Michigan residents facing the same predicament won’t have that option.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 27, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 27, 2022

The Oilers eliminate the Flames, the Hurricanes push the Rangers to the brink of elimination, updates on the Avalanche and Blues and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers are heading to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 16 years. Connor McDavid’s overtime goal gave the Oilers a 5-4 victory over the Calgary Flames in Game 5 to take their best-of-seven second-round series four games to one.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

Edmonton overcame a 2-0 deficit and held a 3-2 lead before Calgary battled back to regain the lead 4-3. Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard tied the game 4-4 late in the second period. Flames forward Blake Coleman appeared to score the go-ahead goal late in the third but it was overruled on a controversial video review claiming he kicked the puck into the net.

Leon Drasaitl collected four assists while Zach Hyman had a goal and two assists for the Oilers. Coleman had two assists, Mikael Backlund had a goal and an assist and Johnny Gaudreau scored for the Flames.

The Oilers await the winner of the Colorado Avalanche-St. Louis Blues series. Game 6 of that series is tonight with the Avalanche up three games to two.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t have a dog in this fight but that didn’t look like a kicking motion on Coleman’s part. His skate made contact with the pick but there was incidental contact by an Oilers defenseman as Coleman was heading toward the net. Just my two cents. The league’s video review folks believed differently.

While that disallowed goal cost the Flames this game, their sloppy defensive play and uncharacteristic shaky goaltending from Jacob Markstrom throughout this series led to their postseason demise. They struggled to contain Edmonton’s offense, especially McDavid and Draisaitl. Had they won this game, I doubt they would’ve gone on to take the series.

The Carolina Hurricanes have the New York Rangers on the brink of elimination following a 3-1 victory in Game 5 of their second-round series. Teuvo Teravainen snapped a 1-1 tie in the second period while Andrei Svechnikov’s third-period goal put the game out of reach. The Hurricanes can advance to the Eastern Conference Finals with a win in Game 6 on Saturday in New York.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes have yet to win a road game in this postseason but they’ve been dominating on home ice. They outshot the Rangers 34-17, controlled this game at even strength, scored on the power play and shorthanded, and apart from Mika Zibanejad’s goal overwhelmed the Rangers’ top line. If they can carry over that effort into Game 6, they’ll have a date with the Tampa Bay Lightning starting next week.

HEADLINE

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche hope to avoid a Game 7 when they face off against the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of their second-round series tonight. Head coach Jared Bednar believes his club will put their blown lead in Game 5 behind them and play with confidence in tonight’s contest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche dominated the first 40 minutes of Game 5 but took their foot off the gas and tried to protect their lead in the third period. That enabled the Blues to rally back twice, setting the stage for their dramatic overtime victory.

TSN: Don’t expect St. Louis Blues defenseman Torey Krug to return to action in tonight’s game. He’s been sidelined by a lower-body injury since Game 3 of their first-round series with the Minnesota Wild. Blues coach Craig Berube indicated Krug would also be out for Game 7 if this series goes that far.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin has changed agents, hiring Pat Brisson to negotiate his next contract. Larkin is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in 2023. The Wings can sign him to a contract extension on July 13.

SPORTSNET: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Sean Durzi underwent successful shoulder surgery. He’s expected to be ready for the start of the 2022-23 season.

The Geneve-Servette Hockey Club signed former NHL defenseman Sami Vatanen to a two-year contract and former NHL forward Valtteri Filppula to a one-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, don’t expect either guy to be signing with NHL teams this summer as free agents.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2022

