Isles’ Sundstrom signs in Swedish League

New York forward Johan Sundstrom has signed with Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League, the club announced on Friday.

Sundstrom, 22, was taken 50th overall by the Isles at the 2011 draft and made his NHL debut a short while later, appearing in 11 games during the 2013-14 campaign.

His time in North America, though, had largely been spent with the club’s AHL affiliate in Bridgeport and given he was a pending RFA, it’s not surprising he returned to a Frolunda team he played for both prior to and after being drafted.

Sundstrom appeared in 72 games last year for Bridgeport, scoring seven goals and 19 points. He’s now the second young Islander to leave the organization for the SHL this offseason — in May, 22-year-old John Persson inked with Farjestad.

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    Like in 2009, back-to-back could tilt this Stanley Cup Final

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    EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Dan Bylsma sees some parallels between this Stanley Cup Final that features games on back-to-back nights and the last time it happened in 2009 when he was the winning coach.

    After the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Dallas Stars in overtime Friday night, it’s right back for Game 5 on Saturday night in just the second final with a back-to-back since the mid-1950s. While it was Games 1 and 2 for Bylsma’s Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings, the scheduling could mark a turning point this year because the banged-up Lightning might need to close this out fast.

    Penguins players told Bylsma leaving old Joe Louis Arena down 2-0, ”We’re going to win.” It was all about extending the series as long as possible because Detroit was the more tired team from playing three games in four days dating to their Western Conference clincher.

    The Lightning are far from fully healthy, so their goal is not to let the Stars hang around.

    ”They’re going to want to drop the puck as quickly as possible in Game 5 to get this thing over with,” Bylsma said by phone Friday.

    Tampa Bay and Dallas players and coaches said all the right things about focusing entirely on Game 4 before worrying about Game 5 on the second half of the back to back. Even when it was over, Cooper said, ”Let’s digest this” about an emotional overtime victory before shifting the focus forward.

    Tampa Bay’s top two centers, Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli, are playing through pain, and they’re certainly not alone in that.

    That’s a hallmark of playoff hockey. Back to backs usually are not this deep in the postseason, but don’t expect any complaints after two months in the bubble and the NHL nearing the finish line to complete the season.

    ”When we saw it on the schedule, we were a little bit surprised being that it was the Stanley Cup finals,” said Lightning forward Alex Killorn, who scored in Game 4. ”But as a team we’ve been in these situations plenty of times. It’s more of a mental battle than anything. I think we’ll be ready. We look forward to it.”

    A major difference between 2009 and now is not needing to fly between cities after Games 2, 4, 5 and, if necessary, 6.

    ”When it’s the same for both teams and there’s no travel involved, it’s a little better physically,” Bowness said. ”The grind that both teams have been through since July is certainly a factor – both physically and mentally.”

    And Bylsma believes the quick turnaround typically benefits the winner of the first half of this back to back. His Penguins in ’09 got two days off to regroup after a blowout loss in Game 5 and then two more after a Game 6 victory to survive.

    These teams don’t get that luxury, so the pressure is real. Bylsma likens Tampa Bay’s spot to the 2003 Anaheim Ducks when he was a player and they took a 3-0 lead over the powerful Red Wings in the first round.

    ”I’ve never seen 22 guys more nervous for a Game 4 when you’re up 3-0 because we felt like we had to win,” he said, comparing it to when Los Angeles erased a 3-0 series deficit against San Jose in 2014. ”We were so nervous and felt like we needed to win Game 4 to finish them off.”

    Anaheim did. Now, it’s Tampa Bay’s turn.

    NO STAMKOS

    Steven Stamkos made a lasting mark on the final with an iconic goal, though that could be the last time he takes this ice in the series.

    Out for Game 4, Stamkos has not been ruled out for the series, but it’s certainly possible after he played just 2:37 before tweaking something in Game 3.

    ”He felt he did a big part in helping us win that game,” Cooper said. ”You’ve got to play the hand you’re dealt, and so far the hand’s been a pretty good one. It’s just unfortunate he hasn’t been able to be a part of it, but when he was able to, obviously he had a huge impact for us.”

    Stamkos scored on his only shot Wednesday night, capping an emotional return almost seven months in the making and helping Tampa Bay take a 2-1 series lead. He hadn’t played since Feb. 25, had core muscle surgery in early March and aggravated the injury in voluntary workouts over the summer.

    DICKINSON PRODUCES

    Fourth-liner Jason Dickinson has been one of the Stars’ best players in the final based on his usual defensive stinginess and some offensive production. After no goals in his first 21 postseason games, Dickinson has scored twice in this series.

    Dickinson also draws the tough assignment of matching up against Tampa Bay’s top line of Point, Kucherov and Ondrej Palat.

