On Tap For Today — NY Islanders at Tampa Bay; 8 pm EDT; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, SN
Monday’s Moon Shot
CROWNED: Nashville’s Pekka Rinne was named the winner of the 2021 King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player who “best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice, and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.” Congrats, Pekka!
GALLANTLY RETURNING: Gerard Gallant, who most recently coached the Vegas Golden Knights in 2020 and Team Canada at the recent World Championships, has reportedly agreed to a four-year deal to be the New York Rangers’ next head coach.
STORMING FREE AGENCY: The Hurricanes gave defenseman Dougie Hamilton permission to talk with other teams prior to the start of free agency — he will be an unrestricted free agent on July 28. Let the speculation begin.
CAUFIELD OF DREAMS: Montreal’s Cole Caufield scored his first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff goal, the Canadiens’ lone tally in its 4-1 Game 1 loss to Vegas.
DEFENSE IS GOLDEN: Vegas defensemen Shea Theodore, Alec Martinez, and Nick Holden scored three of the Golden Knights’ four goals in Game 1 — only the second time in NHL Playoff history that three blueliners have scored in a Conference Final/Semifinal game. Pittsburgh did it in 1991 (Larry Murphy, Paul Stanton, and Ulf Samuelsson).
Do you know the Tampa Bay Lightning Trivia?
- Which team did the Tampa Bay Lightning defeat to win their first Stanley Cup?
- Edmonton Oilers
- Calgary Flames
- Vancouver Canucks
- Colorado Avalanche
- Who was Tampa’s first captain?
- Paul Ysebaert
- Rob Zamuner
- Mikael Renberg
- Bill Houlder
- What was the first jersey number retired by the Tampa Bay Lightning?
- Who was the first Tampa Bay Lightning head coach to finish his tenure with a winning record?
- Guy Boucher
- Steve Ludzik
- Terry Crisp
- John Tortorella
- Who did Steven Stamkos pass the Stanley Cup to first after their victory last season?
- Andrei Vasilevskiy
- Victor Hedman
- Ryan McDonagh
- Nikita Kucherov
Answers can be found at the bottom of the email.
Rinne is King
The NHL kicked off its awards season on Monday night, recognizing long-time Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne as the 2021 recipient of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy. Rinne beat out San Jose Sharks forward Kurtis Gabriel and New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban for the award.
Rinne has been a staunch supporter of the league’s Hockey Fights Cancer initiative and has collaborated with former Predators teammate, and current Montreal Canadien, Shea Weber on the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund. Through the fund, Rinne and Weber have raised more than $3 million over the past eight years.
A dedicated philanthropist on a local level, Rinne has also been instrumental in charitable efforts within the Nashville community. The 2018 Vezina winner is actively involved in Tennessee’s Best Buddies program for cancer patients and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He was also a leading force in the Predators’ Feed the Frontline initiative during the pandemic.
Rinne’s well-deserved recognition comes at a time when his future in Nashville — and in the NHL — remains in doubt. The 38-year-old, who may go down as the greatest Predator of all-time, will be an unrestricted free agent at a time when Nashville appears ready to move forward with 26-year-old Juuse Saros in net.
If this is the last of the Finnish fan favorite in Nashville, then not only did he go out on an emotional high, but he has now been left with one final and fitting honor. Not only does Rinne’s Vezina trophy and three All-Star Game appearances celebrate his on-ice achievements, the King Clancy award appropriately recognizes his greatness off the ice as well.
How They Can Win the Cup
With the NHL down to the final four teams competing for a chance to win the Stanley Cup, we thought we would take a look at how each team can complete their run.
Vegas Golden Knights
The house always wins, and Vegas’ luck doesn’t seem to be running out anytime soon. Since their entry into the league, the Vegas Golden Knights have proven to be a contender. This year seems to be no different, and for the third time in four seasons they are appearing in the playoff’s penultimate round. Vegas’ aggressive forecheck, home ice advantage, and the recent play of Marc-Andre Fleury are strong enough to lead them to their first Stanley Cup championship, but first they need to dethrone the Scotia North Division champions.
The Knights play a physical game and, as the series continues, will slowly wear down Montreal’s defense — it’s inevitable. For most of the playoffs the Canadiens have been relying heavily on its top defenseman of Ben Chiarot, Shea Weber, and Joel Edmundson. The Golden Knights have a relentless forecheck that will eventually exhaust their opponent (if you need an example, please see Game 1). If Montreal continues to depend on its big three and not adjust the game plan, this will be an easy series for Vegas to win.
During Game 1 it was also hard not to notice the atmosphere inside the Fortress. With restrictions lifted, the arena was at full capacity with more than 17,000 fans cheering on the home team. Vegas has one of the best home ice advantages in the league, and fans always seem to contribute to a Golden Knights’ victory. The Bell Centre is only allowing 2,500 people in attendance, and Quebec Premier Francois Legault is concerned over Vegas’ obvious advantage.
One of the most exciting stories of this match up is Fleury going head-to-head against Carey Price. Fleury has a goals against average (GAA) of 1.84, which leads all remaining goaltenders. In Game 1 he earned his 90th career playoff win and sits fourth on the all-time list. He was also nominated for the Vezina Trophy this season, and has proven to make the important save when his team needs him most.
Vegas should have no issues getting past the Canadiens and advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals. They have scoring depth and took Game 1 by an impressive score of 4-1. The scariest part of last night’s victory as a Montreal fan is that three of those goals came from Golden Knights’ defenseman. Just wait until their forwards begin lighting the lamp. Can you say sweep?