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from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
The United States got goals from Cutter Gauthier, Alex Tuch and Rocco Grimaldi in the final 10:09 of the third period Saturday and defeated Denmark 3-0 to remain undefeated at the World Championship in Tampere, Finland.
The U.S. is one of two unblemished teams in the tournament at 5-0, in first place in Group A with 15 points.
Tuch (Buffalo) assisted on the other two goals. Casey DeSmith (Pittsburgh) made 22 saves.
Detroit Red Wings prospect Carter Mazur had no points and four shots on goal in 12:05.
from Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Now,
from Ben Gotz of the Las Vegas Review-Journal,
Bruce Cassidy pumped his fist on the bench as the announced crowd of 18,271 at T-Mobile Arena went wild and Brett Howden and Adin Hill were mobbed on separate areas of the ice.
The Golden Knights coach has described his group as “imperfect” at different times during the playoffs. They’re not without faults. What they are is deep, resilient and committed to winning hockey games by any mean.
That continued in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final against the Dallas Stars on Friday. The Knights allowed the first goal for the ninth time in 12 postseason games. They blew two third-period leads. They still emerged with a 4-3 victory after Howden’s goal 1:35 into overtime.
The Knights continued to stare adversity in the face and fire right back. Their six comeback wins in the playoffs lead the NHL, and they’re 2-0 in overtime.
“Sometimes you have those seasons where you don’t overcome things,” Cassidy said. “We have that group that will this year.”
Watch the game highlights below.
* One more unsung hero has emerged in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Brett Howden scored the third-fastest playoff overtime goal in franchise history to help Vegas take a 1-0 series lead in the Western Conference Final.
* After yet another Conference Finals series opened with extra time, the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs became the fifth in NHL history to feature overtime in both Game 1s in the round before the Final.
* Coming off of the sixth-longest contest in NHL history that was Game 1, the Panthers and Hurricanes will meet for Game 2 and can become the first Conference Finals/Semifinals series in 46 years to require overtime in each of its first two contests.
from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
"It was frustrating," Rasmussen said during his season-ending Zoom call with media last month. "It was tough with where things were at with the team and how well everyone was playing. To be removed from that was really tough. It was upsetting to watch and not be out there with the guys, tough to watch some losses and games where I would have liked to be a part of.”
The Wings were 7-15-2 after the date of Rasmussen's injury....
But losing Rasmussen, and the versatility he’s developed in his repertoire, didn’t help.
"That stung," coach Derek Lalonde said of Rasmussen's absence. "Ras was a huge part of our team. He was part of our top-six (forwards), part of our penalty kill, and that physical push back we talked about that we missed, he was a big part of it.
"We're excited to get a healthy Ras back next season."
Rasmussen found some chemistry playing with veteran forward Andrew Copp during the season, with both players capable of playing a rugged, stifling defensive game, while contributing effectively in other areas. Copp felt the Wings weren't the same without the 6-foot-6 Rasmussen in the lineup.
from Jesse Granger and Saad Yousuf of The Athletic,
When the puck drops for Game 1 of the Western Conference finals between Vegas and Dallas on Friday night at T-Mobile Arena, Stars coach Pete DeBoer will find himself in an oddly familiar role as he takes his place on the visitors bench.
It wasn’t that long ago he stood behind the opposite bench in that arena, wearing a Golden Knights lapel. It also hasn’t been that long since he coached against Vegas in the playoffs.
DeBoer’s history with the Golden Knights is long and complicated.
It started as a rivalry in 2017, when the upstart Vegas franchise quickly emerged as an adversary for DeBoer’s Sharks atop the Pacific Division. San Jose was an aging but talented group looking for a title before its window closed. The Golden Knights came out of nowhere to win the series.
Playoff matchups in back-to-back seasons stoked that rivalry, culminating with a fiery seven-game series in 2019 in which DeBoer and then-Vegas coach Gerard Gallant traded verbal barbs that were nearly as fierce as the play on the ice. DeBoer came out on top in the most dramatic way possible, with San Jose erasing a three-goal deficit late in the third period to win in overtime.
Less than nine months later, DeBoer was coaching the Golden Knights.
from Mark Lazerus of The Athletic,
It’s all funny now, now that there’s a five-story photo of Sebastian Aho on a North Hills office building, now that the parking lots — $40 a car, thank you — are filling up two hours before the game with tailgaters, now that the very foundation of PNC Arena shakes as 18,680 towel-waving fans scream deliriously before puck drop, now that the Carolina Hurricanes are in the Eastern Conference final for the second time in five years.
It was slightly less funny at the time.
Like when Paul Maurice looked out the window and realized the Hurricanes were landing in Greensboro instead of Raleigh, because the pilot thought the team still played there. When, in Maurice’s words, “We just about killed the pig mascot,” as Stormy’s performer had a seizure as he waited to burst out of the Zamboni. When the Hurricanes had a practice rink that didn’t have showers. When a freak snowstorm in the team’s first season left the Greensboro Coliseum empty. Well, almost empty.
“The ref comes over, says, ‘Paul, you can’t talk like that because everybody can hear you,’” Maurice recalled with a laugh.
That was the Carolina Hurricanes in the late 1990s, when Maurice was coaching the relocated Hartford Whalers instead of his current team, the Florida Panthers. Those Canes were garage-league. Rinky-dink. Mickey Mouse. A gong show. Choose your favorite derisive hockey term, and it probably fits. And yes, they were more than a little embarrassing — all the things that the hockey bluebloods in Canada, the American northeast and the upper Midwest sniff through clenched jaws when talking about “small markets” and “non-traditional markets” and “sunbelt teams” during their evening brandies.
So amid all the rending of garments and gnashing of teeth following Toronto’s loss to Florida, and Edmonton’s loss to Vegas, and New Jersey’s loss to Carolina in this year’s playoffs, there was a clear strain of hockey classism. A down-the-nose condescension in the guise of performative concern for the league, that having four southern cities comprise the NHL’s final four was bad for the league, bad for hockey-related revenue, bad for television.
via the Toronto Maple Leafs,
Brendan Shanahan, President and Alternate Governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced today that the club has decided to part ways with General Manager Kyle Dubas. Dubas's contract is set to expire on June 30 and he will not return as Toronto's General Manager next season.
"I would like to thank Kyle for his unwavering dedication over these last nine seasons with the organization, including his last five as General Manager. Kyle fostered a great culture within our dressing room and staff, and consistently pushed to make our team better season over season. We wish Kyle and his family the best moving forward and thank him for his valuable contributions."
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will meet with coach Joel Quenneville once the season ends to review his status, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reports.
Dreger reported earlier this month there is a "strong possibility" of an NHL return this off-season for Quenneville, who still requires clearance from the league.
The 64-year-old has been linked to the New York Rangers vacancy after the team parted ways with Gerard Gallant following their playoff exit.
from Kurt Dusterberg at the NHL's website,
Matthew Tkachuk scored with 13 seconds remaining in the fourth overtime, and the Florida Panthers won their seventh straight on the road in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, 3-2 against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final at PNC Arena on Thursday....
It was the sixth-longest game in Stanley Cup Playoffs history (79:47 of OT length), and the longest in franchise history for each team.
"Probably my favorite [goal] so far in my life," Tkachuk said. "Big to not let it go to five overtimes there. [Sergei Bobrovsky] played great, everybody followed. Total team effort for two games, basically."
Bobrovsky made 63 saves, and Aleksander Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers, the second wild card from the East.
Florida is 5-0 in overtime in the postseason.
"At the end of the day, both teams spent what they had; that's a huge cost for both teams," Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. "There were pieces of that game that both teams owned and looked exactly like they're supposed to look."
Frederik Andersen made 57 saves, and Seth Jarvis had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes, the No. 1 seed in the Metropolitan Division....
"It's the worst way to lose, there's no way around it," Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "A lot of ups and downs in that game. At the end of the day, it's one game."
Below. watch the game highlights.
* Matthew Tkachuk scored with 13 seconds remaining in quadruple overtime to lift the Panthers to victory in the sixth-longest game in NHL history.
* Sergei Bobrovsky made 63 saves and became just the third goaltender on record with 50 or more saves in consecutive playoff games.
* The Golden Knights and Stars are ready to renew their rivalry, meeting in the penultimate round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time in four years.
With 13 seconds left in the 4th overtime, Matthew Tkachuk scored to give the Florida Panthers a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.
More in the morning but in the meantime catch the game winner and the highlights below.
Best of luck to both teams.
via Sportsnet's YouTube page,
Paul Maurice and Rod Brind’Amour have a long history that began in Carolina when Maurice was a Head Coach and Brind’Amour was a player. Now they face off in the Eastern Conference Final.
“Honestly, there’s times I wake up, I don’t know what day it is,” Jones says, laughing. “There’s just been multiple meetings and getting together with the group that’s going to make this thing happen, getting prepared for the press conference, getting acclimated to a new office, getting prepared to go and do the conference final, which I’m getting on a plane now to head to Florida where our house is.
“Now I’m organizing a move at the same time and getting ready to transition from one job to the next. There’s a lot to manage.”
-Keith Jones, the new GM for the Philadelphia Flyers. Michael Russo of The Athletic has much more ($).
from Amalie Benjamin of the NHL's website,
These are four teams that don't always get the headlines and the publicity, that don't come from traditional hockey markets, that have everything to gain from the spot in which they find themselves, here in the Eastern and Western Conference Finals. Combined, the Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights have won the Stanley Cup twice, with the Hurricanes winning it in 2006 and the Stars in 1999.
They will begin the next step of trying to make some new history -- and some new fans -- when they start off the conference finals, with the Panthers and Hurricanes playing Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final on Thursday at PNC Arena in Raleigh (8 p.m. ET; TNT, CBC, TVAS, SN) and the Stars and Golden Knights playing Game 1 of the Western Conference Final on Friday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (8:30 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+, CBC, TVAS, SN).
