Florida Panthers Could Face Big Changes Following This NHL Season
The Stars and Golden Knights will meet in the Western Conference Final. Check out the game recaps plus the recent notable news in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars advanced to the Western Conference Final by edging the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 in Game 7 of their second-round series. Stars winger Joel Kiviranta completed his first-ever NHL hat trick with the game-winner at 7:24 of overtime. Alexander Radulov scored twice for the Stars while defensemen Miro Heiskanen and Joel Klingberg each collected two assists and Anton Khudobin made 40 saves. Vladislav Namestnikov tallied twice for the Avalanche while Nathan MacKinnon was shut out for the first time in this series.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a very entertaining game that see-sawed back and forth between the two clubs. The story of the game, of course, was Kiviranta, a rookie with just one goal in 11 regular-season contests before his heroics as a replacement for the sidelined Andrew Cogliano in Game 7. Sometimes, the playoffs give us the unlikeliest of heroes.
The Stars will meet the Vegas Golden Knights in the Conference Final as the latter blanked the Vancouver Canucks 3-0 in Game 7 of their second-round series. The Golden Knights netted three unanswered third-period goals by Shea Theodore, Alex Tuch, and Paul Stastny, the latter two into an empty net as the Canucks went with an extra attacker in the dying minutes. Robin Lehner made 14 saves for the shutout while Vancouver netminder Thatcher Demko kicked out 33.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Through the first two periods it appeared Demko was going to steal this game as he did the previous two. Despite his best efforts, however, his teammates couldn’t muster any offense against a deep, talented Golden Knights club. Demko was dejected following the game but he had nothing to hang his head over. If not for his play, the Canucks wouldn’t have overcome a 3-1 series deficit.
The Golden Knights and Stars won’t have to wait long to face each other. Game 1 of the Western Conference Final begins at 8 pm ET on Sunday, Sept. 6.
NOTE: We experienced some publishing problems from Wed, Sept. 2 to Fri, Sept. 4 that prevented us from publishing each day’s noteworthy headlines. Here’s a collection of the most interesting news during that period.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins winger David Pastrnak was hampered by a lower-body injury. It seemed to be related to his conditioning level following a month-long quarantine odyssey that prevented him from participating in Phase 3 training with his teammates.
TSN: Bruins captain Zdeno Chara indicated he’s committed to returning to the club next season. It would be the 23rd campaign of the 43-year-old blueliner’s NHL career.
SUN-SENTINEL: The Florida Panthers formally introduced Bill Zito as their new general manager.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins name former Washington Capitals head coach Todd Reirden as a new assistant coach. It’s his second stint as a Pens assistant coach.
NHL.COM: St. Louis Blues assistant coach Marc Savard is stepping down and returning to Ontario to be with his family.
THE ATHLETIC: The Columbus Blue Jackets won’t be renewing the expired contract of assistant coach Paul MacLean.
THE SCORE: The NHL is launching a series of initiatives to combat racism and foster inclusion and diversity training within the league.
Bruins draw first blood against Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final, John Tavares and Travis Dermott injured, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins scored four unanswered third-period goals to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final. Power-play goals by Marcus Johansson and Patrice Bergeron 28 seconds apart sparked the Bruins comeback while goaltender Tuukka Rask made 29 saves. Game 2 will be Sunday afternoon (3 pm ET start) in Boston.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penalties were the Hurricanes undoing in this one. Some of the calls, like Dougie Hamilton getting sent off for roughing, were debatable. However, Jordan Staal’s boarding penalty was an undisciplined infraction.
The inconsistent officiating cut both ways. The Hurricanes’ first goal was the result of a roughing penalty called on the Bruins Sean Kuraly after taking a shoulder to the face from Brock McGinn. The Hurricanes need a more disciplined effort going forward in this series.
TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs center John Tavares returned from the World Championships in Europe nursing an oblique strain. No word how long he’ll be sidelined. Meanwhile, Leafs defenseman Travis Dermott undergoes shoulder surgery today and will require six months to recover.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dermott will miss training camp and likely the opening month of the season.
SPORTSDAY: Dallas Stars forward Roope Hintz fractured his left foot in Game 6 of his club’s second-round series against the St. Louis Blues. He had painkilling injections and played over 23 minutes in Game 7.
Winger Mats Zuccarello admitted he still felt lingering pain from the broken right arm suffered in late-February that sidelined him for a month. Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak missed the entire second round with an injured knee while forward Mattias Janmark played through a fractured foot suffered in February or March. Blueliner Joel Hanley was sidelined by a shoulder injury.
TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets assistant general manager Bill Zito was in Seattle yesterday meeting with that city’s NHL expansion group. It’s not clear if they’ll be hiring management staff this summer or next.
THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings re-signed defenseman Dylan McIlrath to a two-year contract extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates it’s a two-way deal worth $700K annually at the NHL level.
Been told, don’t expect the #Canucks to qualify the contract of F Brendan Gaunce. The former 1st round pick in 2012 can use a change of scenery and fresh start elsewhere.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) May 9, 2019
Forward Kailer Yamamoto underwent successful wrist surgery & will be sidelined for the remainder for the @Condors season. He will begin rehab immediately & be ready for #Oilers training camp in September. pic.twitter.com/NVYe7VUeVJ
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) May 10, 2019