May 13 — A Handful of Points & the Men’s Worlds Watch

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

NHL TAKES ON THE WORLDS: Two weeks after Sweden stunned the United States in the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Men’s Under-18 World Championships, it’s the men’s national teams’ turn at medaling. Team USA kicks off its tournament this morning against Latvia at 9:20 am EDT, while Canada faces Germany at 1:20 pm EDT. With Canada and the US in different groups, the earliest they would play each other would be the quarterfinals. 

HART RACE DOWN TO THREE: The NHL revealed a star-studded trio of finalists for the Hart Trophy, as Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, and Igor Shesterkin will vie for hockey’s top individual award. Last season, Matthews was runner-up to McDavid, who took home his second Hart. Shesterkin, meanwhile, is a Hart nominee for the first time. 

BRUINS FORCE GAME 7: Brad Marchand and Charlie Coyle recorded a goal and an assist, leading the Boston Bruins to a series-saving 5-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Carolina will host a deciding Game 7 on Saturday. 

EMPHASIZE THE POINT: For the 17th time following a defeat in the postseason, the Tampa Bay Lightning bounced back with a victory. Brayden Point scored late in the extra period to force a Game 7 in Toronto on Saturday night, becoming the second Lightning player to score in overtime when the team is on the brink of elimination (Martin St. Louis, Game 6 2004 Stanley Cup Final). 

BARRIE(NG) DOWN: Tyson Barrie picked the perfect time to score his second career postseason goal, breaking the deadlock between the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings, and sending the series back to Edmonton for Game 7. Evander Kane (two goals, assist) and Connor McDavid (goal, two assists) paced the Oilers, who were missing defenseman Darnell Nurse due to a suspension. 

WE HAVE A ROUND 2 MATCHUP: St. Louis became the second team to advance to the second round, as the Blues defeated the Minnesota Wild 5-1 to win the series 4-2. It sets up a clash against the Colorado Avalanche, who have been off since Monday awaiting an opponent. Game 1 in that series will likely be Monday, May 16. 

Friday Favorites

Let’s look back at our favorite moments of the week.

Handshake Lines

It’s the best tradition in sports, behind the passing of the Stanley Cup. After each series wraps up, the teams line up at center ice and pay their respect to their enemies of the past two weeks. No matter how hard-fought the battle was, how chippy things got after the whistle, or how many fights a series has, the players shake hands and acknowledge their foes (even Dino Ciccarelli). This week saw the Colorado Avalanche and Nashville Predators embrace before the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues last night

We Hart Goaltenders

Here at the Morning Skate, we like to give love to goaltenders, and this year the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association agrees. Igor Shesterkin looks to become the fifth goaltender in NHL history to win the Hart and Vezina in the same season, joining Carey Price (2014-15), José Théodore (2001-02), Dominik Hašek (1996-97 & 1997-98!), and Jacques Plante (1961-62). Sergei Bobrovsky was the last goalie to finish in the top-3 in voting, coming in third in 2016-17 with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Overtime Delights

Ah, playoff hockey, where games could last three periods or three-plus hours. While this year’s first round hasn’t been as exciting as last year (16 Round 1 games went into overtime) or even the year before (eight in Round 1, 13 if you count the Qualifying Round), we were blessed with back-to-back overtime thrillers this week. On Monday, Carter Verhaeghe ended Game 4 in favor of the Florida Panthers with an OT-winner over the Washington Capitals. Then on Tuesday, Adrian Kempe gave the Los Angeles Kings a 3-2 lead in games with his Game 5 winner in the extra period. Adding the icing on the cake, Braydon Point provided one more extra-stanza thriller for our list as the Tampa Bay Lighting forced Game 7 on Saturday. 

Players to Watch: Men’s 2022 Worlds

It’s officially time for the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, the annual battle for international hockey supremacy. Or, if you’re an NHL player, the consolation prize for not enjoying a Stanley Cup playoff run. While not a best-on-best, the tournament often allows less prominent players to take on more significant roles for cross-border bragging rights. This year, several players have a chance to use the event to propel them toward the next stage of their hockey careers.

