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Islanders & NHL Playoff News: Must be spring because the Leafs are out!

Happy Leafs First Round Exit Day to all those who celebrate.

Toronto Maple Leafs are eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning after losing 2-1 in game seven of their first round NHL playoff series
A familiar scene.
Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

There were three Games 7 yesterday, and I think some of us may have had some rooting interest in the outcome of some of those games, based on the comments on yesterday’s post.

I will say that going into the series, I was really unsure of which team I wanted to win—the Lightning or the Leafs—but going into Game 7, I decided that I wanted Toronto to lose again in the first round. It’s just too funny to watch the biggest hockey media market lose its marbles year after year. And this postseason, the Leafs really didn’t choke it away the way they have the last few years. They actually brought it this time. They just lost. Although you could certainly say they choked away a 3-2 series lead and failed to close out in Game 6 when they had a lead.

I am glad that I can go back to hating Tampa, too. It felt dirty rooting for them, as it feels having to root for the Penguins tonight. And even though they won this round, I feel pretty confident in saying that they don’t have a three-peat in them, which is, of course, the main reason I want the Bolts out.

Nick Paul may have scored both Tampa goals last night, but their new third line of Hagel-Paul-Colton is certainly no Goodrow-Gourde-Coleman, which was, in some ways, like a third first line for Tampa the last two seasons. Hagel-Paul-Colton simply isn’t as good, and Tampa’s depth overall isn’t as good. Hopefully, the Panthers can make Andrei Vasilevskiy continue to look as human as he did in the first round. Go Cats!

Islanders News

  • The B-Isles went on the road and staved off elimination, beating the Charlotte Checkers 3-2 thanks to two goals in the final five minutes from 2019 first-round pick Simon Holmstrom. We love to see the future step up when it matters most. [B-Isles]
  • I make fun of him a fair bit in this space, but here he’s on the money: Larry Brooks says to expect further changes to the makeup of the Islanders if Lou really wants a new style. [NY Post]
  • Yesterday, the Dix Hills Ice Rink was renamed the Clark Gillies Arena in honor of the late Isles legend and renowned philanthropist. [Islanders]

Playoff News

Yesterday’s other Games 7 saw the Hurricanes outlast the Bruins, who made it interesting in the dying seconds, and the Oilers riding a Mike Smith shutout to a win over the Kings. Carolina and Edmonton move on, while Boston and Los Angeles head home.

  • Connor McDavid truly raised his game this series, taking the kind of step a player of his caliber needs to take to be a winner. Fourteen points in this series, including a stunning goal to seal the deal late in the third last night. Incredible. [Sportsnet]
  • Stick this right into my veins: The Maple Leafs are “sick and tired” of losing, and it hurts more this time because they did actually play well. [NHL]
  • Was that Patrice Bergeron’s last game of his illustrious career? He’s not sure yet. I hope not. The game is better with him in it. [Sportsnet]
  • Nikita Zadorov had a hearing but managed to avoid supplemental discipline for his head hit on Luke Glendening. He yelled at Jamie Benn that he was coming for him, so we’ll see what happens tonight in that Game 7. [Sportsnet]
  • The Penguins will have Tristan Jarry back in net tonight, and Sidney Crosby should return, too. Not sure how he would be out of concussion protocol already, but whatever works. [NHL]