🎶 It’s the most, wonderful time of the year! 🎶
For hockey fans, this song is relevant twice a year: Christmas and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
After day one of the Playoffs delivered with a drama-filled overtime victory for the Washington Capitals, day two followed it up with not one, but two overtimes and a last second win in regulation. There’s almost nothing more you can ask of the Stanley Cup Playoffs this time of year. So far, every game has kept fans on the edge of their seats and left everyone wanting more. Now comes day three. I’m so excited.
• The day began with the Penguins and Islanders in Game One of their opening round series in Pittsburgh. We learned prior to the beginning of the playoffs that the Penguins had decided to wear their alternate Yellow sweaters for home playoff games instead of their usual Black ones. I wasn’t a fan of it and my wife wasn’t either as we watched the game.
I asked my wife what she thought of the Penguins' yellow uniforms, because I don't like them, and she said they look like French fries and I cannot unsee it
— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) May 16, 2021
• Well the French fries find themselves down 1-0 in the series after newest Islander acquisition Kyle Palmieri scored the game-winner over the shoulder of Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry in overtime.
— NHL (@NHL) May 16, 2021
• That made it two overtimes in two playoff games heading into the Sunday afternoon matchup between the Minnesota Wild and Vegas Golden Knights.
• I remember when the Vegas expansion team had yet to be named, thinking that it was a no-brainer that they would incorporate some sort of gambling or casino aspect into the name. Ultimately they did not, but that didn’t mean they could incorporate it in different ways. Last night’s playoff rally towel bing a prime example.
— x-Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) May 16, 2021
• Those are awesome and they helped provide the kind of playoff hockey atmosphere the Stanley Cup Playoffs deserve.
The atmosphere in T-Mobile Arena is unbelievable right now. It’s almost hard to believe it’s real, after the last year. pic.twitter.com/bfDJd95z3Q
— Jesse Granger (@JesseGranger_) May 16, 2021
• It’s so nice to have fans back.
• The fans at the T-Mobile Arena were treated to an incredibly tense goalie-battle as Cam Talbot and Marc-Andre Fleury led their teams with 42 saves and 29 saves respectively and a 0-0 tie heading to, you guessed it, another overtime period. In the end, it was Minnesota’s Joel Eriksson-Ek with the game-winner on his stick.
— NHL (@NHL) May 16, 2021
• The Wild are looking to build upon the surprise breakout season they had in 2021 and hope to move on past then first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs fro the first time since the 2015 postseason. Since the 2005-06 season, the Wild have won just two playoff series with second-round exits in 2014 and 2015, both at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks.
• The final postseason game of the night, which wasn’t the final game on the NHL schedule though, was the highly anticipated baton Florida as the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning take on the cross-state rival Florida Panthers.
• Every minute of Game One was incredibly captivating hockey between these teams.
• Not to mention the dramatic return of 2019 NHL MVP Nikita Kucherov and Lightning Captain Steven Stamkos back to the Tampa Bay lineup. While you can hoot and holler all you want about the Lightning “cheating” the salary cap and tampering with Kucherov’s return, it’s all legal and allowed in the current CBA. If it was O.K. for The Blackhawks in 2015 when Patrick Kane broke his collarbone and they went out and acquired Antonie Vermette and then Kane was miraculously ready for Game One that postseason, then it’s O.K. for Kucherov coming off of hip surgery and retuning for the Lightning.
• Also, the Lightning don’t care about your feelings.
— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) May 17, 2021
• They’d probably tell you to go cry about it.
— NHL (@NHL) May 17, 2021
• This game had everything, dramatic comebacks, back and forth scoring, scrums and tussles at every whistle, these teams are going to fight tooth and nail for not only supremacy in Florida, but in the NHL. I’m happy to see the Panthers have such a completive team and how do you not root for Joel Quenneville, right?
• Tied 4-4 late into the third period, it appeared the Stanley Cup Playoffs were about to go four-for-four in sending games to overtime to begin the postseason. That was until Brayden Point showed up in the clutch again for the Lightning.
Clutch once again!
— NHL (@NHL) May 17, 2021
• Point set the Lightning franchise record with 13 postseason goals last year on the way to winning the Stanley Cup and I’d imagine he will be playing that role again this postseason for Tampa Bay. This team is incredibly stacked and I don’t know how you beat them in a seven-game series.
• What a start to the playoffs.
Through the first two days of the Stanley Cup Playoffs..
-Road teams: 3-1
-Time tied: 199 minutes, 13 seconds
-Lead changes: 6
-OT games: 3
-Times teams have held more than a 1-goal lead: 0
And to think… half of the series haven't even started yet
— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) May 17, 2021
• We get more of it tonight as the Capitals and Bruins play Game Two at 6:30 p.m. CT, the Predators and Hurricanes get their series started with Game One at 7:00 p.m. CT, and the Blues and the Avalanche get their series started with Game One at 9:00 p.m. CT.
• Elsewhere around the league, involving a team in the playoffs, the Toronto Maple Leafs are making personnel moves in their Player Development Department.
Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser has been promoted to the #leafs senior director of player development, and Danielle Goyette has joined her department as a director.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) May 17, 2021
• We talked about Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser is yesterday’s bullets, earning her medical degree after retiring from hockey and working with the Maple Leafs. Now she and Danielle Goyette are leading the Player Development Department in Toronto. Love to see it.
• In Blackhawks-land, today is 2020 first-round draft pick Lukas Reichel’s 19th Birthday!
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) May 17, 2021
• Reichel helped Eisbären Berlin win the DEL Championship this season and is preparing to play with Team Germany at the upcoming IIHF World Championships in Latvia, starting on May 21st. Reichel’s future with the Blackhawks seems to be coming up quickly as it has been the expectation of the club to sign him to his entry-level contract for next season after the World Championships are over.
• Whether he begins the season with the Blackhawks in the NHL, or with the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL, all eyes will be on Reichel as he is likely to make his professional debut in North America next season.
• Speaking of the IceHogs, they will be handing out their team awards for the 2021 season starting today, so be on the lookout for those as they drop throughout the week.
• That’s all for today. Enjoy you Mondays!