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    // TIME CAPSULE IS PROPERTY OF THE 1MASB INSTITUTE // Hello. This is a digital time capsule from the year 2022. At the time of writing our world is (was?) in a turbulent state and we want to provide the future with a glimpse into what life was like. Since our institution is a small, sometimes, sports blog the only items we can offer and spare are these Hockey playoff recaps written by our intern as busy work. We have now idea how long the planet will be around however all science fiction seems to have computers, in uploading our capsule we feel its safety will be more certain. Due to the great distance our capsule has travelled, timewise, its coding is surely out of date, readers may come across some formatting oddities. - Dr. Simone J. Widdifield 1MASB Institute Director
  • May 13th, 2022
    Thursday Night Recap CAROLINA HURRICANES @ BOSTON BRUINS Final Score: Bruins 5 – Canes 2 As this series has seemed to go, the game seemed decided pretty early as the Bruins scored the first two goals of the game. Svechnikov tried to get his team back in it with a goal, but the Bruins didn’t give them a chance past that. Game 7 awaits, Saturday. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS @ TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING Final Score: Lightning 4 – Leafs 3 (OT) Down 2 – 0 once again Toronto found their way back going into the final period up 3 -2. The third period was tightly contested however Kucherov was able to even the score after the Leafs got into penalty trouble, controversial as the calls may have been to some. In Overtime, each side had a handful of chances in a thrilling affair which ended when Brayden Point poked the puck through Campbell’s legs as Leafs defensemen desperately tried to swat it out and avoid a Game 7, which will go down on Saturday. MINNESTOA WILD @ ST LOUIS BLUES Final Score: Blues 5 – Wild 1 In an attempt to spark some magic, the Wild turned to Cam Talbot in net for the first time this series after Fleury had stumbled in previous games. It didn’t work as the Blues found themselves up 4 – 0 after two period. Both teams would add one in the third as St. Louis sends home The Wild and the playoff goal scoring co-leader Krill Kaprizov. LA KINGS @ EDMONTON OILERS Final Score: Oilers 4 – Kings 2 Edmonton got off to a hot start when only a minute and forty seconds into the game McDavid broke into the Kings zone skating around them in a lasso fashion, for a sweet wrap around goal. That was just the first of his three points on the night as the Oilers forced a game 7. Tonight’s Games: New York Rangers @ Pittsburgh Penguins – 7:00pm ; Florida Panthers @ Washington Capitals – 7:30pm ; Calgary Flames @ Dallas Stars – 9:30pm
  • May 14th, 2022
    NHL Friday Night Recaps NEW YORK RANGERS @ PITTSBURGH PENGUINS Final Score: Rangers 5 – Penguins 3 Like the last game there were multiple multigoal comebacks with the Rangers edging the Crosby-less pens out. All you need to know about here is that Igor Shesterkin had one of the nicest pass of all time, please watch for yourself. FLORIDA PANTHERS @ WASHINGTON CAPITALS Final Score: Panthers 4 – Capitals 3 (OT) The Panthers came back, from down one, and Carter Verhaeghe was the hero. That’s a pretty succinct summary of this series and the game. If Verhaeghe and their offence can continue to outscore the teams below average goaltending, .906 save percentage, they could maybe go all the way. CALGARY FLAMES @ DALLAS STARS Final Score: Stars 4 – Flames 2 It’s all about the goalies in this series as Flames ‘tender Jakob Markstrom has posted a .945 save percentage throughout the series and is being slightly outdueled by his counterpart Jake Oettinger, at .954. Last nights game featured ‘Otter’ preforming slightly better than Markstrom while the Stars depth finally showed up and forced a game 7. Tonight’s Games – ALL GAME SEVENS: Boston Bruins @ Carolina Hurricanes – 4:30pm ; Tampa Bay Lightning @ Toronto Maple Leafs – 7:00pm ; LA Kings @ Edmonton Oilers – 10:00pm
  • May 15th, 2022
    Saturday Night Recap BOSTON BRUINS @ CAROLINA HURRICANES Final Score: Hurricanes 3 – Bruins 2 This game might be the last we’ll see of this Bruins core, some still thought they had their magic but as apparent in game 7 they were simply outplayed by a better and younger team. The ‘Canes on the other hand seem to have relatively few weaknesses with their third line carrying the offence and back-up goalie Antti Raanta, though he is very good and has proven so elsewhere, putting together a solid performance to bring them to the next round. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING @ TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS Final Score: Lightning 2 – Maple Leafs 1 Tampa’s fun new toy coming into these playoffs was their reconstructed third line. After most of the cup winning line got paid elsewhere in the offseason, they spent the trade deadline bringing in new pieces. While the line was a threat all series they hadn’t really appeared on the scoresheet until game 7 when it’s posterchild Nick Paul scored both Tampa goals to advance to the second round. The Leafs for their part played well and kept pace on the ice with the lightning, then halfway through the third seemingly caved to the curse hanging over them. Becoming desperate and hesitant in their attack which couldn’t quite get quality chances at the net. EDMONTON OILERS @ LA KINGS Final Score: Oilers 2 – Kings 0 Game 1 seemed like it would be the template for this series; McDavid looks superhuman, Quick puts on a clinic, and Mike Smith gives up a bad goal to ultimately doom the Oilers. Luckily for Edmonton, Smith ended up being the hero posting a .938 Save Percentage and two shutouts in the series. Quick looked on the wrong side of his prime, and the Oilers depth came through so McDavid and Draisaitl didn’t have to contribute all the offence. McDavid still did finish the series with 14 points. BLANK SPACE This should be where the Blues - Wild game seven went but St. Louis showed that they underperformed in their fancy stats during the regular season looking dominate over the Wild in the final three games of the first round. Minnesota, sent home, now face tough decision as the Buyout’s of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter kick in next season shrinking their cap by about $14 million dollars – have fun with that. Tonight’s games (ALL GAME SEVENS): Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Rangers – 7:00pm ; Dallas Stars @ Calgary Flames – 9:30pm
  • May 16th, 2022
    NHL Sunday Night Recaps NEW YORK RANGERS @ PITTSBURGH PENGUINS Final Score: Rangers 4 – Penguins 3 (OT) The Rangers offence is beginning to look like a potent weapon opponents have to watch for. Their top line of Panarin, Zibanejab, and Kreider all averaged at least a point per game and while their depth has contributed it still leaves much to be desired. New York’s chances in the next round and beyond lie firmly in Igor Shesterkin’s blocker and catcher. CALGARY FLAMES @ DALLAS STARS Final Score: Flames 3 – Stars 2 (OT) Dallas tried there hardest to win with a tie and jumped their substandard roster onto the back of Jake Oettinger who stole the show and almost the series saving 64 of 67 while his team only managed 28 on the opposing net. Though it is a common sight in the NHL playoffs for the better team to get goalie’d, justice prevailed here to make way for the Battle of Alberta. Blank Space For a while there it looked like the ‘cats would fall flat. Their run and gun offence that earned them the President’s Trophy seemed like wasn’t a fit for spring hockey. Though it took multiple overtime games to do so the key contributors for the Panthers in the regular season came alive and their offence stared clicking. Florida’s in for an interesting matchup against the Shesterkin powered Rangers in the next round. Tonight’s Games – No Games tonight ☹
