Roster cuts for Monday, Sept. 27

ryanhollwegnicestache.jpgRoster cuts aren’t exactly the most interesting thing on the planet. After all, aside from teams burying salary cap hits in the minors (as was the case with Wade Redden and Cristobal Huet), most of these players have been mere blips on the hockey radar. Some are young players who aren’t quite ready for the big time while others are prospects suspended in a puck-based limbo.

(The latter group might want to write down the phone number from one of those ITT Tech commercials, am I right?)

Anyway, in case you are indeed callously intrigued about the plight of these young men, TSN listed all of Monday’s cuts. Here they are.

Mike Angelidis (TB), Chris Durno (TB), Mitchell Fritz (TB), Blair Jones (TB), Vladimir Mihalik (TB), Juraj Simek (TB), Paul Szczechura (TB), Trevor Smith (AN), Dane Byers (NYR), Kris Newbury (NYR), Jeremy Williams (NYR), Darryl Boyce (TOR), Joey Crabb (TOR), Ryan Hamilton (TOR), Alex Foster (TOR), Ryan Hollweg (PHX), Alexandre Picard (PHX), Garrett Stafford (PHX), Nolan Yonkman (PHX), Matt Climie (PHX), Al Montoya (PHX), Patrick Davis (NJ), Stephen Gionta (NJ), Olivier Magnan-Grenier (NJ) Bradley Mills (NJ), Tim Sestito (NJ), Chad Wiseman (NJ), Mike McKenna (NJ), Brian Willsie (WSH), Kyle Greentree (WSH), Andreas Thuresson (NSH), Teemu Laakso (NSH), TJ Hensick (STL), Brad Moran (EDM), Gregory Stewart (EDM), Hugh Jessiman (CHI), Tyler Weiman (VAN), Triston Grant (FLA), Gord Baldwin (CGY), William Thomas (FLA), Andre Benoit (OTT), Mike Brodeur (OTT), Cliche, Marc-Andre Cliche (LA), Thomas Jordan Trevelyan (SJ), Jay Leach (SJ), Sean Sullivan (SJ), Jon Disalvatore (MIN), Robbie Earl (MIN), Petr Kalus (MIN), Warren Peters (MIN)

A few names stand out a little bit. Paul Szczechura‘s demotion will produce a sigh of relief for all Tampa Bay-area copy editors. Ryan Hollweg (sporting that sweet ‘stache in this post’s first photo) was a fairly regular (and generally well-liked) “energy guy” with the New York Rangers, but he won’t be an immediate part of the Coyotes plans. Al Montoya had a nice college career, but there are only so many NHL goalie jobs so he must at least wonder if his professional career might take him to Europe at some point. TJ Hensick was once a promising member of the Colorado Avalanche. Hugh Jessiman might be best known as Glen Sathery’s Folly Part XX. Mike Brodeur and Marc-Andre Cliche both have names that make me giggle.

That just about does it. Apologies if this means nothing to you; I thought it would at least be worth mentioning, though.

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    Lightning-Stars stream: 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final

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    NBC’s coverage of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs continues with Thursday’s Stanley Cup Final matchup between the Lightning and Stars. Coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. Watch the Lightning-Stars stream on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

    Boosted by the long-awaited and “inspirational” return of Steven Stamkos, the Tampa Bay Lightning got goals from all three of their first-line forwards, their top defenseman and their captain in a threee-goal win to move within two wins of the franchise’s second Stanley Cup. For the second straight game, Tampa jumped out to a multi-goal first-period lead before the Stars got on the board. The Dallas Stars cut the deficit to one entering the second period, but the middle frame was all Lightning, outscoring Dallas 3-0 in large part thanks to a 21-4 shot differential.

    After Game 2, Kevin Shattenkirk said, “when we play our best game it’s hard for teams to win.” In Game 3, Tampa played one of its best games this postseason, getting major contributions from its usual suspects in the top line trio and Hedman and also a quantifiable (one goal from Stamkos) and unquantifiable lift from the return of its captain.

