NHL Rumor Mill – May 16, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 16, 2022

The offseason questions facing the Penguins and Stars plus the latest on the Leafs in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE PENGUINS AND STARS?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports the Pittsburgh Penguins face some big decisions regarding Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Bryan Rust. They are slated to become unrestricted free agents in July and there’s little chance all three will return. Wyshynski predicts only Letang will be back.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

Other pending UFAs include Rickard Rakell, Evan Rodrigues and Casey DeSmith. Their restricted free agents include Kasperi Kapanen and Danton Heinen.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Matt Vensel wonders if the Penguins will let Malkin and/or Letang to depart via free agency and what effect that might have on captain Sidney Crosby. He also mused over whether they’ll invest a long-term commitment in the 30-year-old Rust, who missed two chunks of this season to injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap space will determine which UFAs return next season. Cap Friendly indicates they have $54.1 million invested in 15 players for 2022-23. Re-signing Malkin and Letang will eat up a big chunk of their available cap dollars. Rust is due for a significant raise over his current $3.5 million.

Of those three, Letang could be the most vital given his value as a puck-moving defenseman. Malkin’s injury history and at times erratic performance in recent years could make him a risky investment unless he’s willing to accept a substantial pay cut.

It might be possible to sign Letang and Rust. However, that will still eat up a lot of cap space, especially if Letang insists on at least maintaining his current $7.25 million annual average value.

The Penguins could bring back DeSmith if they don’t see any suitable backup options in the free-agent market. I expect they’ll re-sign Heinen but Kapanen seems a likely trade candidate given his struggles during his tenure in Pittsburgh.

ESPN.COM: Kristen Shilton believes the Dallas Stars’ offseason priority is signing restricted free agent forward Jason Robertson, who’s coming off his entry-level contract. Having tallied 79 points this season, the 22-year-old sophomore is a star in the making. Goaltender Jake Oettinger is also completing his ELC and looks to be their starter going forward. They’ll have to determine who becomes his backup if Braden Holtby departs via free agency.

Shilton also wonders whether pending UFA John Klingberg stays or goes. General manager Jim Nill didn’t move him at the trade deadline given his value on their blueline and now the two sides must see if they can reach an agreement on a new contract. Nill must also address his roster’s scoring depth issues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nill could attempt to lock up Robertson and Oettinger on long-term deals with affordable annual average salaries. Their agents, however, could seek bigger bucks on shorter terms to bring their clients up to their UFA eligibility.

It seemed Klingberg and the Stars were about to part ways in January after he publicly expressed his unhappiness over the pace of his contract negotiations. However, both sides seem to have resolved that rift at least for the remainder of the season.

There was speculation earlier this season that the 29-year-old Klingberg sought a long-term deal worth between $7.75 million and $8.5 million annually. That, however, could prove too expensive for Nill’s liking but we’ll see how things go between now and the start of the free-agent market on July 13.

LATEST ON THE LEAFS

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan doesn’t believe the Maple Leafs should make major changes in the front office, behind the bench or on the roster despite another first-round playoff exit. He points to their 115-point regular season, as well as pushing the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning to the limit in that opening-round series as justification for giving them another chance.

General manager Kyle Dubas will have around $8 million in salary-cap space to work with unless he moves some players. Koshan suggested Alex Kerfoot and Justin Holl as trade candidates. Dubas must also find a way to shed backup goalie Petr Mrazek’s $3.8 million cap hit.

Re-signing pending UFA goaltender Jack Campbell is the priority, followed by defenseman Mark Giordano if he’s affordable. There doesn’t seem much chance of bringing back Ilya Mikheyev. If Jason Spezza’s playing career is over, Koshan recommends hiring him for an off-ice role.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Mike Stephens also believes Holl could be shopped this summer. It remains to be seen if they can afford to sign Giordano and pending UFA forward Colin Blackwell. It remains to be seen if the aging Spezza fits into their on-ice plans. Stephens suggests there’s a real possibility Mrazek returns with the Leafs this fall while Campbell ends up signing elsewhere.

