The NHL playoffs are getting spicy. Watching playoff hockey can be fun and exciting, eh?
Flyers fans got to watch the Penguins blow three leads in an elimination game as they failed to get out of the first round again.
The New York Islanders eliminated the Penguins on Wednesday night after the Boston Bruins eliminated the Washington Capitals over the weekend. The Islanders and Bruins are set to face off in the East Division final.
The Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning also advanced. The Avs swept the Blues and the Lightning took down the Panthers in six games.
Last night, the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Nashville Predators in overtime to win the series in six games. They’ll face off against the Lightning in the Central Division final.
Game 7 between the Minnesota Wild and Vegas Golden Knights is tonight.
Welcome to the Morning Skate, our roundup of links on Philly Hockey Now as well as other sites around the National Hockey Now network and hockey world!
- The Flyers are entering an offseason of change with the expansion draft looming. On top of that, a core shakeup could be in the cards after a disappointing season. We look at five Flyers that may have played their last game in orange and black. (Philly Hockey Now)
- Alain Vigneault was talkin’ ’bout ‘practice in his end-of-season press conference. He also touched on a variety of other topics including Canadian restrictions, wanting a “normal season,” and feeling like he let “everyone down” this season. (Philly Hockey Now)
- Chuck Fletcher will be at the helm in this crucial offseason. He talked about the Flyers’ need to improve. He said that he’ll need to “be creative” as the Flyers can “upgrade everywhere” this offseason. (Philly Hockey Now)
- Sam Morin thinks he’s one of the toughest guys in the league and wants to be the enforcer that the Flyers need. (Philly Hockey Now).
- The date and odds have been set for the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery. The Flyers have the 14th-best chance at the No. 1 pick. So you’re telling me there’s a chance… (Philly Hockey Now)
Around the NHL
Crosby On Penguins’ Future: That’s Up To Other People – (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
Could Ron Hextall break up the Penguins core?
Sidney Crosby still believes. He still leads. He still bleeds, figuratively, at times like Wednesday night. However, the Pittsburgh Penguins future Hall of Fame center and team captain will not try to dictate what might happen with the club.
Oh, he has his opinions, but in offering some candid if sad postgame thoughts, he made it clear he will not try to wield whatever power his stardom might give him to influence personnel moves during what could be a tumultuous offseason — one that has suddenly arrived.
*Confirmed* Boston Bruins-New York Islanders Gm. 1 Saturday – (NYI Hockey Now)
The NHL has confirmed Boston Hockey Now and NYI Hockey Now reports that the Boston Bruins will host the New York Islanders at TD Garden in Game 1 Saturday night at 8 PM ET.
Game 2 between the Isles and the Bruins will take place on Memorial Day but a puck drop time has not been determined yet. That as well as the days and times for Games 3 and 4 at Nassau Coliseum, and if necessary, Game 5 (TD Garden), Game 6 (Nassau Coliseum), and Game 7 (TD Garden) could be announced as early as 3 PM ET today.
Boston Bruins Bracing For ‘Heavy, Tough’ Series Vs. Islanders – (Boston Hockey Now)
With the New York Islanders taking care of business against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a raucous Nassau Coliseum, the Boston Bruins now know in the second round they will face a team in the Isles that gave them a pretty hard time during the regular season.
The B’s were able to have a lot more luck after the NHL trade deadline against New York as they took three wins from the Isles while making it seem like a different matchup, but New York did give them major trouble in third periods (outscoring them by an 8-3 margin) all season while Boston battled to a 3-3-2 record against them. The Bruins are an impressive 16-5-1 since the NHL trade deadline and clearly have been a different team before, and after, the mid-April trade deadline.
If the NHL has its way, Nazem Kadri will miss six straight additional playoff games for the Colorado Avalanche. If Kadri has his way, that sentence will be shortened on appeal.
On Thursday via Zoom, the appeal process will begin. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will hear the appeal of Kadri that his eight-game suspension for his Game 2 hit to the head of St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk was too severe.
Coming off their worst season since 1992-93, the San Jose Sharks entered the summer of 1996 in unfamiliar territory. New general manager Dean Lombardi, though, was committed to turning the Sharks into a championship contender. It was a long-term plan, however — and one of Lombardi’s first steps was to sign veterans to guide his young talent, veterans like Ron Sutter.
Steve Gorten: Goalie edge in Panthers v. Lightning went to Vasilevskiy – (Florida Hockey Now)
The season for the Florida Panthers is over, and it’s because they simply couldn’t solve Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy in Game 6.
The probable 2021 Vezina Trophy winner stopped 29 shots in a 4-0 Lightning win Wednesday at Amalie Arena in Tampa that wrapped up this first-round playoff series 4-2 for the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Max Pacioretty hasn’t been seen in a game for the Vegas Golden Knights since May 1 against the Arizona Coyotes, when he went down with what has been termed an upper-body injury during the game.
Pacioretty would miss the last six regular-season games, and despite being called things like “day-to-day” and a “game-time decision” hasn’t appeared in the playoffs either. He did not make the trip to Minnesota for Game Six against the Wild. But after yesterday’s morning skate, Vegas Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer did offer a little glimpse into the situation.
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Photo: Heather Barry Images