  • May 17th, 2022
    No games
  • May 18th, 2022
    NHL Tuesday Night Recaps TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING @ FLORIDA PANTHERS Final Score: Lightning 4 – Panthers 1 Man advantage’s, not something you want to give the Lightning already one of the strongest, deepest teams in the league and yet the Panther’s game 1 strategy seemed based around that, giving their opponents six opportunities on the power play, of which Tampa cashed in on three. The other notable storyline from this game was Tampa’s third goal coming with four minutes left in regulation. Anthony Cirelli seemingly made contact with Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky in his crease, bumping his head and preventing him for stopping the shot. The Panthers challenged but the goal was upheld. Tampa, naturally, scored on ensuing power play putting the game out of reach for even the comeback cats. ST. LOUIS BLUES @ COLORDAO AVALANCHE Final Score: Avalanche 3 – Blues 2 (OT) Though this game needed a few extra minutes to decide a winner it was anything but close in terms of shot pressure. The Avalanche dominated the Blues when it came to offensive chances but St. Louis netminder Jordan Binnington continuously bailed them out. Well, it might be contentious to say that as most doubters of the Blues postseason potential pointed out the high discrepancy between the teams’ expected goals and actual goals. The gap should have evened out by now, however the Blues deep and talented forward core are putting that notion to the test as once again the stayed close where it mattered and forced Overtime against a team who had three more expected goals than them. Tonight’s Games – New York Rangers @ Carolina Hurricanes – 7:00pm ; Edmonton Oilers @ Calgary Flames – 9:30pm
  • May 19th, 2022
    NHL Wednesday Night Recap NEW YORK RANGERS @ CAROLINA HURRICANES Final Score: Hurricanes 2 – Rangers 1 (OT) In a very even game where both goals and man-advantages were scarce, Overtime was needed to solve this one. Quality chances for either offence were hard to come by, falling right into the Rangers game plan as their chance at winning this series rests on their ability to neutralize Carolina’s depth. The Blue Shirts effort was for not as Ian Cole scored on a floater early in OT leading New York netminder Igor Shesterkin to give his best dejected Henrik Lundqvist impression. Fun fact – while many are calling this series the Antti Raanta rumble due to his stint as a Rangers goalie from 2015 – 2017, it could also be called the Tony DeAngelo Derby, the Brady Skjei Showdown, the Jesper Fast Feud, or even the Brendan Smith Tiff. CALGARY FLAMES @ EDMONTON OILERS Final Score: Flames 9 – Oilers 6 Like any good story the much-anticipated Battle of Alberta was foreshadowed back in March in a 9-5 Flames win against the Oilers. This game started off with a bang as the Flames ignited the scoresheet early getting three past Oilers goalie Mike Smith on only nine shots. Although the shots were very uneven going +20 in Calgary’s favour, neither Markstrom nor Smith’s replacement, Mikko Koskinen, really played a factor as eight, count ‘em 8, of the 15 goals were shots that went through the netminders as if they were apparitions, reminding us all of a time long ago when goalies could actually help their teams. As fun as this game was for fans, the Oilers, losers, were not happy with their performance and Flames, winners, coached by sentient gargoyle Darryl Sutter were not happy with their game either. This may be a one-off treat or come game 2, an early goal could lead both teams to ditch their structured game plans and delve into their worst defensive instinct, providing another classic. Tonight’s Games – Tampa Bay Lightning @ Florida Panthers – 7:00pm ; St. Louis Blues @ Colorado Avalanche – 9:30pm
  • May 20th, 2022
  • May 21st, 2022
    NHL Friday Night Recap NEW YORK RANGERS @ CAROLINA HURRICANES Final Score: Hurricanes 2 – Rangers 0 The youthful ‘Kid Line’ of Alexis Lafrenière, Kappo Kakko, and Filip Chytil were the only ones continuously shovelling coal in New York’s offensive engine. Yet the Carolina Hurricanes, playing the role of train robbers, ground them to a halt and the top line couldn’t pick up the shovels where the kids dropped them. Head train robber Antti Rantta shut down every attempt of the Rangers trying to get control back. In an aside to this recap and an addendum to previous games, this series could also be called the Adam Fox Fracas. CALGARY FLAMES @ EDMONTON OILERS Final Score: Oilers 5 – Flames 3 The Oilers, like the prospectors that came before them, laid claim to the vast majority of the quality chances. And like any good oil baron, Connor McDavid had his hand in most of them, putting up 2.68 expected goals by himself. While the Flames didn’t put together their best offensive game, Edmonton Goalie Mike Smith, who seemed at little shaky playing the puck early, put aside some of Calgary’s best opportunities, rebounding from an abysmal Game 1. His counterpart, Jacob Markstrom, only stopped two less shots than Smith yet finished with a save percentage in the 800’s - funny how fickle single game save percentages are. Calgary’s defense is where heads should be turning to, as they’ll need to develop a new strategy for shutting McDavid down or at least isolating his offensive efforts if they want to take this series back. Tonight’s Game - St. Louis Blues @ Colorado Avalanche – 8:00pm
  • May 22nd, 2022
    NHL Saturday Playoff Recap ST. LOUIS BLUES @ COLORDAO AVALANCHE Final Score: Avalanche 5 – Blues 2 Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington, who entered the crease halfway into their first round series and provided a string of stellar performances to get them tied with a Stanley Cup favourite after two games of the second round, left the game early suffering a lower body injury due to a collision. His replacement, Ville Husso, St. Louis’ top goalie in the regular season, struggled allowing four goals on 23 shots. For the second consecutive game, the Blues outplayed the Avalanche offensively, as their highly efficient snipers had their chances but couldn’t get the kill. Holding them off was Avs goalie, Darcy Kuemper, and while Colorado’s top players were visible, they weren’t as dominant as everyone expected. That’s been the main takeaway so far in this series, the Blues attack with Binnington backing them up, holding Colorado even, though with half of that barrier absent for at least this contest, the Avalanche’s middling pressure was enough to break containment. Tonight’s Games – Florida Panthers @ Tampa Bay Lightning – 1:30pm ; Carolina Hurricanes @ New York Rangers – 3:30pm ; Edmonton Oilers @ Calgary Flames – 8:00pm
  • May 23rd, 2022
    NHL Sunday Night Recap FLORIDA PANTHERS @ TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING Final Score: Lightning 5 – Panthers 1 The Florida Panthers finally broke the code - the code being how to score on man-advantages, which isn’t too hard for most other teams. Yet the Cats started the playoffs 0 for 25 on the Power Play. Their streak-breaking goal would be the only one they got in the game, though definitely not for a lack of trying. On top of Andrei Vasilevskiy stopping their attack, Florida is up against perhaps the best net front defense in the League. The Lightning played incredibly strong around their crease, blocking and knocking pucks out of harms way. With the quick turnaround between games, Game 4 tonight, it might be too hard for the President Trophy-winning Florida Panthers to mount a recovery. CAROLINA HURRICANES @ NEW YORK RANGERS Final Score: Rangers 3 – Hurricanes 1 Facing the possibility of going down 3-0 to their division winners, New York Head Coach Gerard Gallant put his stagnant Forward lines in a blender, even the Kid Line. It seems to have worked – though it wasn’t the Kid’s finding success with new friends. The biggest benefactor was Chris Krieder, who only had seven points in nine games coming in. He ended up with the Game winner as Carolina, putting up a solid offensive game of their own, failed to convert more than a single chance. Igor Shesterkin slammed the comeback door shut as he saved 43 shots, rebounding from a shaky start to Round 1, becoming the back-end stalwart Ranger’s fans hoped would carry them to the promised land. CALGARY FLAMES @ EDMONTON OILERS Final Score: Oilers 4 – Flames 1 Game 1 in this series had the Flames hit the apparent jackpot, a wealth of offense buried underground after an unproductive first round against the Stars. While Calgary was celebrating, experts were warning about the underlying cracks and the devastating consequences they could have for the Flames. In Game 3, those consequences were front and centre. Jacob Markstrom, whose struggles were becoming more noticeable the less the Flames scored, was pulled after allowing 4 - not particularly hard - goals on 34 shots. Though many of them can be attributed to Connor McDavid’s and Leon Draisaitl’s playmaking abilities, owners of every assist on Oilers goals. Hard to believe the Flames, by all estimations the superior team, are losing this series, watching McDavid and Draisaitl cook, not a bad consolation prize for a Stanley Cup favourite floundering out. Tonight’s Games – Florida Panthers @ Tampa Bay Lightning – 7:00pm ; Colorado Avalanche @ St. Louis Blues – 9:30pm
  • May 24th, 2022
    NHL Monday Playoff Recap TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING @ FLORIDA PANTHERS Final Score: Lightning 2 – Panthers 0 The Panthers couldn’t dig themselves out of their 3–0 series hole, instead it was the Lightning, in Game 4, clawing back into the lead after two of their goals got called back. First, the refs spent nine minutes playing spot-the-puck on their tablets after missing a puck-in-net stoppage that directly led to Tampa scoring to go up 1–0. Shortly after, the Lightning got the lead back from the refs with a great shot from Kucherov. The refs, rightly, took that one back as well when further inspection showed centreman Anthony Cirelli using his glove to complete the set-up pass. As Tampa battled the refs for the lead, their goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy, kept his focus on the main target, putting aside 49 shots, earning a shutout when all was said and done. Florida was competitive, creating an almost equal amount of expected offense and Bobrovsky only allowed one, albeit very awkward, goal. And just like Maroon’s series-clinching goal, the Lightning completed the sweep dunking on the top-seeded playoff team. ST. LOUIS BLUES @ COLORDAO AVALANCHE Final Score: Avalanche 6 – Blues 3 After this game, the Blues are surely feeling the absence of a certain water bottle throwing netminder. The Blues were virtually non-existent, though in reality they had three goals. In expectation they had two, while all skaters played below 50% Xgoals at 5-on-5. Jordan Binnington’s replacement, Ville Husso, continued to struggle in the playoff crease. Darcy Kuemper, at the other end of the rink, also played below expectation. Nazam Kadri, benefiting from the former and covering for the latter, stole the show, scoring a hat trick after receiving racist, Islamophobic messages and death threats from St. Louis Blues fans via social media. Saturday morning might be an off day for these recaps if this series, as it looks like it will, wraps up on Wednesday. Tonight’s Games – Carolina Hurricanes @ New York Rangers – 7:00pm ; Calgary Flames @ Edmonton Oilers – 9:30pm
  • May 25th, 2022
    NHL Tuesday Night Recap CAROLINA HURRICANES @ NEW YORK RANGERS Final Score: Rangers 4 – Hurricanes 1 The Carolina Hurricanes have lost every road game and won every home game so far this postseason. So, while this result seems like a fact of nature, scary trends have emerged in these last two losses that might see this pattern break in Game 5. The biggest is their shutdown line losing it’s punch. Gerard Gallant may have sufficiently scrambled his jets enough to confuse the Niederreiter – Staal – Fast line, who up until Game 3 had proven effective at keeping their opponent’s offense at bay. Now they haven’t just become ineffective, in the past two games they’ve hurt their team’s defense. Carolina built themselves up with good fancy stat players and they, the line mentioned above as well as their top defensive pairing of Skjei – Pesce, are getting outplayed by a Rangers team that looked subpar, analytically, outside of Igor Shesterkin. Speaking of the Hurricanes current devil, Shesterkin has excelled throughout this series, even in the losses, and now the skaters in front of him are staring to click. This very well may be the Hurricanes last storm warning before getting overrun by a young Rangers team coming into its own. CALGARY FLAMES @ EDMONTON OILERS Final Score: Oilers 5 - Flames 3 The Flames did it! They shut down, well mostly isolated, McDavid and Draisaitl. The pair had their worst game, while still combining for five points. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the Oilers other lottery pick, had a pair of his own - goals that is - as he stepped into the spotlight the Flames tried to boxed his teammates out of. While they only lost this game by a goal and an empty-netter, the Flames individually didn’t play all that well. Chris Tanev, partially injured, was the only real stand-out. Jacob Markstom recovered and kept his team close after getting the primary assist on the first Oilers goal. As a sign of respect, Mike Smith returned the favour, letting a Ramus Andersson’s clearing attempt dive past him to tie the game at 3’s. In a reversal of roles, the Oilers are looking like the more cohesive team that, despite breaks going the Flames way, Calgary just can’t beat. Tonight’s Game – St. Louis Blues @ Colorado Avalanche – 8:00pm
  • May 26th, 2022