Thomas Chabot – Canada

Thomas Chabot, Ottawa Senators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Ottawa Senators are sending a strong contingent of players to Finland, including Canadians Thomas Chabot and Drake Batherson and German phenom Tim Stützle. Because there aren’t a ton of eyes in the hockey world focused on the Canadian capital, the tournament represents a chance for all three—all expected to fill featured roles—to make their mark. Chabot, in particular, will captain a Canadian squad looking to defend last year’s gold.

Nico Hischier – Switzerland

Nico Hischier, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Nico Hischier is coming off a career-high in goals (21) and points (60) for the New Jersey Devils, but the 23-year-old still hasn’t quite lived up to his billing as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. If the 2021-22 season was a step forward for Hischier, then the World Championships could further his ascent. He also has a real chance to help Team Switzerland make some noise in a wide-open Group A that features Canada and Slovakia but not much else.

Alex Galchenyuk – USA

Alex Galchenyuk, Arizona Coyotes (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Alex Galchenyuk has a lot to play for in Finland, with what could be a potentially decisive opportunity in front of him. It’s been 10 years since the 28-year-old went third overall, and since then has made seven different stops along what’s been an underwhelming NHL journey. Now, he’s without a contract and looking for his next home. Working in his favor is a potentially high-profile slot among a thin American forward corps. Now is the time to make a big impression.

Recent 5-Point Playoff Performances

On Sunday, Boston forward Brad Marchand had five points in Game 4 against the Carolina Hurricanes, scoring two goals and adding three assists in the 5-2 Bruins win. Then, Florida center Carter Verhaeghe had five points in Game 5 against the Washington Capitals, tallying two goals and three assists to help the Panthers come back from 3-0 to win 5-3.

As we’ve seen twice in the past week, sometimes a player puts the team on his back in a crucial postseason game. With that in mind, here is a look at a few recent five-point playoff performances.

Brayden Point, Tampa Bay Lightning (9/7/2020)

There were no five-point performances in last year’s postseason, but there were multiple in the late-summer 2020 Playoffs. Bayden Point, the talented Tampa Bay Lightning forward, was the last to record the feat. He scored two goals, including the opening tally, and added three assists in an 8-2 rout over the New York Islanders.

Brayden Point, Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

The blowout marked the beginning of the 2020 Eastern Conference Final, which the Lightning went on to win in six games over the Islanders. They then beat the Dallas Stars in six games to win their first of two consecutive Stanley Cup titles. Point had his first multi-point game of the 2022 Postseason last night, notching an assist and putting home the game-winning goal in overtime to send Tampa Bay’s series with the Toronto Maple Leafs to Game 7.

Denis Gurianov, Dallas Stars (8/20/2020)

Speaking of the Dallas Stars, they had a player with a five-point performance of his own on the way to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final. In Game 6 of the team’s first-round series against the Calgary Flames, Denis Gurianov scored four goals (and chipped in an assist) to help the Stars overcome a 3-0 first period deficit and eliminate the Flames with a 7-3 win.

Denis Gurianov, Dallas Stars (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Dallas went on to edge the Colorado Avalanche in seven games and cruise past the Vegas Golden Knights in five games before falling to the Lightning. The 24-year-old Gurianov has appeared in four of the Stars’ five games in their current series with the Flames, in which they are down 3-2, registering two shots and zero points.

Dominik Kubalik, Chicago Blackhawks (8/1/2020)

The first of the three five-point performances during the 2020 Postseason came from Blackhawks forward Dominik Kubalik, a rookie at the time. However, Kubalik achieved it during the Stanley Cup Qualifiers: a preliminary round implemented just for 2020. In Game 1 of Chicago’s series with the Edmonton Oilers, Kubalik’s postseason debut, he put up two goals and three assists to help guide the Blackhawks to a 6-4 win.

Dominik Kubalik, Chicago Blackhawks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Chicago went on to win the Qualifying Round series against the Oilers three games to one. They faced the Golden Knights in the first round, losing in five games. This season, the 26-year-old Kubalik had 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) in 78 games with the Blackhawks.

Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket

Stanley Cup Playoffs Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule