It’s been a bit taxing to keep up in some of these Stanley Cup Playoff games. The action is at an unfamiliar level, thanks to the Blackhawks not being true contenders for the last four years (we’re not entirely counting last summer’s bubble playoff run are we?) This offseason continues to be a key point for the Blackhawks to move in the right direction after a surprising season in 2021. But even a small step forward in 2021-22 won’t likely get the club to the level of play that these teams left in the Stanley Cup Playoffs have demonstrated.
• The speed and physicality have been turned up to 11 in the postseason, the same number of draft pick that the Blackhawks will have in the upcoming NHL Draft in July. Just in case you forgot.
• The bad blood is turned up to 11 as well. Even before games officially start.
• Blake Coleman and Warren Foegele getting penalties at the opening face-off is something I haven’t seen before without it involving a fight. This series has been incredible and Game Five did not disappoint. I needed a nap after watching, can’t imagine what the players feel like after a game like that.
• Of course what is a Stanley Cup Playoff night without a former Blackhawks tie-in these days right?
Jordan Staal to Teuvo Teravainen for the game-tying tally pic.twitter.com/f3wObwjmUK
— Michael Smith (@MSmithCanes) June 5, 2021
• Every postseason game for the Hurricanes has been a knife-twist of what could have been for Teuvo Teravainen in Chicago.
• Teravainen’s goal in the second period tied the game at 1-1, but only was the first of eight(!) goals scored in the second period.
Nikita Kucherov on the power play makes it a one goal game pic.twitter.com/BPSGTcFCMB
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) June 5, 2021
• The Tampa Bay Lightning are a team built as if you turned off the salary cap in NHL 21 and made trades on easy mode. Their depth and ability to score from anywhere in the lineup is only matched in these Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Colorado Avalanche. It’s only fair that wee see that Stanley Cup Final, right?
• Carolina scored two goals in 39 seconds in the second period to take a 2-1 lead. After Steven Stamkos tied it 2-2, the Hurricanes then scored two goals in just over two minutes to take a 4-2 lead. Then the Lightning tied the game with their own pair of goals just over two minutes apart to tie the game at 4-4…keeping up?
Tyler Johnson, tie game. It's 4-4 after a 7-goal second period. pic.twitter.com/CVggPdgp2U
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) June 5, 2021
• Hope you’re still keeping up because the Lightning took the lead for good late in the second period with Steven Stamkos’ second goal of the period, another two and a half minutes after tying the game.
Make it an 8-goal second period. Nikita Kucherov sends Steven Stamkos a royal road pass on the power play, and the Lightning take a 5-4 lead pic.twitter.com/95G0YltwVo
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) June 5, 2021
• Eight goals, three ties, three lead-changes. All in a 20-minute span of hockey.
• A buddy of mine texted ed me during the game, saying that watching these Lightning makes him think of the Blackhawks of not too long ago when they were winning their Stanley Cups. Mainly the 2013 team, which might be the greatest Blackhawks team ever assembled. Just coming at you constantly in waves and never having a chance to take a break from the pressure.
• The Lightning now hold a 3-1 series lead over the Hurricanes, with a chance to close the series in Carolina on Tuesday in Game Five.
• Also in action last night was Game Four between the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders with the Bruins leading the series 2-1. While not the goal-fest we saw in the earlier game on Saturday, this one had enough going on to keep the talking points alive and well. Including this dangerous spear from David Krejci on Islanders star Matthew Barzal.
Krejci spears Barzal. It's called as a major and reviewed, but becomes a slashing minor. pic.twitter.com/iWbywD6rXg
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) June 6, 2021
• Krejci was assessed a major penalty on the play and then, after a review, was reduced to a minor for slashing. What are we even doing anymore? If I was playing and looking to gain any edge I could over my opponent in these Stanley Cup Playoffs, the way they are being officiated, I would take every cheap shot or run at a guy I could. What’s the worst that happens to me? A fine? A minor penalty? If I could take out one of their top guys for a slap on the wrist, who is not taking that chance, right? This is what we want as fans and this is what the NHL wants to bring attention to the game. Hits, fights, blood, and made some skills, right? I’m sick of this stuff.
• Good on Barzal for coming back from that and shoving it down the Bruins’ throat with the eventual game-winner in the third period.