The Blues defeat the Avalanche to stave off elimination, the latest news on the Flames-Oilers and Hurricanes-Rangers series, updates on the Panthers, Tom Wilson undergoes knee surgery & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Tyler Bozak’s overtime goal lifted the St. Louis Blues over the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 in Game 5 of their second-round series. The Blues overcame 3-1 and 4-3 deficits, setting the stage for Bozak’s OT heroics. Robert Thomas scored twice, Nick Leddy collected three assists and Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist for the Blues. Nathan MacKinnon tallied a hat trick for the Avalanche, who hold a 3-2 lead in this series as it returns to St. Louis for Game 6 on Thursday.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche seemed to have this game in the bag, holding a 2-0 first-period lead and 3-1 after the second. However, they let it slip through their fingers in the third by playing to protect the lead, enabling the Blues to tie the game. MacKinnon’s breathtaking end-to-end goal late in the third restored the Avs’ lead but the Blues pulled goalie Ville Husso and tied it again with less than a minute remaining in the period.

Before the game, Blues head coach Craig Berube spoke out against the racist threats aimed at Avalanche center Nazem Kadri. Claiming he’s not on social media, Berube said he was aware that a threat had been made against Kadri but didn’t know about the “racist stuff.” The threats led to heightened security by St. Louis police around the Blues arena (Enterprise Center) and the Avalanche’s hotel before and during Game 4.

DAILY HIVE: Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane didn’t join his teammates in Calgary yesterday as he took time away to be with girlfriend Mara Teigen for the birth of their child. He’s expected to rejoin his teammates today and be in the lineup for tonight’s Game 5 against the Flames. The Oilers hold a 3-1 series lead.

CALGARY SUN: Speaking of the Flames, three Calgary businessmen have engaged with the club in hope of reviving and mediating arena talks between the club’s ownership and the city.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames are in need of a new arena to replace the nearly 40-year-old Saddledome. After talks with the city fell through, ownership indicated they will not relocate the Flames but will continue to operate out of their current arena. Nevertheless, everyone understands that’s not a viable long-term solution. Time will tell if these efforts to restart those negotiations will be successful.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour called out his struggling scorers to step up their performances. Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, Teuvo Teravainen, Vincent Trocheck and Martin Necas have been outplayed by the Rangers. Brind’Amour praised rookie winger Seth Jarvis for his effort during their two losses against the Rangers but felt the 20-year-old can’t be their best player.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers’ power play was a key factor in the club’s two wins to tie their series with the Carolina Hurricanes at two games apiece.

THE SCORE: Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov endorsed interim coach Andrew Brunette. “He did an unbelievable job,” said Barkov, stressing how much the players respected Brunette and enjoyed playing for him this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers enjoyed their best regular season in franchise history under Brunette, taking the Presidents’ Trophy for finishing atop the overall standings and winning their first postseason series since 1996. Still, there remains uncertainty over whether he’ll return on a full-time basis or be replaced by a more experienced head coach.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Joe Thornton said he hasn’t put any thought yet toward his future following the Panthers’ second-round playoff elimination. The 42-year-old forward intends to take the offseason to consider his options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton was sidelined for 20 games by injury and used sparingly by the Panthers, appearing in just 34 regular-season games and one playoff contest. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer but I think his NHL playing days are over.

Claude Giroux can see himself returning with the Panthers next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers acquired Giroux from the Philadelphia Flyers before the trade deadline. A pending free agent, he was a terrific fit with his new club. However, they might not have the cap space to bring him back unless he accepts a significant pay cut from his current $8.275 million cap hit.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger Tom Wilson underwent successful surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. His recovery timeline is six-to-eight months.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The earliest he could return to action is late November.

SPORTSNET: Former NHL star Jaromir Jagr was unharmed when his vehicle and a tram collided in Prague. He took responsibility for the accident, saying his view was partially obscured by traffic before crossing into the tram’s path.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Happy to hear Jagr wasn’t hurt in the accident. The photo he shared on Instagram showed his vehicle suffered significant damage.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports a new contract for Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis is expected to be announced in the near future.

Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said the knee injury suffered by Tim Stuetzle during the World Championships is the same ailment he dealt with during the regular season. He’ll require a two-week recovery period.

