Lightning Take 3-0 Stanley Cup Series Lead, Duncan Keith To Oilers Picking up Steam, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Lightning Take 3-0 Stanley Cup Series Lead, Duncan Keith To Oilers Picking up Steam, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Last night really felt like that was it for the Montreal Canadiens, right? Like, “we’re done here” kind of feeling. The Tampa Bay Lightning have been everything we thought they would be, while the Canadiens have done as much as they could have wished against the Lightning and it’s not enough. Plus, it doesn’t help when Carey Price, who had been just as good as Andrei Vasilevskiy in these playoffs, has fallen off in the Final. But again, it’s against Tampa, a team that can make anyone look bad.

•   While the Stanley Cup Final appears to be coming to an end, so too does Duncan Keith’s time with the Blackhawks. After reports surfaced that Keith and the Blackhawks were open to a trade, “rumblings” according to Elliotte Friedman, the steam has seemed to pick up behind the feeling that Keith will be on the move out of Chicago.

•   One team that has started to legitimately look like a front-runner for the former two-time Norris Trophy winner and future Hall of Famer are the Edmonton Oilers.

•   Keith has said in the past, and now here again, that if he didn’t finish his career in Chicago, that he would want to finish his playing career near his family in British Columbia. With the addition of the Seattle Kraken this season, there are four teams within a stones-throw away from Keith’s family in Penticton, BC. The Kraken, Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, and Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton is the most-likely contender for the Stanley Cup next season out of those four and makes the most sense for what they need and what Keith could bring to the table.

•   Time will tell what actually ends up happening with Keith. It’s possible he is back in Chicago next season if a deal doesn’t make sense for both sides. After all, it was Keith, not the Blackhawks, who asked for the trade according to reports.

•   A Happy Blackhawks Birthday to former teammate of Keith’s from the beginning of his Blackhawks career and the last captain of the Blackhawks before Jonathan Toews, Adrian Aucoin!

•   Bet that wasn’t a name you were expecting to hear about today. Another anniversary today for the Blackhawks, as in 1998, the team signed Doug Gilmour, who also would go on to be a Captain for the team in his time in Chicago.

•   Gilmour finished the final two seasons of his career playing with the Montreal Canadiens, save for one game with the Maples Leafs before calling it quits. The Canadiens in present day maybe be one game away from calling it quits on the 2021 season. See that? THAT is a transition.

•   For the first time since 1993, Montreal was hosting a Stanley Cup Final game. But after they were denied the ability to increase their seating capacity, the 3,500 fans had to make up for the lesser home-ice advantage they were experiencing. Boy did they…

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•   Game Three also saw the return of Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme, who was out for the last handful of games in the Cup Final and the Semifinals due to COVID protocols.

•   The warm welcome back didn’t last long though as former Blackhawks defenseman Jan Rutta scored the game’s opening goal just under two minutes into the game.

•   Rutta became the first player in NHL history to score a goal in a game that mattered in the month of July, since last night’s game was the first ever NHL game held in the month.

•   More history would be made shortly after the 1-0 goal. Victor Hedman scored his second goal of the postseason and his second point of the night with a powerplay tally to make it 2-0 for the Lightning just over three minutes into the first period.

•   With the goal, Hedman has now scored in every calendar month in his NHL career.

•   That’s fascinating to me. A feat that will likely never be matched.

•   But it wasn’t all Tampa last night as the Canadiens struck back in the first period, thanks to another former Blackhawk, this time it was Phillip Danault sowing his first goal of the postseason to make it a 2-1 game.

•   Montreal had some life and would take the 2-1 score into the first intermission. That’s as close as it would be.

•   In the second period, Nikita Kucherov put the Lightning ahead by two goals again, scoring his eighth goal of the playoffs just under two minutes into the second period.

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•   Kucherov had an assist on the opening goal of the game, giving him a two-point night in Game Three and extending his lead in postseason scoring this year to nine points over his teammate in second-place, Brayden Point.

•   After missing the entire regular season, Kucherov has come back and been an absolute monster for the Lighting in the postseason. But again, did we expect anything different?

•   Kucherov has eight goals and 32 points in 21 Stanley Cup Playoff games this postseason, nine ahead of Point’s 14 goals and 23 points in 21 games. Since the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Kucherov (104) and Point (73) have the most points in the postseason, with Sidney Crosby (73) tied with Point for second.

•   And I agree with Greg here, no offense to Point and his incredible goal-scoring streak in the last two postseasons, but this year’s Conn Smythe discussion for Stanley Cup Playoff MVP comes down to Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy.

•   While Kucherov has been a point-producing machine, the Lightning may not be here without the play of Vasilevskiy in net.

•   Vasilevskiy has seen the most shots against him in the postseason and leads the league with a .938 save-percentage. He also has a 1.94 GAA and four shutouts in his 21 playoff appearances this year.

•   After taking a 3-1 lead over the Canadiens, the Lighting wouldn’t let the game get closer than a two-goal difference the rest of the night on their way to a 6-3 win in Game Three. They now have a chance to win their third Stanley Cup in franchise history, and back-to-back Cups, with a win in Game Four at the Bell Centre.

•   I don’t think it was worth it, bud…

•   Does anyone think the Cup doesn’t leave Montreal in the possession of the Lighting? Because I don’t.

•   Yesterday marked a new longest Stanley Cup drought in the NHL, and it now belongs to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

•   Sorry, Toronto. Although I’m sure some of you are finding so sick pleasure in seeing the Canadiens fall flat in the Final.

•   While the Stanley Cup will likely be awarded on Monday night, the Kelly Cup in the ECHL was handed out last night as the Fort Wayne Komets topped the South Carolina Stingrays last night, 2-1 in Game Six to win their first-ever Kelly Cup.

•   Congratulations to the Komets, noted rivals of the Indy Fuel.

•   That will do it for today, enjoy your Fourth of July weekends!

•   REMINDER: Be sure to send in your questions for Monday’s Mailbag segment! Use the hashtag #BNHawksMailbag on Twitter or send them to Mario.tirabassi at bleacher nation dot com.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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