It Was 3-1 and It Ended 3-1, Group Stage Comes To a Close, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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It Was 3-1 and It Ended 3-1, Group Stage Comes To a Close, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Toronto Maple Leafs fans, if you’re here, I’m so sorry. Honestly, how many more times do the Leafs have to make the same movie over and over again? And after dropping a 3-1 series lead and losing another Game Seven in the postseason, what do you change from this Maple Leafs team? They had essentially everything they needed throughout the season and look poised to run through the Canadian divisional playoffs into the final four of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, then, nothing. It is going to be a truly fascinating offseason.

For Canadiens fans, congratulations and good luck continuing on! They’ll take on the Winnipeg Jets in the Canadian Division final in the second round fo the playoffs. A matchup we all saw coming, right?

•   You could feel the anxiety around the Maple Leafs all day yesterday and honestly, it almost felt like fans were already prepared to lose Game Seven the moment that Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored the overtime winner in Game Six.

•   History was not on Toronto’s side and nothing changed from the past decade and a half.

•   It started with a goal that Jack Campbell wants back in the worst way. Brendan Gallagher opened the scoring the second period on the way to scoring three unanswered goals before William Nylander made it 3-1 with less than two minutes to play in the game. it was already over.

•   Toronto was failed by their top players in the series as Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner vanished and became non-factors against the Canadiens. Matthews and Marner combined for just one goal in the seven-game series after Matthews led the NHL in goals in the regular season and both finished in the top-five of the league in points. It’s the same old song and dance for the two stars in Toronto when it comes to crunch time.

•   Just a reminder, Mitch Marner is paid $10.9M per season.

•   Again, no slight to Montreal. Props to them for actually going out and winning the physical game. But it was historically never in the cards for the Leafs.

•   With the loss, we now know the brackets for the full second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and what divisions will matchup for the final four in the third round of the postseason.

•   Matthews and Marner join top league players like Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Sidney Crosby, and Alex Ovechkin on the golf course for the remainder of the playoffs. Outside of Carey Price, none of the top 15 highest paid NHL players are playing in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

•   One last twist of the knife, sorry Toronto.

•   In NHL Awards news, we have our top-three Vezina Finalists as Philipp Grubauer, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and Marc-Andre Fleury are this year’s nominees. If you can believe it, it’s the first time Fleury has been a top-three Vezina Finalist.

•   In Blackhawks-land, the organization might actually see the postseason in 2021!

•   The ECHL’s Indy Fuel won last night over the Fort Wayne Comets. They’ll now wait on the Wheeling Nailers (yes, a real team) to beat the South Carolina Stingrays and help them clinch a spot in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

•   While the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue into the second round, the Blackhawks have their eyes set on the NHL Draft Lottery and the dreaded/lucky ping pong balls. The Draft Lottery is set for tomorrow night and the Blackhawks have the 12th-best odds at winning the top overall draft pick in this summer’s NHL Draft. They are in the same Draft Lottery slot as they were in 2019 when the lottery balls were in their favor and moved up to the third-overall pick, where they selected Kirby Dach.

•   Speaking of Kirby Dach, his younger brother Colton is eligible for this summer’s draft and is ranked as the 19th best North American Skater in the NHL Central Scouting ranks, and 73rd overall by TSN’s Bob McKenzie. You should check out Scott Powers’ latest at The Athletic, spotlighting the Dach brothers and their bond on and off the ice.

•   Speaking of drafted Blackhawks players, today marks the end of draft rights for former Draft picks Roope Laavainen and Cole Moberg. According to Scott Powers, both will have their rights expire as the Blackhawks are not offering them contracts.

•   In the IIHF World Championships, today is the final day of Group Stage play and it looks possible that all nine Blackhawks players and prospects at the tournament could make it to the elimination stage. All depends on this afternoon’s game between Germany and Latvia, which also affects the standings with Canada in Group B.

•   Lukas Reichel and Germany are the only team with Blackhawks representation that is, at the time of this writing, outside of the top eight teams moving on to the elimination round. Reichel has been great for Germany in the tournament is looks poised to make some noise in North America when he eventually makes his way overseas this summer, as is expected by both the Blackhawks and Reichel.

•   Today is the first day of June and the first day of Pride Month. Just wanted to say Happy Pride Month to our LGBTQ+ readers and fans!

•   That will do it for today, hope you have a good Tuesday!

Author: Mario Tirabassi

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