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Tale of two hits: Thornton to have hearing with league, Carcillo apparently won’t be punished

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Last night was what you’d call a feisty night in the NHL. With plenty of tough hits, some bordering on illegal, the NHL offices likely spent most of the morning reviewing tapes of questionable hits. We saw a tough hit from Sharks forward Joe Thornton as he leveled Blues forwards David Perron as Thornton was exiting the penalty box. Thornton was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the hit. As it turns out, that’s enough to get noticed by the NHL as Thornton has a phone call scheduled with the NHL this afternoon to find out if he’ll have any other punishment.

Our guess here is that Thornton getting sat down during the game should end up being punishment enough for his hit and there’s no need for a suspension here at all. If you’re looking to try and make sense of anything, Shane Doan of the Coyotes got a three-game suspension for a similar brand of hit that didn’t injure Dan Sexton of the Ducks.

Speaking of things that don’t make sense, it appears that Dan Carcillo won’t have a meeting with the NHL. Carcillo hit Rangers forward Ruslan Fedotenko with what appeared to be a flying elbow in the head reminiscent of something out of the WWE. Carcillo wasn’t called for a penalty and it’s not because referee Marc Joannette didn’t see it, it’s because he felt that Fedotenko could save himself some trouble and “not duck” next time.

Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull tweets that Flyers GM Paul Holmgren doesn’t expect the league to talk to Carcillo.  Now, let’s make this clear here.  If Carcillo doesn’t get any action taken against him here you can consider us completely off the bandwagon when it comes to Rule 48 regarding head shots. If hits like what Carcillo made on Fedotenko aren’t worthy of being addressed after the fact, then what’s the point? Reviewing these kinds of hits after the fact is supposed to be one of the big parts of Rule 48. Looking past a hit like this involving a guy with a past littered with questionable hits is insanity. After all, if the league isn’t going to take this sort of thing seriously, why should we?

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.

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

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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.)

Lightning coach believes Drouin ‘is going to be dominant in this league’

TAMPA, FL - APRIL 30:  Jonathan Drouin #27 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates his goal against the New York Islanders  during the first period in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on April 30, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images)
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At some point, it will probably be kind of boring to hear members of the Tampa Bay Lightning organization praise Jonathan Drouin.

At least if Drouin re-signs with the Bolts after quite the affirming postseason and his ascension amid injuries.

These days? It’s still sort of entertaining.

In the latest case, Jon Cooper was asked to compare the development paths for Nikita Kucherov vs. Drouin. After empathizing with the pressure Drouin carries as a high-end pick (vs. Kucherov’s ability to come in under the radar), Cooper had some very positive things to say about No. 27.

” … So many people think, well, you’re just going to step in the league at 18 and be dominant,” Cooper said. “I truly believe Jonathan is going to be dominant in this league, but it’s hard to do at 18. He had to work through it, and that’s it.”

Drouin, now at 21, has 12 points in 15 playoff games.

In other Lightning news, it sounds like the team will roll with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, an alignment that has been working well lately and also came through at times during the 2015 postseason.

The Penguins, meanwhile, replace Beau Bennett with Conor Sheary.

WATCH LIVE: Pittsburgh Penguins at Tampa Bay Lightning – Game 6

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 22:  Tyler Johnson #9 of the Tampa Bay Lightning collides with Phil Kessel #81 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on May 22, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images)
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Tonight could be the final game of the Eastern Conference Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning. You can catch Game 6 via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay (8:00 p.m. ET)

The television broadcast of Game 6 is on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here. The Bolts lead the series 3-2.

Here’s some relevant reading material to get you ready for tonight’s game:

Malkin guaranteed a Penguins win in Game 6

Lightning coach doesn’t seem flustered by Malkin’s guarantee

Kucherov continues to be clutch for the Bolts this postseason

Marc-Andre Fleury: ‘I should have been better’ in Game 5