THE SCORE: John Matisz believes Mrazek, Kerfoot, Jake Muzzin and Pierre Engvall are four Leafs worth monitoring during the offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs could surprise us by making major changes this summer. Like most observers, however, I don’t see that happening following the season they had.

Re-signing Campbell is their priority because they’ll have a difficult time finding a suitable replacement via this summer’s trade or free agent markets. Doing so, however, will eat up a big chunk of that $8 million in cap space, leaving little for the rest of the roster.

Moving out Mrazek, Kerfoot, Muzzin and Holl would clear over $14.9 million from the Leafs’ books. However, that’s easier said than done. Kerfoot ($3.5 million) would be the easiest to move as his cap hit and two-way skills would be enticing in the trade market. Holl ($2 million) might draw some interest from teams seeking affordable blueline depth.

Mrazek’s injury history and inconsistency are a tough sell. Muzzin’s age (33), injury history, cap hit ($5.625 million) and no-trade clause are significant sticking points.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 16, 2022

The Flames and Rangers advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames defeated the Dallas Stars 3-2 in Game 7 on an overtime goal by Johnny Gaudreau to win their first-round series four games to three. Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk each had a goal and an assist while Tyler Toffoli also scored for Calgary. Jamie Benn and Vladislav Namestnikov replied for Dallas while Jake Oettinger made 64 saves in a losing cause. Stars center Roope Hintz was a late scratch with an upper-body injury while Flames defenseman Chris Tanev missed this game with an undisclosed injury suffered in Game 6.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

The Flames will face off against the Edmonton Oilers in the first “Battle of Alberta” playoff series since 1991.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaudreau silenced critics of his previous postseason performances by stepping up with his best playoff game in his career. The 28-year-old left winger leads the Flames with eight points in seven games. Goaltender Jacob Markstrom was superb in this series, finishing with a 1.53 goals-against average and .943 save percentage.

Oettinger, however, was outstanding, with a 1.81 GAA and .954 SP. He was the reason the Stars pushed this series to overtime in Game 7 and came close to pulling off the upset. The 23-year-old has emerged as a franchise goaltender.

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin’s overtime goal lifted his club to 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of their first-round series, eliminating the Penguins four games to three. Mika Zibanejad had a goal and two assists, Chris Kreider and K’Andre Miller also scored and Igor Shesterkin made 42 saves for the Rangers, who will face the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round.

Jake Guentzel, Danton Heinen and Evan Rodrigues replied for Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby, Tristan Jarry and Rickard Rakell returned from injury for this game. Crosby picked up an assist and Jarry made 26 saves. Forward Brian Boyle missed this contest with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was some controversy prior to Zibanejad’s game-tying goal in the third period as teammate Alexis Lafreniere wrestled the helmet off the head of Penguins defenseman Marcus Petterson. The incident was uncalled by the on-ice officials.

Under NHL rules, Pettersson had to immediately leave the ice as he cannot play without a helmet, leaving the Penguins scrambling to replace him and creating that scoring opportunity for Zibanejad. The Penguins were upset over that uncalled infraction, which was yet another in a seemingly endless parade of botched or missed calls by NHL officials throughout the first round.

Nevertheless, this was a hard-fought victory by the Rangers. The aging Penguins pushed them to the limit, doing so with key players sidelined at various stretches during this series. Shesterkin shook off a couple of shaky performances and was the difference-maker in Game 7 while Panarin, Zibanejad and Kreider stepped up when it mattered most.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs begins on Tuesday, May 17 with the Florida Panthers facing off with the Tampa Bay Lightning while the Colorado Avalanche tangle with the St. Louis Blues.

The Carolina Hurricanes meet the New York Rangers while the Calgary Flames battle the Edmonton Oilers starting on May 18.

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom was hampered through this season by a hip injury that caused him to miss the first two months of this season. It’s the same hip he had surgery on in 2015 and there’s some concern it could prove career-ending.

Capitals winger Tom Wilson could be facing off-season surgery to repair a knee injury suffered in Game 1 of their series against the Florida Panthers. Meanwhile, winger Carl Hagelin hopes to continue his career following an injury suffered in practice in March that nearly cost him his left eye.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Backstrom intends to explore all his options in hope of being physically comfortable to play again. The 34-year-old center had 31 points in 47 games and six points in as many games against the Panthers.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy and Carolina Hurricanes blueliner Brendan Smith each received fines from the NHL department of player safety for their actions in Game 7 of their first-round series. McAvoy was fined $5,000.00 for tripping Hurricanes rearguard Brady Skjei while Smith was tagged for $2,000.00 for tripping Bruins winger David Pastrnak.

MIAMI HERALD: Florida Panthers forward Mason Marchment could miss Game 1 of his club’s second-round series against the Lightning with an unspecified injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 14, 2022

The Panthers eliminate the Capitals while the Rangers and Stars extend their respective first-round series to Game 7, the Ted Lindsay Award finalists are announced, Bruce Boudreau returns as Canucks coach and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: For the first time since 1996, the Florida Panthers are advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Carter Verhaeghe’s overtime goal lifted Florida to 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 6 to take their first-round series four games to two. Claude Giroux had a goal and two assists while Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 34 shots for the win. Washington’s T.J. Oshie scored to force overtime in the third period after his Capitals squandered 1-0 and 2-1 leads.

Florida Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Verhaeghe was the Panthers’ most valuable player in this series, leading them with six goals and six assists for 12 points and tallying three straight game-winning goals.

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin shared the view of his teammates that they gave away the series after blowing a 2-1 series lead and failing to hold leads in the final three games. “It’s on us. It’s on me, on Backy (Nicklas Backstrom), on Osh (Oshie), on Carly (John Carlson), it’s on everybody. Kind of a f**ked up situation,” said Ovechkin.

The absence of power forward Tom Wilson was another contributing factor to the Capitals’ loss. He was sidelined by a lower-body injury in Game 1 and never returned to the series.

There will be a seventh and deciding game in the opening round series between the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins. Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider each scored twice and Adam Fox collected four assists in Game 6 as New York rallied to beat Pittsburgh 5-3. The Penguins led 2-0 after the first period but fell behind 3-2 before Evgeni Malkin tied it before the end of the second. Kreider got the game-winner late in the third and Andrew Copp added the insurance goal. Game 7 goes Sunday in New York.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby missed this game with an upper-body injury and remains questionable for Game 7. Rickard Rakell remained out of this contest as he’s still recovering from a concussion suffered in Game 1.

With starter Tristan Jarry finally healthy, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan must decide if he’ll put him in for that final game or stick with Louis Domingue, who’s carried the load since taking over for a sidelined Casey DeSmith during overtime in Game 1. Jarry is the better goalie but he hasn’t played since suffering a foot injury in mid-April. Domingue’s done his best but he has given up some questionable goals for the Penguins.

The Dallas Stars ensured there will be a seventh game against the Calgary Flames with a 4-2 victory in Game 6 of their series. Jake Oettinger kicked out 36 shots, Roope Hintz got a goal and an assist and Miro Heiskanen scored the game-winner for the Stars. Flames defenseman Michael Stone had a goal and an assist. The series returns to Calgary for Game 7 on Sunday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars got it done by outshooting the Flames 30-20 in the final two periods and another outstanding performance by Oettinger, especially in the third period. Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov could face supplemental discipline after he laid out Stars forward Luke Glendening with an elbow to the head.

HEADLINES

NHLPA.COM: Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid are the 2022 finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award as this season’s most valuable player as voted by the NHLPA membership.

