Tampa Bay remains the defending Stanley Cup champion for at least one more day, and we can watch at least one more playoff game. Ondrej Palat scored the game-winning goal at 13:38 of the third period to give the Lightning a 3-2 victory in Game 5, cutting the Avalanche series lead to 3-2. Look how open Palat is about this goal.
If Valeri Nichushkin is darkhorse candidate Conn Smythe on the Avalanche, then Palat fits that description for the Lightning. Palat leads the Lightning with 11 playoff goals, while he’s second on the team behind Nikita Kucherov with 20 playoff points. Additionally, Palat also leads the Lightning with 18 even-strength points, as he wasn’t propelled to the first power-play unit until late in the second round and has only one power-play point since the first round. Palat boasts a team best 23.9 SH%, while no other Lightning player has a shooting percentage above 15%. Still, as long as Palat scores, he’ll be on the front row with Kucherov and Steven Stamkos.
One of the drawbacks of multiple Stanley Cup runs is that free agents become harder to retain. Like Nichushkin with the Avalanche, Palat is improving his stock as he continues to score in the playoffs. Palat’s overall production has actually gone down this season (0.64 PTS/GP) from last season (0.84 PTS/GP) and he’s now on the wrong side of 30, but the GMs have anyhow. way short of memory on the day of the free agent frenzy. Palat and Nichushkin could prevent their respective teams from re-signing, but that’s a problem for another day. Both teams have a Stanley Cup to try to win.
Speaking of Nichushkin, he added another goal and an assist in Game 5, giving him nine playoff goals and four in five Cup Final games. Nichushkin also took five hits, giving him 21 hits in the series. A Colorado reporter said he saw Nichushkin taken to x-ray roomso his status for Game 6 may not be so certain.
Cale Makar had the same stat line as Nichushkin with one goal, one assist and five shots. He also recorded six hits, which is his highest total in a single playoff game. Makar has had at least five shots in each of his last three games.
Andrei Vasilevskiy once again held firm in the net for the Lightning, stopping 35 of 37 shots he faced. Although the Avalanche may be his toughest test, Vasilevskiy has posted three straight quality starts. He faced between 30 and 39 shots in each of the five Stanley Cup Final games.
Mikhail Sergachev and Corey Perry each recorded a pair of assists in Game 5.
The Lightning were again without Brayden Point for Game 5, while Andre Burakovsky was out for the Avalanche.
Oh look, it’s the return of the Fox Glow Puck!
Some injury news:
Joel Farabee underwent disc replacement surgery and is expected to require 3-4 months of recovery time. Depending on the recovery time, Farabee could miss at least the start of training camp and, in the worst case, the start of the season. It’s the same surgery Jack Eichel underwent after his trade to Vegas, and Eichel was back in action three months after the surgery, which would be good news if Farabee is on your list. However, Eichel and Tyler Johnson (also three-month recovery) are the only two players who would have had the surgery, so the estimated timeline still has a very small sample size.
Chris Kreider underwent surgery to remove a small bone fragment from his wrist. His recovery schedule is 2-4 weeks, so he should be ready to start training camp on time.
Some training updates:
According Frank Seravalli, the Chicago Blackhawks hire Luke Richardson to be their next head coach. Richardson paid his dues with over a decade of experience between working as an NHL assistant coach and AHL head coach, so it’s nice to see him rewarded with a head coaching opportunity. . The Blackhawks are set to endure a tough slog over the next few years with the contracts of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews about to enter their final year and the possibility of Alex DeBrincat being traded. Richardson seems to be the type to be patient in managing a team that won’t have high expectations.
Barry Trotz has announced that he will not return as coach next season. Trotz has been coaching for 25 consecutive years, so he probably needs a break. Of course, the Manitoba native Trotz was said to be considering the Jets job. The remaining coaching dominoes should now fall into place quickly for teams that still do not have a head coach, including Winnipeg.
Need a glimpse of the fantastic impact of all the coaching changes this offseason? Check out our Fantasy Take – Latest NHL Moves page.
Cody Glass accepted his qualifying offer, which is a one-year, two-way contract. Glass is expected to earn $874,125 at the NHL level. After being traded from Vegas to Nashville last offseason, Glass recorded just one assist in eight games while posting 62 points (14 G-48 A) in 66 games at the AHL level. Nashville could capitalize on its scoring advantage, and it looks like a decent bet to make the NHL roster next season. It just may not have the ceiling it had when it was first drafted.
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Remaining with the Predators, Filip Forsberg was offered an eight-year contract to stay in Nashville. Forsberg put it all together in his contract year, with just 16 players producing a higher points-per-game average (1.22 PTS/GP). Some of his advanced stats were a bit higher than normal (18.6 SH%, 11.7 5on5 SH%, 4.0 PTS/60), which is something to watch out for besides the squad for which he will play next season. I feel like Forsberg wants to test the free agent waters because it looks like he could really take it.