Last Night’s News 📰
WE’RE BAAACK: For the third year in a row, the Tampa Bay Lightning will represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Final. The back-to-back defending champions ousted the New York Rangers in Game 6 on Friday night with a 2-1 victory, earning a date with the Colorado Avalanche to determine the 2022 Stanley Cup champion.
GETTING TO THE POINT: Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point did not play in the team’s clinching win over the New York Rangers on Saturday, missing his 10th straight game due to a lower-body injury. Tampa head coach Jon Cooper wouldn’t say whether Point will play in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday but did say that “it’s extremely probable that he will play in the series.”
THE JÁGR STREAK ENDS: For the first time since 1979, the Stanley Cup Final will not include a one-time teammate of Jaromír Jágr. Jágr, now 50 years old, spent 24 seasons in the NHL and had at least one former teammate play for the league’s ultimate prize from 1980 to 2021.
14 IN A ROW: On Sunday, the United States fought back to defeat Sweden 3-2 in the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) U18 Women’s World Championship semifinals and earn a trip to its 14th straight gold medal game. The U.S. has been featured in every championship game since the tournament began in 2008 (COVID-19 canceled the 2021 tourney) and has been victorious eight times.
LOOKING FOR REVENGE: Meeting the Americans in tonight’s U18 Women’s Worlds gold medal game will be North American rivals Team Canada. Canada exacted revenge on Finland with a 2-1 victory on Sunday after losing to the Finns in the tournament’s opening game, 2-0. After ending round-robin play with the most lopsided defeat in the nation’s history to the U.S. at this tournament 7-0, the Canadians have hit their stride heading into the championship game.
SWISS BLISS: Alina Marti notched two goals and added three assists to help Switzerland defeat Germany 7-2 in Game 2 of the best-of-three regulation series at the U18 Women’s Worlds. Marti assisted on the lone Swiss goal in Game 1, a 1-0 victory, as Switzerland remains in the top division for 2023.
Conference Finals Recap
Finally, the time has arrived—the Stanley Cup Final matchup was confirmed when the Tampa Bay Lightning eliminated the New York Rangers Saturday night. The two-time defending champs will take on the Colorado Avalanche for the title starting Wednesday. With a couple of days to prepare for the Final, let’s look back at the conference finals.
An Avalanche of Goals
Many billed the Western Conference Final between the Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers as an offensive showcase, and it lived up to the hype, mainly on Colorado’s side. The Avalanche rolled the Oilers in four games, scoring at least four goals in every game on their way to the sweep.
The Avalanche totaled 22 goals in their four wins over Edmonton, more than the Lightning did in their seven-game series against New York (16). Colorado heads into the Final with the postseason lead in goals per game (4.64) and has lost just two games through three playoff series.
McDavid & Draisaitl Leave Their Mark
Despite falling in four games to the Avalanche, Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl still have a strong chance of finishing as the league’s top two scorers this postseason. McDavid scored 33 points (10 goals, 23 assists), while Draisaitl followed close behind with 32 (seven goals, 25 assists). With four to seven games left, the top playoff point scorer remaining is the Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov with 23 (seven goals, 16 assists).
Rangers End a Tampa Bay Streak
Going into Game 2 against the Rangers on June 3, the Lightning had won 17 straight postseason games following a loss, with their last back-to-back losses coming during their 2019 sweep at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets. After winning 6-2 in Game 1, the Rangers held off the Lightning to end the streak and take a 2-0 lead to Tampa.
Lightning Extend Series Streak
The 2-0 hole didn’t faze the two-time defending champs. They took both games in Tampa, then ended a streak of New York’s, beating the Rangers, who had won eight home games in a row, in Madison Square Garden. Tampa then wrapped the series up with a dominating defensive performance and two goals from captain Steven Stamkos in a 2-1 Game 6 victory.
Two streaks are still alive for the Lightning heading into the Stanley Cup Final. Tampa has won 11 consecutive playoff series, which trails only the New York Islanders (19 straight from 1980-84) and Montreal Canadiens (13 straight from 1976-80), and is also looking to become the fifth team in NHL history to win three straight Stanley Cup titles.
What Went Wrong
On June 3, the New York Rangers snapped the Tampa Bay Lightning’s remarkable 17-game unbeaten streak following playoff losses and took a 2-0 series lead by eking out a 3-2 triumph. In the time since, the two-time defending champions ran the table on the Blueshirts, winning four straight—including Saturday’s 2-1 series-clinching Game 6. So while Tampa returns to the Stanley Cup Final, the Rangers are left feeling stunned after being suddenly zapped by a bolt of, well, lightning. Which raises one question: what happened?
New York Rangers
Offense Goes Cold
Facing a world-class goaltender in Andrei Vasilevskiy didn’t help their fortunes, but New York’s offense didn’t finish the series where it started. After scoring six times in Game 1, the club potted just eight goals over the remainder of the series, failing to score multiple times in any of their final three games. Even Chris Kreider, the uber-clutch author of 15 career goals when facing elimination, scored just once over those last five games and didn’t record a shot in Game 6.
Third Period Woes
You knew the Lightning weren’t going to make it easy. True to form, each game of the comeback out of an 0-2 hole saw a resilient Tampa side get critical third-period goals. The Rangers were outscored 7-2 over the final 20 minutes from Game 3 forward. When Frank Vatrano managed to earn a crucial, game-tying marker in the latter stages of Game 6, Steven Stamkos was ready with a series-clinching answer just 21 seconds later.
Game 3 Turning Point
How large does Tampa Bay’s Game 3 comeback win loom now? Already up 2-0 in the series, the Rangers managed to quiet the Amalie Arena crowd with a pair of second-period goals for a brief 2-0 lead, but Nikita Kucherov, Stamkos, and the Lightning came storming back. And just when it looked like things were overtime-bound, there was Ondřej Palát to deliver the crushing blow by scoring the go-ahead goal with 42 seconds left in regulation.
Player Spotlight – Steven Stamkos
Steven Stamkos has led his team to three consecutive Stanley Cup Final appearances after a monumental performance in Game 6 against the New York Rangers, scoring both goals for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Fans know plenty about what he has brought to the ice, but what about his life outside of hockey? Let’s check-in.
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Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket
Stanley Cup Playoffs Leading Scorers
Stanley Cup Playoffs Schedule
- Today’s newsletter was edited by Kyle Knopp, with contributions by Ben Fisher, Kristy Flannery, and Grant Tingley.
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