    NHL Wednesday Recap ST. LOUIS BLUES @ COLORADO AVALANCHE Final Score: Blues 5 – Avalanche 4 (OT) St. Louis needed to rebound if they wished to extend the series, and they were also going to need to rebound from the 3–0 deficit they faced in the second period. Fortunately Colorado Goalie, Darcy Kuemper, left those rebounds in the crease for the Blues to bang home. One of them, along with two bullseye shots from their marksman Forwards, pulled St. Louis even with under five minutes to play in regulation. In response, Nathan MacKinnon bursts out of his chute, down the ice in a solo effort to complete his hat trick, pulling the Avs back ahead. The other rebound goal reared its head into a Colorado victory two minutes later. The Blues, thought to be Avalanche victims after the Binnington injury, were able to benefit from a non-disastrous game out of their struggling netminder Ville Husso and non-threatening snowball performance from Kuemper. Solidified in an Overtime period that saw Colorado mount pressure only for Blues forward Tyler Bozak, not one of the ones with a good shot, to trickle the puck past Kuemper’s legs from the top of the circles. The battle to see if St. Louis can continue to corral an Avalanche team thought to be a force of nature will go again Friday night. BLANK SPACE Many of these recaps have been slightly dramatic, practically spelling doom for whichever team lost the game. In the playoffs often that is the situation and theatricality is called for. The Tampa-Florida series should be occupying this blank space; however, the President’s Trophy winners were swept in four games that never felt anything but doomed for the Cats. Tonight’s games: New York Rangers @ Carolina Hurricanes – 7:00pm ; Edmonton Oilers @ Calgary Flames – 9:30pm
  • May 27th, 2022
    NHL Thursday Night Recap NEW YORK RANGERS @ CAROLINA HURRICANES Final Score: Hurricanes 3 – Rangers 1 All Game 4 warning signs for the Hurricanes turned out to be false flags. The winds changed in their favour and their offense picked up speed. Their defense did as well, crushing any momentum the Rangers line shakeup provided. New York netminder, Igor Shesterkin, great despite the loss, turned away many of Carolina’s best chances as they hounded his crease. Yet, the Canes top Forwards, brought in because of their stellar fancy stats, were dressed in high fashion, sneering down at the Rangers and their 36.5XG% that is so last season, outclassed the team in front of Igor. Adding to the Rangers shame train was the Niederreiter-Staal-Fast shutdown line and the Skjei-Pesce pairing, returning to form, to remind New York they don’t belong at the country club. Now all the Hurricanes have to do to win the cotillion is - check notes - win a road game, which - check notes - they have yet to do in the playoffs. EDMONTON OILERS @ CALGARY FLAMES Final Score: Oilers 5 - Flames 4 (OT) Double McDavid. That’s a name to remember, he’s not just any Connor McDavid, Double McDavid is the evolved version, a completely different player, twice as good. Like a video game character, Connor McDavid has somehow found a way to double his impact in the playoffs (11.2 wins per 82 games), compared to the regular season (6 wins per 82 games). Calgary was beginning to contain this new behemoth’s solo efforts, but the resources required to do so left the other Oilers open, like Leon Draisaitl, for example, giving his best Milan Lucic stride impersonation, hobbling up and down the ice. Only having one good ankle, he managed to consistently win battles along the board and fend the puck off from would-be fiery thieves. One of the main stories throughout this series – goaltending - was not much of a factor, as both Mike Smith and Jacob Markstrom played below expectations, though evenly so. This game was a tale of a desperate Flames team putting their best effort together, then having two of the best players in the world, one going supernova, chasing them back down the ice. It’s awfully tough to imagine an opponent preventing McDavid and Draisaitl and their might of gods from dragging this team to a cup, though there is always Mike Smith to do it for them. Tonight’s Game – Colorado Avalanche @ St. Louis Blues – 8:00pm
  • May 28th, 2022
    NHL Friday Night Recap COLORADO AVALANCHE @ ST. LOUIS BLUES Final Score: Avalanche 3 – Blues 2 While it seemed the Blues could overcome being the weaker team with their lethal shooting and above average goaltending, and by all means that’s what occurred in game 6, the Avalanche proved luck doesn’t have to run out just be overcome. St. Louis left the rink only holding a 32 xG%, while leading for a large portion of the game and almost forcing overtime. The Blues didn’t lose this series because Jordan Binnington got hurt, they lost because they consistently relied on their top shooters to carry them through any obstacle, even self-imposed ones. Their strategy was bound to hit a wall and the Avalanche are as hard a wall as any. The Blues stretched this series out. Three of the six games were won by a single goal, they went 1-for-3, their expected goals share for those games was 34%, that shooting talent kept them in games they had no business being in. St. Louis’ concealer is fantastic, if this were a product review I’d say buy, but this is a hockey team and one who was laying it on a little too thick. Oh, by the way, Darren Helm won the series with 5.6 seconds to go in regulation, which is of much less importance because Colorado was bound to win. Tonight’s Game: Carolina Hurricanes @ New York Rangers – 8:00pm
  • May 29th, 2022
    NHL Saturday Night Recap CAROLINA HURRICANES @ NEW YORK RANGERS Final Score: Rangers 5 – Hurricanes 2 Igor Shesterkin can do it all. Not only did he continue to deny Carolina’s best chances, he also had two assists, tied for most points on his team. At the other end of the rink, Carolina is finding their goaltending unreliable as of late. First, Antti Raanta let three soft goals - the highest expected percentage of which was 9.3% - passed him on 20 shots, giving the Rangers a multi-goal lead 10 minutes into the game. Then backup, Pytor Kochetkov, who was solid in his first round appearances, couldn’t put the curtains on the softie show, letting in two more as the Hurricanes tried to mount a comeback. It will be interesting to see if they look to Frederik Andersen, their number one goalie in the regular season, who was injured but has been practicing with the team, for the do-or-die Game 7. Carolina’s skaters, for their part, outplayed New York. Peppering Shesterkin’s crease, who avoided sneezing to take his team to their second Game 7 of the playoffs. BLANK SPACE Oh, The Battle of Alberta, how much hope there was for you. Alas, Calgary flamed out and McDavid and Draisaitl, with their modern oil engines, steamrolled their opponents into the history books. Tonight’s Games: None
  • May 30th, 2022
    NHL Sunday Playoff Recap BLANK SPACE Unfortunately, there is not a lot to recap on today’s email bone. The only series to wrap-up is Colorado – St. Louis. While the Blues certainly have been torn apart in these emails before, I’m not sure the Avalanche have been given enough credit. It may come down to the fact that they have played two less than stellar opponents these Central Division winners were heavily favoured against. Any hiccup on their Stanley Cup Road was more of a nuance to be begrudged than cause for concern. Like the Blues, for example, who may conclude these playoffs were a success, and in three years time when they’ve failed to get past the first round, with an aged core and inconsistent goaltending, and we’ll all have forgotten this second round matchup was the cause for their delusions of grandeur. Colorado’s takeaway from the series will be A – ‘Hip hip hooray we beat our second round curse!’ and B – ‘Huh what just rolled under our tires?’. Their two losses, one due to shooting talent and the other due to a poor goaltending performance, will head to Colorado’s subconscious as they focus on Edmonton, only being reminded of St. Louis with a faint flicker of deja vu the next time Darcy Kuemper allows a soft goal. Tonight’s Games – New York Rangers @ Carolina Hurricanes – 8:00pm
  • May 31st, 2022
