PHT Morning Skate: How Battle of Alberta has changed; Zibanejad’s impact

Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from the NHL and around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.

• It’s been 31 years since the last Battle of Alberta playoff series. How has the rivalry changed over the years? [Sportsnet]

• How will the Flames go about slowing down Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl? [NHL.com]

• Gerard Gallant has managed to get the very best out of Mika Zibanejad for the Rangers. [NY Post]

• How well do the Hurricanes knows the Rangers? Well, six of them used to play in the Big Apple. [News and Observer]

• What makes Andrew Brunette the “perfect guy” to coach the Panthers? [Florida Hockey Now]

• Barry Trotz reportedly interviewed for the open Jets head coaching job. Would he be a good fit back home? [Daily Faceoff]

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info]

Alex Killorn had quite the fan club in the AMALIE Arena crowd during Game 1. [Tampa Bay Times]

• Regarding Jason Spezza‘s future, it’s Toronto or retirement. [TSN]

• With salary cap hell coming, how should the Wild go about their future? [Zone Coverage]

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info

The Second Round of the 2021-22 Stanley Cup Playoffs begins on Tuesday, May 17. The final four teams in the Eastern Conference are the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, New York Rangers, and Tampa Bay Lightning. Out in the Western Conference it will be the Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, and St. Louis Blues.

The winners of the four Second Round series will meet in the 2022 Conference Finals.

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Second Round – Eastern Conference

FLORIDA PANTHERS v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (TBL leads 1-0)

Game 1 – May 17: Lightning 4, Panthers 1
Game 2 – May 19: Lightning at Panthers, 7 p.m. ET (TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
Game 3 – May 22: Panthers at Lightning, 1:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports)
Game 4 – May 23: Panthers at Lightning, 7 p.m. ET (TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Game 5 – May 25: Lightning at Panthers, TBD
*Game 6 – May 27: Panthers at Lightning, TBD
*Game 7 – May 29: Lightning at Panthers, TBD

NEW YORK RANGERS v. CAROLINA HURRICANES
Game 1 – May 18: Rangers at Hurricanes, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVA Sports)
Game 2 – May 20: Rangers at Hurricanes, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVA Sports)
Game 3 – May 22: Hurricanes at Rangers, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, Sportsnet, SN360, TVA Sports)
Game 4 – May 24: Hurricanes at Rangers, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVA Sports)
*Game 5 – May 26: Rangers at Hurricanes, TBD
*Game 6 – May 28: Hurricanes at Rangers, TBD
*Game 7 – May 30: Rangers at Hurricanes, TBD

* if necessary
TBD – To Be Determined

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Second Round – Western Conference

COLORADO AVALANCHE v. ST. LOUIS BLUES (COL leads 1-0)
Game 1 – May 17: Avalanche 3, Blues 2 (OT)
Game 2 – May 19: Blues at Avalanche, 9:30 p.m. ET (TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
Game 3 – May 21: Avalanche at Blues, 8 p.m. ET (TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
Game 4 – May 23: Avalanche at Blues, 9:30 p.m. ET (TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Game 5 – May 25: Blues at Avalanche, TBD
*Game 6 – May 27: Avalanche at Blues, TBD
*Game 7 – May 29: Blues at Avalanche, TBD

CALGARY FLAMES v. EDMONTON OILERS
Game 1 –
May 18: Oilers at Flames, 9:30 p.m. ET (Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports, ESPN)
Game 2 – May 20: Oilers at Flames, 10:30 p.m. ET (Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports, ESPN)
Game 3 – May 22: Flames at Oilers, 8 p.m. ET (Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports, ESPN2)
Game 4 – May 24: Flames at Oilers, 9:30 p.m. ET (Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports, ESPN)
*Game 5 – May 26: Oilers at Flames, TBD
*Game 6 – May 28: Flames at Oilers, TBD
*Game 7 – May 30: Oilers at Flames, TBD

* if necessary
TBD – To Be Determined

First Round – Eastern Conference

FLORIDA PANTHERS v. WASHINGTON CAPITALS (FLA wins series 4-2)
Game 1: Capitals 4, Panthers 2
Game 2: Panthers 5, Capitals 1
Game 3: Capitals 6, Panthers 1
Game 4: Panthers 3, Capitals 2 (OT)
Game 5: Panthers 5, Capitals 3
Game 6: Panthers 4, Capitals 3 (OT)

CAROLINA HURRICANES v. BOSTON BRUINS (CAR wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 1
Game 2: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 2
Game 3: Bruins 4, Hurricanes 2
Game 4: Bruins 5, Hurricanes 2
Game 5: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 1
Game 6: Bruins 5, Hurricanes 2
Game 7: Hurricanes 3, Bruins 2

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (TBL wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Maple Leafs 5, Lightning 0
Game 2: Lightning 5, Maple Leafs 3
Game 3: Maple Leafs 5, Lightning 2
Game 4: Lightning 7, Maple Leafs 3
Game 5: Maple Leafs 4, Lightning 3
Game 6: Lightning 4, Maple Leafs 3 (OT)
Game 7: Lightning 2, Maple Leafs 1

NEW YORK RANGERS v. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (NYR wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Penguins 4, Rangers 3 (3OT)
Game 2: Rangers 5, Penguins 2
Game 3: Penguins 7, Rangers 4
Game 4: Penguins 7, Rangers 2
Game 5: Rangers 5, Penguins 3
Game 6: Rangers 5, Penguins 3
Game 7: Rangers 4, Penguins 3 (OT)

