Canadiens Force Game Seven, More Blackhawks Playoff Memories, Seth Jones On The Market? and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Canadiens Force Game Seven, More Blackhawks Playoff Memories, Seth Jones On The Market? and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Are you not entertained?! Well, probably not if you are a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. In that sense, you might be a bit tormented by the idea of having to play a Game Seven against the Montreal Canadiens after having a 3-1 series lead. But here we are as the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will come to a close with the Game Seven matchup between the long-time rivals.

•   While all this is going on in Canada, by the way, the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue on into the second round. Which is just bizarre.

•   It felt like this is just destiny for the Maple Leafs and Canadiens. Things couldn’t be easy for Toronto and Montreal had to put on a show for the fans at the Bell Centre.

•   The caption says it all…

•   The first rendition of “Oh, Canada” with fans back in the building, any building, for the first time since the COVID-19 Pandemic shutdown in March of 2020. Take a moment to take this in, if you haven’t yet.

•   Incredible energy.

•   The game wouldn’t disappoint either, as the Canadiens took a 2-0 lead only to have the Maple Leafs come back in the third period to tie the game 2-2 and force overtime. Toronto dominated the extra frame, but in overtime in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, just one bounce can make the difference.

•   Jeseperi Kotkaniemi, a healthy-scratch from Game One of the series, scores his third goal of the series and sends it to a Game Seven.

•   The two greatest words in sports and it comes in a series that we haven’t seen in over 40 years. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are always must-see television.

•   While it’s the two greatest words in sports, Game Seven, it might also be the two most dreaded words for Toronto Maple Leafs fans. Especially given the way this specific series has played out.

•   During the regular season, Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews finished fourth and fifth in the NHL in scoring, with Matthews leading the league in goal-scoring with 41 on the year. In the postseason, they have combined for eight points (four each) but just one goal between the two of them.

•   The Maple Leafs have won just one Stanley Cup Playoff series since reaching the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals. They have lost four of five Game Sevens since the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs. History is very much not on their side.

•   For more on the first game with fans back in the arena in Canada and the night Game Six was in Montreal, check out SportsNet’s Chris Johnston’s latest.

•   While the Maple Leafs and Canadiens close their first-round series on Monday, the rest of the Stanley Cup Playoffs are moving on to the second round. Simultaneously.

•   In case you were glued to the Maple Leafs and Canadiens game, you may have missed the opening game of the second round of the Playoffs between the Bruins and Islanders. You would have also missed David Pastrnak’s hat-trick to lead Boston to a Game One victory.

•   Pastrnak now leads the Bruins in scoring in the postseason with five goals and nine points through six games.

•   This guy…

•   Bruins take a 1-0 series lead over the Islanders. They look poised to march right into the Stanley Cup Final, to be honest.

•   Second round continues today with Game One action between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes, as well as the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche.

•   In non-playoff team news, it appears that Seth Jones has no intentions (at this moment) of playing with the Columbus Blue Jackets beyond next season.

•   Jones has one year left on his current deal at a $5.4M cap hit. He also has a 10-team no-trade list clause in his final two years of his deal. The Chicago Blackhawks have a major need for a top-pair, legit No. 1 defenseman. They do not have one of those types of guys in their defensive group and might not for another year or two, depending on the development of a player like Adam Boqvist. He may never become that. If the Blackhawks really want to be active this offseason, maybe they work a trade and get an extension done with Jones, rather than battle for him the free market in the summer of 2022.

•   In other news involving former Blackhawks and Blue Jackets players, looks like Artemiy Panarin got married to his fiancé Alisa last week and former Columbus teammate Sergei Bobrovsky (fresh off losing to the Lightning) officiated the wedding.

•   Congratulations to the newly married Panarins!

•   More offseason news coming from Elliotte Friedman this week, it appears the era of the post-COVID, flat salary cap in the NHL is going to be much longer than we expected…

•   The current NHL salary cap is set at $81.5M. According to Friedman on his latest podcast, it will stay that way for potentially five years.

•   That is extremely troubling for any team in the league, but the Blackhawks have some flexibility to work with this offseason and could likely set themselves up for more long-term flexibility if they move a contract like Brent Seabrook’s off of LTIR and invest in more younger players on entry-level deals or their second contracts. The problem with that would be the competitiveness of the team. It’s hairy and I’m glad I’m not Stan Bowman.

•   Speaking of a young player the Blackhawks want to invest in, looks like Lukas Reichel was back on the ice for Germany this morning at the IIHF World Championships.

•   Reichel missed Germany’s last game after taking a hit to the head against Kazakhstan. He has five points in the tournament for the Germans.

•   In action today, two games featuring Blackhawks players with Switzerland defeating Belarus, and Canada topping Italy to keep their hopes alive of getting out of the Group stage.

•   In the 7-1 drubbing of Italy by the Canadians, Brandon Pirri netted a goal for his point of the tournament.

•   In Blackhawks recent history, today holds two memories. Six years ago, the Blackhawks topped the Anaheim Ducks in Game Seven of the Western Conference Finals to move on to face the Lightning in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. Which we all know how that went.

•   11 years ago, the Blackhawks hosted the Philadelphia Flyers for Game One of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final at the United Center. The first Stanley Cup Final game to be played at the UC since its construction.

•   Chicago would win Game One 6-5 on their way to the first Stanley Cup Championship for the franchise after a 49-year drought. But you knew that already.

•   That will do it for today. Enjoy your Sunday!

Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.