Eight Is Enough, Reichel Recognized In Europe, June 22nd Is A Good Day, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Eight Is Enough, Reichel Recognized In Europe, June 22nd Is A Good Day, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

The Tampa Bay Lightning took one of the most commanding 3-2 series leads in recent memory last night with an 8-0 drubbing of the New York Islanders in Game Five of their Stanley Cup Playoff Semifinal series. One of the most dominant and lop-sided wins of these Playoffs, the Lightning are one win away from heading back to the Stanley Cup Final to defend their 2020 crown.

•   Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 21 shots by the Islanders for his 11th win in 16 starts during the postseason. Alex Killorn and Steven Stamkos added two goals and an assist each, while Nikita Kucherov had three helpers and Brayden Point extended his goal-scoring streak to eight games in-a-row.

•   I’m not going through every play and goal from last night. We get the point, the Lightning are good.

•   Following last night’s 8-0 win, the top-five scorers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs are all on Tampa Bay.

•   Nikita Kucherov leads the league in postseason scoring with 27 points in 16 games. He missed the entire regular season and is on pace to re-join the Lightning for the postseason and win the Conn Smythe. Unreal.

•   While Brayden Point extended his goal-streak, Kucherov has an eight-game streak with at least one assist and I would bet heavily that he extends it to nine games in Game Six on Wednesday night.

•   With the shutout win last night, Andrei Vasilevskiy leads the league with 11 postseason wins and three shutout performances. His .936 save percentage is the highest among still-active goalies in the postseason and his 513 shots faced are the most of any goaltender in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

•   While Kucherov and Point make all the headlines for the Lightning, Vasilevskiy should 100% be in the conversation for the Conn Smythe, should the Lightning reach the Stanley Cup Final. Which, they probably will at this point.

•   Ok, fine, I’ll go through one goal from last night. Brayden Point’s 13th goal in 16 postseason games extended his scoring-streak to eight games last night.

•   The Lightning were just toying with the Islanders at that point in the game.

•   I’ve said it a bunch this postseason, Brayden Point is one of the most underrated players in the league. Especially in the postseason.

•   If the Lightning are to win this series in either six or seven games, Point will have at least six more games to play including at least four in the Stanley Cup Final. At his current .81 goals per game pace, he’d be looking at scoring at least five goals over those minimum six guaranteed games, which would get him to 18 in the postseason. If I were a betting man, I’d take the bet that say Point will set the postseason record for goals in a playoff year.

•   The Lightning are one win away from joining the Penguins, Red Wings, and Devils as the defending Cup Champions to return to the Final the next season. Only Pittsburgh, of those three, were able to repeat as Cup Champions.

•   The game did not go the way of the Islanders whatsoever. To make matters worse, they may have to try to make a comeback in the series without star forward Mat Barzal after he was ejected from there game after this hit on Tampa Bay defenseman and former Blackhawk Jan Rutta.

•   Barzal will likely only face a fine, but you never know these days. The Islanders are sure hoping it’s only a fine. Game Six is set for Wednesday night at the Nassau Coliseum, puck drop at 7:00 p.m. CT.

•   In league news yesterday, Sportsnet’s John Shannon reporting that the NHL is preparing for two possible schedule releases for the 2021-22 season…

•   I really hope they get to use the one that includes the Olympic break.

•   Over the past two weeks, we’ve heard rumors and reports that the Blackhawks have interest in Dougie Hamilton, Seth Jones, and Jack Eichel as all of those players are expected to be available through free agency or through trades this offseason. Now it appears that Flames star Matthew Tkachuk could be looking for a change of scenery

•   Should we add Tkachuk to the Blackhawks’ list? Why not right?

•   Speaking of Blackhawks land, June 22nd has been a good day for the franchise in recent memory…

•   I wonder who will have the best career of these four when it’s all said and done…lol.

•   Also happening on June 22nd in Blackhawks history, eight years ago today, Chicago took a 3-2 series lead over the Boston Bruins in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.

•   That June 22nd, 2007 draft pick Patrick Kane showing up again on June 22nd, 2013. It’s like, cosmic or something.

•   While not drafted on June 22nd, former Blackhawks draft pick Stephen Johns continues his rollerblading trek across the country for mental health awareness. He hooked up with former Stars teammate and NCAA Champion Wisconsin Badger Joe Pavelski on his trip through Wisconsin.

•   Keep you eye out for Johns as he continues his #MentalMiles across the country!

•   On to current Blackhawks, 2020 first-round draft pick and newly signed rookie Lukas Reichel is being recognized for his work this past season in the German DEL. Reichel is nominated for the Young Player of the Year award in the European Hockey Clubs Alliance Awards.

•   Reichel helped Eisbären Berlin win the DEL Championship this season, finishing fifth on the team in scoring with 27 points in 38 games and he finished as the top DEL U21 scorer in his second professional season.

•   Reichel is joining the Blackhawks next season as he begins the first year of his entry-level deal. The expectations are understandably high for the 19-year-old, but I would warn to not get caught-up in those high expectations. If Reichel jumps into the NHL lineup right away and lights it up, by all means live it up. If he needs to grow his game in North America in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs before making the jump to the NHL, so be it. The Blackhawks should be playing the long-game at this point.

•   That will do it for today, hope you all enjoy your Tuesdays!



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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