Lightning Land Road Win, Blackhawks Rumors Heating Up, Crushing Beers at MSG, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Lightning Land Road Win, Blackhawks Rumors Heating Up, Crushing Beers at MSG, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

With their 3-1 win on Thursday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning head back to their home rink one win away from their third consecutive Stanley Cup Final. Ondrej Palat scored the game-winning goal inside the final two minutes — again — and the Bolts added a goal into an empty net to close the deal. It was a good, tight game with a redirect costing the Rangers.

•   After the final horn last night, Nikita Kucherov appeared to fire a puck at Adam Fox’s feet. The Rangers didn’t like it and we had an opportunity for all ten skaters on the ice to get together and sing Kumbaya. Almost everyone partnered up for a hug and conversation, but the gloves came off between two former No. 1 overall picks — Alexis Lafrenière (No. 1 in 2020) and Steven Stamkos (No. 1 in 2008). The elder statesman handled his business and the Bolts skated to their end of the ice with a lead in the series.

•   The Rangers have come back from being down 3-1 against the Penguins and down 3-2 against the Hurricanes already in these playoffs. So this isn’t new territory for them.

•   Palat made history last night with another late game-winning goal. It’s worth noting that he was the 208th overall pick (seventh round) of the 2011 NHL Draft by the Lightning. He has now scored 45 goals in 131 career playoff games for Tampa.

•   The Blackhawks buzz was strong on Thursday in both the trade rumor and coaching candidate circles. We’ll start with the increasing number of insiders who are talking about Alex DeBrincat’s time with the Blackhawks being near its end. We’re sorry, Blackhawks fans, but it appears we should begin preparing for DeBrincat’s departure.

•   NBC Sports Chicago’s Charlie Roumeliotis looked at what a trade package for DeBrincat might include.

•   Roumeliotis lands on a package similar to the one the Blackhawks got for Brandon Hagel but adds that “you have to imagine GM Kyle Davidson would make acquiring a high first-round pick and/or an A-level prospect a priority. (The two first-rounders Chicago received from Tampa Bay are likely going to be late ones).” He also suggest the New Jersey Devils are a team to watch on DeBrincat, in particular. As we’ve discussed, Hawks fans need to ready themselves for what seems like an inevitability.

•   The other rumor of the day was two new names being added to the Blackhawks’ search for a new head coach. How do we feel about the Hawks courting a former player in his 50s? Because that’s the profile of the three names prominently linked to the Hawks’ search thus far.

•   Former Jets offensive lineman Nick Mangold showed the crowd at Madison Square Garden how to finish their beer last night during the Rangers-Lightning game.

•   Jimmy Fallon also made a celebrity appearance at MSG last night. When called upon to excite the crowd, he went with the inhale-the-hot-dog and pour-beer-everywhere approach. It wasn’t graceful, and maybe a little aggressive, but the glass was empty. How do you grade his performance?

•   The Rangers and Lightning weren’t the only teams fighting late last night. The South Bend Cubs had two bench-clearing incidents in their game on Thursday.

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab