Quick hits: Be desperate, but don't panic

Let’s take a look at some assorted news items from around the NHL today.

  • Apparently, the St. Louis Blues may consider bringing back Paul Kariya, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Really, they want to bring back the guy who did so little to earn a three-year, $18 million contract? Then again, team president John Davidson seemed like he was being polite more than anything else.

“We’ll certainly have an open mind with Paul,” Davidson said. “As far as the future goes, I can’t say anything about that. We’ve got to assess who’s available (in free agency), who’s coming up from the minors, who’s going to retire, who’s not going to retire … all that stuff.”

May 19, 1984 – The Edmonton Oilers defeat reigning champs (New York Islanders) to win their first Stanley Cup
Dec. 2, 1995 – Patrick Roy’s last game as a Montreal Canadien (vs. Detroit)
June 14, 1994 – New York Rangers defeat the Vancouver Canucks to win their first Stanley Cup since 1940
November 22, 2003 – The Heritage Classic featuring the Canadiens vs. Oilers
Dec. 31, 1975 – The Montreal Canadiens meet the Red Army in the famous New Year’s Eve game
May 29, 1993 – Wayne Gretzky records a hat trick as the Los Angeles Kings beat the Leafs and advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time.
May 24, 1980 – The New York Islanders defeat the Flyers and win their first Stanley Cup on Bob Nystrom’s overtime goal

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    Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

    TAMPA, FL - MAY 24:  Kris Letang #58 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates with his teammates Sidney Crosby #87 after scoring a goal against Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Jason Behnken/Getty Images)
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    The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

    With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

    There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

    What if that offside goal counted?

    Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

    Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

    What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

    The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

    Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

    Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

    Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

    ***

    Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

    More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

    Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

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    With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

    Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

    The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.

    Video: Phil Kessel displays incredible hand-eye coordination on goal

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    This has been a tough postseason for Phil Kessel haters.

    The supposed “choker” is on a team that’s in the Eastern Conference Final, but Kessel obviously isn’t just in for the ride with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He scored his 18th point in 17 postseason games by scoring the 1-0 goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6.

    (Watch that goal in the video above.)

    It was a dramatic first period, with a Jonathan Drouin goal getting disallowed and Andrei Vasilevskiy making some huge saves on tough chances.

    Can Pittsburgh protect this slim lead with 1-0 down one period? We’ll see, but either way, what a great postseason for Kessel.

    Update: Here’s the goal Kessel accidentally “scored” for the Lightning:

    Ouch.

    Judge for yourself: Was Drouin’s would-be 1-0 goal offside?

    21 Comments

    To start the seemingly pivotal stretch, Andrei Vasilevskiy made an outstanding save on Evgeni Malkin on what sure looked like a scary chance.

    The play swiftly shifted from the Tampa Bay Lightning’s end to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ side of the ice, and it seemed like Jonathan Drouin scored a big 1-0 goal in Game 6.

    As it turns out, the goal was disallowed thanks to an offside goal review.

    Here are a few viewpoints on that moment in GIF form … you can get a fuller view via the video above.

    The general feeling among those who don’t have a horse in the race is that it was the right call. (Lightning fans were, uh, not happy.)