First Round – Western Conference

COLORADO AVALANCHE v. NASHVILLE PREDATORS (COL wins series 4-0)
Game 1: Avalanche 7, Predators 2
Game 2: Avalanche 2, Predators 1 (OT)
Game 3: Avalanche 7, Predators 3
Game 4: Avalanche 5, Predators 3

CALGARY FLAMES v. DALLAS STARS (CGY wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Flames 1, Stars 0
Game 2: Stars 2, Flames 0
Game 3: Stars 4, Flames 2
Game 4: Flames 4, Stars 1
Game 5: Flames 3, Stars 1
Game 6: Stars 4, Flames 2
Game 7: Flames 3, Stars 2 (OT)

EDMONTON OILERS vs. LOS ANGELES KINGS (EDM win series 4-3)
Game 1: Kings 4, Oilers 3
Game 2: Oilers 6, Kings 0
Game 3: Oilers 8, Kings 2
Game 4: Kings 4, Oilers 0
Game 5: Kings 5, Oilers 4 (OT)
Game 6: Oilers 4, Kings 2
Game 7: Oilers 2, Kings 0

MINNESOTA WILD v. ST. LOUIS BLUES (STL wins series 4-2)
Game 1: Blues 4, Wild 0
Game 2: Wild 6, Blues 2
Game 3: Wild 5, Blues 1
Game 4: Blues 5, Wild 2
Game 5: Blues 5, Wild 2
Game 6: Blues 5, Wild 1

What is the longest overtime game in NHL playoff history?

The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs are underway and if you’re wondering what the longest overtime game in NHL playoff history is, we’ve got a list of the top 10 below.

Top 10 Longest Overtime Games in NHL Playoff History:

  1. 116:30, 6 OT – March 24, 1936: Detroit at Montreal Maroons (1936 NHL Semis)
  2. 104:46, 6 OT– April 3, 1933: Toronto vs. Boston (1933 NHL Semis)
  3. 92:01, 5 OT – May 4, 2000: Philadelphia at Pittsburgh (2000 Eastern Conference Semis)
  4. 90:27, 5 OT – August 11, 2020: Tampa Bay vs. Columbus (2020 East First Round)
  5. 80: 48, 5 OT – April 24, 2003: Anaheim at Dallas (2003 Western Conference Semis)
  6. 79:15, 4 OT – April 24, 1996: Pittsburgh at Washington (1996 Eastern Conference Quarters)
  7. 78:06, 4 OT – April 11, 2007: Vancouver vs. Dallas (2007 Western Conference Quarters)
  8. 70:18, 4 OT – March 23, 1943: Toronto at Detroit (1943 NHL Semis)
  9. 69:03, 4 OT – May 4, 2008: Dallas vs. San Jose (2008 Western Conference Semis)
  10. 68:52, 4 OT – March 28, 1930: Montreal vs. New York Rangers (1930 NHL Semis)

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info]

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Second Round – Eastern Conference

FLORIDA PANTHERS v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

Game 1 – May 17: Lightning at Panthers, 7 p.m. ET (TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
Game 2 – May 19: Lightning at Panthers, 7 p.m. ET (TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
Game 3 – May 22: Panthers at Lightning, 1:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports)
Game 4 – May 23: Panthers at Lightning, 7 p.m. ET (TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Game 5 – May 25: Lightning at Panthers, TBD
*Game 6 – May 27: Panthers at Lightning, TBD
*Game 7 – May 29: Lightning at Panthers, TBD

NEW YORK RANGERS v. CAROLINA HURRICANES
Game 1 – May 18: Rangers at Hurricanes, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVA Sports)
Game 2 – May 20: Rangers at Hurricanes, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVA Sports)
Game 3 – May 22: Hurricanes at Rangers, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, Sportsnet, SN360, TVA Sports)
Game 4 – May 24: Hurricanes at Rangers, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVA Sports)
*Game 5 – May 26: Rangers at Hurricanes, TBD
*Game 6 – May 28: Hurricanes at Rangers, TBD
*Game 7 – May 30: Rangers at Hurricanes, TBD

* if necessary
TBD – To Be Determined

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Second Round – Western Conference

COLORADO AVALANCHE v. ST. LOUIS BLUES
Game 1 – May 17: Blues at Avalanche, 9:30 p.m. ET (TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
Game 2 – May 19: Blues at Avalanche, 9:30 p.m. ET (TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
Game 3 – May 21: Avalanche at Blues, 8 p.m. ET (TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
Game 4 – May 23: Avalanche at Blues, 9:30 p.m. ET (TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Game 5 – May 25: Blues at Avalanche, TBD
*Game 6 – May 27: Avalanche at Blues, TBD
*Game 7 – May 29: Blues at Avalanche, TBD

CALGARY FLAMES v. EDMONTON OILERS
Game 1 –
May 18: Oilers at Flames, 9:30 p.m. ET (Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports, ESPN)
Game 2 – May 20: Oilers at Flames, 10:30 p.m. ET (Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports, ESPN)
Game 3 – May 22: Flames at Oilers, 8 p.m. ET (Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports, ESPN2)
Game 4 – May 24: Flames at Oilers, 9:30 p.m. ET (Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports, ESPN)
*Game 5 – May 26: Oilers at Flames, TBD
*Game 6 – May 28: Flames at Oilers, TBD
*Game 7 – May 30: Oilers at Flames, TBD

* if necessary
TBD – To Be Determined

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info

The Second Round of the 2021-22 Stanley Cup Playoffs begins on Tuesday, May 17. The final four teams in the Eastern Conference are the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, New York Rangers, and Tampa Bay Lightning. Out in the Western Conference it will be the Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, and St. Louis Blues.

