Biggest surprises of the NHL playoffs so far

With the second round of the NHL playoffs underway, the chances of a perfect bracket are slim to none. According to NHL.com, there are only five perfect brackets remaining.

Because of the chaos, there have been many surprises since the first game of the 2019 NHL playoffs. We look at the biggest shockers of the first round.

Lightning sent home thanks to Blue Jackets

  • Led by head coach John Tortorella , the Columbus Blue Jackets swept the President’s Trophy winners, even after Tampa’s historical regular season.
  • The Lightning were one of the best offensive teams in the league this season but were outscored, 19-8, in the series and had scarce offensive output from their best players.
  • With 128 points during the regular season, Tampa’s Nikita Kucherov registered only two assists in four games for the Bolts.
  • This is the first time in NHL history that a No. 1 overall seed has been swept in the first round of the playoffs.

The Jets were grounded after six games

  • After making it to the Western Conference finals last season, the Winnipeg Jets were the most favored Canadian squad to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals.
  • The Jets lost in six games to the St. Louis Blues, who have won 12 of their past 16 games dating back to March 16.
  • All of Winnipeg’s losses came by one goal, as well as both their victories.
  • Even in their own arena during Game 5, the Jets allowed three goals in the third period and lost, 3-2.

Some of the league’s top players were shut down

  • Arguably the best player of the past decade, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby registered one assist in the playoffs — the lowest postseason point total of his career. He finished with a minus-4 in four games, the worst mark of his postseason career.
  • Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau also finished with one assist in five games with a minus-2 rating after scoring 99 points in the regular season.
  • Ryan Johansen had a goal and an assist for the Predators and was not much of a factor, and the Dallas Stars took advantage, taking the series in six games.
  • Steven Stamkos also had a goal and an assist, with a plus/minus of minus-8. You could say he was a defensive liability for the Lightning.

Golden Knights get robbed in Game 7

  • Up 3-0 in Game 7, Vegas’ Cody Eakin cross-checked San Jose’s Joe Pavelski to the ice. Eakin was given a 5-minute major and a game misconduct.
  • San Jose had an unreal comeback, netting four goals on the 5-minute power play to take the lead, with two goals coming from Logan Couture.
  • The Sharks won with two minutes left in overtime thanks to a goal from Barclay Goodrow, who only played two shifts the entire period.
  • On Thursday, the NHL apologized to the Golden Knights and admitted the referees were incorrect on Eakin’s penalty. That does not change anything for the Golden Knights.

A “Bunch of Jerks” beat the defending champs on the road in Game 7

  • One of the biggest underdogs in the playoffs, the Carolina Hurricanes took the Washington Capitals to double overtime and advanced on a goal from Brock McGinn.
  • The Caps’ Alex Ovechkin had seven goals in the series but finished with a minus-2. He was a force in the offensive end but not so much on defense.
  • Warren Foegele led the Canes with four goals. In 77 regular- season games, Foegele had 10 total goals. The third liner has been great in his first playoff series.
  • The Hurricanes advance to the second round for the first time since 2009, when they made it to the Eastern Conference finals.

By: Trevor Drake

Original Article

2019 NHL All-Star rosters announced

The NHL has announced the four rosters for the 2019 All-Star Game today, scheduled to be held on January 26th in San Jose. Earlier today, Alex Ovechkin, who was elected captain of Metropolitan Division squad, told the league that he wouldn’t be attending and will accept the punishment of missing one game either before or after the break. Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, and Auston Matthews will represent the Pacific, Central and Atlantic respectively, as the other captains. A replacement captain for Ovechkin has yet to be named.

The full rosters are as follows:

Pacific Division

John Gibson (ANA)
Marc-Andre Fleury (VGK)

D Erik Karlsson (SJS)
Brent Burns (SJS)
Drew Doughty (LAK)

Connor McDavid (EDM)*
Johnny Gaudreau (CGY)
Joe Pavelski (SJS)
F Elias Pettersson (VAN)
F Clayton Keller (ARI)

Central Division

Pekka Rinne (NSH)
Devan Dubnyk (MIN)

D Roman Josi (NSH)
D Miro Heiskanen (DAL)

Nathan MacKinnon (COL)*
Mikko Rantanen (COL)
Blake Wheeler (WPG)
Patrick Kane (CHI)

Mark Scheifele (WPG)
F Ryan O’Reilly (STL)

Atlantic Division

Jimmy Howard (DET)
G Carey Price (MTL)

Keith Yandle (FLA)
D Thomas Chabot (OTT)

F Auston Matthews (TOR)*
F Nikita Kucherov (TBL)
F Steven Stamkos (TBL)
John Tavares (TOR)

F David Pastrnak (BOS)
F Jack Eichel (BUF)

Full List

By Zach Leach

Every NHL team’s odds to win the Stanley Cup

Toronto Maple Leafs (13/2)

The pressure for the Toronto Maple Leafs to win this season is going to be immense. They were already a really good team with an embarrassment of riches at forward, and then they went out and signed John Tavares in one of the biggest free-agent moves in recent NHL history. For any team in any other NHL city, this would be pressure. In Toronto, where the Maple Leafs have not won a championship in the post-Original Six era and have not advanced beyond the first round since 2004, the expectation to do something is going to be sky-high. There will be no excuses to be had, either. They have a team willing to spend to the cap, with a couple of superstars, and the highest paid, highest regarded coach in hockey.

Tampa Bay Lightning (15/2)

This team is absolutely loaded on paper with a couple of Art Ross Trophy contenders (Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos) at forward, a Norris Trophy contender (Victor Hedman) on defense and a Vezina Trophy contender (Andrei Vasilevskiy) in goal, with a strong supporting cast around all of them. J.T. Miller, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Brayden Point, Ryan McDonagh, Anton Stralman, so on and so on. On paper this is one of the best teams in the league and has been in at least the Eastern Conference Final in three of the past four years. It is not a stretch to think the Lightening could be there again.

Winnipeg Jets (19/2)

They lost Paul Stastny to the team that beat them in the Western Conference Final, which is not ideal, but Stastny was always a luxury on this team. The Jets have one of the best collections of young forward talent in the league, and Patrik Laine could be on the verge of taking yet another step forward this season (50 goals?). The key to their success will be whether or not starting goalie, Connor Hellebuyck, repeats what he did a year ago for them.

Nashville Predators (11/1)

No team in the NHL has a defense that can match Nashville’s. The Predators also are incredibly deep at forward, and they have two goalies capable of starting and playing at a high level. There is no real, clear-cut weakness on this team, and even better, the entire core is locked in place on long-term, salary cap-friendly contracts. The Predators fell a little short in their quest to repeat as Western Conference champions, but they are not going away as Stanley Cup contenders anytime soon.

Full list here

Stamkos out for 1-3 Months with Blood Clot


Written by Erik Erlendsson at TBO.com

Life without Steven Stamkos has been a constant story line surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning this season.

Now, it’s the story line.

Stamkos will miss up one-to-three months after being diagnosed with a blood clot near his right collarbone that will require surgery. The condition was diagnosed Friday and he will undergo a procedure on Monday at Tampa General Hospital to alleviate the clot. He will be on blood thinners for an indefinite period of time before he can resume normal hockey activities.

The type of Vascular Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, called Effort Thrombosis, is the same diagnosis as goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who underwent a procedure to remove the top rib on his left arm on September 3. Vasilevskiy was cleared to return to full activity on October 21 and practiced with the team on Oct. 26 before returning to action in a rehab start on Oct. 28.

“We do not anticipate any negative impact on his return to his playing career moving forward,’’ Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said. “Strangely and ironically we dealt with this situation, we know what we are dealing with and are comfortable with the medical team we have and the procedure we are doing.’’

The news was delivered on Saturday less than an hour after Tampa Bay won its home regular season finale, 3-1 against New Jersey to take one step toward clinching a playoff spot for the third consecutive season on the heels of a three-point game from Nikita Kucherov – who scored his 30th goal – and a goal and assist from Victor Hedman.

But now one has to wonder how far this team, which made the Stanley Cup Final last season, can go without the team’s top goal scorer and captain after already losing top defenseman Anton Stralman to a fractured leg last week.

And with Stamkos scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, the real possibility that Stamkos has played his final game with the Lightning became a reality. Any contract talks have not proven to gain any traction to this point and he will be free to sign with any team on July 1 should the two sides not come together on an extension before then.

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NHL Power Ranking 4/17/16

Written by Chris Peters at CBSsports.com

The countdown clock to the NHL trade deadline is counting down rather quickly as we’re now less than two weeks away. Things should start moving faster on the market as well, but one general manager very publicly pumped the brakes on one potential trade asset.

Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said in a statement that captain and pending free agent Steven Stamkos wasn’t going anywhere. It was an important move for the team as speculation continued to run rampant that a deal was at least possible at this point. Losing Stamkos for nothing — if he signed elsewhere as a free agent — is no doubt the worst-case scenario for the team, but Yzerman appears willing to risk it.

Stamkos has said many times that he’d like to stay in Tampa and there’s no doubt the team wants to sign one of the league’s best goal scorers to a long-term deal. It hasn’t come together as quickly as anyone would have liked it to, though. Now a trade is most definitely off the table and Bolts fans can breathe easy for now.

Just because Stamkos is off the table, doesn’t mean the Lightning are going to sit out the trade deadline, though. They still have forward Jonathan Drouin as an option to ship out.

The 21-year-old remains on the sidelines as he is suspended without pay for failure to report to Tampa’s AHL team. As the deadline approaches, Drouin may be sweating a bit, while other GMs out there have to weigh if it is worth taking him on at this stage of the season. Yzerman won’t just trade him for anything. The former No. 3 pick still has value and the Lightning GM should be doing everything to squeeze all he can out of that.

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