    The top line of Palat, Point and Kucherov carried the day once again, combining for three goals and six points in Game 3, their second straight game with four-plus points. Point leads all players this postseason with 11 goals and with Palat and Hedman also reaching double-digit goals in Game 3, the trio make Tampa the first team in a decade to have three players with 10-plus goals in the same postseason.

    [NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

    Tyler Seguin has struggled mightily in the 2020 playoffs. The 28-year-old has now gone 12 consecutive games without a goal and has just one assist over that span (which was six games ago). His last goal came in Game 3 of the Second Round vs. Colorado

    Along with Seguin, some of Dallas’ other forwards have been quiet recently as well:

    Jamie Benn: Zero points this series after ending West Final on a three-game goal streak
    Denis Gurianov: Zero points, three shots this series (OT goal and assist in series-clincher vs. Vegas)
    Alex Radulov: Zero goals, three assists this series

    Tampa can become the first team in the NHL expansion era (1967-present) to win the Stanley Cup the season after being swept in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

    WHAT: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars
    WHERE: Rogers Place – Edmonton
    WHEN: Friday, September 25, 8 p.m. ET
    TV: NBC
    ON THE CALL: Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, Brian Boucher
    LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Lightning-Stars stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

    Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars (TB leads 2-1)

    Stars 4, Lightning 1 (recap)
    Lightning 3, Stars 2 (recap)
    Lightning 5, Stars 2 (recap)
    Game 4: Friday, Sept. 25, 8 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)
    Game 5: Saturday, Sept. 26, 8 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)
    *Game 6: Monday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m. ET – NBC
    *Game 7: Wednesday, Sept. 30, 8 p.m. ET – NBC

    *if necessary

    The Wraparound: Will Stars bounce back in Game 4 vs. Lightning?

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    The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down Friday’s Stanley Cup Final game with the all-important television and live streaming information included.

    Victor Hedman is the newest player atop the latest Conn Smythe Watch.

    • The Penguins sent Patric Hornqvist to the Panthers for Mike Matheson and Colton Sceviour.

    FRIDAY’S STANLEY CUP FINAL GAME

    Game 4: Stars vs. Lightning (TB leads 2-1) – 8 p.m. ET, NBC (livestream): Boosted by the long-awaited and “inspirational” return of Steven Stamkos, the Tampa Bay Lightning got goals from all three of their first-line forwards, their top defenseman and their captain in a three-goal win to move within two wins of the franchise’s second Stanley Cup. For the second straight game, Tampa jumped out to a multi-goal first-period lead before the Stars got on the board. The Dallas Stars cut the deficit to one entering the second period, but the middle frame was all Lightning, outscoring Dallas 3-0 in large part thanks to a 21-4 shot differential.

    After Game 2, Kevin Shattenkirk said, “when we play our best game it’s hard for teams to win.” In Game 3, Tampa played one of its best games this postseason, getting major contributions from its usual suspects in the top line trio and Hedman and also a quantifiable (one goal from Stamkos) and unquantifiable lift from the return of its captain.

    The top line of Palat, Point and Kucherov carried the day once again, combining for three goals and six points in Game 3, their second straight game with four-plus points. Point leads all players this postseason with 11 goals and with Palat and Hedman also reaching double-digit goals in Game 3, the trio make Tampa the first team in a decade to have three players with 10-plus goals in the same postseason.

    Tampa can become the first team in the NHL expansion era (1967-present) to win the Stanley Cup the season after being swept in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

    [NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

    Tyler Seguin has struggled mightily in the 2020 playoffs. The 28-year-old has now gone 12 consecutive games without a goal and has just one assist over that span (which was six games ago). His last goal came in Game 3 of the Second Round vs. Colorado

    Along with Seguin, some of Dallas’ other forwards have been quiet recently as well:

    Jamie Benn: Zero points this series after ending West Final on a three-game goal streak
    Denis Gurianov: Zero points, three shots this series (OT goal and assist in series-clincher vs. Vegas)
    Alex Radulov: Zero goals, three assists this series

    “They’ve got to figure it out, it’s as simple as that,” said Stars head coach Rick Bowness. “They’re our top-end guys. You’ve got to give them the ice time to get going, they’re getting that. They’ve got to figure it out. They need some help from other guys, but they’ve got to figure it out.”

    Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars (TB leads 2-1)

    Stars 4, Lightning 1 (recap)
    Lightning 3, Stars 2 (recap)
    Lightning 5, Stars 2 (recap)
    Game 4: Friday, Sept. 25, 8 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)
    Game 5: Saturday, Sept. 26, 8 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)
    *Game 6: Monday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m. ET – NBC
    *Game 7: Wednesday, Sept. 30, 8 p.m. ET – NBC

    *if necessary

    NHL schedule for 2020 Stanley Cup Final

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    The Stanley Cup Playoffs continue on Saturday, Sept. 19 in the hub city of Edmonton. Now that we are through the conference finals, the full 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final schedule has been announced.  

    The top four teams during the regular season in both conferences played a three-game round robin for seeding in the First Round. The eight winners of the best-of-5 Qualifying Round advanced to the First Round.  

    Rogers Place in Edmonton will host 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final.  

    Here is the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final schedule.

    2020 STANLEY CUP FINAL (Rogers Place – Edmonton)

    Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars (TB leads 2-1)

    Stars 4, Lightning 1 (recap)
    Lightning 3, Stars 2 (recap)
    Lightning 5, Stars 2 (recap)
    Game 4: Friday, Sept. 25, 8 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)
    Game 5: Saturday, Sept. 26, 8 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)
    *Game 6: Monday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m. ET – NBC
    *Game 7: Wednesday, Sept. 30, 8 p.m. ET – NBC

    *if necessary

    [NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

    CONFERENCE FINAL RESULTS

    EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
    Lightning beat Islanders (4-2)

    WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
    Stars beat Golden Knights (4-1)

    ***

    SECOND ROUND RESULTS

    EASTERN CONFERENCE
    Lightning beat Bruins (4-1)
    Islanders beat Flyers (4-3)

    WESTERN CONFERENCE
    Golden Knights beat Canucks (4-3)
    Stars beat Avalanche (4-3)

    ***

    NHL QUALIFYING ROUND / ROUND-ROBIN RESULTS

    EASTERN CONFERENCE
    Philadelphia Flyers (3-0-0, 6 points)
    Tampa Bay Lightning (2-1-0, 4 points)
    Washington Capitals (1-1-1, 3 points)
    Boston Bruins (0-3-0, 0 points)

    Canadiens beat Penguins (3-1)
    Hurricanes beat Rangers (3-0)
    Islanders beat Panthers (3-1)
    Blue Jackets beat Maple Leafs (3-2)

    WESTERN CONFERENCE
    Vegas Golden Knights (3-0-0, 6 points)
    Colorado Avalanche (2-1-0, 4 points)
    Dallas Stars (1-2-0, 2 points)
    St. Louis Blues (0-2-1, 1 point)

    Blackhawks beat Oilers (3-1)
    Coyotes beat Predators (3-1)
    Canucks beat Wild (3-1)
    Flames beat Jets (3-1)

    ***

    FIRST ROUND RESULTS

    EASTERN CONFERENCE
    Flyers beat Canadiens (4-2)
    Lightning beat Blue Jackets (4-1)
    Islanders beat Capitals (4-1)
    Bruins beat Hurricanes (4-1)

    WESTERN CONFERENCE
    Golden Knights beat Blackhawks (4-1)
    Avalanche beat Coyotes (4-1)
    Stars beat Flames (4-2)
    Canucks beat Blues (4-2)

    Nikita Kucherov’s postseason defined by redemption, consistency

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    Like pretty much every other player on the Tampa Bay Lightning roster, the 2018-19 playoffs ended up being a very forgettable experience for Nikita Kucherov.