The winners of the four Second Round series will meet in the 2022 Conference Finals.

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Second Round – Eastern Conference

FLORIDA PANTHERS v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (TBL leads 1-0)

Game 1 – May 17: Lightning 4, Panthers 1
Game 2 – May 19: Lightning at Panthers, 7 p.m. ET (TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
Game 3 – May 22: Panthers at Lightning, 1:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports)
Game 4 – May 23: Panthers at Lightning, 7 p.m. ET (TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Game 5 – May 25: Lightning at Panthers, TBD
*Game 6 – May 27: Panthers at Lightning, TBD
*Game 7 – May 29: Lightning at Panthers, TBD

NEW YORK RANGERS v. CAROLINA HURRICANES
Game 1 – May 18: Rangers at Hurricanes, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVA Sports)
Game 2 – May 20: Rangers at Hurricanes, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVA Sports)
Game 3 – May 22: Hurricanes at Rangers, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, Sportsnet, SN360, TVA Sports)
Game 4 – May 24: Hurricanes at Rangers, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVA Sports)
*Game 5 – May 26: Rangers at Hurricanes, TBD
*Game 6 – May 28: Hurricanes at Rangers, TBD
*Game 7 – May 30: Rangers at Hurricanes, TBD

* if necessary
TBD – To Be Determined

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Second Round – Western Conference

COLORADO AVALANCHE v. ST. LOUIS BLUES (COL leads 1-0)
Game 1 – May 17: Avalanche 3, Blues 2 [OT]
Game 2 – May 19: Blues at Avalanche, 9:30 p.m. ET (TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
Game 3 – May 21: Avalanche at Blues, 8 p.m. ET (TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
Game 4 – May 23: Avalanche at Blues, 9:30 p.m. ET (TNT, Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Game 5 – May 25: Blues at Avalanche, TBD
*Game 6 – May 27: Avalanche at Blues, TBD
*Game 7 – May 29: Blues at Avalanche, TBD

CALGARY FLAMES v. EDMONTON OILERS
Game 1 –
May 18: Oilers at Flames, 9:30 p.m. ET (Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports, ESPN)
Game 2 – May 20: Oilers at Flames, 10:30 p.m. ET (Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports, ESPN)
Game 3 – May 22: Flames at Oilers, 8 p.m. ET (Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports, ESPN2)
Game 4 – May 24: Flames at Oilers, 9:30 p.m. ET (Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports, ESPN)
*Game 5 – May 26: Oilers at Flames, TBD
*Game 6 – May 28: Flames at Oilers, TBD
*Game 7 – May 30: Oilers at Flames, TBD

* if necessary
TBD – To Be Determined

First Round – Eastern Conference

FLORIDA PANTHERS v. WASHINGTON CAPITALS (FLA wins series 4-2)
Game 1: Capitals 4, Panthers 2
Game 2: Panthers 5, Capitals 1
Game 3: Capitals 6, Panthers 1
Game 4: Panthers 3, Capitals 2 (OT)
Game 5: Panthers 5, Capitals 3
Game 6: Panthers 4, Capitals 3 (OT)

CAROLINA HURRICANES v. BOSTON BRUINS (CAR wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 1
Game 2: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 2
Game 3: Bruins 4, Hurricanes 2
Game 4: Bruins 5, Hurricanes 2
Game 5: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 1
Game 6: Bruins 5, Hurricanes 2
Game 7: Hurricanes 3, Bruins 2

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (TBL wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Maple Leafs 5, Lightning 0
Game 2: Lightning 5, Maple Leafs 3
Game 3: Maple Leafs 5, Lightning 2
Game 4: Lightning 7, Maple Leafs 3
Game 5: Maple Leafs 4, Lightning 3
Game 6: Lightning 4, Maple Leafs 3 (OT)
Game 7: Lightning 2, Maple Leafs 1

NEW YORK RANGERS v. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (NYR wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Penguins 4, Rangers 3 (3OT)
Game 2: Rangers 5, Penguins 2
Game 3: Penguins 7, Rangers 4
Game 4: Penguins 7, Rangers 2
Game 5: Rangers 5, Penguins 3
Game 6: Rangers 5, Penguins 3
Game 7: Rangers 4, Penguins 3 (OT)

First Round – Western Conference

COLORADO AVALANCHE v. NASHVILLE PREDATORS (COL wins series 4-0)
Game 1: Avalanche 7, Predators 2
Game 2: Avalanche 2, Predators 1 (OT)
Game 3: Avalanche 7, Predators 3
Game 4: Avalanche 5, Predators 3

CALGARY FLAMES v. DALLAS STARS (CGY wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Flames 1, Stars 0
Game 2: Stars 2, Flames 0
Game 3: Stars 4, Flames 2
Game 4: Flames 4, Stars 1
Game 5: Flames 3, Stars 1
Game 6: Stars 4, Flames 2
Game 7: Flames 3, Stars 2 (OT)

EDMONTON OILERS vs. LOS ANGELES KINGS (EDM win series 4-3)
Game 1: Kings 4, Oilers 3
Game 2: Oilers 6, Kings 0
Game 3: Oilers 8, Kings 2
Game 4: Kings 4, Oilers 0
Game 5: Kings 5, Oilers 4 (OT)
Game 6: Oilers 4, Kings 2
Game 7: Oilers 2, Kings 0

MINNESOTA WILD v. ST. LOUIS BLUES (STL wins series 4-2)
Game 1: Blues 4, Wild 0
Game 2: Wild 6, Blues 2
Game 3: Wild 5, Blues 1
Game 4: Blues 5, Wild 2
Game 5: Blues 5, Wild 2
Game 6: Blues 5, Wild 1

Roundtable: First Round impressions; potential Second Round upsets

Which player or team impressed you the most during the First Round?

