James O'Brien

Steven Stamkos, Alex Killorn

Video: Stamkos’ sweet pass sets up Killorn goal


Much has been made of Steven Stamkos’ recently shaken struggles with scoring goals, but it’s easy to forget that the Tampa Bay Lightning star is a pretty talented passer, too.

Stamkos provided a sweet reminder of his playmaking skills early on in Game 3, as he set up this Alex Killorn goal to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead against the Montreal Canadiens:

That goal somewhat tarnished early strong work by Carey Price, including this set of saves:

Drouin in: Lightning give promising rookie a shot in Game 3

Tampa Bay Lightning v Florida Panthers
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It’s not always easy to see it this way, but one player’s injury is another player’s opportunity.

Cedric Paquette won’t be able to play for the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 against the Montreal Canadiens, so in comes Jonathan Drouin.

The 20-year-old has faced a tough postseason so far, only receiving 8:42 of ice time (and suffering a -2 despite Tampa Bay winning) in his only playoff appearance back in round one. Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said that Drouin would make an appearance in this series, and so it is.

From the sound of things, Drouin will be eased into the mix, joining a low line with Brenden Morrow and Vladislav Namestnikov.

It’s still an interesting opportunity, especially since Montreal won’t be able to use its best resources against a line that has experience in Morrow and potential in Drouin and Namestnikov. There’s always the possibility that Drouin might get bumped to a more potent line, too, but that might require the third pick of the 2013 NHL Draft to show that he’s ready first.

The Canadiens have to hope that his struggles continue, as they already have a tough road ahead.

2015 Jack Adams Award finalists: Hartley, Laviolette, Vigneault

2014 NHL Awards - Inside

The three finalists for the 2015 Jack Adams Award were announced on Wednesday: Bob Hartley (Calgary Flames), Peter Laviolette (Nashville Predators) and Alain Vigneault (New York Rangers).

The National Hockey League Broadcasters’ Association determines who receives the trophy given to the “NHL coach judged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.” (This post’s main image features last year’s winner Patrick Roy with the trophy.)

There was no shortage of worthy candidates, with some citing Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice (among others) as worthy candidates.

Interestingly, Vigneault is the only coach of the three to ever win the Jack Adams, which he did with the Vancouver Canucks back in 2006-07. Hartley and Laviolette probably get the last laugh in that regard, however, as they both have Stanley Cup victories on their resumes.

WATCH LIVE: Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff action

NHL Game Three of the Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals Washington Capitals vs New York Rangers

Wednesday night presents two games of Eastern Conference playoff action. By the end of it, we may get a better idea of how many semifinal series could be long or short.

First off, the New York Rangers hope to even things up in their second-round series against the Washington Capitals, who currently hold a 2-1 edge. Will Braden Holtby continue to make a name for himself or will Henrik Lundqvist get the edge tonight? Find out on NBCSN and also by streaming the game via NBC Sports Live Extra.


Next, the Montreal Canadiens find themselves in a desperate situation: not only are they down 2-0 to the Lightning, but the next two games take place in Tampa Bay. We’ll get a better idea of what this Habs team is made of in Game 3, which airs on USA Network and can be streamed via the link below.


The two contests are staggered 30 minutes apart, but with these streams, you can watch both at once. Ah, the wonders of technology.

Flames aren’t flinching about burning a year off of Bennett’s deal

2014 NHL Draft - Portraits

It seemed like the Calgary Flames were going to bring Sam Bennett along slowly, at least until he became a quick study in the playoffs.

After only playing one regular season game, the 18-year-old has been impressive in eight postseason contests. In fact, he’s been impressive enough that the Flames say they’re OK with burning the first year off of his entry-level contract by playing him against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 on Tuesday

“Contracts don’t matter to us,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said Monday. “We’re a pro organization, a very classy organization, and never have I had a conversation with [general manager] Brad Treliving or [president of hockey operations] Brian Burke about the contract of Sam Bennett. They always allow me to play the players that we feel will help us win.

“Sam Bennett will be in the lineup [Tuesday].”

The fourth pick of the 2014 NHL Draft has already made an impact with the Flames. He has four points in this postseason, tying him for fourth in scoring among Calgary skaters. Bennett even spoiled Frederik Andersen’s shutout bid with the Flames’ only tally in Game 1.

One can see why the Flames want to keep him in the mix, especially to show other young players that there are incentives to run with opportunities (rather than contract-related glass ceilings).

That said, it should be an interesting situation to observe in hindsight. What happens if the Flames lose this series in four or five games? Will some question management for getting such little value out of a precious commodity like a cheap rookie contract?

It’s the kind of question that would keep some executives up at night, but credit the Flames for trying to live in the moment. It could very well be the best thing for his development, anyway. Maybe.