Rangers fans must be feeling it today. It’s a feeling we know too well, having an Eastern Conference Final game snagged away at the last minute by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Although to put a little more sting into it, the Lightning have now done it twice to the Rangers in one series, and twice in three games. The same guy got it, too. Ondrej Palat, both times.
We’re not yet out of the woods. The Lightning once fell behind 2-0 in the conference final to Barry Trotz’s Capitals. They won Games 3, 4, and 5 to take a 3-2 series lead and didn’t score another goal over the final two games of the series. They have now replicated the first clause of that sentence, and they’re playing a goalie who could help them replicate the second clause.
But back in 2018, the Lightning weren’t champions who knew how to close it out. Now, they are champions who know—perhaps too well—how to close it out. And they have two chances to do it, the first one back home.
- The Islanders yesterday announced that John Gruden and Jim Hillier have been relieved of their assistant coaching duties. Lane is going with his own staff. [Islanders | Newsday]
- Zach Parise is your winner of the 2021-22 Bob Nystrom Award. [Islanders]
- A great story not centralized around the Islanders but in which they played a supporting role: Back in 1975, the Islanders and Black Hawks played a best-of-three in the preliminary round. Game 2 was supposed to be in Chicago, but Led Zeppelin said otherwise. [LBC]
- The Athletic is conducting a fan survey. It’s twenty questions and covers everything from Trotz to Lambert to Josh Bailey. [The Athletic]
- This (Yester)Day in Isles History: The Islanders dominated Game 6 at home to finish off the Boston Bruins (2021).
One year ago, my second daughter was born and the #Isles advanced to the NHL’s Final Four. It was a great day! pic.twitter.com/DIIhMjlrgN— (@IslesFix) June 9, 2022
- Ondrej Palat scored with 1:50 on the clock to give the Lightning Game 5, and now the Rangers are on the brink and on the road. [NHL]
- The Rangers are familiar with that particular situation, though perhaps not against the champs. [NHL]
- The Lightning, meanwhile, continue to “do whatever it takes to win” playoff games and in any fashion or style. [NHL]
- All this time off is good for the Colorado Avalanche, giving Nazem Kadri and Andrew Cogliano time to heal. They just might play in the Stanley Cup Final. [NHL]
- The Edmonton Oilers hope to learn from their Western Conference Final loss. [NHL]
- They hardly knew ye: Evander Kane signaled that this was the end of the line in Edmonton. Who could they get to replace him? [Copper & Blue]
- On the other hand, it looks like interim coach Jay Woodcroft will soon be head coach Jay Woodcroft. [TSN]
- The Toronto Maple Leafs moved on from goaltending coach Steve Briere, who spent seven seasons with the club. [Sportsnet]
- The Leafs and Oilers could both use a cheap goalie. Here are some options for them. [Sportsnet]
- No, but really. The Oilers need a goalie. [Sportsnet]
- Jim Rutherford will do the hiring for Bruce Boudreau’s staff. He also still doesn’t know what his plan is for J.T. Miller. [Sportsnet]
- Bruce Cassidy was surprised when Don Sweeney showed up at his house to fire him after telling him two weeks earlier in exit meetings that he was safe. [NBC Boston]
- But Cassidy surely won’t be out of work long; there are a number of NHL teams interested in him. [NHL]
- In their coaching search, the Philadelphia Flyers have gone for an eclectic lineup—some good names, some not-so-good names. [BSH]