Rookie tournament recaps: Tuesday, September 14th

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Here’s your morning recap on what went down in the NHL rookie tournaments across North America last night. Things will be wrapping up soon because real NHL training camp opens up this weekend for everyone and for some of these guys it’s their last chance to make a first impression on their teams.

Traverse City Prospects Tournament – Traverse City, Michigan

Tampa Bay 3 – Dallas 1

Tampa’s James Wright and Carter Ashton continued to impress in Traverse City as both had goals while Wright added an assist as well in leading Tampa to victory. Marc-Olivier Vachon also had a goal and an assist for Tampa. Dustin Tokarski stopped 35 shots for the Lightning while Team USA hero Jack Campbell saved 28.

Minnesota 5 – NY Rangers 4

Former Miami University standout Jarod Palmer had two goals to help lead the Wild over the Rangers rookies. The Rangers issues came with not being able to stay out of the box as the Wild scored three times on the power play. Jay Fehr and Joel Broda each had a goal and an assist for Minnesota.

Carolina 8 – Columbus 1

It’s been a tough rookie tournament for the Blue Jackets and an 8-1 thrashing by Carolina is the icing on the cake for them. Matt Kennedy and Jeff Skinner were the big points winners on the day, each netting five. Kennedy had two goals and three assists while Skinner had a goal and four helpers to help make his outstanding tournament look gaudier. Jason Missiaen was the unfortunate goalie who had to eat eight goals against, but it doesn’t look like the defense helped much as he still made 42 saves.

Detroit 2 – St. Louis 1

Tomas Tatar continues to impress everyone in Traverse City as he scored the third-period game-winner for Detroit to put the Red Wings into the gold medal game of the Traverse City Tournament. Petr Mrazek stopped 27 shots for Detroit. Alex Pietrangelo had St. Louis’ lone goal as he continues to do well in the tournament. Jake Allen made 28 saves for St. Louis in the loss. Detroit will play Minnesota in the gold medal game tonight.

Young Stars Tournament – Penticton, BC

Edmonton 5 – Calgary 3

Alex Plante scored two goals for the Oilers and former University of North Dakota standout Chris Vande Velde added one as well as the Oilers took out Calgary in the Battle of Alberta in Penticton. Keith Seabrook, Greg Nemisz, and John Negrin scored for Calgary. Edmonton’s Tyler Bunz (headline writers salivating at the chance he can make the NHL someday) stopped 34 in the win for the Oilers. None of Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi, and Jordan Eberle played in this game for Edmonton, but they will play tonight against San Jose.

London Prospects Tournament – London, ON

Chicago 9 – Pittsburgh 5

In what turned out to be a mess of a game for the Penguins in goal, the Blackhawks were able to put on an offensive showcase. Mattias Modig gave up seven goals in 18 shots to start the game and the Pens could never get out from behind the eight ball all game long. Igor Makarov, Kyle Beach and Jeremy Morin all had big games for Chicago. Get used to those names Hawks fans, you could see them in Chicago sooner than you think. The Pens close out the tournament with a 2-1 record, meanwhile Chicago finishes 1-2.

Ottawa 3 – Toronto 2

The Senators were able to take out their rivals from Toronto thanks to the efforts of Mike Hoffman’s two goals. Erik Condra added the third for the Sens. Meanwhile, Jerry D’Amigo got on the board for the Leafs in the loss. Hoffman, as it turns out, is the big star of the tournament for Ottawa coming away from the tournament showing that the Sens may have gotten a steal in the fifth round in the 2009 draft. Ottawa finishes the tourney with a 2-1 record, while the Leafs fell to 1-2.

Sheary’s in for Penguins in Game 2; Kunitz is a game-time decision

Pittsburgh Penguins' Conor Sheary (43) is greeted by teammates Brian Dumoulin (8) and Chris Kunitz (14) after scoring his first NHL goal, in the first period of the Penguins' hockey game against the Boston Bruins, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, in Pittsburgh. Bruins' Brad Marchand is at lower right. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
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Both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals might look a little different in Game 2 on Saturday after that blistering Game 1.

As the team down 1-0, it’s not too surprising that the Penguins boast the more significant lineup questions, although they lean toward health concerns rather than performance tweaks.

Conor Sheary was able to return during Game 1 after Tom Wilson‘s controversial knee-to-knee hit, and he appears to be in for tonight’s contest as well. Chris Kunitz isn’t quite a guarantee, as he’s currently labeled a game-time decision.

For what it’s worth, Kunitz himself believes he’ll be in. Whether he plays on Saturday or not, it sounds like Kunitz is taking extra safety measures going forward.

The Penguins stayed vague with Marc-Andre Fleury, merely claiming that he’s making “progress.”

Generally speaking, Matt Murray has been playing well for the Penguins. Of course, the scrutiny will rise if Pittsburgh loses Game 2 on Saturday.

The Capitals are also considering a tweak. CSN Mid-Atlantic reports that Barry Trotz is pondering replacing Dmitry Orlov with Taylor Chorney.

“They told me to be prepared as if I’m going to be playing,” Chorney said. “We’ll just see how it goes.”

As you may notice, Chorney isn’t the only one in wait-and-see mode heading into Game 2, which you can watch on NBC.

Hitchcock, Blues know they need to slow down the Stars … but can they?

The puck shot by Dallas Stars left wing Antoine Roussel crosses the goal line as St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (1) and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (19) attempt the stop during the second period of Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinals, Friday, April 29, 2016, in Dallas. The Stars won 2-1. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
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The Dallas Stars only beat the St. Louis Blues by one goal (2-1) in Game 1, but the feeling is that the score was deceptively close.

Blame it on fatigue from that epic series against the Chicago Blackhawks or not; the Blues looked out of rhythm and out of breath against the hard-charging Stars.

At least they’re not in denial about that, though.

“We’re not going to beat anybody giving up 40 shots on goal,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after their Game 1 loss on Friday. “We’re not going to beat anybody giving up the scoring chances we did today.”

Hitchcock added “we’ve got to find the energy to play our game, and we’ve got to find it quickly in the next 48 hours.”

Allowing 40 shots on goal might not be that common for the Blues, yet they leaned heavily on Brian Elliott against the Blackhawks in that series.

Just look at the SOG comparison in that series and in Game 1 vs. Dallas:

Game 1: Blues – 18 SOG, Blackhawks – 35
Game 2: Blues – 31, Blackhawks – 29
Game 3: Blues – 36, Blackhawks – 46
Game 4: Blues – 20, Blackhawks – 42
Game 5: Blues – 46, Blackhawks – 35
Game 6: Blues – 28, Blachawks – 36
Game 7: Blues – 26, Blackhawks – 33

Game 1: Blues – 32, Stars – 42

Such shot comparisons make you wonder if Game 1 provided evidence of a rest advantage or if this might just be the state of affairs for the Blues (at least against two electric offenses).

One area to watch is the transition game. The Stars seemed to tear through the neutral zone while the Blues sometimes struggled to get things going.

“They’re a team that wants to play real fast up the ice and through the neutral zone,” Jay Bouwmeester said, via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Yeah, we didn’t do a very good job of slowing them down. A lot of their chances were off the rush. That’s what you want to take away from them.”

File that under “easier said than done.”

Gather your lucky charms, 2016 NHL Draft Lottery is tonight

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Honestly, it’s tough to blame people for making Edmonton Oilers jokes in regards to the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery.

Really it’s only human nature to drop one-liners about the perennial cellar-dweller that (seemingly) always lands the No. 1 pick.

Will it happen again this time around? We’ll find out soon enough, more precisely sometime around 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

As you can see, the Oilers do not have the best odds to land the top pick … but they’re close:

A reminder: this time around the lottery will determine the top three picks. The NHL discusses that tweak and other changes here:

For the first time, the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery will assign the top three slots in the first round of the NHL Draft – a change from prior years, when the Draft Lottery was used to determine the winner of the first overall selection exclusively.

Want the full lowdown on the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery? PHT has you covered here.

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

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The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with two games on Saturday. You can catch tonight’s games via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

NY Islanders at Tampa Bay (3:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 2 will be on NBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Pittsburgh at Washington (8:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 2 will also be on NBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Some reading to get you pumped up:

– The Penguins are keeping chatty Marc-Andre Fleury from speaking to the media (reportedly).

Tom Wilson received a fine, not a suspension, for that knee-to-knee hit.

T.J. Oshie was the difference-maker for Washington in Game 1.

– Don’t expect Steven Stamkos to face red-hot John Tavares anytime soon (or at all, maybe).

Read about the Isles’ Game 1 win.