Adam Gretz, NHL writer: Does it have to be a player from a team that won? Because Jake Oettinger was unbelievable. Not only in Game 7, but that entire series. I never would have guessed he would take over the job so quickly, especially given the way their depth chart looked at the start of the season, but that net is his now and he looks sensational. What a performance. He almost single handedly willed that team to the Second Round.

Michael Finewax, NBC Sports Edge Senior Hockey Writer/Editor: Jake Oettinger impressed me the most in the opening round. He was absolutely sensational, especially in Game 7 when he stopped 64 shots as the Flames threw everything but the kitchen sink at Dallas. It’s too bad the Stars started Oettinger in the minors to start the season, playing Braden Holtby and Anton Khudobin, as they could have finished higher than the first wild card which would have given them possibly an easier matchup.

Jake Abrahams, Managing Editor, NHL contentConnor McDavid. Considering the circumstances, he delivered arguably the best two games of his career in Games 6 and 7 with his team facing elimination against the Kings. In Game 7, with Leon Draisaitl injured and having a reduced impact, McDavid played a whopping 27:23 and factored on both goals in the 2-0 win. Time will tell how much further he can carry the Oilers.

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info]

James O’Brien, NHL writer: As great as Cale Makar was, Connor McDavid was absolutely superhuman. Deep down, I’m not sure how anyone can truly believe that he isn’t the best player in the NHL.

From a team-wide perspective, the Avalanche look like the juggernauts we expected.

Sean Leahy, NHL writer: Carter Verhaeghe showed us during the regular season he’s a very good player and that performance rolled over into the postseason with 12 points in six games against the Capitals. The loaded Lightning didn’t have room on the roster for him so the Panthers signed him and he’s blossomed with them, becoming one of their most valuable contributors in a lineup that is built to win a Stanley Cup. All of Verhaeghe’s points came at even strength with two of his goals coming via overtime.

Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

Which Second Round series has the biggest potential to end in upset?

Jake Abrahams, Managing Editor, NHL content: The Blues/Avalanche series. St. Louis has the depth and talent to hang with Colorado, especially after the Blues pretty easily dismantled the Wild to close them out (outscoring MIN 15-5 in Games 4-6). The question mark I have with the Avs is with their mental fortitude – this group has yet to prove it can overcome adversity within a series and still emerge victorious – so if Jordan Binnington can channel the best version of his game and steal one or two wins early on, maybe things will tilt in St. Louis’ favor.

James O’Brien, NHL writer: I’m going to go ahead and cancel out either team in the Battle of Florida, as that seems like cheating.

Despite a pile of serious injuries, the Rangers looked awful against the Penguins, yet advanced for the same reason I picked them to win: they’ve been really, really lucky this season. Few remaining teams maintain those elements of luck like the Rangers still do: a power play that can get hot, some dangerous high-end talent, and Igor Shesterkin. Shesterkin could only do so much last round, but absolutely has the ability to swing a series.

Most of the truly flawed playoff teams fell in the First Round, so buckle up for a fun ride.

Adam Gretz, NHL writer: I am going to take the easy way out here and say Florida-Tampa Bay because, well, I am not really sure who the upset would be? I could see either team winning it, and depending on who you see as the favorite (Florida for the better regular season record; Tampa Bay as defending back-to-back champions and with the experience) it could end up as an upset in your eyes. Florida is probably the favorite on paper this season, but I see Tampa Bay winning it. 

Michael Finewax, NBC Sports Edge Senior Hockey Writer/Editor: I don’t know if I would consider it an upset, but the Tampa Bay Lightning finished 12 points behind the Florida Panthers. The Lightning are the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions and seem to be able to turn it on when they need to. The Panthers will need outstanding goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky and I am not sure he is capable of doing so in the playoffs.

Sean Leahy, NHL writer: During many postseasons we get a hot goalie — someone who will carry a team through a few rounds, maybe even to a Stanley Cup. As wild as it might be, is it crazy to think Mike Smith can’t keep up this heater he’s been on since April? In 16 regular season and playoff games played since the start of April, Smith has a .943 5-on-5 save percentage and a 2.19 goals saved above average, per Natural Stat Trick. The Flames already almost got goalie’d in the First Round by Jake Oettinger. Maybe Smith can hold the fort while McDavid, Draisaitl, Kane, and Oilers power play lead the way?

PHT Morning Skate: Point ‘highly doubtful’ for Game 1; Second Round officials

Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from the NHL and around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.

• After missing most of the final two periods of Game 7 vs. the Maple Leafs, the Lightning will likely be without Brayden Point when they start their series against the Panthers. [Tampa Bay Times]

• Here are your officials for the Second Round, which won’t include Kevin Pollock, T.J. Luxemore, and Shandor Alphonso. [Scouting the Refs]

• When they needed him the most, Johnny Gaudreau delivered for the Flames. [Flames Nation]

• A good look at just how impactful Connor McDavid was for the Oilers in the First Round. [TSN]

• Some NHL coaching news from Monday: Lane Lambert will replace Barry Trotz behind the Islanders’ bench and Peter DeBoer is out in Las Vegas.

