Lost in all today’s trade talk, there are actual games in the NHL tonight. Ten of them, to be specific. And perhaps none bigger from a making-or-missing-the-playoffs perspective than Detroit at New Jersey.
Consider: If the Red Wings win in regulation, the Devils would fall five points back of the final wild card spot in the East, with just 19 games left to catch up. If, however, New Jersey wins in regulation, depending how Columbus does at home versus Dallas, the Devils could climb all the way to within a point of a playoff spot, with another game Friday against the Wings (in Detroit).
Defenseman Bryce Salvador and winger Damien Brunner are both expected back in the lineup for the Devils, per The Record.
“It should be a fun game,” Brunner said. “A lot of faces I know over there. It’s going to be a big game for us. We play them back-to-back here. We’re both in the playoff race. There’s going to be four big points on the line.”
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Travis Green seems to be gaining increased attention for available head coaching jobs in the NHL, and the Anaheim Ducks, who fired Bruce Boudreau after a first-round playoff loss, are reportedly interested.
That’s according to a report from Elliotte Friedman during Thursday’s broadcast of Game 4 between the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars.
Green helped guide the Utica Comets, AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks, to an appearance in the Calder Cup final a year ago. The Comets were, however, eliminated in the opening round of the post-season this year.
“I think I’m ready,” Green, who has spent the last three seasons in Utica, said recently. “Every job in the NHL is worth its weight in gold, and I would have 100 per cent interest at options with every team in the league. You hope all your qualities are enticing for one of them.”
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Vladimir Tarasenko can be elusive to the opposition at five-on-five. Apparently that also applies to when the opposition has six skaters on the ice and their goalie still in the crease.
Tarasenko opened the scoring for the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 on Thursday, sneaking in behind the Stars defense for a breakaway goal on Kari Lehtonen. The Stars, by the way, had six skaters on the ice as the puck was turned over in the St. Louis zone.
Despite Dallas clearly having too many skaters, the play wasn’t blown down and Tarasenko found himself in the one-on-one situation. He made no mistake.
(Here’s a screen grab of the turnover inside the St. Louis end, leading to the breakaway. Six Dallas skaters.)
The Nashville Predators have a chance before the home crowd to even up their second-round series with the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. You can catch Game 4 between these teams on CNBC (9 p.m. ET) or the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
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Here are some links to check out for this game:
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The list of finalists for the Jack Adams Award has been released. Gerard Gallant (Florida Panthers), Lindy Ruff (Dallas Stars) and Barry Trotz (Washington Capitals) are the three nominees for the award, which goes to the head coach that “contributed the most to his team’s success.”
The winners will be announced June 22 during the 2016 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.
Gallant was behind the bench for a Panthers team that included an interesting blend of youth (Aaron Ekblad, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck and Aleksander Barkov) and experience (Jaromir Jagr and Roberto Luongo), locked into a franchise-record 12-game winning streak and took the Atlantic Division with a 47-26-9 record — another new standard for the franchise. The Panthers’ season ended with an opening-round playoff loss to the New York Islanders.
After missing the playoffs last season, Ruff coached the Stars to top spot in the Western Conference standings with a 50-23-9 record and a team that includes top-end talent from the likes of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza and John Klingberg, playing a game of speed and skill. The Stars led the league in goals for (265) and goals-for per game (3.23).
Trotz, in his second season in Washington, helped the Capitals to a Presidents’ Trophy for the 2015-16 regular season, besting the second-best team, the Stars, by 11 points. The Capitals finished the season with a record of 56-18-8, setting them up as Stanley Cup contenders when the playoffs began last month. Armed with 50-goal scorer Alex Ovechkin, the Capitals also finished second in the league in goals for (248).
This is Gallant’s first nomination for the award. Ruff and Trotz are each three-time award finalists, with Ruff winning in 2006, as per NHL.com.
Last season’s winner, Bob Hartley, was fired by the Calgary Flames earlier this week. He’s not the first Jack Adams Award winner to be dismissed from his job the following year.