    NHL Monday Night Recap NEW YORK RANGERS @ CAROLINA HURRICANES Final Score: Rangers 6 – Hurricanes 2 Game 7 had the largest margin of victory in the series, and it was also one of the closest as the two teams were in a dead heat during 5-on-5 play. As has been the case so far, Carolina’s skaters put out a healthy number of expected goals; this time around, however, New York countered with an equally impressive offense. The biggest difference in the two teams’ performances was Power Plays. While Carolina did convert on one of four opportunities, New York scored twice in almost half the time, up a man. The Rangers did score a break when Antti Raanta left the game halfway through, injured, and Pytor Kochetkov came in cold, playing his first Game 7. No such break could be scored for the Hurricanes, since they had trouble just getting goals past Igor Shesterkin. He remained New York’s best player, as he stood at the other end of the rink and watched his team’s offense come alive. The Rangers now get the benefit of playing the Tampa Bay Lightning and Shesterkin’s better, Andrei Vasilevskiy. Tonight’s game – Edmonton Oilers @ Colorado Avalanche – 8:00pm
  • June 1st, 2022
    NHL Tuesday Playoff Recap EDMONTON OILERS @ COLORADO AVALANCHE Final Score: Avalanche 8 – Oilers 6 It’s hard to look past the buckets of goals, game 1 had a thick layer of fun coating it. The high volume makes it difficult to pick goals that truly stand out, Edmonton’s attack started with Evander Kane and their comeback attempt was carried by not just McDavid and Draisaitl but much of the Oilers depth, benefiting from weak Avalanche goaltending. Darcy Kuemper’s performance had Colorado fans singing the Blues, while backup Pavel Francouz couldn’t relieve their melancholy tunes. Even with the win, the Avalanche can’t look at their crease with confidence. The netminder neurosis may be eased by the spectacle that is Mike Smith. The worlds most chaotic goalie put in one of his yikes-y-est performances yet. After six more greeny-yellow than golden chances got past him, the Oilers turned to Mikko Koskinen, who contributed the only helpful game of the four goalies. Let us all hope that the oil rigs keep pumping, and the snow keeps dumping. Tonight’s game: Tampa Bay Lightning @ New York Rangers – 8:00pm
  • June 2nd, 2022
    TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING @ NEW YORK RANGERS Final Score: Rangers 6 - Lightning 2 Those hoping for a duel ended up with a shot and a dead swordsman. While this series billing of 'Vasilevskiy vs. Shesterkin' held much promise, Game 1 did not deliver. The Rangers netminder held up his end with another unreal game, posting equally impressive numbers. The Lightning found no such comfort in net. Tampa may have come away feeling shell-shocked that their stonewall has turned to mush. Hope is still high for this Lightning squad, however, who outperformed the Rangers skaters, though not reflected in the final score. They also ironically may have Vasilevskiy to fall back on, as he notably performs on another level after a loss. Tonight's game: Edmonton Oilers @ Colorado Avalanche - 8:00pm
  • June 3rd, 2022
    NHL Thursday Night Recap EDMONTON OILERS @ COLORADO AVALANCHE Final Score: Avalanche 4 – Oilers 0 The taps went dry for Edmonton in Game 2, as Colorado prevented production out of either the McDavid or Draisaitl wells. With Darcy Kuemper sidelined due to a Game 1 injury, Pavel Francouz (FRAN-sohs) put aside the paltry amounts of offense the Oilers could muster through the Avalanche’s ‘snow-wall’. Connor McDavid’s galaxy-beating pace was bound to come back down the to the Milky Way; however, he almost returned on Earth in this game, zero points and a 26.1 XG% to boot. The Oilers highest time-on-ice line, the Kane-McDavid-Hyman line, kept even with their opponents in unblocked shots, 13 – 14, but couldn’t get in the way like the Avs did, only blocking two of the 14 to Colorado’s five of 15. In a sign of kindness, the Avalanche’s top players showed the Oilers what it takes to win, as Makar, MacKinnon, Rantanen, and Landeskog all contributed a point while finishing the night with greater than 80 XG%. Hopefully, Edmonton can come back on home ice, taking in the lesson their betters have displayed and make a series out of this thing. Tonight’s Game: Tampa Bay Lightning @ New York Rangers – 8:00pm
  • June 4th, 2022
    TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING @ NEW YORK RANGERS Final Score: Rangers 3 -Lightning 2 Maybe – Igor – is – actually - better. If you were to look around Tampa’s dashboard the only light blinking is goaltending, since for the first two games of this series Andrei Vasilevskiy has performed below expectations. Outside of him the Lightning have executed, They had more expected goals than the Rangers, a greater percentage of Tampa skaters had positive expected goals, they killed all four penalties against, and had more high danger scoring chances. It should be noted, though, there are far too many pop pathologists in hockey already, The Lightning, on their goals against, were a step slower. Whether it comes down to the high number of games played in the past two years or the bruises endured during said games, the fact remains, the Rangers have been fresher. New York is a young team and Tampa has the ability to wear down their opponents; however, with Igor Shesterkin staring them down, the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions may have accumulated too much rust to keep up. Tonight’s Game: Colorado Avalanche @ Edmonton Oilers – 8:00pm
  • June 5th, 2022
    NHL Saturday Night Recap COLORADO AVALANCHE @ EDMONTON OILERS Final Score: Avalanche 4 – Oilers 2 The Oilers went full throttle in Game 3, as McDavid scored 38 seconds in to give his team some early momentum, and they kept pushing the Avalanche’s pace. Everytime they looked ready to kick it into a higher gear, however, Mike Smith was there with his hand on the clutch stalling the engine out. Late in the first after surrendering the tying goal, Edmonton accelerated, yet their effort was not rewarded. Instead, it was Colorado’s Valeri Nichushkin with his second of the night beating Smith. Edmonton still pushed ahead beating Colorado out in the XG’s battle, taking the lessons handed to them in Game’s 1 and 2. Early in the third their play was rewarded when Ryan McLeod, caught the Avalanche flat footed, burst up the middle of the ice and fired a wrister past Francouz. Shortly after, Referee Wes McCauley bestowed the Oilers a power play for their hard work. In an aspirational world the next sentence would have Edmonton scoring on the man advantage. As soon as the Avalanche’s J.T. Compher could atone for his tripping penalty he did, chasing down a clearing attempt, fending off an Oilers defender, and sliding the puck through Mike Smith’s legs for the game winning goal. Hockey fans everywhere, except a pocket of Alberta, have rejoiced this series. These Western Conference Finals are what the Oilers deserve, no matter how many goals McDavid and Draisaitl create, no matter if they outplay a superior roster, there will always be Mike Smith to crash the car. Tonight’s Game: New York Rangers @ Tampa Bay Lightning – 3:00pm
  • June 6th, 2022