THE PROVINCE: The agent for Alex Chiasson denied a report his client might sign with HC Lugano in Switzerland. The Vancouver Canucks winger is eligible for unrestricted free agent status this summer. However, his agent said Chiasson wants to stay with the Canucks.

TRIBLIVE.COM: After four seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, defenseman Juuso Riikola has signed with IK Oskarshamm of the Swedish Hockey League.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 24, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 24, 2022

The Lightning swept the Panthers, the Avalanche take a commanding lead in their series with the Blues, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning rode a 49-save shutout by Andrei Vasilevskiy to blank the Florida Panthers 2-0 in Game 4 to sweep their second-round series. Pat Maroon and Ondrej Palat scored in the third period for the Lightning, who had two second-period goals overturned on challenges by Panthers head coach Andrew Brunette. The Lightning will face the winner of the Carolina Hurricanes – New York Rangers series in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a well-deserved sweep by Tampa Bay as they did a magnificent job squeezing the life out of Florida’s league-leading offense, holding them to just three goals in four games. Vasilevskiy was outstanding in this series while the Lightning’s defensive game (especially their shot-blocking) neutralized the Panthers’ scorers.

For the Panthers, this was a disappointing finish to a regular season that saw them take home the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time in franchise history. They also won their first playoff series in 26 years by eliminating the Washington Capitals in the opening round. Those are accomplishments to build on going forward. They must improve their defensive game and bring some more grit into their lineup.

This game may have been the last for Joe Thornton as an NHL player. The 42-year-old Panthers center appeared in just 34 games during this season and made his 2022 postseason debut in Game 4.

Prior to Game 4, Brunette disputed an uncorroborated report claiming several of his players were out partying in a Tampa Bay strip club following their Game 3 loss on Sunday. “Check your sources. That was not the case last night,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Lightning winger Brandon Hagel was fined $3,750.00 for boarding Panthers forward Eetu Luostarinen in Game 3.

A hat trick by Nazem Kadri powered the Colorado Avalanche to a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of their second-round series. David Perron tallied twice for the Blues. With a commanding 3-1 series lead, the Avalanche can close things out on Wednesday in Game 5 back in Colorado.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Overshadowing this contest were reports that the St. Louis police were investigating racist threats aimed at Kadri stemming from his collision with Jordan Binnington in Game 3 that sidelined the Blues goaltender for the remainder of the series. Kadri indicated he’s been dealing with such vitriol throughout his career and used it as motivation for this game. “For those that hate, that was for them,” he said.

Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said he’d like the Blues to help defuse the public anger toward Kadri, calling the collision with Binnington accidental.

Kadri wasn’t happy with Blues coach Craig Berube for his remarks following Game 3 suggesting the Avalanche center deliberately intended to injure Binnington. “I guess he’s never heard of bulletin board material,” said Kadri. Berube also drew criticism from fans and pundits on social media for declining to comment about the racist threats aimed at Kadri prior to Game 4.

HEADLINES

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen spent 20 minutes practicing with his teammates yesterday. He’s been sidelined since April 16 with a lower-body injury. Thanks to the play of backup Antti Raanta, the Hurricanes can afford to allow Andersen as much time as necessary to make a full recovery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet as to whether Andersen will return to action in this series.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers forward Ryan Reaves intends to “go run some people and get in their faces” in Game 4 after Hurricanes forward Max Domi whacked Blueshirts defenseman Ryan Lindgren late in Game 3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers coach Gerard Gallant indirectly referenced Reaves following Game 3 when he said his club had a guy who could handle the Hurricanes if that’s how they wanted to play. We’ll find out tonight what impact Reaves might have in Game 4.

CALGARY SUN: Flames winger Milan Lucic said he wasn’t trying to run Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith when the two collided in Game 3 of their series. Lucic received a major and a match penalty for charging but said he was trying to stop when the incident occurred. He added if he actually was charging Smith, “we both wouldn’t be playing tomorrow.” Game 4 is tonight in Edmonton with the Oilers leading the Flames two games to one.