    ”He’s a hard-working guy who doesn’t get a lot of credit sometimes,” said Stars center Tyler Seguin, who took a career playoff worst 12-game goal drought into Friday’s game. ”(Given) all the other things he does right, you don’t even talk about the goal-scoring and he’s getting rewarded now, so that’s great.”

    INJURED STARS

    After running down Dallas’ injured players, Bowness paused for a second and quipped, ”There’s a lot of them.” The Stars may still be the healthier team given the Lightning’s woes, but the injuries are piling up.

    Center Radek Faksa, defenseman Stephen Johns and goaltender Ben Bishop remain unfit to play. Forward Blake Comeau also missed Game 4 with an apparent right shoulder injury.

    Bishop, who hasn’t played since Game 5 of the second round when he was pulled after allowing four goals on 19 shots in under 14 minutes, joined the optional Friday morning skate toward the end to get some work in. Faksa, who was seen with his left wrist taped earlier in the playoffs, did not take part and Bowness wouldn’t bite on a question about whether he or Bishop were close.

    ”They’re unfit to play,” he said. ”Good try, though.”

    2020 NHL Draft: Date, time, order of picks for all 31 teams

    2020 NHL Draft
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    The 2020 NHL Draft will be held virtually with Round 1 taking place on Tuesday, Oct. 6 beginning at 7 p.m. ET. Rounds 2-7 will be held Wednesday, Oct. 7 beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET. NBCSN will air coverage on both days.

    The Rangers won Phase 2 of the 2020 NHL Draft lottery in August and will select first overall. Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL) winger Alexis Lafreniere is expected to go No. 1.

    After that? It could go a lot of different ways. Quinton Byfield (Sudbury – C- OHL), Tim Stutzle (Adler Mannheim – C/LW – DEL), Lucas Raymond (Frolunda – LW/C – SHL), Jamie Drysdale (Erie – D – OHL), Marco Rossi (Ottawa – C – OHL), Cole Perfetti (Saginaw – C – OHL), Jake Sanderson (D – USNTDP) are among the top prospects expected to be selected early.

    The full 2020 NHL Draft order will be finalized at the conclusion of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final.

    2020 NHL Draft order

    Round 1

    1. New York Rangers
    2. Los Angeles Kings
    3. Ottawa Senators (from SJS)
    4. Detroit Red Wings
    5. Ottawa Senators
    6. Anaheim Ducks
    7. New Jersey Devils
    8. Buffalo Sabres
    9. Minnesota Wild
    10. Winnipeg Jets
    11. Nashville Predators
    12. Florida Panthers
    13. Carolina Hurricanes (from TOR)
    14. Edmonton Oilers
    15. Toronto Maple Leafs (from PIT)
    16. Montreal Canadiens
    17. Chicago Blackhawks
    18. New Jersey Devils (from ARZ)
    19. Calgary Flames
    20. New Jersey Devils (from VAN via TB)
    21. Columbus Blue Jackets
    22. New York Rangers (from CAR)
    23. Philadelphia Flyers
    24. Colorado Avalanche
    25. Washington Capitals
    26. St. Louis Blues
    27. Anaheim Ducks (from BOS)
    28. Ottawa Senators (from NYI)
    29. Vegas Golden Knights
    30. Dallas Stars or San Jose Sharks (from TB)
    31. Dallas Stars or San Jose Sharks (from TB)

    Round 2

    32. Detroit Red Wings
    33. Ottawa Senators
    34. San Jose Sharks
    35. Los Angeles Kings
    36. Anaheim Ducks
    37. Nashville Predators (from NJ)
    38. Buffalo Sabres
    39. Minnesota Wild
    40. Winnipeg Jets
    41. Carolina Hurricanes (from NYR)
    42. Nashville Predators
    43. Florida Panthers
    44. Toronto Maple Leafs
    45. Detroit Red Wings (from EDM)
    46. Chicago Blackhawks (from VGK via PIT)
    47. Montreal Canadiens
    48. Montreal Canadiens (from CHI)
    49. Arizona Coyotes*
    50. Calgary Flames
    51. Los Angeles Kings (from VAN)
    52. Ottawa Senators (from CBJ)
    53. Carolina Hurricanes
    54. Philadelphia Flyers
    55. San Jose Sharks (from COL via WSH)
    56. Detroit Red Wings (from WSH)
    57. Montreal Canadiens (from STL)
    58. Boston Bruins
    59. Ottawa Senators (from NYI)
    60. Los Angeles Kings (from VGK)
    61. Ottawa Senators (from DAL via VGK) or Tampa Bay Lightning
    62. Ottawa Senators (from DAL via VGK) or Tampa Bay Lightning

    *Coyotes forfeit pick No. 49 due to punishment for violating NHL pre-combine testing rules.