    NHL Sunday Night Recap NEW YORK RANGERS @ TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING Final Score: Lightning 3 – Rangers 2 Man, there were a lot of Power Play goals in Game 3, but the real advantage was even strength. 5-on-5 is where Tampa made a difference, outclassing New York’s skaters. The Maroon-Bellemare-Nash and Hagel-Cirelli-Killorn lines held 80+ XG%’s, but only the Rangers Kid line, Lafrenière-Chytil-Kakko put up numbers, a tier below but relatively close. The Lighting as a whole outpaced their opponents at 5-on-5 in shots, scoring chances, and high-danger chances. Yet, going into the third period, Tampa found themselves down 2 – 1, their groans targeted at the now infamous Igor Shesterkin, who stopped 49 of 52 shots in another outstanding performance. Game 3 was different, however, from the previous two as one Anderi Vasilevskiy returned Shesterkin’s favour displaying some fine net minding himself. The final frame saw a determined Tampa team continue their march and trample the Rangers’ 3 shots, with 13 of their own and, with 42 seconds left in regulation, hammered home which team deserved to win, with an all-skill setup and goal from Kucherov and Palat, respectively. Has New York’s inexperience hit a wall – maybe? Is that a bold statement to ponder after one bad period of play, ya sure? Do the Rangers still have the best goalie on the planet to bail them out, definitely?! Tonight’s Game: Colorado Avalanche @ Edmonton Oilers – 8:00pm
  • June 7th, 2022
    NHL Monday Night Recap COLORADO AVALANCHE @ EDMONTON OILERS Final Score: Avalanche 6 – Oilers 5 (OT) There’s not much to say about Game 4 that wouldn’t be repeating Game 1’s high scoring and lead changes, and Edmonton’s all-out performance while losing Game 3; hey look, 1 + 3 = 4, some nice fun addition. For depth’s sake, let’s still run through what happened: McDavid - actively carried the Oilers for much of the game, Draisaitl - still had a lot of weight put on him despite how little he can put on his ankle, Mike Smith - letting the prior two’s efforts go to waste as he allowed a soft goal, foam dripping from the mouth of all non-Oilers fans when he did), and Edmonton’s Other Pieces (Hyman - great, Kane - suspended, Nugent-Hopkins - good in flashes. Most, if not all, of this series recap’s have focused on the Oilers, entirely due to the fact that Edmonton’s season reads like a Greek tragedy, specifically Sisyphus with Mike Smith being the boulder, or maybe most of the team is and McDavid, Draisaitl, and Hyman are our doomed figures. However, if you want to lay the blame, Edmonton media will somehow find a way to land it on our hero’s – they couldn’t catch the boulder rolling down a hill – is all good here because it is now time to focus on Colorado. A Western Conference Finals later and I still haven’t given the individual players on the Avalanche their due. Their lacklustre quality of opponents, two losses in three rounds, have left them as this mythological beast, so to at least make them equal to the Oilers in this recap here are some quick hits about the Avs stars: Cale Makar - generational defenseman, both offensively and defensively gifted, kept McDavid in check for portions of this series, Nathan MacKinnon – second-most goals in the NHL playoffs, a lethal scoring threat teams must account for, Mikko Rantanen – second- line Centre who is no second fiddle, used to be a Winger on the first line, creating the best line in hockey with MacKinnon and this next player, and Gabriel Landeskog - their captain and 30-goal scorer. Teams should still have an eye on him, since as you can see, any opponent is going to have to do a lot of juggling to keep up with this juggernaut. Tonight’s Game: New York Rangers @ Tampa Bay Lightning – 8:00pm
  • June 8th, 2022
    NHL Tuesday Night Recap NEW YORK RANGERS @ TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING Final Score: Lightning 4 – Rangers 1 The blame for Game 4’s loss lies impossibly at the feet of New York Rangers’ goalie, Igor Shesterkin. For the first time in this series, he performed averagely, only saving 0.19 XG’s above expected. For a Rangers team that is so clearly below Tampa’s skill level, Shesterkin being able to perform night in and night out at a world-beating capacity is imperative. Breaking this game down goal-by-goal backwards reveals why: Final score 4 -1 - the fourth was an empty-netter and doesn’t count so the score is actually 3 -1 - the Rangers got on the board with three and a half minutes to play. Shesterkin has been playing consistently at a 1+ Goals Saved Above Expected, so another goal for the Lightning comes off the board, making this a 2 -1 game. And - there aren’t any more excuses for goals to come off the board, huh? Even if Igor had played at his established skill level, New York would have still likely lost, with Tampa Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy rebounding to form, the Rangers chances to advance to the Stanley Cup final may have run out. Though they do have home ice advantage and have already won two 7-game series, but it’s hard to see them winning the Eastern Conference Finals unless the goalies freaky-Friday swap again. Even then, though, without quitting New York is likely heading home. Tonight’s Game: None
  • June 9th, 2022
    NHL Wednesday Night Recap BLANK SPACE I’m tired of talking about the Oilers! Instead of pondering their misery, how about continuing Tuesday’s recap and teach you about more rad Avs, except … I’m not over Mike Smith. Just, I know it’s been a lot of him but, just one more thing - he is currently and will most likely finish as the League leader in Playoff Shutouts at two (2), with only Vasilevskiy or Shesterkin having the foreseen ability to catch him. Smith, in order to truly appreciate all his faults, must also be remembered as a Goalie who will frustratingly perform alongside the best, when you’ve just seen this netminder, the night before, leading his opponent’s team in points. Alas, on to Denver now, where Cale Makar leads his team in points but not in minutes. That honor goes to Devon Toews, their second Defenseman, whose greatness isn’t captured by the highlight reel but is in ensuring his opponents never appear on it. He’s a modern shutdown Defenseman whose positioning stifles offense against, while helping generate Colorado’s counterattacks. Next, while his playoffs may be in question, the Colorado Avalanche wouldn’t be complete without Nazem Kadri, who has been the perfect second line Centre, putting up a 65.01 XG’s % and a career high 87 points. And, maybe the last player to mention because he truly is the most underrated player League wide is Valeri Nichushkin. He finished fifth on the Avs in individual XG’s, the expected goals figure that can be attributed to your individual performance, and, not entirely unrelatedly, led his team in Individual High Danger Corsi For - the number of high danger, read good chance of going in, shots Nichushkin created himself. What’s maybe most surprising about Colorado’s current top line Right Winger is that he is the same age as MacKinnon, not a young kid. Nichushkin was a top 10 overall pick who flamed out, that the Avs took a chance on, reviving his career. Now that you’ve learned all their names, you have zero reason not to cheer for the Avalanche in the Stanley Cup finals, yay!! Tonight’s Game: Tampa Bay Lightning @ New York Rangers – 8:00pm
  • June 10th, 2022
