NEW YORK — It was a big night for the Great White North. The Montreal Canadiens won the draft lottery and will have the No. 1 overall pick at the 2022 NHL Draft in–drum roll–Montreal. The Toronto Maple Leafs were down 2-0 early in the first period, but the team that has been perennial first-round fodder rallied for a series-changing win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. And south of the border, the Pittsburgh Penguins are delivering the goods better late than never.
Dave Molinari and I are in New York for Game 5 Wednesday night at MSG. For the record, above 48th St., my vests work. Though as I write this from a hotel room on 10th avenue, I realize we’re close to the Garden, but I failed in the one thing Mr. Molinari requested– a hotel with a comfortable bed. It’s always a crapshoot when picking an NYC hotel, especially with low availability.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: There was initial excitement at the Penguins’ optional practice in Cranberry. Rickard Rakell was in a black sweater, but head coach Mike Sullivan later clarified that Rakell was not yet cleared for contact. It looks like the status quo for Game 5. Pittsburgh Penguins practice.
One-Timers. The Penguins are protecting Louis Domingue and torturing Igor Shesterkin. And the winning formula for Game 5.
PHN+: He is in a much better mood now that he’s playing better hockey, candid and funny, “Better late than never,” Kasperi Kapanen joked.
***I hope you’ll subscribe to PHN+ to support this growing outlet. Two experienced reporters making two trips to NYC and perhaps a week in Raleigh or Boston coming–I think we may have the best hockey coverage in the city, but we need you on board!
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NHL News & National Hockey Now:
Montreal: Oh what a story! Shane Wright is probably going to be selected first overall. Montreal is hosting the draft, and the Montreal Canadiens pick first.
Sportsnet: The first period looked like the Tampa Bay Lightning would show the kids how it’s done. Then something funny happened–the Toronto Maple Leafs rallied for a huge 4-3 win in Game 5 and a 3-2 series lead. It was an impressive comeback led by the Leafs core.
NYI Hockey Now: What next for the Islanders and Barry Trotz? The coach got the ax after a brutal season. Stefen Rosner reports a couple of Metro Division teams have already expressed interest. And a few names are emerging to replace him. New York Islanders coaching search.
Philly: Could the Flyers pursue Barry Trotz? Our Sam Carchidi reports they’re interested, but should they? Carchidi says, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes….yes… Philadelphia Flyers news.
The Islanders stayed put in the NHL Draft Lottery–they will pick No. 13. Do they keep the pick, or could we see GM Lou Lamoriello swing a big Islanders trade?
Sportsnet Edmonton: The Oilers face elimination tonight after their worst effort of the series. Another year, another Connor McDavid playoff loss?
Boston: I won’t lie–if the Penguins win Round One, I’d rather spend a week in Boston than Raleigh. However, the Bruins had a chance to take a commanding series lead but collapsed in Game 5. Tony DeAngelo, who Brad Marchand has been chirping, played a big part. The Boston Bruins breakdown.
Detroit: It’s very possible that teammates could finish 1-2 in the Calder Trophy voting. The Detroit Red Wings’ future is bright.
Washington: No punishment for T.J. Oshie–who cracked Sam Bennett pretty good in Game 4. Washington Capitals news.
Colorado: The only first-round sweep. Bye, Nashville. A look back at the dominating series by the Colorado Avalanche.
Vegas: And, lastly, you never know when a player is playing hurt. To answer some of the criticism, George McPhee revealed that Eichel played for six weeks with a broken thumb. Vegas Golden Knights.