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Dan’s Daily: Florida Beast Mode, Hopes on DeSmith, Penguins Slide Malkin?

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Pittsburgh Penguins game analysis, Florida Panthers

The New York Islanders can’t hang, the Tampa Bay Lightning found out the Florida Panthers are a new level of good, and the Vancouver Canucks are trying to pump up Casey DeSmith. The Washington Capitals face a 3-0 deficit if they lose tonight, and it is the fourth and final day of our great trip to cover the Pittsburgh Penguins prospects converging on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. This keyboard will pack up and head to Allentown today for Game 2 of the WBS Penguins series against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

WBS faces elimination. It will be very interesting to see how they respond. The playing group had meetings instead of practice Thursday. Sam Poulin and Villie Koivunen—both of whom I know you’d like to see in a Penguins sweater next season—will need to carry more of the offensive burden. I didn’t grade Koivunen after Game 1 because it was unfair since he arrived just a few days ago. I will grade him tonight.

I won’t mind getting home. I’ve had plenty of Sheetz hot dogs this week (Two for $2. Of course, I add bacon for a whopping 90 cents), but last night, I visited the Taj Majal of Wilkes-Barre: Outback Steakhouse. Don’t care what you say, I like it, and it’s a trustworthy meal when you don’t feel like exploring the local haunts. Sometimes, even this undeterred explorer just wants meat and a beer without a search.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Rickard Rakell wasn’t up to par this season, and that’s probably putting it mildly. He went from 28 goals and 60 points to 15 and a mere 37. He conceded he has to be much better next season. Rickard Rakell’s admission.

I dropped a hot take Thursday, and the reaction was pretty solid. I’ve hinted, I’ve said, but I’ve not fully written it before. Look at the names in the bumper crop of free agents this summer. Now is the time — move Evgeni Malkin to wing.

NHL News, Stanley Cup Playoffs, & National Hockey Now

Florida Hockey Now: School is in session. Tampa Bay has been in three of the last four Stanley Cup Finals. They’re perhaps the second-best team in the East. Thursday, they tossed everything they had, but their opponents just smiled and kept charging. The Florida Panthers in beast mode.

NHL.com: Shocked? The Washington Capitals are down 2-0, and panic is setting in. The coach is ripping Alex Ovechkin. A sweep or five-game series seems quite likely. The Capitals are hoping Charlie Lindgren can save them.

NYI Hockey Now: You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille. Playing their hearts out against an unflappable Carolina Hurricanes, the New York Islanders lost Game 3. They will now face elimination after a brutal start by Ilya Sorokin.

The finalists for the NHL awards will be announced starting Monday. I did get a vote (the invitation was hiding in my spam folder). And I’m terrified I missed someone. The Hart Trophy vote 2-5 was impossible; the winner was easy, but the rest were tied, in my opinion.

Vancouver Province: The boys are trying to pick up Casey DeSmith. Without Thatcher Demko for a couple of weeks, the Vancouver Canucks’ Stanley Cup hopes rest on DeSmith, and the team is going out of its way to pump his tires.

Boston Hockey Now: It’s no surprise that Jeremy Swayman would prefer the start to the rest. The Bruins lead Toronto 2-1, but there’s an extra day between games. Swayman wants the Boston Bruins’ net.

Detroit Hockey Now: Steve Yzerman likes his coaching staff, but he wasn’t entirely pleased with it, either. Yzerman issued a split decision on the Detroit Red Wings staff.

Sportsnet: Legendary broadcaster Bob Cole, who was the voice of Canadian hockey, passed away at 90. His voice underscored so many of the great moments of Canada’s game and he did so flawlessly. You knew it was a big game when Bob Cole had the call.