    NHL Thursday Night Recap TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING @ NEW YORK RANGERS Final Score: Lightning 3 – Rangers 1 Tampa’s just better. That’s not very good analysis but true, and instead of becoming a parrot of previous recaps, let us use the guise of metaphor to freshen up. In Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final, there were three penalties in regulation, two for New York and one for Tampa. Both Ranger’s violations were for hooking, as they are slower and cannot keep up with the Lightning. Tampa’s lone call against was too many men, symbolizing the fact they skirt the rules by stashing players on the Long-Term-Injury-Reserve. Some fans dislike them and feel they should be punished, others, rightly, think it’s cool how many stars they’ve been able to keep and thinks it’s unfair that they can’t all be on the ice at the same time. With Game 6 going back to Central Florida, it is incredibly hard to see Tampa, a team not known for losing in clutch situations, having to travel back to New York, especially when their Goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy, has been cancelling out any surplus value Shesterkin provides, which is quite a bit. Saturday’s game is lining up to be a very predictable 3 -1 Tampa victory, since only twice in this series has a team scored more than three goals in a game, one of which came via empty net. The sole bit of uniqueness this game might posses is again foretold by the all-seeing penalty sheet. As soon as regulation ended in Game 5, the extra-curriculars began - a line brawl broke out involving a few top players from both teams, including former first-overall picks Steven Stamkos and Alexis Lafreniere. Game 6 will most likely deliver its spiciness by the fistful. Tonight’s Game: None The Day After Tomorrow’s Game: New York Rangers @ Tampa Bay Lightning – 8:00pm
  • June 12th, 2022
    NHL Saturday Night Recap New York Rangers @ Tampa Bay Lightning Final Score: Lightning 2 – Rangers 1 Better, as an evaluative tool, can be broken down into two components: quantity and quality. All but two Tampa skaters finished the game with 50+ Corsi % (a measure of how many shots – blocked, missed, and on-net – were taken for and against while a player was on the ice); conversely five New York skaters accomplished the same feat. Quality on a shot map would appear as a dark storm cloud bombarding a crease, which, aptly, the Lightning’s offense to shape of. Vasilevskiy, at his end of the rink, saw sunny skies with mild coverage. Expected Goals, like that new AI app, mashes these two pictures together and the result paints a dire image - at 5-on-5 all 18 Rangers skaters were under 50% and all 18 Lighting skaters landed above that even mark. In all situations, mainly incorporating power plays and penalty kills, skaters on both teams cross the 50th parallel but that’s another issue. New York’s offense has been driven by its Power Play units. To flourish it requires officials to call penalties, a source that gets notoriously dry this time of year. Igor Shesterkin, while exiting the series as the better goalie, couldn’t possibly carry all the weight. And so, from the moment Tampa won Game 3 of these Eastern Conference Finals, the ending felt very predictable. Thank God for it because this Stanley Cup is going to be a hoot, take some offense New York Rangers. Tonight’s Game: None Wednesday Night’s Game: Tampa Bay Lightning @ Colorado Avalanche – 8:00pm
  • June 16th, 2022
    NHL Wednesday Night Recap TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING @ COLORDAO AVALANCHE Final Score: Avalanche 4 – Lightning 3 (OT) Dogs are equally afraid of thunderstorms and avalanches; well, I’ve never seen a dog react to tons of snow careening towards it but based on their fear of lightning, it’s safe to say dogs feel the danger in both scenarios. Tampa Bay successfully pulled a black and white blanket over my head watching Game 1 - it felt close, intense, thrilling; yet now looking at the numbers post game, I, a human, can distinguish the levels of danger. While the Lightning played a tough competitive game, throwing their bodies and blocking shots as much as their opponents, it’s what got through those blocks and around those hits that separate the Avalanche’s performance. In all situations, Colorado had 61.36% Fenwick share (number of unblocked shots compared to the other team), 62.71% Scoring Chances share, 64% of High Danger Corsi share, and 67.68% of the Expected Goals share. As well, the majority of their skaters played above 50 XG% at 5-on-5, while only six Tampa players accomplished the same. For once I wish to avoid postulating about the doom this loss might spell - neither Goalie played particularly well, with that being the norm for Darcy Kuemper and very much not so for Andrei Vaselivskiy - yet both have showed their abilities to steal games. This series is going to be fun, maybe the best Cup Final since 2011 never mind not going to jinx it, so I want to avoid forecasting and putting expectations on the future, Game 1 went the Avs way and they deserved to win, that’s all I’ll say. Game 2: Saturday, June 18, 2022 – 8pm
  • June 19th, 2022
    NHL Saturday Night Playoff Recap TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING @ COLORADO AVALANCHE Final Score: Avalanche 7 – Lightning 0 Ball Arena’s ice turned to rubber Saturday night as Colorado easily diffused Tampa’s Lightning. Game 2 saw Game 1’s promise of a competitive series and threw it out the window. 7 – 0! The Avalanche weren’t in a sharing mood, only allowing crumbs of offense when they were a man disadvantaged. Tampa got the slight majority, 51%, of their Expected Goals in the six minutes they had on the power play. Naturally the only team to benefit from those three chances was Colorado, potting a short-handed goal early in the third to take a 5 – 0 lead. After that, Tampa would’ve been happy to get even one goal and save some respect, yet Darcy Kuemper wouldn’t allow it, or, more accurately, Colorado’s defense wouldn’t, allowing six scoring chances in 44:37 minutes of 5-on-5 play. Game 2 was a story of dominance by the Avalanche‘s skaters, as their best offensive players also put in superb defensive games. Colorado is living up to its force-of-nature name, whereas the same cannot be said about the Lightning. For the first time, maybe going all the way back to their first-round loss to the Blue Jackets in 2019, they look like the worse team. A lot of series is still left to be played, the majority of which will be in Tampa Bay, so the Lightning have a chance to make this a series, but it will be a snow-filled uphill battle. Game 3: Monday June 20, 2022
  • June 21st, 2022
    NHL Monday Night Recap COLORADO AVALANCHE @ TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING Final Score: Lightning 6 – Avalanche 2 Saturday night’s 7 – 0 result was a showcase of the Avalanche at full capacity, both offensively and defensively. Game 3’s 6 -2 reversal was an exhibition of the Avalanche’s weaknesses, exposed by the Lightning picking their play back up to ‘slightly above average’. On paper, looking at team expected goals, scoring chances, the usual amalgamators of 19 to 20 individual performances, the game should have been much closer. Tampa finished with only 52.38% of Expected Goals and Colorado had the majority of scoring chances, though the Avs offense turned it on after they were already down 4. Yet, by other numbers on the paper, this game could’ve gone much worse. The Avalanche were abysmal on the Penalty Kill, surrendering 1.72 Expected Goals in 7:25 of being a man down. Tampa only came away with one goal on six tries, mostly thanks to the unlikeliest of heroes in Game 3, Darcy Kuemper. While allowing five goals on 22 shots in total, the Avs starting netminder was 6 for 6 on the PK, saving a whole goal above expected. The other massive leak for Colorado was their depth, who performed better than expected in Games 1 and 2, but regressed way below the mean in Game 3. Among those players was Devon Toews, who cannonballed into that leak, leaving a massive hole the rest of the roster couldn’t bail out. Though they tried, Andrei Vasilevskiy hid their buckets, posting a 1.49 GSAA on 39 shots. The Avalanche are still very much afloat but the holes, which were seemingly self-induced, could pose a major threat to their Stanley Cup hopes if uncorrected. The Lightning, for their part, still haven’t looked as threatening as they did in any of their Eastern Conference match-ups. Do they still have another gear to kick into, or can Colorado only be overcome when self-wounded? Game 4: Wednesday June 22, 2022