• “Toronto Maple Leafs star winger Mitch Marner ‘is OK, just rattled,’ after he was carjacked in Etobicoke on Monday. Toronto police said that the carjacking happened at about 7:45 p.m. Monday at the Queensway and Islington Avenue, near Cineplex Cinemas, where the suspects stole Marner’s Black Range Rover at gunpoint.” [The Star]

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info]

• Even with their coming salary cap hell, could the Wild find a way to keep both Marc-Andre Fleury and Cam Talbot? [Pioneer Press]

• Golden Knights captain Mark Stone needs back surgery this offseason but he should be ready when training camp opens in September. [Review-Journal]

• “Momentum can create false hope. It can lead to a skewed view of progress which can delay development. As a team, the Sabres made tremendous leaps in style of play, competitiveness, and confidence. They ended the season with wins in five of the last six games and leaving everyone wanting more. That’s good! Does it mean anything to how next year will go? Not one bit! But starting next season with a lot of confidence and knowledge of how they can play when they’ve got it together is something to use.” [Noted Hockey]

• Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson plans to take his time in finding a new head coach. [NBC Sports Chicago]

• Stars goalie Jake Oettinger on his breakthrough season: “I learned how fun the playoffs are and that’s what it’s all about, being in these situations and giving yourself an opportunity to win. So, I’ve never been more motivated than I am right now and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that I get this opportunity again and I’ll make sure I’m on the other side of it the next time.” [NHL.com]

• The Predators have signed 2020 first rounder Iaroslav Askarov to a three-year entry-level contract. [A to Z Sports Nashville]

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

2022 NHL Playoffs: Second Round predictions

The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs are now down to eight teams after a First Round where all but two of the higher seeds advanced and we finished with a weekend that gave us five Game 7s.

For the Second Round we have rematches of recent playoff series, plus the first postseason Battle of Alberta since 1991. Will the Panthers end the Lightning’s quest for a three-peat? Can the Rangers continue their magic? Is this the year the Avalanche finally reach the Western Conference Final? Will Brady Tkachuk find himself inside Rogers Place to root on brother Matthew?

On to the Second Round predictions!

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info]

SECOND ROUND – EASTERN CONFERENCE

PANTHERS vs. LIGHTNING

Adam: Lightning in 7. The Lightning are not the same team that they have been the past two seasons, but you are not going to get rid of them easily. They got through the First Round with Andrei Vasilevskiy looking human. He can be better, and I think he will be. If he is, I am still not sure how anybody beats them. I like their experience and goaltending over a Florida team that was probably very fortunate to get by Washington.

Jake: Lightning in 7. Anyone who doubted the Lightning may be reconsidering how they view this team after Tampa rallied to eliminate Toronto. Simply put, it will take a supreme effort to knock out the Bolts, and while Brayden Point’s injury is cause for concern, I am still going to bet on this championship group to keep hopes of a three-peat alive.

James: Lightning in 6. Here’s a take for you: while the Panthers were exposed at times last go-around with the Lightning, it also felt like their pace made Tampa Bay uncomfortable at times. If the Panthers can take advantage of their younger legs and make this a track meet, the three-peat could go incomplete. There’s concern about all that mileage on the Bolts, but they just keep finding ways to get things done.

Michael: Lightning in 6. The Lightning had a very tough matchup with the Maple Leafs and finally Andrei Vasilevskiy played like his old self in the last four periods of the season. The Lightning have too much experience and will prevail as Sergei Bobrovsky will have his troubles in net in Round 2.

Sean: Panthers in 6. There’s room to improve here for the Cats, especially from Sergei Bobrovsky, who would like to further vanquish his postseason demons. It won’t be easy in this rematch from 2021. The Lightning know how to bounce back from defeats (17-0 since 2020!) and still have Andrei Vasilevskiy between the pipes. But Tampa Bay has played a lot of hockey over the last two seasons, and this series is the only one this round with a back-to-back scheduled. Is that an edge to Florida? We’ll see. There’s also a revenge factor here from the 2021 series to Carter Verhaeghe wanting to show his old team what they lost.

HURRICANES vs. RANGERS

Adam: Hurricanes in 5. The Rangers have their share of talent, and there is always the chance Igor Shesterkin can go on a heater at any moment and just steal some games, but I don’t see it happening here for the Rangers. They are going to have to play light years better in this round than they did in the First Round if they are going to have any chance of winning, because not only is Carolina younger and faster than Pittsburgh, the Rangers are also not going to be using an AHL goalie in this series. Carolina is the better team and the Rangers have some major defensive issues.

Jake: Hurricanes in 6. This is an intriguing matchup – and not just because it’s the Tony DeAngelo Bowl. On one side, you have an incredibly balanced Hurricanes team, who excel at 5-on-5 play and smother you defensively. On the other side, you have a top-heavy Rangers squad who can seem outmatched at times, but because of their star players and world class goalie, can never be counted out. I’m going with Carolina just because the Rangers have too many holes in their game. New York had the benefit of facing a 3rd-string goalie for most of the Pittsburgh series and a superior team to the Penguins (which I believe the Hurricanes are) would have had no trouble closing the Rangers out after building up that 3-1 series lead.

James: Hurricanes in 5. Perhaps the ramshackle Rangers’ defensive structure won’t be exposed as glaringly against a very different type of possession animal in the up-tempo, puck-chucking Hurricanes. But, seeing a banged-up Penguins team often dominate the Rangers (and negate some of the Igor Shesterkin edge) eased much doubt about this one. Then again, it’s hockey, and the Hurricanes get “goalie’d” about as often as the Penguins, so there’s room for an upset.

Michael: Hurricanes in 7. While Shesterkin played well in Game 7, he really has not played up to his level since March 10. The Hurricanes have home ice advantage and that will be major if it goes seven games. I like the Hurricanes depth at forward to carry them to the series win while Raanta has provided the team with excellent goaltending.

