Game 1 of the Western Conference final did not disappoint. High-flying offenses trading chances, defenders struggling to get back, goalies performing less than stellarly. The Edmonton Oilers nearly completed another four-goal comeback, coming within one goal, but the Colorado Avalanche sealed it with an empty-netter for an 8-6 final.
Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final, on the other hand, will disappoint. Maybe it won’t disappoint the general hockey public, but it will ruin New York Islanders fans. The Tampa Bay Lightning will visit the New York Rangers tonight in the series opener. Just kill me.
- Kevin Kurz works with a goalie expert to break down video of what makes Ilya Sorokin elite. [The Athletic]
- Dan and Mike delve into the hell in which we collectively will live for the next two weeks and really the next four weeks because the winner of the Eastern Conference final of course plays for the Stanley Cup. [LHH Islanders Anxiety]
- Voting has opened for the 2021-22 Bob Nystrom Award. [Islanders]
- This (Yester)Day in Isles History: “Casey Cizikas, with the game on his stick!” Cizikas intercepts a bad Jeremy Lauzon pass and sends himself on an overtime-winning breakaway, scoring a Game 2 win and 1-1 series tie against the Boston Bruins (2021).
- So many memories from last year’s run. Man, I miss making these memories.
Playoffs and Elsewhere
- The Avs may have won, but Darcy Kuemper left the game due to injury and had to be replaced by Pavel Francouz, who did not play splendidly in relief. [NHL]
- Nathan MacKinnon tried to downplay the fact that it is him against Connor McDavid. [ESPN]
- But he did acknowledge that they will need to play with the puck and stop him as a team. [NHL]
- Copper & Blue picked their West final winners, and they split evenly between the team they like and the team they don’t like. [C&B]
- St. Louis Blues goalie Jordan Binnington copped to throwing that water bottle at Nazem Kadri, confirming the obvious. [ESPN]
- Denver Broncos legend John Elway joined the NHL on TNT crew before the game last night. It was riveting. [NHL]
- The Blues don’t intend to break up the band, including captain Ryan O’Reilly and never-actually-rescinded-his-trade-request Vladimir Tarasenko, both of whom have one year remaining on their contracts. One more ride, it sounds like. [NHL]
- Despite some uncertain words in his outgoing media availability, the Winnipeg Jets expect to keep Mark Scheifele this summer. [NHL]
- The Montréal Canadiens appear to be working on a deal to extend Martin St. Louis as coach. [NHL]
- Habs GM Kent Hughes also hopes to learn more about Carey Price’s status before free agency opens on July 13. [Sportsnet]
- A how-to on covering the prospects of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Or what not to do. [PPP]