THE PROVINCE: Bruce Boudreau will return next season as the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks. Boudreau explained the delay in exercising the option year of his contract was due to personal arrangements, including the well-being of his 90-year-old mother in Toronto.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers star Leon Draisaitl could be nursing an injured right ankle or knee as he and his teammates prepared to face the Los Angeles Kings in Game 7 of their opening-round series tonight.

CAP FRIENDLY: A $100K performance bonus for Tyler Bozak has pushed the St. Louis Blues salary-cap bonus overage to $1.1 million. Bozak could earn another $150K bonus if the Blues reach the conference final.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bonus overages are applied to next season’s salary-cap payroll.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 9, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 9, 2022

The latest on John Klingberg’s contract talks with the Stars, a difficult postmortem could face the Predators if they’re swept by the Avalanche, and the Blue Jackets’ offseason focus in today’s NHL rumor mill.

STARS GM STILL HOPES TO RE-SIGN KLINGBERG

NHL.COM: Tracey Myers reports Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill would love to re-sign John Klingberg. However, he understands the 29-year-old defenseman has to look out for himself as he approaches eligibility for unrestricted free agent status this summer. Nill said he intends to speak with Klingberg’s representatives once the playoffs are over.

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

Klingberg felt underappreciated by Stars management and expressed his frustration over the lack of progress in earlier contract discussions during an interview in January. However, he’s now indicated he refocused on his game since the All-Star break and has been happy with his performance. Nill is also happy with Klingberg’s play, claiming he’s had many discussions with the blueliner and the two have “a great relationship.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears the two sides have patched things up from where they were in the first half of the season. However, it will still come down to what Klingberg seeks on his next contract and whether the Stars are willing to meet his expectations.

Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek last fall indicated Klingberg sought an eight-year deal worth between $62 million and $68 million. That’s between $7.75 million and $8.5 million annually.

THE TENNESSEAN: Gentry Estes believes the Nashville Predators could face “a tough postmortem” if they’re swept by the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night in Game 4 of their first-round series. They face losing the fifth consecutive postseason series.

The Predators opted not to trade Filip Forsberg in hopes of a playoff run. The 27-year-old left winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Considering how overmatched the club has been against the Avalanche, it should mean more questions for the roster beyond Forsberg.

Head coach John Hynes’ contract expires at the end of this season. Estes suggested he could be retained given the Predators exceeded expectations this season but wondered why it hasn’t been announced yet. He also doubted a healthy Juuse Saros would’ve significantly altered the course of this series with the Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators GM David Poile last summer indicated his club was undergoing a “competitive rebuild”. If he meant remaining in playoff contention while making changes to his roster with a long-term goal of returning to Cup contender status, then it’s mission accomplished for this season.

Whether Forsberg will be part of that process beyond this season remains to be seen. He’s completing a six-year deal with an annual cap hit of $6 million and is coming off a career-best 42-goal, 84-point performance in 69 games. That could push the annual average value of his next contract to well over $8 million per season.

There were reports prior to the March trade deadline that there wasn’t much progress in contract talks between the two sides. Unless that changes, we could be seeing the last of Forsberg in a Predators jersey.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR THE BLUE JACKETS THIS SUMMER?

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline believes the Columbus Blue Jackets face heightened expectations for next season after overachieving in 2021-22. General manager Jarmo Kekalainen must get restricted free agent winger Patrik Laine under contract and shed some salary to make room for the younger players set to join the lineup next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine is completing a one-year, $7.5 million contract and has arbitration rights this season. Portzline indicated the 24-year-old winger wants to stay with the Jackets. However, Kekalainen will have to pony up some big bucks to keep him in the fold long term.

The Laine camp could seek over $9 million annually on a seven- or eight-year deal. They could also prefer a short-term deal to take their client up to UFA eligibility and a shot at a major contract on the open market.

Laine’s new contract will also bite deeply into the Jackets’ cap space. Cap Friendly shows them with over $54 million committed to 15 players.

