On Tap For Today — Tampa Bay at Carolina; 7:30 pm EDT; NBCSN, TVAS, SN
Monday’s Moon Shots
THE PRICE IS RIGHT: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price stood on his head in last night’s 3-1 Game 7 win over the Maple Leafs, making save after save when the Habs needed it most. Montreal moves on to face Winnipeg, with Game 1 slated for Wednesday night.
BEAR DOWN: Islanders forward Casey Cizikas’ overtime winner helped New York even its series against Boston at one game apiece. It was his first playoff goal since notching one in the 2015 first round, and helped the Islanders improve to 3-0 in overtime games this postseason.
MOVIN’ ON UP: Team USA defeated Germany 2-0 in IIHF World Championship pool play, winning its fifth straight game in the process. The Americans now have 15 points in Group B, keeping pace with Finland at the top.
Do You Know Your Toronto Maple Leafs Trivia?
- How many times have the Leafs had the first overall draft pick (since the inception of the Entry Draft in 1963)?
- The final game played at Maple Leaf Gardens was on February 13, 1999. Who was their opponent?
- Boston Bruins
- Montreal Canadiens
- Chicago Blackhawks
- New York Rangers
- How many Leafs have won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year?
- Who did John Tavares replace as captain of the Leafs?
- Phil Kessel
- Auston Matthews
- Dion Phaneuf
- Morgan Rielly
- How many Maple Leafs players, coaches, and or management are in the Hockey Hall of Fame so far?
Answers can be found at the bottom of the email.
What Went Wrong
In the words of Ferris Bueller — “Life comes at you pretty fast.” It feels like the NHL playoffs just started and already teams are falling by the wayside. The postseason is a time of year when much of the focus is placed on looking ahead and celebrating those teams that remain in Cup contention. However, in the spirit of our new “In Memoriam” segment, we are going to offer some final words on these first round casualties.
Yes, we all know what happened last night, but… we aren’t quite there just yet. Far from the Toronto Maple Leafs’ epic 3-1 series lead collapse to the Montreal Canadiens, the Nashville Predators can hold their heads high in the wake of their Game 6 defeat at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Halfway through their 56-game schedule, the Predators sat 11-16-1 — 10 points out of the fourth and final playoff spot in the Discover Central Division and allowed 29 more goals than they’d scored to that point. With rumors circulating ahead of the trade deadline, the club willed themselves into being buyers with eight wins in their next nine games to jumpstart their surge to a 20-7-1 record the rest of the way.
That same resilience was demonstrated in their first round series. After being outscored 8-2 over the first two lopsided losses, a return home to Bridgestone Arena brought some drama and late game heroics in the form of back-to-back double overtime winners by Matt Duchene and Luke Kunin. Sadly, Nashville didn’t have any more miracles left in them, dropping two more overtime thrillers while giving the Canes a legitimate scare.
Now, the focus shifts to what could be a bumpy offseason, featuring tough expansion draft decisions and the pending free agency of key veterans like Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula, and Erik Gudbranson — plus a likely farewell to Pekka Rinne.
On top of that, GM David Poile will have to determine the long-term direction of an aging core that, for as tough an out as they were, still fell as major underdogs to Carolina.
For now, the disappointment that the Predators feel should be at least somewhat softened by their incredible 2020-21 journey and a thrilling playoff series. Just, maybe, don’t check out the Carolina Hurricanes’ Twitter account.
Please join us in a moment of silence for these recently eliminated teams – gone, but never forgotten. We can’t wait until we meet again (the 2021-22 season, of course!), but for now we’ll take this opportunity to reflect on a their brief — but memorable — playoff run.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Dates Active: 1/13/21 – 5/31/21
Cause of Death: Doing, well, Maple Leafs things.
Last Words: Wait, they still play hockey in June?
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Dion Phaneuf