Pittsburgh holds a 2-1 series edge over Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Final after earning a 4-2 victory on Wednesday. Now the Penguins have a chance to push the Lightning to the brink tonight. You’ll be able to catch the game on the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.
Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay (8:00 p.m. ET)
The television broadcast of Game 4 will be on NBCSN. To stream the contest using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.
In the meantime, here are some relevant links:
Penguins’ HBK Line has ‘given us a lot of momentum,’ says Crosby
The Penguins are playing Schultz to his strengths
Rutherford says Fleury’s ‘absolutely not’ done in Pittsburgh, but logic suggests otherwise
Stamkos skates, but ‘still a real possibility’ he won’t play in playoffs
It’s rare for teenagers to stick with the Red Wings given the franchise’s history of developing their players through the AHL first, but Dylan Larkin was the exception in 2015-16 as his strong play kept him with Detroit.
Now Larkin’s earning high praise from Red Wings alumni as a result of his efforts.
“What you’ve had here is an anomaly, like it was with Steve Yzerman, where you have a guy that can come in (and contribute),” Darren McCarty told the Detroit Free Press. “Dylan Larkin, obviously, he has comparables to Steve Yzerman, but he’s going to set his own legacy, and it’s great to see.”
John Ogrodnick, who scored 402 goals during his NHL career, compared Larkin to Wayne Gretzky for having “eyes in the back of his head.”
Ogrodnick and McCarty talked about Larkin in greater detail and you can read those quotes in the Detroit Free Press article, but you can see that they both think very highly of the 19-year-old forward. The question now is how much upside Larkin has. To be clear, while Larkin’s rookie campaign provided grounds for hope, it’s not as if he set the world on fire. With 23 goals and 45 points in 80 contests, he wasn’t included in this year’s list of Calder Trophy finalists and fell just outside of the top-five in terms of rookie scoring.
That said, two of the players that finished above him (Artemi Panarin and Shayne Gostisbehere) were significantly older so it all has to be taken into context.
Ultimately we’re going to have to wait and see if Larkin will develop into a top-end talent, but what can be said with a greater degree of certainty is that Detroit needs someone to develop into that kind of player in the near future. Pavel Datsyuk might not return next season and Henrik Zetterberg will turn 36 in October. Their decline and eventual departure (be it this year or down the road) is leaving a big hole in Detroit’s lineup and while Larkin can’t hope to fill it alone, in a best case scenario Larkin would be a significant piece of Detroit’s new core.
Related: Let’s read the tea leaves from Detroit
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.
Shawn Michaels, a former WWE wrestler who had the nickname Heartbreak Kid (shortened to HBK) will attend a Pittsburgh Penguins game to see the new HBK. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
Bruce Boudreau threw out the first pitch at the Twins game. The new Minnesota Wild head coach described it as “more nerve racking than coaching a Game 7.” (StarTribune)
The Boston Bruins seem interested in re-signing Loui Eriksson, but is that the right move? Michael Felger argues they should part ways with him. (CSN New England)
Jeremy Roenick believes that the San Jose Sharks are the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. (San Jose Mercury News)
Would the Washington Capitals be interested in signing Vadim Shipachyov? The 29-year-old forward is a star in the KHL and a free agent. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)
Wayne Simmonds helped out a little boy who was the victim of racism. (Broad Street Hockey)
After splitting the first two games of the Eastern Conference Final in Pittsburgh, the Penguins and Lightning will resume their series in Tampa Bay tonight. You’ll be able to catch the game on the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.
Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay (8:00 p.m. ET)
The television broadcast of Game 3 will be on NBCSN. To stream the contest using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.
In the meantime, here’s some related reading material:
Cooper optimistic Bishop will play again in series
Murray says Stralman shot didn’t go through glove, questions Internet’s credibility
Caps GM: Penguins’ speed ‘took over’ at times
Vasilevskiy was ‘outstanding’ last night — not bad for the youngest goalie in the NHL
Tampa Bay’s schedule isn’t making it easy for Ben Bishop to return from his lower-body injury before the end of the Eastern Conference Final, but Lightning coach Jon Cooper remains optimistic that it will happen.
“I think, when you’re playing every other day, it’s tough for anybody to come back,” Cooper told the Tampa Bay Times. “That’s where those three-day breaks are big in that regard. That’s helped us out in a few of these series, just trying to help get guys back. But ultimately, whether it’s one day, two days, three days, if he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go.”
Andrei Vasilevskiy has been strong in relief of Bishop so far and while this hasn’t been an ideal season for the 21-year-old netminder, he’s always had high-end potential. It could be that Vasilevskiy will continue to rise to the challenge and keep the Lightning in games against the powerhouse Pittsburgh Penguins.
At the same time, Bishop is the goalie Tampa Bay wants between the pipes right now. He was a big part of the Lightning’s regular season success and played an even larger role in Tampa Bay making quick work of the Detroit Red Wings and New York Islanders in the playoffs. As good as Vasilevskiy was in the first two games of the conference final, Bishop would be the safer goaltender to start if he were healthy.
In the meantime, Bishop hasn’t participated in a practice yet, so Vasilevskiy will probably start again in Game 3 tonight.
Related: ‘It was just a scary experience’: Bishop thought he broke his leg in Game 1