  • June 23rd, 2022
    NHL Wednesday Night Recap COLORADO AVALANCHE @ TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING Final Score: Avalanche 3 – Lightning 2 (OT) The seesaw has balanced out. After both teams traded blowout wins, Colorado and Tampa Bay came back with an incredibly equal display of team skill. Through three periods, if you were, say … blindfolded and asked to drink from an Avalanche cup and a Lightning cup, you would fail to tell the difference, as maybe one tasted more bruised and the other a little more ‘shooty’ - a strange flavour that you can’t describe in any other way but ‘like they had more shot attempts’. It dissipates in your mouth, leaving no aftertaste, causing you to question if it did ever taste ‘shooty’, so you take another sip and the flavour is unmistakably present, yet the ingredients between the two cups definitely suggest the other cup had more ‘shots’. Oh, by the way, you’ve taken the blindfold off in this hypothetical, so you sip the cup that tasted bruised again and it hits you - that battered and beaten taste is quite powerful and one of the frequently cited reasons why people enjoy this particular drink. the taste lingers on your tongue so long that is blocks out the ‘shooty-ness’ you’ve noted from the other drink. And, just in time for the start of OT in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals, you have correctly identified which cup is which. The extra frame was not nearly as close as the previous three, as Colorado dominated, tallying a full Expected Goal, before Kadri scored a real one to give his team a 3 – 1 series lead. The goal, it should be noted, occurred because Kadri came onto the ice slightly early, his Change Partner, Nathan Mackinnon, was about 40 feet away. So, if you’re a stickler or Tampa Bay fan, you’re most likely quite grumpy this morning, but if you generally don’t care all too much that Colorado did an oopsie then there exists a plethora of reasons, I can’t be bothered to list, you can use in defense of your apathy. Game 5: Friday, June 24, 2022
  • June 25th, 2022
    NHL Friday Night Recap TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING @ COLORADO AVALANCHE Final Score: Lightning 3 – Avalanche 2 The Stanley Cup is the best!!! Games are being decided on the slimmest of margins and it’s not frustrating. Palat’s Game Winner came when Makar over-committed to the pass and the Czech forward pinballed his shot through Darcy Kuemper. Bemoaning about team construction feels antithetical. Any weaknesses in these teams is either by design, since a hard-cap system usually necessitates sacrificing skill at a position to keep highly talented players at others, or injury-induced, Tampa Defenseman, Erik Cernak, finished with a 10.8% Expected Goals share after notably blocking a shot in Game 4’s third period; meanwhile Brayden Point has played one, miserable, game since Round 1. It becomes very easy to question the losing team’s ability to overcome their holes and shower the winner with praise for being able to, but this series doesn’t have underdogs or adversity-driven teams, it has the two best, the two with the least amount of holes; to espouse their flaws would be to miss the point of this Stanley Cup Final – fun. Game 6: Sunday June 26, 2022 – 8:00pm
  • June 27th, 2022
    NHL Sunday Night Recap COLORADO AVALANCHE @ TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING Final score: Avalanche 2 – Lightning 1 Destined or not, the Colorado Avalanche were determined to come home champions. Game 6 was them at full throttle though, looking back, there were maybe only one or two times they weren’t. An opponent as formidable as the Lightning was needed to appreciate the Avalanche’s display of skill. Colorado lost four games all post-season, as many as the Leafs in 17 more games. Their 16 post-season wins brought the season-long total to 72, tied with teams much more prestigious than the Leafs for the most of all time. Colorado owned the 5-on-5 Expected Goals share in all six games against Tampa, and in 17 of 20 throughout the post-season. To bring the Avalanche’s dominance back to Game 6, Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov were the only Lightning players to finish top 10 for individual Expected Goals, both tied for 6th, while the other eight spots were Avalanche players. I don’t know if this is the start of a Colorado dynasty or the end of Tampa’s, but all I can say for certain is, it was a blast to watch this series unfold. Next Game: IDK - sometime in October BLANK SPACE We’re not done quite yet, in lieu of a Blank Space email on Wednesday, I’m including it here while Avalanche fever is still in the air. And contagious it should be, as the team is abound with incredible individual stories like the Old Guys Without A Cup – Erik Johnson, the longest tenured Avalanche and 2006 first-overall pick, and Andrew Cogliano, who waded through 15 seasons and five teams to get here. Colorado also has the Deadline Acquisitions Who Helped – Artturi Lehkonen, who scored the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup winning goals, and Josh Manson, shored up the teams backend. Cogliano could also fall into this category as, after Game 5, he ordered a players-only meeting which, as told by basically any Avalanche who had a microphone in front of them last night, calmed their nerves enough to triumph against the back-to-back Cup champions. Somehow though, they are never talked about in this light, Colorado managed to pad their roster with 10 top-10 picks, spanning 15 years, half of whom they didn’t draft. The 10 weren’t all contributors, among them Ryan Murray, the second-overall pick from the 2012 draft – frequently cited as the worst in modern NHL history. The lesson here isn’t that every first-round pick will be a stud, since Murray didn’t play a shift in the Playoffs, it’s that drafts mostly get player evaluation right and, in the long run, higher picks will be more talented. Valeri Nichushkin, for example, picked 10th overall by Dallas in 2013, flamed out, headed back to the KHL, returned to the Stars, still didn’t do much, was traded to Colorado in 2019 and has evolved into one of the most analytically-beloved players in the League. Lastly, the overarching narrative is of their repeated second-round heartbreak, Game 7 loss, Game 7 OT loss, losing four straight after starting the series up 2 – 0, respectively. This is who the 2022 Stanley Cup Champions are, not underdogs, but a group with their own incredible journeys, assembled by General Manager, Joe Sakic, forming the best team in the world.
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