Colorado wins NHL Draft Lottery, will pick first overall

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The Colorado Avalanche have won the NHL Draft Lottery, the first in league history where all 14 participants had a shot at the No. 1 overall pick.

As such, the Avs now hold the right to select first at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, to be held on June 30 at the Prudential Center in New Jersey.

Colorado came into the lottery with the second-best odds of winning, at 18.8 percent.

With the win, the Avs now have their choice of prospects in what’s been described as a top-heavy draft class.

The consensus No. 1, according to the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau, is Seth Jones, the WHL Portland defenseman that starred with Team USA at the 2013 World Junior tournament.

Jones is familiar with the Denver area (his father, ex-NBAer Popeye Jones, spent one season playing for the Nuggets) and played with both the Littleton Hawks and Colorado Thunderbirds as a youth.

The 18-year-old also grew up a big Avalanche fan.

“When they won the Cup in 2001, that was real exciting and definitely got me more into it,” Jones told the Denver Post. “I went to a ton of Avs games.

“Just getting to watch such great players like Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg and Patrick Roy and all the others in person like I did was great and a huge influence on me.”

Of course, it isn’t a guarantee that Colorado will select Jones. Right behind him in the draft rankings is Nathan MacKinnon, the Quebec League scoring sensation from Halifax.

Sitting third in the rankings is MacKinnon’s teammate, Jonathan Drouin, who scored a whopping 105 points in 49 QMJHL games this season.

Here is the full order of picks:

14th — Columbus (stayed same)
13th — Winnipeg (stayed same)
12th — Phoenix (stayed same)
11th — Philadelphia (stayed same)
10th — Dallas (stayed same)
9th — New Jersey (stayed same)
8th — Buffalo (stayed same)
7th — Edmonton (stayed same)
6th — Calgary Flames (stayed same)
5th — Carolina (stayed same)
4th — Nashville (stayed same)
3rd — Tampa Bay (stayed same)
2nd — Florida Panthers (move down one spot)
1st — Colorado (moved up one spot)

Of note, this marks the fourth time the Nordiques/Avalanche franchise has chosen first overall, but the first since the move to Colorado.

Quebec selected Mats Sundin (1989), Owen Nolan (1990) and Eric Lindros (1991) with the No. 1 pick before moving to Denver in 1995.

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Lightning storm back against Blackhawks, finish one point out of playoffs

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Who would have thought that the Tampa Bay Lightning would rally back from a 4-1 deficit tonight? Then again, who expected them to be so close to a playoff spot mere weeks ago, when they were sellers at the trade deadline?

The Lightning continue to show that they won’t just roll over and die, scoring four unanswered goals to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 in overtime on Monday.

While Jonathan Drouin was a catalyst for the second-period rally, it was an unlikely scorer who clinched the victory, as Yanni Gourde ended a thrilling run of 3-on-3 chances with the overtime-winner.

Really, it might have been fitting. Things looked glum when Tomas Jurco scored his first goal of the season against the Lightning, then the mood was totally flipped when Gourde’s second tally of 2016-17 grabbed a huge win.

With the Islanders losing to the Predators, the Hurricanes only managing a “loser point” against the Red Wings and the Bruins idle, Tampa Bay is a breath away from a playoff berth:

Final wild card: Bruins – 84 points in 75 games played

Lightning – 83 points in 75 GP
Islanders – 82 points in 75 GP
Hurricanes – 80 points in 74 GP

Yes, all of a sudden, a long-shot postseason run seems quite attainable.

Maybe the Lightning would prefer it if we kept counting them out, though?

Hurricanes’ Lack taken off on stretcher after collision on Red Wings’ OT goal

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The Carolina Hurricanes fell short of a win on Monday, but their thoughts likely revolve around the health of goalie Eddie Lack instead.

Lack was taken off the ice on a stretcher after a collision during Andreas Athanasiou‘s game-winning goal in overtime. Officials reviewed that the goal counted, giving the Red Wings a 4-3 overtime victory against Carolina.

While it’s been a tough overall season for Hurricanes goalie, Lack has been an integral part of Carolina’s push for a postseason spot. PHT will keep an eye out for updates regarding his condition after this scary collision.

The Red Wings stayed on the ice as Lack was taken off, a nice gesture after an unfortunate accident.

Drouin triggers second-period rally for Lightning vs. Blackhawks

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Just when you think it’s time to count the Tampa Bay Lightning out, they rally back.

It’s been happening overall in 2016-17, and that pattern carried over into Monday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Lightning decided to put Andrei Vasilevskiy back in the net in the second period after he gave up three goals on eight shots in the opening frame … and at first, that looked like a mistake that would do them in. Chicago went up 4-1 and things looked dire.

But, again, the Bolts followed the script when it comes to flipping the script, with Jonathan Drouin triggering a resounding rally in the second.

Droun’s first goal came 11:45 into the second period, followed about a minute later by an Anton Stralman tally. Less than four minutes later, Drouin hit the 20-goal mark with the 4-4 marker on the power play.

First, check out Drouin’s first goal, which began the rally:

Next, witness the 4-4 goal, also by Drouin:

And … just like that, the Lightning tied things up. Wow.

Apparently Drouin created more offense than just his two goals, too:

Impressive. Remember when he seemed like he was out the door last season? Now that feels like another reminder not to give up on this group, no matter how ugly things look at times.

Video will be added when available.

Lightning give Vasilevskiy the (brief) hook after very rare Jurco goal

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By just about any measure, Monday’s been lousy to Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

He was pulled with a few minutes remaining in the first period after Chicago Blackhawks built a 3-1 lead, scoring those three goals on just eight shots on net.

You could summarize Vasilevskiy’s awful start by those numbers, or by how rare the 3-1 goal was for the scorer.

Tomas Jurco failed to score a goal or an assist in 16 games with the Red Wings, then went pointless in nine more games with Chicago before finally scoring his first goal of the season on Monday.

Now, Jon Cooper didn’t pull Vasilevskiy because Jurco scored that tally. Still, it rubs a little extra salt in his wounds all things considered.

Here’s the Jurco goal:

Patrick Kane‘s 2-1 goal might have hurt the most, actually, as it quickly dissolved a tying tally by Ondrej Palat:

Update: The Lightning decided to put Vasilevskiy back in net to begin the second period. Interesting.