James O'Brien

Nikita Kucherov

Kucherov, Bishop and Drouin in for Lightning

On the brink of elimination, the Tampa Bay Lightning are going all hands on deck, even if some of their big guns are limping into Game 6.

The biggest question revolved around whether Nikita Kucherov would be able to face off against the Chicago Blackhawks. It’s anyone’s guess how healthy he is, but he’s suiting up in this elimination situation. He’ll suit up to complete “The Triplets” trio, even as many wonder if Tyler Johnson is also banged up.

From the “just in case you’re wondering” file: Ben Bishop is indeed playing tonight.

Finally, the Lightning are sticking with Jonathan Drouin in the lineup instead of Nikita Nesterov for another contest. Perhaps Jon Cooper acknowledges that the Lightning need that added scoring punch with some addled go-to point producers?

Ultimately, both the Lightning and Blackhawks are rolling with their Game 5 groups in Game 6, even if the Bolts’ roster looks a little less healthy.

Quick Hits: United Center roof leaks, more Obama support and Cup X-rays

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Here are a few quick bits of interest heading into Game 6 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final:

  • Much has been made of the stormy weather in Chicago, but you’d think an indoor sport would be minimally affected. It turns out that it’s bad enough that there’s some leaking through the United Center roof, though:

  • If you want a quick giggle, observe the Stanley Cup passing through airport security:

  • Finally, Barack Obama once again pledged his allegiance to the Blackhawks:

Habs hand Torrey Mitchell a three-year deal reportedly worth $3.6M

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Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin was once considered a prankster, yet he doesn’t seem like a procrastinator. He continued his run of early offseason work on Monday, signing depth forward Torrey Mitchell to a three-year deal.

Various reporters including ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun tab the deal at $3.6 million total, or $1.2 million per season.

Whatever the final cap ceiling will be, it doesn’t look like Montreal will have much space to make splashes in free agency this summer (unless they move away some salary). Bergevin gave up much of Montreal’s breathing room in re-signing Mitchell, Jeff Petry and Nathan Beaulieu.

Some wonder if three years is too much term for Mitchell, 30, although the money isn’t disastrous. He’s seeing a noteworthy drop in cap hit from $1.9 million, actually.

Bergevin can’t just go fishing all summer just yet, however, as the Habs still need to sign rising RFA Alex Galchenyuk (and also do that whole “drafting” thing). Many of the team’s pending moves have been settled pretty early on, though.

WATCH LIVE: Game 6 of Stanley Cup Final – Lightning at Blackhawks

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Will tonight be the night?

The Chicago Blackhawks shoot for the third Stanley Cup victory of the Jonathan Toews – Patrick Kane era and all the dynastic conversations that would come with it if they can take Game 6.

Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Lightning hope to shake off their growing list of bumps and bruises to force a for-all-the-marbles Game 7 back home.

Tonight’s contest brings plenty of weather jokes since both markets are experiencing storms:

There’s also a noteworthy (and/or highly specific?) historic stat for each side:

Either way, Game 6 airs on NBC, while NBCSN carries coverage before and after the contest. You can stream it all via the NBC Sports Live Extra links below:

Pre-game (NBCSN)

Game 6 (NBC)

Post-game (NBCSN)

Pens sign Swedish League veteran Niclas Andersen

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The Pittsburgh Penguins’ potential new-look defense could include a seasoned veteran blueliner … who’s never played a game in the NHL.

They signed Niclas Andersen, long of the Swedish Hockey League, to a one-year contract on Monday. It’s considered an entry-level deal for the 27-year-old.

Andersen enjoyed a nice season for Byrnas in Sweden, generating 22 points in 54 games (easily his best point output). Andersen also got his feet wet in the KHL, going through 2012-13 and 2013-14 with Cherepovets Severstal.

While financial details weren’t available, the Penguins could save a lot of money on a younger defense in 2015-16, as it appears they’ll allow both Paul Martin and Christian Ehrhoff to walk. It’s unclear where exactly Andersen fits into the mix.

Amusingly, he could probably fool people if he swapped jerseys with another Penguins defenseman:

He may also continue a light trend in which the Pens are adding a little extra European flair: