Wild’s Kirill Kaprizov Emerges as Calder Trophy Front-Runner
Blue Jackets and Stars even their second-round series at one game apiece, Calder Memorial Trophy finalists revealed, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Matt Duchene scored in double overtime as the Columbus Blue Jackets edged the Boston Bruins 3-2 to square their second-round series at a game apiece. Artemi Panarin scored twice and picked up an assist on Duchene’s goal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panarin was the star of this game. His first goal came from a one-timer from the top of the faceoff circle while his second was an incredible snipe from a sharp angle. Duchene scored his goal by picking up the rebound from a Panarin shot.
This game saw plenty of hits, with the Jackets holding a 49-42 edge in that department. It’s safe to say the Jackets have shaken off the rust from their long layoff between series. This could end up being the most physical series of the second round.
The Dallas Stars also tied their second-round series with the St. Louis Blues with a 4-2 victory yesterday afternoon. Roope Hintz scored twice and set up another, Mats Zuccarello and Jason Dickinson each collected two assists, and Ben Bishop made 32 saves.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars also did a fine job of penalty killing as the Stars failed to cash in with five man-advantage opportunities. Hintz is enjoying a strong postseason. The 22-year-old Finnish rookie sits second among Stars scorers with seven points.
Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, and Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson are this year’s finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year.
THE SCORE: Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen isn’t concerned about being passed over as a finalist for the Calder. “I don’t care,” he told The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro. “They are good players also. So I’m having fun here in playoffs.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Heiskanen’s supporters believe he merits Calder consideration because he played a full season whereas Binnington was called up at midseason. The case can also be made by Binnington’s supporters that the Blues wouldn’t have reached the playoffs without him. I’m in the latter camp but I acknowledge Heiskanen’s had one helluva season and is well on his way to becoming one of the NHL’s elite defensemen.
NBC SPORTS: Washington Capitals blueliner Brooks Orpik intends to take some time mulling his future. The 38-year-old is an unrestricted free agent and there’s speculation he could hang up his skates.
THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reports the Minnesota Wild are close to bringing in Mike Modano in a front-office role. He’s apparently close to moving his young family to Minnesota and could take on an ambassador-type role with the Wild. Modano began his career with the Minnesota North Stars in 1988-89 and moved with the team when it was relocated to Dallas in 1993.