NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 20, 2022
The Lightning takes a 2-0 series lead over the Panthers, the Blues tie their series with the Avalanche, the Jack Adams Award finalists are announced, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning took a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven second-round series over the Florida Panthers with a 2-1 victory in Game 2. Ross Colton snapped a 1-1 tie with 3.8 seconds remaining in the third period on a terrific behind-the-back pass by Nikita Kucherov from behind the Panthers’ net. Corey Perry opened the scoring for the Lightning in the first period but Eetu Luostarinen tied the game in the second. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 35 saves for the win while Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 26 shots for the Panthers. The series shifts to Tampa Bay for Game 3 on Sunday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning have done an outstanding job neutralizing the Panthers’ vaunted offense, limiting the league’s high-scoring team in the regular season to just two goals thus far. They’re doing it with solid physical defensive play and strong goaltending from Vasilevskiy.
Like it or not, the Lightning are a great team, and great teams find a way to win. The Maple Leafs learned that lesson in the first round. Now, it’s the Panthers’ turn, and if they don’t address this issue soon, they’ll be joining the Leafs on the golf course next week.
A two-goal performance by David Perron led the St. Louis Blues to a 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 2 to tie their second-round series at a game apiece. Pavel Buchnevich collected two assists while Jordan Binnington kicked out 30 shots for the win. Gabriel Landeskog tallied the Avs’ lone goal. The series heads to St. Louis for Game 3 on Saturday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Game 1 was all about the Avalanche’s dominance. It was a different story in Game 2, thanks again to Binnington’s goaltending but also head coach Craig Berube shuffling his lines. Buchnevich was moved to the first line with Perron and Ryan O’Reilly, Robert Thomas centered the second line with Jordan Kyrou and Brandon Saad, while Vladimir Tarasenko was moved to the third line alongside Brayden Schenn and Ivan Barbashev.
NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers’ Andrew Brunette, the New York Rangers’ Gerard Gallant, and the Calgary Flames’ Darryl Sutter are the finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach in 2021-22.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gallant won the award as coach of the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017-18 and was a finalist with the Florida Panthers in 2015-16. It’s the second time Sutter has been named a finalist and the first time for Brunette.
Sutter shrugged off the nomination. He said he’d rather see it go to younger coaches or to Gallant, who he felt got a raw deal with the Golden Knights and Panthers over the way he was let go by those clubs.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins president Cam Neely told reporters on Thursday that the club intends to extend the contract of general manager Don Sweeney. However, he was vague over the future of head coach Bruce Cassidy, suggesting the club needs some changes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe a coaching change will improve the Bruins next season. On the other hand, replacing Cassidy would make him appear the scapegoat for the front office’s inability to address the roster’s weaknesses, especially at the second-line center position.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Sweeney indicated he intends to open contract extension talks with David Pastrnak as soon as possible. The 25-year-old winger is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agent status.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no indication that Pastrnak would entertain hitting the open market next summer. I expect the Bruins will try to get him signed to an eight-year extension worth between $8 million and $9 million annually.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Mike Smith will return in goal for the Oilers in Game 2 tonight against the Calgary Flames. He got the hook early in the first period of Game 1 after giving up three goals on 10 shots.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger T.J. Oshie faces some decisions over his recovery and healing from different ailments suffered over the course of this season. The 35-year-old winger was limited to 44 games this season by multiple injuries.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Aging bodies don’t bounce back as quickly from injuries. Oshie might also have to change the way he conducts his offseason training.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Anaheim Ducks forward Dominik Simon confirmed an altercation with Detroit Red Wings defenseman (and Czechia teammate) Filip Hronek during the ongoing World Championships led to his recent decision to leave the Czechia team and return home. Simon took responsibility for the incident, citing emotions from a recent game and from his personal life that led to his attempt to provoke a fight with Hronek.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan laments the deluge of sports betting ads on Hockey Night in Canada during the Stanley Cup playoffs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I understand why the NHL and HNiC are pushing gambling given the league’s recent tapping into the lucrative sports betting market. However, they’re going overboard with the neverending ads during commercial breaks and the constant huckstering by the HNiC staff. I also share Cowan’s unease over the effect it could have on compulsive gamblers and their families.
NORTH JERSEY.COM: New Jersey Devils play-by-play announcer Steve Cangialosi is stepping down after 11 seasons.
VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Savannah Ghost Pirates will be the ECHL affiliate of the Vegas Golden Knights.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Love the name of the franchise and the logo. I’ll have to look into buying a Ghost Pirates hat or a jersey at some point.