Sean: Rangers in 6. We’ve yet to see regular season Igor Shesterkin in the playoffs and maybe that First Round debut against the Penguins got his feet wet enough that now the Hurricanes could be in trouble. The Rangers did not quit versus Pittsburgh and while pushing a series to seven games could lead to some tired legs, how New York advanced is enough to supply further adrenaline and motivation against Carolina.

Derek Leung/Getty Images

SECOND ROUND – WESTERN CONFERENCE

AVALANCHE vs. BLUES

Adam: Avalanche in 5. My actual prediction for this series is pure chaos. Connor McDavid looks like a man on a mission this postseason and I think he is going to steal a couple of games. But the Flames have the coach, the defense, the depth, and the goalie to get the edge.

Jake: Avalanche in 6. I do think the Blues can challenge the Avalanche, but ultimately I am going to ride with Colorado. They have been able to rest, have the best roster, and seem destined to finally break through. However, we’ll see how powerful the Curse of the Second Round is.

James: Avalanche in 6. Gee, the Blues sure seem to be in a better place than last time these two teams met, when the Avalanche swept them like you’d shoo away a fly. Ryan O’Reilly is the sort of player who could slow down some of Colorado’s weapons, and the Blues have a versatile array of attackers. But the Avalanche are fresh, Cale Makar is at the height of his powers, and the Blues’ blueline personnel can keep up.

Michael: Avalanche in 5. The Oilers will gain a lot of confidence from their first round win and have Connor McDavid carry them once again to victory over their provincial rivals. Calgary had trouble scoring against the Stars (Jake Oettinger was sensational) but it is tougher to score in the playoffs and that will be Calgary’s downfall.

Sean: Avalanche in 6. We’re looking at a Blues team this year with better skill than year’s past. The breakthroughs of Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas helped them to a very good season and helped supplement an already solid offense. But the Avalanche are the Avalanche and they made quick work of the Predators in the First Round. Can Jordan Binnington slow them?I don’t think he can for very long, but just enough to make it a series. Colorado has learned the lessons of the past and what it takes to make a deep playoff run. It’s all there for them this season.

FLAMES vs. OILERS

Adam: Flames in 7. My actual prediction for this series is pure chaos. Connor McDavid looks like a man on a mission this postseason and I think he is going to steal a couple of games. But the Flames have the coach, the defense, the depth, and the goalie to get the edge.

Jake: Flames in 6. The Oilers barely squeaked by the Kings, who were missing their best defenseman and 4th-leading scorer for the entire series. Now Leon Draisaitl is significantly hurt. Calgary should have the advantage here, particularly if Tyler Toffoli and Matthew Tkachuk – who ended slumps in Game 7 with their first goals of the postseason – can catch fire.

James: Flames in 7. We were so, so close to being deprived of a Battle of Alberta, but we’re getting a delicious one. The Flames combine the possession mastery of the Kings (which gave the Oilers fits) with high-end talent that can finish those plays far more often. The Oilers have the highest of high-end talent in Connor McDavid, but a more complete Calgary team takes this.

Michael: Oilers in 6. The Oilers will gain a lot of confidence from their first round win and have Connor McDavid carry them once again to victory over their provincial rivals. Calgary had trouble scoring against the Stars (Jake Oettinger was sensational) but it is tougher to score in the playoffs and that will be Calgary’s downfall.

Sean: Flames in 6. Hard to believe between all the playoff format changes this is the first Battle of Alberta playoff series in 31 years. We’re going to get some very physical games, probably a suspension or three, and some star power between McDavid Gaudreau, Lindholm, Markstrom, Draisaitl, and the rest. While Mike Smith has been on a run of late, I can’t see him out-dueling Markstrom over the course of the series, and I think that will be a huge factor. The Flames got goalie’d by Jake Oettinger in the First Round and I don’t see that happening again here.

After missing playoffs, Golden Knights fire coach Peter DeBoer

A couple weeks after the Golden Knights missed the playoffs despite going all-in, Peter DeBoer is no longer their head coach. The Golden Knights “relieved DeBoer of his duties” on Monday.

The most interesting part of a canned quote from GM Kelly McCrimmon was probably ” … after lengthy discussions over the last two weeks, we believe that a new coach will put us in the best position to succeed next season.”

Golden Knights fire DeBoer after missing playoffs; Run ended with Lehner rift

Again, most pressingly, Peter DeBoer couldn’t navigate a season filled with injuries to at least get the Golden Knights to the playoffs.

While there were some NHL teams hit harder by injuries by sheer volume, the Golden Knights saw key losses with Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, and others. They also traded for Jack Eichel in-season, realizing that he was still recovering from neck surgery.

Eventually, that injury bug bit Robin Lehner.

That’s where things got stranger, and uglier for DeBoer and the Golden Knights. Near the end of the season, it appeared that Lehner wasn’t happy with criticism of his performance, as he was playing hurt.

That eventually led to an odd back-and-forth between Lehner and DeBoer in the media. Ultimately, the big goalie was shut down for the remainder of the season.

It’s unclear how much DeBoer’s brusque handling of Lehner factored into the Golden Knights firing him. Personally, it felt like it made a murky decision feel almost inevitable.

Quite a bit of success under DeBoer

Memorably, the Golden Knights hired DeBoer in-season in early 2020 despite Gerard Gallant enjoying pretty incredible big-picture success. That move helped shape the image of Vegas as a franchise that was cutthroat in chasing a Stanley Cup. Successful wasn’t always a high enough standard.

Right now, it’s still unclear if that knee-jerk reaction was the right one.

