Calgary trades Daymond Langkow to Phoenix for Lee Stempniak

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Perhaps Coyotes GM Don Maloney was on the same wavelength we were today. After we broke down how the Coyotes would need a bit more help up the middle to make a run at the playoffs this year, they’ve gone out and picked up some experienced help up the middle. Phoenix has acquired Daymond Langkow from Calgary pending a physical in exchange for Lee Stempniak.

Langkow will slot in behind Martin Hanzal at center and comes back to an organization that traded him away back in 2004. With a host of youngsters that could vie for a spot at center, Langkow gives Phoenix stability at a position that was sorely lacking in NHL-quality depth. The question with Langkow comes in his health since returning from a broken neck injury that kept him out most of last season. Langkow did come back last season for the Flames’ final four games of the year and finished with one assist.

source: APIf he can fully return to form, he’s a solid set-up man and a guy capable of getting 50 points per season. Langkow will also help solidify the Coyotes position above the salary floor as he’ll arrive with a $4.5 million cap hit. On the downside, he’ll be 35 years-old this season joining Shane Doan (35) and Ray Whitney (39) as the elder statesmen on the team. You know what you’ll get from all three players, the question is can they sustain their level of play the way they’re capable of doing.

Stempniak will join a Calgary team in need of a little help scoring-wise on the wings. While Jarome Iginla, Alex Tanguay, and Rene Bourque are legit threats the Flames were in need of a little bit more and Stempniak will help that out being a guy capable of 20-25 goals in a year. Calgary will be a bit thinner at center without Langkow, but they’re hoping David Moss and Mikael Backlund can have breakout seasons up the middle. Matthew Stajan is also there to fill in depth-wise. Calgary trading out Langkow’s lofty salary for Stempniak’s $1.9 cap hit is a nice cost-cutting move for GM Jay Feaster as well. According to CapGeek.com, the Flames will be $3.5 million under the cap after this deal.

The way to break this down from the Flames’ standpoint is that they’re giving up a high-priced guy who may or may not be able to produce the way he used to before his neck injury for a guy they know what exactly they’ll get out of in Stempniak. Phoenix fills a need by getting a legitimate center while cutting loose one of their many wingers. Tough to say that it’s a win-win trade for both teams right now, but at the least both sides got what they were looking for.

Penguins’ Guentzel makes ‘kick save’ to stop Capitals

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It doesn’t get much better than a player making the type of save you’d only expect from a goalie. OK, how about this: when it happens amid the high stakes of the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel had already been distinguishing himself with a red-hot scoring start to the postseason, but he made a big difference in a way that won’t show up in the box score (aside from maybe as a blocked shot) for Game 1 against the Washington Capitals.

In one of the few golden opportunities in a notably tight first period, Guentzel made a “kick save” to keep it 0-0. He also managed to avoid giving the Capitals a penalty shot in the process, so this was quite the effort from the impressive rookie.

Video will be added soon. Here’s the moment in GIF form first:

Lundqvist snubs Sens with 21 saves in first (Video)

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You know how goalies claim they prefer to be busy rather than risking rust in seldom seeing shots? If that’s true, Henrik Lundqvist was really, really happy in the first period.

The Ottawa Senators generated chance after chance in a busy opening frame of Game 1, generating a 21-12 shot differential against the New York Rangers. The game remains 0-0 in large part because Lundqvist has carried over his momentum from the Montreal Canadiens series so far.

As you can see from the video above, Lundqvist made some absolutely fantastic saves, especially in somehow stopping Mark Stone.

In a duller game, 21 shots on goal could a team’s entire output.

That’s impressive stuff from what appears to be a “vintage” Lundqvist. We’ll see how much more the Rangers lean on him as this one goes along.

Oh, and here’s a GIF of the best stop of the bunch, because seriously.

Kunitz is in for Penguins vs. Capitals in Game 1

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The Pittsburgh Penguins get a familiar face back in the lineup, as Chris Kunitz is good to go against the Washington Capitals in Game 1.

The 37-year-old has been sidelined since March 31, ending his regular season with just an assist in his final nine games. His last goal came on Feb. 16.

So, in other words … he’s not quite as big of a deal for this series as he had been in the past.

He’ll draw into a solid fourth line with Matt Cullen and Tom Kuhnackl, while Carter Rowney will be a healthy scratch. Check out the Penguins’ line combos heading into Thursday’s showdown:

Foligno, Getzlaf, Giordano vie for Messier Leadership Award

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The NHL announced the three finalists for the Mark Messier Leadership Award: Nick Foligno (Columbus Blue Jackets), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) and Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames).

In case you’re curious about the process, the league explains how it works (and how the buck stops with Messier):

Mark Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel as well as NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates for the award. However, the selection of the three finalists and ultimate winner is Messier’s alone. 

So, yes, it might come down to steeliness/60.

Anyway, the most fun part of this award is that Getzlaf and Giordano just engaged in a first-round series, with Getzlaf’s hit on Giordano (see above) being one of the standout moments.

Perhaps Giordano will at least get the best of Getzlaf in this one?