    Round 3

    63. Detroit Red Wings
    64. Ottawa Senators
    65. Detroit Red Wings (from SJ)
    66. Los Angeles Kings
    67. Anaheim Ducks
    68. Vegas Golden Knights (from NJ)
    69. Carolina Hurricanes (from BUF)
    70. Nashville Predators (from MIN)
    71. Ottawa Senators (from WPG)
    72. New York Rangers
    73. Nashville Predators
    74. Florida Panthers
    75. Colorado Avalanche (from TOR)
    76. Edmonton Oilers++
    77. Pittsburgh Penguins
    78. Montreal Canadiens
    79. Chicago Blackhawks
    80. Washington Capitals (from ARI via COL)
    81. Calgary Flames++
    82. Vancouver Canucks
    83. Los Angeles Kings (from CBJ via OTT via TOR)
    84. New Jersey Devils (from CAR)
    85. Tampa Bay Lightning (from PHI via SJ)
    86. Florida Panthers (from COL)
    87. St. Louis Blues (from WSH via MTL)
    88. St. Louis Blues
    89. Boston Bruins
    90. New York Islanders
    91. Vegas Golden Knights
    92. New York Rangers (from DAL) or Tampa Bay Lightning
    93. New York Rangers (from DAL) or Tampa Bay Lightning

    ++ Oilers have yet to announce whether they will give their 2020 or 2021 third-round pick to the Flames as part of the James Neal trade. If they give up the 2020 choice, the Blackhawks will get No. 76 as part of the Erik Gustafsson treads. If they give up their 2021 pick, the Blackhawks will get the No. 81 pick from the Flames.

    Round 4

    94. Tampa Bay Lightning (from DET)
    95. Ottawa Senators
    96. Calgary Flames (from SJ vis MTL via BUF)
    97. Los Angeles Kings
    98. Montreal Canadiens (from ANA)
    99. New Jersey Devils
    100. Buffalo Sabres
    101. Minnesota Wild
    102. Montreal Canadiens (from WPG)
    103. New York Rangers
    104. Anaheim Ducks (from NSH via PHI)
    105. Florida Panthers
    106. Toronto Maple Leafs
    107. Detroit Red Wings (from EDM)
    108. Pittsburgh Penguins
    109. Montreal Canadiens
    110. Chicago Blackhawks
    111. Arizona Coyotes
    112. Los Angeles Kings (from CGY)
    113. Vancouver Canucks
    114. Columbus Blue Jackets
    115. Carolina Hurricanes
    116. Philadelphia Flyers
    117. Colorado Avalanche
    118. Washington Capitals
    119. St. Louis Blues
    120. New Jersey Devils (from BOS)
    121. New York Islanders
    122. Toronto Maple Leafs (from VGK)
    123. Dallas Stars or Tampa Bay Lightning
    124. Dallas Stars or Tampa Bay Lightning

    Round 5

    125. Detroit Red Wings
    126. San Jose Sharks (from OTT)
    127. San Jose Sharks
    128. Los Angeles Kings
    129. Anaheim Ducks
    130. New Jersey Devils
    131. Buffalo Sabres
    132. Minnesota Wild
    133. Winnipeg Jets
    134. New York Rangers
    135. Nashville Predators
    136. Montreal Canadiens (from FLA)
    137. Florida Panthers (from TOR)
    138. Edmonton Oilers
    139. Pittsburgh Penguins
    140. Carolina Hurricanes (from MTL)
    141. Chicago Blackhawks
    142. Arizona Coyotes
    143. Calgary Flames
    144. Vancouver Canucks
    145. Columbus Blue Jackets
    146. St. Louis Blues (from CAR)
    147. Philadelphia Flyers
    148. Colorado Avalanche
    149. Washington Capitals
    150. St. Louis Blues
    151. Boston Bruins
    152. New York Islanders
    153. Toronto Maple Leafs (from VGK)
    154. Dallas Stars or Ottawa Senators (from TB)
    155. Dallas Stars or Ottawa Senators (from TB)

    Round 6

    156. Detroit Red Wings
    157. Tampa Bay Lightning (from OTT)
    158. Ottawa Senators (from SJ)
    159. Los Angeles Kings
    160. Anaheim Ducks
    161. New Jersey Devils
    162. Dallas Stars (from BUF via CAR via FLA)
    163. Minnesota Wild
    164. Winnipeg Jets
    165. New York Rangers
    166. Nashville Predators
    167. Colorado Avalanche (from FLA)
    168. Toronto Maple Leafs
    169. Edmonton Oilers
    170. Pittsburgh Penguins
    171. Montreal Canadiens
    172. Chicago Blackhawks
    173. Arizona Coyotes
    174. