Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews aren’t the only talented young duo in the NHL, but more than any other recent pair, they get results when it matters most. The two have combined for seven of Chicago’s eight game-winning goals so far in the 2014 postseason.
In other words, they combined for as many game-winners as Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby had total playoff goals in 2014. You can make the same comparison with Anaheim’s Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf as that duo has also scored a combined seven markers.
After Toews picked up the winner in Game 5 of Chicago’s second round series against Minnesota, he “kind of winked at me tonight and said maybe that was my time,” Kane said, according to ESPN Chicago. Given what’s happened so far, he probably wasn’t shocked that his words proved to be prophetic, but Kane likely exceeded even his expectations with his series-clinching overtime winner last night:
That was Kane’s fourth career overtime goal in the playoffs. He’s just 25 years old and yet only three players in the history of the NHL have ever netted more postseason overtime winners than him, per the Elias Sports Bureau. They are a trio of Hall of Famers in Glenn Anderson (five), Maurice Richard (six), and Joe Sakic (eight). Those three also have 16 Stanley Cup championships between them.
Kane and Toews are gunning for their third championship. If they succeed, a byproduct of that will be potentially ending the tie between the two in the Conn Smythe Trophy race. Only five players (Patrick Roy, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, and Bernie Parent) have ever won the award twice.
There’s still a lot of hockey left to play and all of the five other teams remaining are all more than capable of winning it all. But right now, Kane and Toews are both looking like serious contenders to join that exclusive list of multiple Conn Smythe winners. They just need to maintain what they’ve been doing throughout their career.
There’s nothing better than a Game 7, especially when a spot in the Stanley Cup Final is up for grabs. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins will battle in a do-or-die game for the right to play the San Jose Sharks with Lord Stanley on the line. You can watch the game via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.
Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh (8:00 p.m. ET)
The television broadcast of Game 7 will be on NBCSN. To stream the game using the Live Extra app, click here.
Here’s some reading material to get you ready for this one:
—Penguins, Lightning prepare for ‘roller coaster’ Game 7
—Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally
—Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal
Troy Brouwer made quite an impression in his first year with the St. Louis Blues. After being acquired from the Capitals for T.J. Oshie, the 30-year-old scored 18 goals and 39 points in 82 games during the 2015-16 season. His eight goals and 13 points during the playoffs weren’t too shabby either.
Brouwer took on more of a signficant role in the postseason. His points-per-game increased, his ice time increased and he was more productive on the man-advantage (3 goals in 20 games). While the Blues were fighting for their playoff lives in Games 4 and 5 of the Western Conference Final, Brouwer contributed three goals.
Now, the Blues will have to find a way to keep him around. His playoff success likely means that he’ll be expecting a substantial raise between now and the end of the league year on July 1st. Brouwer is set to become an unrestricted free agent on that day.
Brouwer came with a cap hit of $3.66 million and it wouldn’t be surprising to see that number climb higher, especially if he hits the open market.
The Blues also need to work out deals with other pending free agents like captain David Backes and Jaden Schwartz (RFA). There isn’t a ton of money left under the cap in St. Louis, which means that GM Doug Armstrong will have to get creative this summer.
One of the things Armstrong and head coach Ken Hitchcock liked about Brouwer was the way he seemed to fit in right away.
“He was on the team for a month,” Hitchcock explained earlier this week, per the Vancouver Sun. “I think my meetings were a little bit too long. He told me it would be best if I kept them a little briefer. So I knew he had a bite on the team right away. It didn’t take him long to get comfortable with us, which is great.”
How much will comfort count for in the off-season negotiations between club and player? We’ll find out soon enough.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
–These parents named their baby girl after Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov. (ABC News)
–The hockey card that helped inspire a Tragically Hip song. (Puck Junk)
–The fan who promised to get a tattoo of Gary Bettman if LA and Chicago were eliminated in the first round kept his word. (Bardown)
–Watch the highlights from last night’s game between the Sharks and Blues. (Top)
–Jim Craig doesn’t regret auctioning off most of his “Miracle on Ice” memorabilia. (Yahoo)
–A Q & A with former Quebec Nordiques forward Peter Stastny. (ESPN)
–Former Flyers coach Craig Berube breaks down Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. (NHL)
Despite a late comeback attempt, the 2015-16 season came to an end for the St. Louis Blues, as they lost the Western Conference Final in six games to the San Jose Sharks.
And with Wednesday’s loss, the off-season will settle upon the Blues. It will be an intriguing one in St. Louis, starting with their head coach Ken Hitchcock. He’s on a one-year deal and he has already outlined that he’s fine with taking short-term contracts. But is an appearance in the conference final enough to solidify his place behind the St. Louis bench for next year?
The Blues have, according to General Fanager, five pending unrestricted free agent forwards, including Scottie Upshall, Kyle Brodziak, Steve Ott, and most notably Troy Brouwer and David Backes.
Backes, 32, is the team’s captain and coming off a 21-goal, 45-point regular season, which is a decline from the numbers — 26 goals and 58 points — he posted the year before. Brouwer, 30, enjoyed the best post-season of his career, with eight goals and 13 points in 20 games, and he could potentially cash in on that this summer.
However, while there are questions ahead for the Blues, the emotional toll this loss took was clear.
“I see the devastation in our locker room right now. Guys aren’t even able to speak. I’m more worried about our guys right now, to be honest with you. We got some guys that are pretty shook up right now,” said Hitchcock to reporters.
“I’m not going to talk to them for a day or two. They need their space with each other. They’ve bonded together here better than any team I’ve coached in the last 10 years. They need their time together. They don’t need me interrupting them right now. We’ll talk at an appropriate time. But right now they need to be with each other.”