"A deeper playoff run will draw attention to the unique players that we have that you can come and enjoy watching play," Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. "What happens in these runs, it's not just about getting excited because of the spectacle of playoff hockey. You want to get the connection to the home crowd too.
"There'll be a whole bunch of people who are going to buy (Panthers forward) Sam Bennett jerseys based on what they saw. And then I can say that about a bunch of different guys."
from Ken Wiebe of Sportsnet,
The road to this point of the Stanley Cup Playoffs has been an interesting one, to say the least, with the Panthers relishing the role of underdog in knocking off the top-seeded and record-setting Boston Bruins in the seventh game in the opening round, then stunning the hockey world once again by ousting the Toronto Maple Leafs in five games, moving Maurice into the fourth conference final of his coaching career.
For the Hurricanes, it’s mostly been a business-like approach in knocking off the New York Islanders in six games and New Jersey Devils in five.
This is a group that’s enjoyed plenty of regular-season success, had a taste of the playoffs over the past few seasons and was supposed to be ready to take the next step, at least until an Achilles injury to Max Pacioretty and a torn ACL for Andrei Svechnikov sent the two high-scoring wingers to the sidelines, reducing them to the role of spectator.
As if that wasn’t enough to overcome, fellow forward Teuvo Teravainen suffered a hand injury in Game 2 of the opening-round series with the Islanders, taking another potent weapon out of the Hurricanes lineup.
Instead of wilting under the pressure and leaning on the excuse of not having enough offensive catalysts to persevere, the injuries seemed to have galvanized the Hurricanes. What is surprising is that the team is scoring at an even higher rate, all the while playing a structured style that has made it difficult for the opponent to penetrate.
As Maurice pointed out to reporters in Florida earlier this week, there are certainly similarities when it comes to the style these two teams play.
5 1/2 minutes to watch.
from Dom Luszczyszyn of The Athletic,
...you’ll find the NHL’s top 50 unrestricted free agents with player cards showing future trajectories and value for the most intriguing ones. For those who need it, an explainer can be found at the bottom of the post.
Strong Support Players
The best forward available in the 2023 UFA class is Tyler Bertuzzi. Yeah. Not the sexiest list of marquee names at the top this year. Any team looking for a game changer at the top of the lineup won’t find one.
Bertuzzi, though, is a game changer in the middle of a contending lineup. The perfect second-line winger that can score the greasy goals necessary to come out ahead in a playoff atmosphere. The Bruins may have lost in the opening round, but that was through no fault of Bertuzzi’s, whose first taste of playoff action was a huge success. He scored five goals and 10 points in seven games and looked like a beast on every shift.
That’s not unexpected given his history with the Red Wings where he’s always been a strong play-driver and scored 62 points in 68 games last season. After a rough start to the year, he carried that over once he joined the Bruins, a predictable outcome considering how much offense Bertuzzi was creating.
The rub with Bertuzzi is that his play without the puck can be his undoing. His defensive impacts are below average and it’s a big reason why the Bruins were heavily outscored and outchanced with Bertuzzi on the ice at five-on-five in the playoffs. That’s what’s keeping him from being a true top-line player, but he’s still a great fit in any top six.
many more ($) names
Talk, saves and goals.
from Bob Duff of Detroit Hockey Now,
Marco Kasper’s NHL debut for the Detroit Red Wings ended in rave reviews and with a broken kneecap. He suffered the injury while crashing knee first into the boards during a game at Toronto’s Scotiaback Arena.
Even though it was just a one-game audition, Kasper was leaving his veteran NHL teammates suitably impressed.
“Seeing Marco play that game and practice with us, it seems like there’s a lot of good players coming that would help us, help us a lot,” Red Wings defenseman Olli Maatta said.
Reports out of Austria are providing indications that Kasper’s rehab from his season-ending injury are also providing positive returns.
The 19-year-old center, the eighth selection of the 2022 NHL entry draft by Detroit, is already off crutches less than six weeks after suffering the injury as he progressively regains his health. Kasper is working out in Klagenfurt with many of the players from his old club....
He’s reporting no pain from the injury, only stiffness in the movements of the leg as he recovers full use of his knee. Kasper is focusing on upper body workouts to build up his strength as he aims toward earning a spot with the Red Wings in training camp next fall. As his progression continues, projections are that Kasper will be back on skates within a month.
original post was on 5/16/23 at 10:17am KK members' second round picks.
Let's see your Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals picks. If you did not participate in any of the earlier rounds this is the time to show your expertise.
* The puck drops for Game 1 of the 2023 Eastern Conference Final between the Hurricanes and Panthers tonight at 8 p.m. ET on TNT, Sportsnet, CBC and TVA Sports.
* The Panthers, who entered the postseason as the lowest-seeded team, aim to match the second-longest road win streak in Stanley Cup Playoffs history when they take on the NHL’s second-best team from the regular season.
* The Hurricanes, who enter the penultimate round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with home-ice advantage for the third time, eye their first win in the Conference Finals since 2006 – a postseason that concluded with the franchise’s first and only Stanley Cup.
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