• Barzal may be one of the more underrated stars of the league, simply because he doesn’t play for one of the most popular teams. But the Islanders are no joke.
Assisting on his team's 1-1 goal vs BOS tonight, Mathew Barzal is the 24th player with 30+ career playoff points with the @NYIslanders franchise. Of those, only 2 have done it in fewer games from the start of their PO careers than Barzal's 40: Denis Potvin (28) & Mike Bossy (30) pic.twitter.com/kt0uqUam2h
— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) June 6, 2021
• Especially playing at home at the Nassau Coliseum for the final time, the Islanders are going to be a tough out for the Bruins and we get one more game, at least, in this atmosphere.
— Stefen Rosner (@stefen_rosner) June 6, 2021
• Like I said, they are going to be a tough out…
The @NYIslanders have overcome a deficit in each of their last four wins, the franchise's longest such run since the 1993 #StanleyCup Playoffs (5 GP: Games 3, 4, 6 of DSF vs WSH & Games 1, 4 of DF vs PIT).#NHLStats: https://t.co/oFN3fMvC6y pic.twitter.com/0n47C7SBW9
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 6, 2021
• Screw it, go Islanders!
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) June 6, 2021
• Anything is better than watching Boston fans continue to get to have it all. How about watching Tom Brady cheer on the Tampa Bay Lightning, too.
• I’m on a roll. Another gripe I have and I have had for years and I’m not alone: Pierre McGuire sucks at being an in-game “analyst.”
• His personal vendetta against what he considers to be “analytics” has to be the most unintentionally funny bit going in these Stanley Cup Playoffs. At least once a game, he starts a sentence about a non-star player with “There’s no analytics for this player’s ability to …. x-y-z” and he’ll go on to explain something that hockey analytics can very easily quantify. I really, really hope that Turner and ESPN leave him behind.
• Elsewhere in the hockey world yesterday, history was made in the Ontario Hockey League’s Priority Selection draft as Taya Currie became the first female ever selected!
• An awesome moment for Taya and for the OHL. Good luck to her in her pursuit of her hockey career!
• From a future OHL star to a former OHL star, Marco Rossi is back on the ice.
So happy to be back on the ice!💪🏻 pic.twitter.com/T5YdUjmUk6
— Marco Rossi (@marcorossi2383) June 5, 2021
• The 2020 first-round pick by the Minnesota Wild has had an extremely difficult year since being drafted. He had a terrifying battle with COVID-19 and was diagnosed with Myocarditis due to complications with the virus. He’s had a long road through recovery and back to the ice. It’s incredible to see him back.
• In the world of the Blackhawks today, the IIHF World Championships conclude with the Bronze and Gold Medal games going on in Latvia. Five players and prospects playing for Medals today for the Blackhawks with Lukas Reichel and Germany taking on Drew Commesso and the United States in the Bronze Medal game, and then a trio of Brandon Hagel, Nicolas Beaudin, and Brandon Pirri playing for Gold with Canada against Finland.
• At the time of writing this, the USA is up 5-0 on Germany heading into the third period. So I feel safe to say congratulations to the United States on winning Bronze and congrats to Commesso for coming along for the ride with the States. Unfortunately, Reichel will fall short of getting a Medal with Germany but he played an impressive role with the Germans and will likely be signing with the Blackhawks in the next few days/weeks.
• In the Gold Medal game this afternoon, the Canadian trio of Hagel, Pirri, and Beaudin look to avenge the 2019 World Championships loss by Canada to Finland. That game saw Kevin Lankinen backstop the Finns to their first ever World Championships Gold Medal over a Canadian team that featured Dylan Strome. In the rematch today, the trio all have a chance to win their first international Gold Medals with Team Canada.
• Yesterday was two-time Stanley Cup winner Dave Bolland’s 35th birthday, a key figure in the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup dominance in the 2010’s. Today, it’s three-time Cup winner Niklas Hjalmarsson’s 34th birthday!
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) June 6, 2021
• Also going on today in Blackhawks history, Dustin Byfuglien put in a four-point effort as the Blackhawks won Game Five of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final with a 7-4 win over the Philadelpha Flyers.
— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) June 6, 2021
• Miss those days. Well that will do it for today, enjoy your Sunday!
• Another reminder, send your questions for tomorrow’s Monday Mailbag! Use the hashtag #BNHawksMailbag on Twitter or email them to [email protected]