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* Twenty-year-old Wyatt Johnston became the youngest player in NHL history to score a series-clinching goal in a Game 7, sending the Stars to their second Conference Final in four years.
* Dallas is set to face off against Vegas in a rematch of the 2020 Western Conference Final, where the Stars earned a 4-1 series win en route to their first Stanley Cup Final in 20 years.
* The Conference Finals are set to begin Thursday when the Hurricanes welcome the Panthers to PNC Arena. The puck drops at 8:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast nationally on TNT in the U.S. as well as on Sportsnet, CBC and TVA Sports in Canada.
via the NHL PR department,
Competitive Balance Sets Up New-Look Conference Finals
* Florida became the 15th different team to reach the final four of the Stanley Cup Playoffs since the League expanded to 31 (now 32) teams in 2017-18. They became the fifth team in the NHL’s modern era (since 1943-44) to win more than one series after entering as the lowest-ranked team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, joining the 2021 Canadiens (won three rounds, lost in SCF), 2017 Predators (won three rounds, lost in SCF), 2010 Canadiens (won two rounds, lost in CF) and 1989 Blackhawks (won two rounds; lost in CF).
Dallas defeated the Seattle Kraken 2-1 tonight to win their series 4-3.
The Stars will face the Vegas Golden Knights beginning Friday night.
Below watch the game highlights and then the handshakes.
NEW YORK (May 15, 2023) – The National Hockey League today announced the dates, starting times and television coverage for the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals. The Eastern Conference Final will feature the Florida Panthers versus the Carolina Hurricanes and will begin on Thursday in Raleigh. The Western Conference Final will feature the Dallas Stars versus the Vegas Golden Knights and will begin on Friday in Las Vegas. All times listed are ET and subject to change.
The scene is set in Dallas for game 7 between the Stars and Seattle Kraken.
The winner moves on to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference Final.
Watch on ESPN, Sportsnet or TVAS. Puck drop is just after 8pm ET.
The comment section belongs to you.
from Anthony Trudeau of The Daily Faceoff,
The Seattle Kraken sent their series with the Dallas Stars to Game 7 by winning 6-3 at home on Saturday. The NHL’s newest team has taken it to more talented squads throughout their first postseason and finds itself just a game from the Western Conference Finals. ESPN’s Ryan S. Clark joined host Frank Seravalli on Monday’s edition of Daily Faceoff Live to explain how the Kraken have brought Dallas to the brink.
Frank Seravalli: Ryan you’ve been at all the Seattle home games so far in the playoffs, you’ve watched this team up close and personal, and you’ve seen them save their season yet again. Over the weekend they forced a Game 7 against the Dallas Stars. Every time I have thought the Stars or the Avalanche were in a great position to win their series with Seattle, the Kraken stay right there in their way. Now, they have another opportunity to win Game 7. What do you like about the Seattle Kraken and how they have adjusted to the different pace that the Stars have from Colorado?
Ryan Clark: It has been just how layered and multi-functional they are. We’ve talked so much this postseason about teams that not only have depth, but have depth that can adapt to different situations. Think about what the Kraken did in Game 6, that’s a really strong example. In Games 4 and 5, that was a team that really struggled to get to the low slot and those high danger areas. The result was they were held below their 5-on-5 averages in shots, scoring chances, high-danger scoring chances.
from Bob Duff of Detroit Hockey Now,
What Does His Detroit Future Hold?
The Red Wings will be expecting a similar contribution from Perron in 2023-24. He’ll be counted on for another 20-goal season and figures to be part of the first power-play unit, utilizing his impressive one-timer to capitalize during man-advantage situations. Perron was second on the club in goals (24) points (56), and power-play points (22). He led the Red Wings with 16 power-play assists.
From Perron’s point of view, he wants his Detroit future to include a playoff appearance following next season.
from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,
The Stanley Cup drought has reached 30 years in the True North Strong and Free, with no end in sight. The Maple Leafs inevitably wilt in the heat of the playoffs, their young, expensive and talented core disinclined to battle the way you have to battle come playoff time.
The Oilers have the two best players in the game but without vintage 2015 Carey Price goaltending, they can’t get over the hump.
The rest, at this point, are wannabes — the Canadiens included. The Canucks have a mess at the top, the Flames will regret the Matthew Tkachuk trade and the departure of Johnny Gaudreau forever, the Jets have a sick dressing-room culture, the Senators can’t quite seem to get there and the Canadiens may have a shot in three or four years, but they’re in rebuilding mode 30 years after they won Canada’s last Stanley Cup.
As of this writing, we’re left with three Sun Belt teams (two of them transplanted from the north years ago) and two expansion teams — one of them the Seattle Kraken, a team that has yet to celebrate its second birthday.
This is Bettman’s vision. The only thing that could possibly make him happier would be to see his beloved Arizona Coyotes play a Cup final in front of 5,000 people at Mullett Arena on the Arizona State campus.
from Cathal Kelly of the Globe and Mail,
Eventually, they all get to the same place. They dislike the pressure. They resent the questions. They hate the media and the daily grind. They despise that one loose comment can become a week of headlines.
They start snapping or giving non-answers or become permanently surly. Recall Mike Babcock’s constant sneer near the end.
Their look grows vacant. They aren’t having any fun.
Because the Leafs have tried everything else, how about trying fun?...
You know what can be done by the Toronto Maple Leafs? Anything they want. Stop thinking like some podunk club from the back end of nowhere and start thinking like Manchester United. If everyone agrees you are “a different beast,” act that way.
The Leafs spent seven years acting like things happen to them – good things (they win the draft lottery) and bad things (the refs job them in the playoffs again). Before this all falls apart, try making things happen for a change.
A new centreman isn’t going to change much. A new leader might.
NEW YORK (May 14, 2023) – The Dallas Stars and Seattle Kraken will contest Game 7 of their Second Round series on Monday, May 15 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The winner will advance to the Western Conference Final to face the winner of the Vegas Golden Knights-Edmonton Oilers series.
National rightsholders ESPN (U.S.), Sportsnet (Canada) and TVAS (Canada) will broadcast Monday's game, beginning at 8 p.m., ET.
from David Dwork of The Hockey News,
There is no question that what the Florida Panthers have done during the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs has been remarkable.
Florida was the last team to punch its ticket to the postseason, entering the tournament as the eight-seed in a stacked Eastern Conference.
It was a hot goalie, 30-year-old AHL veteran Alex Lyon, who stepped in for a sick Sergei Bobrovsky and helped carry Florida into the playoffs over the final weeks of the regular season.
Bobrovsky has since reclaimed his net and is playing some of the best hockey of his career, a career that includes of pair of Vezina Trophy wins.
His clutch play in big moments have propelled the Panthers to the conference finals. Bobrovsky was particularly brilliant during Game 5 in Toronto, turning aside 50 shots in the series-clinching victory.
“Bob was unbelievable once again,” Panthers captain Sasha Barkov said afterward. “He gave us a chance.”
During the five games against Toronto, Bobrovsky stopped 164 of 174 shots for a .942 save percentage to go with a tidy 1.89 goals against average.
Those are elite numbers.
I am off to see my ophthalmologist to receive a shot in my eye which should help clear up some liquid behind my retina, which has caused blurry vision.
I have no idea how long I will be gone or any down time but I will update/post when able to do so.
update 11:50am, Back home, the procedure was painless thanks to eye numbing drops. Will have to take it a bit easy today.
Thanks everyone for your concern.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
The hike to the peak is never a constant ascent. It comes with dips and detours, dashed hopes and the odd switchback.
It’s a merciless process, one that doesn’t care when the climb began or what spring you had planned on planting your flag.
In a season where the path to ol’ Stanley was wide open, the Edmonton Oilers ran out of oxygen before the halfway point, losing their Round 2 series to the Vegas Golden Knights in six games. The longer this series went — culminating in a 5-2 clincher on Sunday — the clearer it became that this version of the Oilers was not yet the one.
“It feels like every team that wins, that goes on a stretch of winning, kind of experiences this,” began captain Connor McDavid, valiant with 20 points in 12 playoff games this spring. “Obviously, it's not what you want to do, not what you want to feel. That being said, I really feel that you’ve got to go through some of this to win. I think we've seen that all the way through.
“Let's hope it’s the last time.”...
“It's tough to find words right now,” Draisaitl said in the post-game dressing room. “When you start a season, you're in it to win it. We're at that stage, and if you don't complete that then just feels like a failure. Like a wasted year, almost. So that hurts.
“I’ve got to take a lot of ownership myself. I wasn’t good tonight.”
* The Golden Knights clinched their fourth appearance in the NHL’s final four of the Stanley Cup Playoffs since their inaugural season in 2017-18, tied with the Lightning for the most in the NHL through that span.
* Jonathan Marchessault scored the first natural hat trick by a Golden Knights player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and became just the ninth skater in NHL history with a three-goal period in a potential series-clinching game.
* The Golden Knights now await their Western Conference Final opponent as the Stars and Kraken will conclude the Second Round with a Game 7 on Monday night.
The Golden Knights defeated the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 tonight to win their series 4-2.
VGK will face the winner of the Dallas/Seattle game 7 (8pm ET Monday). Vegas will host the first 2 games of the WCF.
Below watch Marchessault's natural hat trick, handshakes and highlights.
Game 6 in Edmonton tonight. Oilers need a win to play in game 7 against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.
Watch on ESPN, CBC, Sportsnet and TVAS. Puck drops at 10:07pm ET.
McDavid after the morning skate.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
...the irony is, just when you think the conspiracists might be running out of code, out comes an NHL TV arm that decrees the only game to be played on Sunday night should begin at 10 p.m. ET.
Why, you ask?
Here’s where I get to add to the intrigue:
It’s an ESPN game, and even though my bosses at Sportsnet paid the equivalent of the GDP of a small European nation for the rights to televise games like this one — with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl fighting for their playoff lives — well, the Red Sox and Cardinals are playing on Sunday Night Baseball, you see, a game that starts at 7 p.m. ET.