A likely trade candidate is Gustav Nyquist. The 32-year-old winger has a year remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $5.5 million. He enjoyed a bounce-back performance this season with 53 points. Perhaps a playoff contender seeking offensive depth on the wing would be interested in his services.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 8, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 8, 2022

The Avalanche take a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Predators while the Capitals, Penguins and Stars go up 2-1 in their respective first-round series. Check out the details plus the latest news in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche are on the verge of sweeping the Nashville Predators following a 7-3 victory in Game 3 of their best-of-seven opening-round series. Their win, however, was overshadowed by an eye injury suffered by goaltender Darcy Kuemper as he left the game late in the first period when the blade of Predators center Ryan Johansen accidentally poked through the protective cage of his mask.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper (NHL Images).

Pavel Francouz replaced Kuemper and made 18 saves for the win. Gabriel Landeskog had two goals and set up two others while Cale Makar had three assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thankfully, it appears Kuemper’s injury wasn’t as serious as feared as Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said the netminder could potentially return for Game 4 on Monday in Nashville. He also absolved Johansen, calling the episode an accident.

Penalties proved costly for the Predators in this contest as the Avalanche went four-for-seven on the power play. Up three games to none, they can wrap up this series in Game 4.

Alex Ovechkin scored and collected an assist while goalie Ilya Samsonov made 29 saves for his first playoff win to defeat the Florida Panthers 6-1 and take a 2-1 lead in their first-round series. Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson, Anthony Mantha and Marcus Johansson each collected two points. Jonathan Huberdeau scored for the Panthers. Game 4 is Monday night in Washington.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following the game, Samsonov admitted feeling emotional as Washington fans chanted his name. He also commended his teammates’ solid defensive play in this contest, which has been a significant factor in both Capitals’ wins in this series.

The Pittsburgh Penguins blew a 4-1 lead but recovered to down the New York Rangers 7-4 to take a two-game to one lead in their series. Three unanswered third-period goals by Danton Heinen, Jake Guentzel and Jeff Carter put the game away for Pittsburgh. Carter and Evan Rodrigues each tallied twice while Penguins third-string goaltender Louis Domingue stopped 32 shots. Rangers netminder Igor Shesterkin was pulled after giving up four goals on 15 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That game was certainly a wild ride for fans of both clubs. The power play made the difference for the Penguins, going two for three with the man advantage. The two clubs clash again in Game 4 on Monday in Pittsburgh.

Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski scored two goals, including the game-winner to lead his club over the Calgary Flames 4-2 to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round series. Jake Oettinger kicked out 39 shots for the win while Miro Heiskanen chipped in two assists. Flames forward Elias Lindholm netted his team-leading second goal of the series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the second straight game Pavelski tallied the winning goal. At 37, he continues to defy Father Time while playing a key role as a top-line forward for the Stars. Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau had a great chance to tie the game 3-3 late in the third but Oettinger stopped his breakaway scoring chance.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Jordan Binnington could see his first start of this postseason as his St. Louis Blues face off against the Minnesota Wild this evening in Game 4 of their first-round series. Ville Husso was between the pipes for the Blues in the previous three games.

Blues defenseman Scott Perunovich could also make his debut in this series after being sidelined since January by a wrist injury. He would replace Torey Krug, who left Game 3 with an injured leg and is expected to miss some time.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes could shake things up for Game 4 today against the Boston Bruins. Derek Stepan could replace a sidelined Jordan Martinook while Max Domi or Martin Necas could take a seat in favor of Steven Lorentz.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Former Sharks forward Patrick Marleau will make an announcement on Tuesday regarding the future of his hockey career. The 42-year-old hasn’t played since the 2020-21 season and is the all-time NHL leader in games played with 1,779. He spent 21 of his 23 NHL seasons with the Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If I were a betting man I’d say Marleau will be officially announcing his retirement. If so, it’ll be interesting to find out if he intends in staying in the game in some capacity, perhaps in a front-office role with the Sharks.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks parted ways with five of their amateur scouts on Friday. Former NHL players Pat Conacher and Ted Hampson.