    During their four-game loss to the Blue Jackets, Kucherov managed just two points (both in their Game 4 loss), zero goals, and even missed a game due to a suspension for an ugly hit late in their Game 2 loss. It was a dreadfully disappointing end to a season where Kucherov had put together one of the finest regular season performances of the modern era for a record-setting team. He finished the season with 128 points (the most points the league had seen in 23 years) and took home the Hart Trophy (MVP) and Ted Lindsay Award (most outstanding player as voted by the players) on a team that won 62 regular season games.

    But because of their inability to win even a single playoff against the No. 8 seed, it will mostly end up being a footnote to the season.

    All of them — from Kucherov on down the roster — had to redeem themselves this postseason and flip the script on a team that was starting to become more known more for postseason shortcomings instead of for what it actually is — one of the league’s elite teams, driven by some of the best players in the world.

    Entering Game 4 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final Friday night (8 p.m. ET, NBC; livestream), Kucherov and the Lightning are in the process of getting that redemption.

    [NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

    They hold a 2-1 series lead and have looked like the far superior team these past two games.

    Kucherov has been at the center of most of it.

    His playmaking was on display in the Lightning’s Game 2 win by setting up a pair of power play goals to help power their fast start. In Game 3, he pounced on a Miro Heiskanen turnover in the neutral zone and buried a quick shot behind Anton Khudobin on a breakaway to help open the floodgates in a 5-2 win.

    For the playoffs, he is already up to 30 points (seven goals, 23 assists) in 22 games, which is currently tied for the fourth highest total in a single postseason over the past 20 years, trailing only Evgeni Malkin (36) and Sidney Crosby (31) in 2008-09, and Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov (32) in 2017-18.

    It’s not just that he is generating points that stands out.

    He is driving the most dominant line in the league this postseason alongside Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat. His underlying numbers are also off the charts. Of the 98 skaters that have logged at least 200 minutes of 5-on-5 hockey this postseason, Kucherov ranks second in total shot attempt share (63.6 percent), second in goals for percentage (76 percent), second in expected goals percentage (68 percent), fifth in scoring chance share, and second in high-danger scoring chances (67.9 percent). In most of those categories the only players that rank ahead of him are either Tampa defenseman Victor Hedman, or Palat, who is one of Kucherov’s current linemates.

    Then we get to the consistency aspect of this, and just how steady his overall production has been.

    There is no more overrated and overused word in hockey than “consistency,” at least as it relates to goal and point production. Every player in the league is inconsistent to a certain degree, and even the best players tend to score their goals and points in bunches. The season is a mountain range full of peaks and valleys. But Kucherov, for a few months now, has been residing on one of those mountains.

    [Lightning vs. Stars: 2020 Stanley Cup Final schedule]

    He has not gone more than two consecutive games without a point since the middle of January, and there was only one stretch of games this entire season where he went more than two games without finding the scoresheet — and even that was only a three-game stretch.

    He also has eight multi-point games this postseason, and when you exclude the three Round-Robin games before the start of the playoffs that means he has recorded at least two points in more than 40 percent of his games this postseason.

    That is a stunning level of production and dominance.

    Just looking at recent Conn Smythe Trophy winners, Ryan O'Reilly had multiple points in only 20 percent of his postseason games for the Blues last season. Alex Ovechkin was at 33 percent in 2018. Sidney Crosby had multiple points in 33 percent (2016-17) and 20 percent (2015-16) in his most recent Conn Smythe seasons.

    The Lightning have been one of the league’s best teams and Kucherov has been one of the best players for six years now. But because of the way their postseasons have ended there has always been that “yeah, but…” following them around, especially after last year’s dismal First Round showing.

    They all needed to rewrite the story around themselves.

    They are not exactly where they want to be just yet (they still have two more wins to get), but they have put themselves in a great position to finally accomplish their ultimate goal.

    MORE: Conn Smythe Watch: Victor Hedman makes his move

    Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.