Islanders Force Game Seven, Remembering Those 17 Seconds, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Islanders Force Game Seven, Remembering Those 17 Seconds, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Remember when I started off yesterday’s bullets by saying that the Chicago Blackhawks had a pretty interesting 18 hours. Well it didn’t gets any better yesterday. Honestly, I’m not sure how much ya’ll can expect to see or hear from me today. It’s getting really taxing to keep up with this franchise at the moment. Today is the eight-year anniversary of the Blackhawks winning the 2013 Stanley Cup in dramatic fashion, a memory I’ll always cherish, and yet all the energy I can muster up about it is a half-hearted “wooo.” Yeah, this organization’s behind the scenes operation has really gotten me to this point. It sucks.

•   Anyways, hello, hi, there was an exciting Game Six last night in the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning at Nassau Coliseum. The Lightning, defending their 2020 Stanley Cup Championship,  are one win away from returning to the Stanley Cup Final. However, after last night’s win, so are the Islanders.

•   What is a Stanley Cup Playoff game without awful officiating, right?

•   Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield gives a vicious, illegal, cross-check to Nikita Kucherov on the opening shift of the game. Kucherov would finish the shift, but not return to the game after showing visible signs of an upper-body “injury” or definite discomfort.

•   Kucherov leads the league, by a wide margin, in scoring this postseason. Now his status is unknown heading into a pivotal Game Seven. No call was made on the play, Mayfield won’t face any punishment, and he might get away with knocking out the best player in the postseason. NHL player safety and the officiating is running JUST FINE.

•   With Kucherov out, the Lightning need a new leader of their offensive charge. Lucky for them, being nearly a $100M team, they don’t have to look far. No further than Brayden Point.

•   NINE-straight games with a goal for Point now. I know we in the hockey world gave Justin Williams the monicker of “Mr. Game Seven” in the postseason, but I think it’s safe to call Brayden Point “Mr. Postseason” or something like that. I’m not in charge of making up the names, but it’s a starting point.

•   The guy just shows up in big moments. He’ll be underrated no longer.

•   The Lightning would extend their 1-0 lead after Anthony Cirelli netted the 2-0 goal in the second period. But not long after that, the Islanders cut the lead in half with a goal from Jordan Eberle.

•   Reaching the mid-way point of the third period, still down 2-1, it was Mayfield popping up again for the Islanders. But this time, he played a more heroic role.

•   Mayfield’s second goal of the postseason tied the game at 2-2, sending the Coliseum into a frenzy. Mat Barzal ended the night with two primary assists on the regulation goals for the Islanders and now leads the team in postseason scoring.

•   Mayfield’s tally was enough to send the game to overtime, where another Anthony would play the overtime hero in Game Six between the Lightning and Islanders. Whereas last year it was the Lightning’s Cirelli scoring the Game Six winner, this time around it would be New York’s Anthony Beauvillier.

•   We head to a Game Seven.

•   If this does in fact end up being that last game in the Nassau Coliseum, what a way to go out. The Islanders force Game Seven back in Tampa tomorrow night and the New York fans showed their appreciation for the Islanders’ efforts by showering them with beer cans, rally towels, and I think I even saw a shoe get thrown too.

•   It was truly a barn up for grabs.

•   Everyone loves to keep their eyes and focus on teams like the Bruins, Capitals, Penguins, and Lightning in the Eastern conference, but other than Tampa, no team has been more successful that the Islanders. What a ride they have taken us on in these playoffs.

•   Game Seven is set for tomorrow night in Tampa, puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. CT. Get your popcorn ready.

•   Happening tonight, the Montreal Canadiens have a chance to close their series against the Vegas Golden Knights at home in Game Six. The Canadiens take their 3-2 series lead into the Bell Centre with a chance to return to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1993, which is also the last time a Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup. No pressure right? Puck drop tonight is at 7:00 p.m. CT.

•   Listen, I will not be shamed for speaking this into existence if it does end up happening.

•   Elsewhere in the league this morning, the Seattle Kraken finally have their head coach.

•   Dave Hakstol will be the first head coach in the expansion franchise history. Hakstol has had head coaching gigs with the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL from 2015 to 2019 and at the University of North Dakota in the NCAA from 2004 to 2015, where he coached Jonathan Toews from 2005 to 2007. Hakstol served as an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the past two seasons. His head coaching record in the NHL is 134-101-42.

•   Today is a special day in Blackhawks history. Eight years ago in Game Six of the Stanley Cup Final, Chicago completed a third period comeback for the ages, scoring two goals in 17 seconds to take the lead over the Boston Bruins and hold on for the final minute of the game to win the Stanley Cup.

•   It was the second of what would be three Stanley Cup Championships for the Blackhawks over a six-year span from 2010 to 2015.

•   I’ll always remember watching that game, mentally preparing myself for a Game Seven on the horizon. Then shifting gears and mentally preparing myself for overtime in Game Six with the Stanley Cup on the line. Then shifting gears once more, mentally preparing myself for the incredible party in the street of Chicago that was about to take place.

•   I’ll cherish that memory forever. It’s not something that can be taken from me.

•   But, at the same time, it’s a memory that changes how I feel about the organization as time goes by, as I get older as a hockey fan, and as more information comes to light regarding the way in which the Blackhawks organization has handled themselves off the ice over the past decade and more.

•   The stories and allegations against the Blackhawks and against former video coach Brad Aldrich will not go away quietly. They should not. This should be and needs to be the biggest story in the NHL right now because of the way that the organization and management handled all of it. It reeks of the toxic culture that surrounds the sport of hockey. It’s rotten and disgusting and I hope anyone and everyone who was involved or had knowledge of the situations and did nothing about it lose their jobs. Clean the house, I don’t care.

•   I have no sympathy for anyone in this situation other than those victims of what Aldrich did and what the Blackhawks didn’t do, but could have done, to prevent the awful chain of events that followed the incident in 2010.

•   Other Blackhawks news, in prospect land.

•   Cool.

•   I’ll leave you with some positive imagery. Former Blackhawks defenseman Stephen Johns continues his #MentalMiles cross-country rollerblading trip. Take in this scenery shot while on his trip through South Dakota.

•   Pretty awesome.

•   That will do it for today. Enjoy your Thursdays.

Author: Mario Tirabassi

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