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Report: John Tavares underwent hand surgery after regular season

John Tavares‘ regular season came to an abrupt conclusion at the end of March due to a lower-body injury.

It appears the Islanders star forward and captain was also dealing with a hand injury that was finally operated on last month, according to a report from Arthur Staple of Newsday.

From Long Island Newsday:

The Islanders captain had the surgery a week after the season ended to fix an issue that lingered through much of the season, the sources confirmed. His hand is still in a cast, which is scheduled to be off next week, giving Tavares ample time to go through his rigorous offseason training without missing any time, the sources said. He has already had one follow-up visit and his hand is recovering on schedule, according to the sources.

The latter portion of that report at least sounds promising for the beginning of next season, although Tavares’ future with the Islanders will likely continue under the microscope.

Now 26 years old, Tavares is about to enter the final year of his current six-year, $33 million deal that comes with a $5.5 million cap hit, but reports have suggested that he will be in line for a significant raise — and term — with a potential new deal. He will be eligible to sign a new deal with the Islanders on July 1. He’s a pending unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2017-2018 season.

He had 28 goals and 66 points in 77 games with the Islanders this season. He has reiterated in the recent past that he wants to get a deal done with the Islanders.

Former Canadiens owner John David Molson dies at 88

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The Montreal Canadiens announced Monday that the team’s former president and owner John David Molson has passed away at the age of 88.

The Habs won five Stanley Cup titles during Molson’s tenure as president, from 1964 to 1972.

He had previously joined Molson Breweries Limited in 1949, before eventually being named vice-president of the company in 1964.

WATCH LIVE: Washington Capitals – Pittsburgh Penguins Game 6

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The Washington Capitals will look to force a Game 7 against the Penguins in this second-round series when the two bitter rivals meet Monday in Game 6 from Pittsburgh.

The Penguins hold a 3-2 series lead, but are coming off a 4-2 loss Saturday in Washington, as the Capitals managed to stay alive.

Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)

Related links:

Trotz’s changes must keep working for Capitals

Penguins notes: Malkin needs to hold on to the puck; HBK Line back together

Game 6: Penguins won’t have Daley, who was run over by Wilson on Saturday

Pens-Caps delivers strong ratings for NBC

Predators aren’t satisfied with just making Western Conference Final

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Expectations for the Nashville Predators have been growing for some time.

They were one win away from reaching the Western Conference Final a year ago and then pulled off a highly polarizing, controversial trade in the summer, acquiring P.K. Subban from Montreal in exchange for Shea Weber.

It’s a deal that rocked the hockey world at the time and is still being discussed with plenty of fervor almost 11 months later, mainly because Subban and the Predators are still in the playoffs, and Weber and the Habs are not.

General manager David Poile has made some bold moves — beyond last year’s blockbuster involving Subban and Weber, two right-shooting star defensemen. He acquired Ryan Johansen from Columbus but had to move a promising young blue liner in Seth Jones to make it happen.

He has locked Filip Forsberg, once a young prospect the Predators acquired in a steal of a trade from Washington four years ago and now a significant scoring threat in Nashville, to a long-term contract, and has built a strong nucleus of good young players on the roster.

Losing in the second round was, a year ago, considered moving in the right direction for Poile and the Predators.

They took another step Sunday, advancing to the Western Conference Final for the first time in franchise history, moving past the Blues in six games. That followed a clean sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks, the No. 1 seed in the conference going into the playoffs.

“I think we took a big step today¬†for this organization and this city, but that’s not our ultimate goal. Our ultimate goal is to win the Stanley Cup,” Subban told The Tennessean.

“We’ve worked really hard to put ourselves in a good position. There’s still a lot of hockey left to be played, but we should enjoy this today. It’s a hell of an accomplishment for this organization.”

It’s not like the Predators stormed out of the gate in October, but despite any regular season struggles encountered along the way, they have really found their stride, especially through two rounds of the playoffs.

There are many different reasons for the Predators’ surge this post-season. For starters, Pekka Rinne continues to provide stellar goaltending. In 10 games, he has a ridiculous save percentage of .951 and has only twice allowed more than two goals in a single game. Of the teams remaining in the playoffs, Nashville has the second best penalty kill behind New York, and the fourth best power play.

Their leading goal scorers, at least right now, are both defensemen. Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi share the team lead in goals with four (Ellis has nine points and Josi has eight). In fact, production from their blue line has been key and that continued in this series.

Ellis, Josi and Subban have 24 points between the three of them in the playoffs. Josi factored into the goal scoring Sunday, before the trio of Forsberg, Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson got involved by teaming up for the eventual winner early in the third period.

“Right now it means everything,” Rinne told NHL.com. “We haven’t gone further than this before. Obviously it’s a great feeling, but there’s a lot of work left.”

Randy Carlyle isn’t interested in Ducks’ history of Game 7 failures

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The Anaheim Ducks do not have a good history in Game 7s.

In fact, they have lost five straight times when forced into a seventh and deciding game of a playoff series. They’re facing another winner-take-all situation, this time in the second round against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.

The Oilers jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first period of Sunday’s Game 6 and kept scoring in a 7-1 victory over the Ducks. It was bad all around for Anaheim. John Gibson was given the hook before the midway point of the first period and Jonathan Bernier gave up four goals of his own in relief. There was no chance of a miracle comeback this time.

And so it sets up the best the Stanley Cup playoffs can offer: A Game 7.

Anaheim’s recent inability to close out a series in such a situation dates back to 2009, although coach Randy Carlyle isn’t really interested in past history, which includes four straight playoffs in which the Ducks were sent packing after a Game 7 loss.

“I look at it as it’s not the same group,” said Carlyle. “I wasn’t here. So don’t pin any of the Game 7s on me. Simple as that.”

Carlyle coached the Ducks back in 2009 when they lost in seven games to the Detroit Red Wings. Bruce Boudreau was behind the bench for the past four seasons, including last year’s first-round defeat to the Nashville Predators — in seven games — that meant the end of his tenure in Anaheim.

“Our team is — we’ve got half the guys in here that haven’t been here for that stuff,” said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.

“We’re going back with the preparation to get ready for a big game. It doesn’t really matter what the situation is. It’s a matter of win or go home.”