Take a look at DeBoer’s year-by-year results as Golden Knights head coach:

Remainder of 2019-20: 15-5-2 (.727 points percentage), won two playoff series.
2020-21: 40-14-2 (.732 points percentage), won two playoff series.
2021-22: 43-32-8 (.573 points percentage), missed playoffs.

A less reactive team might give this another go. After all, the Golden Knights barely missed the playoffs with all of those injuries.

But, if there’s a more reactive NHL franchise than the Golden Knights, then the list is short.

It will be fascinating to see A) who the Golden Knights hire as their next head coach and B) if DeBoer gets another top gig in the NHL. DeBoer’s enjoyed some highs and lows with four different coaching jobs, but interestingly has only coached a team for five seasons or less.

Big test for Vegas management coming — assuming they’re still in charge

Over the years, the Golden Knights have been ruthless in moving on from popular, productive players to try to get even better. They haven’t accepted stumbles from their coaches. Thus far, the top of their front office has been safe from such bottom-line decisions.

As a reminder, they didn’t fire George McPhee; he was essentially elevated, while Kelly McCrimmon ascended to GM.

No doubt, that front office enjoyed a ton of success. Really, they probably set the bar unfairly high for Ron Francis and the Seattle Kraken.

Still, they’ve made their mistakes. For all of the Golden Knights’ successes, they’ve mostly relied on free agents and trades, rather than in-house development. When it comes to choosing which prospects to grow, and which to trade, there have been blunders. Notably, the Golden Knights chose to trade current Habs star Nick Suzuki instead of project-at-best Cody Glass in the Max Pacioretty swap.

For every splashy move that was a huge success (Pacioretty, Stone), there were moves that were either whiffs, or still need to be determined.

So far, Lehner hasn’t been the Fleury upgrade they hoped for.

More quietly but just as alarmingly, it’s possible the Alex Pietrangelo investment might be shaky. Consider his underlying numbers via Evolving Hockey:

In sweatily grasping at bringing a Stanley Cup to the desert, Golden Knights management started to stack up gambles that got them in trouble.

[Other coaching news: Islanders name longtime Trotz assistant Lambert as head coach]

Sure, there were logistical reasons for why the Evgenii Dadonov trade didn’t happen. But it’s on Vegas management for relying so much on LTIR and other maneuvers to barely remain technically salary-cap-compliant.

It’s the sort of thing that might get a GM fired, at least if a franchise wants to show that everyone faces such extreme accountability. That hasn’t happened.

At least, so far. If you’re like me, you raised an eyebrow at former player Deryk Engelland representing the Golden Knights at the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery.

Assuming the Golden Knights give McCrimmon + McPhee another shot, they have their work cut out for them this offseason.

Right now, the Golden Knights are already projected by Cap Friendly to scratch the ceiling of the salary cap. And that’s assuming they allow free agents such as Reilly Smith to walk.

Will a revised Dadonov trade happen? With a cramped salary cap situation, how will the Golden Knights improve?

Oh, and of course: who should be the next head coach? For a team that loves collecting big names, maybe the reflex answer is Barry Trotz. But would Trotz’s all-encompassing defensive style mesh well with the roster at hand?

And, once more: should McCrimmon and McPhee make that call? Even those who question DeBoer’s coaching would admit that this failed Golden Knights season wasn’t just his fault.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info

The 2021-22 Stanley Cup Playoffs began on Monday, May 2. The Eastern Conference is represented by the Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, and Washington Capitals. The Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild, Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings, Dallas Stars, and Nashville Predators represent the Western Conference.

2022 NHL playoff schedule: First Round – Eastern Conference

NEW YORK RANGERS v. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (Series tied 3-3)
Game 1: Penguins 4, Rangers 3 (3OT)
Game 2: Rangers 5, Penguins 2
Game 3: Penguins 7, Rangers 4
Game 4: Penguins 7, Rangers 2
Game 5: Rangers 5, Penguins 3
Game 6: Rangers 5, Penguins 3
Game 7: May 15, 7 p.m. ET – Penguins at Rangers (TBS, SNE, SNO, SNP, SN360)

CAROLINA HURRICANES v. BOSTON BRUINS (CAR wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 1
Game 2: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 2
Game 3: Bruins 4, Hurricanes 2
Game 4: Bruins 5, Hurricanes 2
Game 5: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 1
Game 6: Bruins 5, Hurricanes 2
Game 7: Hurricanes 3, Bruins 2

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (TBL wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Maple Leafs 5, Lightning 0
Game 2: Lightning 5, Maple Leafs 3
Game 3: Maple Leafs 5, Lightning 2
Game 4: Lightning 7, Maple Leafs 3
Game 5: Maple Leafs 4, Lightning 3
Game 6: Lightning 4, Maple Leafs 3 (OT)
Game 7: Lightning 2, Maple Leafs 1

FLORIDA PANTHERS v. WASHINGTON CAPITALS (FLA wins series 4-2)
Game 1: Capitals 4, Panthers 2
Game 2: Panthers 5, Capitals 1
Game 3: Capitals 6, Panthers 1
Game 4: Panthers 3, Capitals 2 (OT)
Game 5: Panthers 5, Capitals 3
Game 6: Panthers 4, Capitals 3 (OT)

* if necessary
TBD – To Be Determined
JIP – Joined In Progress

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Second Round – Eastern Conference

PANTHERS v. LIGHTNING
TBD

RANGERS/PENGUINS v. HURRICANES
TBD

nhl bracket

2022 NHL playoff schedule: First Round – Western Conference

CALGARY FLAMES v. DALLAS STARS (Series tied 3-3)
Game 1: Flames 1, Stars 0
Game 2: Stars 2, Flames 0
Game 3: Stars 4, Flames 2
Game 4: Flames 4, Stars 1
Game 5: Flames 3, Stars 1
Game 6: Stars 4, Flames 2
Game 7: May 15, 9:30 p.m. ET –
Stars at Flames (ESPN2, SN, TVAS)