TSN: Speaking of the Flames, they’re moving their AHL affiliate from Stockton to Calgary starting next season.

PHNX SPORTS: Craig Morgan reports the Tempe City Council will discuss the Arizona Coyotes proposed arena deal on June 2.

CBS SPORTS: Winnipeg Jets winger Kristian Vesalainen has signed a one-year contract with Swedish club Malmo.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 22, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 22, 2022

The Avalanche take a 2-1 series lead over the Blues but each club loses a key player to injuries, the Penguins sign Bryan Rust to a contract extension, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche regained the lead in their second-round series with the St. Louis Blues with a 5-2 victory in Game 3. Artturi Lehkonen scored twice, including what proved to be the game-winning goal in the second period. Nazem Kadri and Mikko Rantanen each collected two points while Ryan O’Reilly had a goal and an assist for the Blues.

Each team lost a key player to injuries during this contest.

Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard is out for the playoffs after suffering a broken sternum early in the first period when he was checked into the boards behind his own net by Ivan Barbashev.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Later in the period, Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington left the game with a suspected knee sprain following a collision with Kadri. Ville Husso replaced him and made 19 saves on 23 shots. During a post-game interview, Kadri accused Binnington of throwing a water bottle at him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri has earned suspensions for undisciplined play in recent postseasons. In this instance, however, there was no intent to injure or to run Binnington and no penalty call on the play. He was driving for the net and reaching for the puck when he inadvertently collided with Binnington and Blues defenseman Calle Rosen.

Losing Binnington could be a big blow for the Blues. He won four of his last five starts and played a key role in his club’s first-round elimination of the Minnesota Wild and their bounce-back win in Game 2 of this series.

The Avalanche will feel Girard’s absence. He had three points in seven games this postseason while playing on their second defense pairing.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Bryan Rust won’t be testing this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. On Saturday, the Pittsburgh Penguin announced they’d signed the 30-year-old winger to a six-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $5.125 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rust has flourished skating alongside Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel on the Penguins’ top line. He’s reached or exceeded 22 goals in the last three seasons and netted over 50 points in two of the last three.

Rust was earning $3.5 million annually on a four-year deal. His raise is a reasonable rate that reflects market value, though the six years is a little long for a 30-year-old forward with an injury history. Cap Friendly indicates this signing leaves the Penguins with $58.5 million invested in 15 players for 2022-23 with Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang as their notable remaining unrestricted free agents.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers need more from their best players, especially on the power play, if they hope to overcome their 2-0 series deficit to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The rivalry between the Panthers and Lightning hasn’t generated much passion or heat between the fan bases of both clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I chalk that up in part to what’s been a disappointing series thus far in terms of excitement compared to when these two clubs tangled in the opening round of last year’s playoffs. The Lightning has successfully shut down the Panthers’ vaunted offense with a grinding defensive style that has also sucked much of the life out of this series.

THE ATHLETIC’s Joe Smith reports Lightning coach Jon Cooper said center Brayden Point (lower body) will remain sidelined for Game 3 today against the Panthers. He’s uncertain if Point will return for this series. He suffered the injury in Game 7 of their first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

CALGARY SUN: Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom promises to improve his performance as his club’s second-round series against the Oilers shifted to Edmonton for Game 3 on Sunday. The Vezina Trophy finalist allowed 11 goals in the first two games, compared to allowing that many during the entire seven-game opening-round series against the Dallas Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not just Markstrom who must be better. The Flames’ usually solid defensive game vanished during those two games against the Oilers.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes’ third defense pairing of Brendan Smith and Ian Cole have made their presence felt in their club’s second-round series against the New York Rangers.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers hope to open up their offense more in Game 3 to avoid falling behind 3-0 in the series against the Hurricanes. They’ve been limited to just one goal thus far.