NJ.COM: Former NHL forward Jay Pandolfo was named the new head coach at Boston University. He played for BU in 1995, helping them win the national title before going on to a 15-year NHL career, including 13 seasons with the New Jersey Devils.

SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said on Friday that Russian prospects will remain eligible for selection in the 2022 NHL Draft. It remains to be seen if Russia will be invited to participate in a potential World Cup of Hockey before the 2026 Winter Olympics. The NHL suspended business ties with Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in February.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 6, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 6, 2022

The Avalanche take a 2-0 series lead over the Predators while the Panthers, Rangers and Stars even their respective series at a game apiece. Check out the details and other news in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Cale Makar lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the Nashville Predators 2-1 to give them a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven opening-round series. Nathan MacKinnon opened the scoring for the Avalanche while Yakov Trenin replied for Nashville. Predators goalie Connor Ingram made 49 saves.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If not for Ingram this could’ve been another blowout loss for the Predators. They must get their offense going as the series shifts to Nashville for Games 3 and 4 or risk getting swept by the powerful Avalanche.

The Florida Panthers evened their first-round series with the Washington Capitals at a game apiece with a 5-1 victory. They got three unanswered second-period goals by Mason Marchment, Anton Lundell and Carter Verhaeghe while Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves for the win. Capitals netminder Vitek Vanecek got the hook after giving up five goals on 19 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The suffocating defense that worked so well for the Capitals in Game 1 vanished in this contest. They also missed rugged winger Tom Wilson as he was sidelined by a lower-body injury. All five Panthers’ goals came at even strength. This series shifts to Washington for the next two games.

New York Rangers forwards Artemi Panarin and Frank Vatrano each had a goal and two assists to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2, squaring their opening-round series at one game apiece. Igor Shesterkin kicked out 39 shots for the win. Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist for the Penguins as this series heads to Pittsburgh for the next two contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins need more from their secondary scorers. Almost all their goals in this series have come from the Crosby line. Meanwhile, Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin missed Game 2 with a lower-body injury. Rangers winger Barclay Goodrow and defenseman Ryan Lindgren were also sidelined by injuries. Goodrow (lower body) is listed as week-to-week.

The Dallas Stars got a 29-save shutout from Jake Oettinger to blank the Calgary Flames 2-0, tying their first-round series 1-1. Joe Pavelski and Michael Raffl were the goal scorers. Flames netminder Jacob Markstrom stopped 21 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big win for the Stars thanks to young Oettinger’s goaltending. He’s tied with Markstrom for the best goals-against average (0.50) thus far among postseason netminders.

HEADLINES

TSN: Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand was fined $5,000.00 for slashing Carolina Hurricanes goalie Pyotr Kochetkov in Game 2 of the first-round series on Wednesday. Marchand’s teammate Derek Forbort also received a $5,000.00 fine for high-sticking Hurricanes winger Teuvo Teravainen.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Bruins, defenseman Hampus Lindholm has been ruled out of Game 3 on Friday. The club also confirmed Jeremy Swayman will get the start in that game.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Speaking of the Hurricanes, goaltender Antti Raanta skated with his teammates today but his status for Game 3 is uncertain. He left Game 2 after being shaken up in a collision with Bruins winger David Pastrnak.

THE SCORE: Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour believes the Bruins are deliberately targeting his goaltenders. “It can’t get any more obvious,” he told reporters following Game 2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL headquarters could issue a warning to both clubs about running goalies. Brind’Amour could also get a call about his comments.

NHL.COM: Center Shane Wright of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs is the No. 1 prospect among North American skaters according to NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings of this year’s top prospects. Left winger Jural Slafkovsky of TPS in Finland is the top European skater.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils confirmed Lindy Ruff will return next season as head coach. The announcement comes a day after they announced they were parting ways with assistant coaches Mark Recchi and Alain Nasreddine.

PHILLY.COM: The Flyers have added Sami Kapanen and Kyle Shero to their scouting department.