EDMONTON OILERS vs. LOS ANGELES KINGS (EDM win series 4-3)
Game 1: Kings 4, Oilers 3
Game 2: Oilers 6, Kings 0
Game 3: Oilers 8, Kings 2
Game 4: Kings 4, Oilers 0
Game 5: Kings 5, Oilers 4 (OT)
Game 6: Oilers 4, Kings 2
Game 7: Oilers 2, Kings 0

COLORADO AVALANCHE v. NASHVILLE PREDATORS (COL wins series 4-0)
Game 1: Avalanche 7, Predators 2
Game 2: Avalanche 2, Predators 1 (OT)
Game 3: Avalanche 7, Predators 3
Game 4: Avalanche 5, Predators 3

MINNESOTA WILD v. ST. LOUIS BLUES (STL wins series 4-2)
Game 1: Blues 4, Wild 0
Game 2: Wild 6, Blues 2
Game 3: Wild 5, Blues 1
Game 4: Blues 5, Wild 2
Game 5: Blues 5, Wild 2
Game 6: Blues 5, Wild 1

* if necessary
TBD – To Be Determined
JIP – Joined In Progress

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Second Round Round – Western Conference

COLORADO AVALANCHE v. ST. LOUIS BLUES
TBD

FLAMES/STARS v. OILERS
TBD

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info

The 2021-22 Stanley Cup Playoffs began on Monday, May 2. The Eastern Conference is represented by the Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, and Washington Capitals. The Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild, Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings, Dallas Stars, and Nashville Predators represent the Western Conference.

2022 NHL playoff schedule: First Round – Eastern Conference

CAROLINA HURRICANES v. BOSTON BRUINS (CAR wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 1
Game 2: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 2
Game 3: Bruins 4, Hurricanes 2
Game 4: Bruins 5, Hurricanes 2
Game 5: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 1
Game 6: Bruins 5, Hurricanes 2
Game 7: Hurricanes 3, Bruins 2

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (TBL wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Maple Leafs 5, Lightning 0
Game 2: Lightning 5, Maple Leafs 3
Game 3: Maple Leafs 5, Lightning 2
Game 4: Lightning 7, Maple Leafs 3
Game 5: Maple Leafs 4, Lightning 3
Game 6: Lightning 4, Maple Leafs 3 (OT)
Game 7: Lightning 2, Maple Leafs 1

NEW YORK RANGERS v. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (Series tied 3-3)
Game 1: Penguins 4, Rangers 3 (3OT)
Game 2: Rangers 5, Penguins 2
Game 3: Penguins 7, Rangers 4
Game 4: Penguins 7, Rangers 2
Game 5: Rangers 5, Penguins 3
Game 6: Rangers 5, Penguins 3
Game 7: May 15, 7 p.m. ET – Penguins at Rangers (TBS, SNE, SNO, SNP, SN360)

FLORIDA PANTHERS v. WASHINGTON CAPITALS (FLA wins series 4-2)
Game 1: Capitals 4, Panthers 2
Game 2: Panthers 5, Capitals 1
Game 3: Capitals 6, Panthers 1
Game 4: Panthers 3, Capitals 2 (OT)
Game 5: Panthers 5, Capitals 3
Game 6: Panthers 4, Capitals 3 (OT)

* if necessary
TBD – To Be Determined
JIP – Joined In Progress

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Second Round – Eastern Conference

PANTHERS v. LIGHTNING
TBD

RANGERS/PENGUINS v. HURRICANES
TBD

nhl bracket

2022 NHL playoff schedule: First Round – Western Conference

CALGARY FLAMES v. DALLAS STARS (Series tied 3-3)
Game 1: Flames 1, Stars 0
Game 2: Stars 2, Flames 0
Game 3: Stars 4, Flames 2
Game 4: Flames 4, Stars 1
Game 5: Flames 3, Stars 1
Game 6: Stars 4, Flames 2
Game 7: May 15, 9:30 p.m. ET –
Stars at Flames (ESPN2, SN, TVAS)

EDMONTON OILERS vs. LOS ANGELES KINGS (EDM win series 4-3)
Game 1: Kings 4, Oilers 3
Game 2: Oilers 6, Kings 0
Game 3: Oilers 8, Kings 2
Game 4: Kings 4, Oilers 0
Game 5: Kings 5, Oilers 4 (OT)
Game 6: Oilers 4, Kings 2
Game 7: Oilers 2, Kings 0

COLORADO AVALANCHE v. NASHVILLE PREDATORS (COL wins series 4-0)
Game 1: Avalanche 7, Predators 2
Game 2: Avalanche 2, Predators 1 (OT)
Game 3: Avalanche 7, Predators 3
Game 4: Avalanche 5, Predators 3

MINNESOTA WILD v. ST. LOUIS BLUES (STL wins series 4-2)
Game 1: Blues 4, Wild 0
Game 2: Wild 6, Blues 2
Game 3: Wild 5, Blues 1
Game 4: Blues 5, Wild 2
Game 5: Blues 5, Wild 2
Game 6: Blues 5, Wild 1

* if necessary
TBD – To Be Determined
JIP – Joined In Progress

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Second Round Round – Western Conference

COLORADO AVALANCHE v. ST. LOUIS BLUES
TBD

FLAMES/STARS v. OILERS
TBD