The Stanley Cup Semifinals, no longer being called the Final Four (apparently that is already trademarked), have another qualifier as the Tampa Bay Lightning are moving on to the third round of the postseason. Not far behind them, possibly, are the Vegas Golden Knights, who have won three-straight over the Colorado Avalanche after a 3-2 overtime win last night in Denver. These Stanley Cup Playoffs have been wild, and it seems like the most predictable and the most desired Cup Final of Tampa Bay against Colorado is starting to fade away, if Vegas has anything to say about.
• But first, on this day in 2010…a 49-year drought was ended.
— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) June 9, 2021
• Game Six of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final between the Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers went to overtime. With the Blackhawks leading the series 3-2, Patrick Kane shimmied past future teammate Kimmo Timonen and found the back of the net for the Cup-clinching goal. The first Stanley Cup championship for the Blackhawks franchise since 1961 and the first of three Stanley Cup victories in a six-year span for the organization.
• Good friggin’ times, eh?
• Fast-forwarding to this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, last night we saw another game head to overtime as the Vegas Golden Knights ended up with a 3-2 win to take a 3-2 series lead over the Colorado Avalanche with their third-straight win in the series.
• Colorado got off to fortunate start at the very last moments of the first period, thanks to former two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Blackhawks, Brandon Saad.
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) June 9, 2021
• Saad buries his seventh goal of the postseason with 0.8 seconds left on the clock in the opening period to give the Avalanche a 1-0 lead. Saad’s seven goals rank him in a tie for second in the league with David Pastrnak and only trail teammate Nathan MacKinnon and Brayden Point.
Brandon Saad passes Matt Duchene passes on the franchise playoff points leaderboard, now 78th all time #GoAvsGo
— Avs Stats (@avsstats) June 9, 2021
• Random, but a great stat nonetheless.
• The Avalanche would take a 2-0 lead into the third period, but Alex Tuch would waste little time in the third period to start the comeback for the Golden Knights with some incredible hand-eye coordination.
— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) June 9, 2021
• Yes, that is another former Blackhawk making things happen in this game as Mattias Janmark forces the turnover and the Golden Knights capitalize. Not long after that, Vegas would tie the game thanks to Jonathan Marchessault’s sixth goals of the postseason to tie the game 2-2 and would head to overtime.
• Not long into the overtime period, Colorado forward and Northbrook-native J.T. Compher had a quality opportunity to win the game, but Marc-Andre Fleury was able to make the critical save. Just moments later, after blocking back-to-back shots, Vegas Captain Mark Stone had the game on his stick.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 9, 2021
• Stone’s first goal of the series ends a six-game goals drought for the Golden Knights Captain. The Golden Knights lead the series 3-2 now and head to Vegas for Game Six on Thursday with a chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Semifinals and a matchup with the Montreal Canadiens.
• By the way, this was my fifth #bucciovertimechallenge win of this postseason. Not to brag or anything, but I had pretty damn good odds on this submission.
I mean… 🤷🏻♂️ https://t.co/MmgTKvTpMv
— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) June 9, 2021
• In the early game of the evening, it was a slow death for the Carolina Hurricanes as they fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Five, 2-0, to send Tampa to the next round. The Lightning will move on to face the winner of the New York Islanders-Boston Bruins series, which the Islanders lead 3-2 with Game Six tomorrow night.
• One goal is all the Lightning would need in this one, with the first tally of the game coming from the aforementioned Brayden Point, his league-leading eighth goal of the postseason.
Brayden Point's hands are just THAT good, okay. #StanleyCup
— NHL (@NHL) June 8, 2021
• Legend has it that Alex Nedeljkovic’s jock-strap is still missing after this goal.
• I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, for as good as you think Brayden Point is, he’s better.
Brayden Point's career NHL numbers
Regular season: 0.40 goals per game, 0.88 points per game
Playoffs: 0.55 goals per game, 1.13 points per game
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 9, 2021
• When the Lightning won the Stanley Cup last year, Victor Hedman came away as the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as postseason MVP. Brayden Point had a legitimate claim to the honor with a league-leading 14 goals in 23 games and finishing second in scoring with 33 points.
• With the Lightning headed to the third round, Point again is making a very strong case for postseason MVP honors again.
Brayden Point over the past two postseasons:
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) June 9, 2021
• After what the Lightning did to dispatch the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes in the first two series’ of the postseason, I truly do not know how a team will beat Tampa Bay in a seven-game series.
• It helps when you have a perennial Vezina Trophy candidate in net…
Andrei Vasilevskiy (29 saves) became the first goaltender in NHL history with a clinching shutout in three consecutive series (also Game 6 of 2020 SCF & Game 6 of 2021 R1). #StanleyCup#NHLStats: https://t.co/BETohp9zvi pic.twitter.com/uQw4JtxLpH
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 9, 2021
• Two of the four spots in the Stanley Cup Semifinals are set with Montreal and Tampa Bay moving on. The Islanders have a chance to be the third team to advance as they hold a 3-2 series lead over the Bruins heading into tonight’s Game Six. If they are able to finish the series, it will set up a rematch from last year’s Eastern Conference Finals between them and the Lightning. Also, if the Islanders close-out the Bruins in Game Six, and the Golden Knights eliminate the Avalanche in their series, the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinals will not have any of the four Division winners in them.
• In other playoff news, the Kelly cup Playoffs are underway in the ECHL and the Chicago Blackhawks have representation in them as their ECHL affiliate Indy Fuel qualified for the postseason following a historic season with a 37-24-8 record.
and in 69 games pic.twitter.com/LNIHEIsxlz
— x – Indy Fuel (@IndyFuel) June 8, 2021
• The Fuel opened their postseason with an unfortunate 2-0 loss to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in Game One of their best-of-five first round series. Game Two will be in Greenville on Thursday.
Game 1 goes to Greenville. pic.twitter.com/ETmKwtBPSr
— x – Indy Fuel (@IndyFuel) June 9, 2021
• As for the Blackhawks, the NHL Draft continues to be at the forefront of the minds of the organization. Well, the NHL Draft and the Seattle Expansion Draft as well. But for the purpose of this particular bullet, it’s the NHL Draft.
• While all eyes are on the 11th overall pick for Chicago, they have plenty of other needs to address in the prospect system and they could very well address a major need with one of their second round picks. They could also make the organization more “family-oriented” as the younger brother of Kirby Dach, Colton Dach, has improved his draft stock heading into this summer and could very well see himself alongside his older brother in a Blackhawks sweater.
• One final thing for today. It appears that Toronto’s CN Tower (think Willis/Sears Tower for importance to the city) will be lit-up in Red, White, and Blue in support of the Montreal Canadiens moving on to the Stanley Cup Semifinals. That’s right, heated long-time rival Montreal is being honored in Toronto…
— CN Tower/La Tour CN (@TourCNTower) June 8, 2021
• Can you imagine the Willis/Sears Tower going Red and White to honor the St. Louis Cardinals advancing to the NLCS? Or Green and Yellow to honor the Packers in the NFC Championship game? Can you?
• Canada is odd, man.
• That will do it for today, hope you all have a great Wednesday!