Why not use ESPN2, you ask?
“Tsk, tsk,” the ESPN execs said. “We’ve got American Cornhole League at 9 p.m.”
That’s right, Canada.
It’s the ACL SuperHole IV, Prelim No. 4, live from Fort Worth, Texas, that has Sunday evening booked on The Deuce.
You folks out East who want to see what a real “core” player looks like when the chips are down? Ya, you’ll have to stay up past midnight to see the third period.
Of course, Western Conference fans and media aren’t immune to the theory that Gil Stein never lost his seat as NHL commissioner, and was still secretly pulling the strings from his compound in Arizona before his passing last year.
6am in my early years.
In my youth I used to walk up and down the street singing who wants to play baseball.
On more days than not, it was my mom coming out the house screaming I do, I do.
I miss those days with my mom.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
- There is almost universal celebration around the NHL when the Maple Leafs get eliminated from the playoffs. like the rich guy took one on the chin. But at the same time, there is significant regard for Dubas as a GM. It didn’t necessarily start out that way when he took over from Lou Lamoriello. But his reputation has grown greatly over time.
- Right now, if given a choice of the roster and payrolls of Top 6 players on Jersey, Buffalo, Ottawa or the Leafs, which team are you taking?
- The trade Kenny Holland made for Mattias Eklholm did two important things for the Edmonton Oilers. It put a solid big-time defenceman on their back end and promoted young Evan Bouchard for power play time — with Tyson Barrie dealt to Nashville. Bouchard has a giant shot from the point and leads all playoff defencemen in scoring, just one point behind Draisaitl and two behind Connor McDavid.
- This is all you need to know about the team’s team that is the Carolina Hurricanes: Their best player in the playoffs has been defenceman Jaccob Slavin. And adding puck-moving defencemen Brent Burns and Shayne Gostisbehere was great work by GM Don Waddell.
* The Kraken improved to 2-0 in potential elimination games this postseason and forced a Game 7 against the Stars thanks in part to goals from rookies Matty Beniers and Tye Kartye.
* Joe Pavelski continued to roll by scoring his eighth goal of the 2023 Second Round, establishing a franchise record for the most in a single series.
* The Golden Knights will visit Rogers Place for Game 6 of their series against the Oilers with a chance to advance to the Western Conference Final.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
- It does seem somewhat far-fetched, does it not, this scenario we tweeted midweek under which, A) Toronto general manager Kyle Dubas would leave the Maple Leafs on an expiring contract to take over the Penguins; B) He would bring coach Sheldon Keefe with him; C) That, in turn, would leave Mike Sullivan without a job; D) Which would allow the two-time Stanley Cup winner with ties to Chris Drury to take over behind the bench for the Rangers?
I would acknowledge that would appear to be in the Buster Douglas-Mike Tyson realm of possibility, but at the same time I should tell you that I received an unsolicited text from a player late Thursday who said the rumor “was getting pretty loud.”...
- ... Pietrangelo’s blatantly obvious attempt to injure the playoffs’ leading goal scorer should have resulted in the same four-game suspension that was levied against Adam Graves in 1992 when he chopped Mario Lemieux across the gloves.
We are repeatedly told that injuries do not influence punishment, so it should have made no difference that No. 66 sustained a broken bone in his hand and that Draisaitl escaped harm.
Instead, this was simply another example of the Department of Player Safety failing to protect players. Who needs stars, anyway?
- Seems to me that GM Tom Fitzgerald’s offseason mandate in New Jersey is crystal as the Devils attempt to make the jump from contender to champion, and that is to acquire a franchise goaltender.
And there is likely going to be one available in Winnipeg, with perennial Vezina contender Connor Hellebuyck one year away from free agency and unlikely to sign an extension after seven seasons with the Jets.
more on each of the above topic plus other notes too...
The Dallas Stars are in Seattle to face the Kraken tonight and with a win will advance to the Western Conference Final.
Seattle with a win will force a game 7 in Dallas on Monday at 8pm ET.
Puck drop tonight is just after 7pm and can be watched on ESPN, Sportsnet and TVAS.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Carter Mazur keeps making the right impressions for the Detroit Red Wings.
In an admittedly brief stint this spring with the Grand Rapids Griffins, the prospect from Jackson averaged a point a game. On Friday, in his first game at the World Championship, he set up the tying goal to help propel the U.S. to a 4-1 victory over host Finland at Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland. Mazur is among multiple Wings at the event, and faced off in the group state opener against a roster that featured veteran Red Wings defenseman Olli Määttä.
The U.S., which has Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde as part of the coaching staff, scored four unanswered goals.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
The Florida Panthers’ unexpected run to the Eastern Conference finals has benefitted the Detroit Red Wings ever so slightly.
The Panthers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 Friday in Game 5 of their second round series, on Nick Cousins’ goal at 15:32 of overtime. Florida advances to face Carolina in the conference finals.
That means the Panthers’ first-round pick, which was traded to Montreal, falls from 17th (based on their position in the standings) to the bottom four (anywhere from 29-32).
from Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Now,
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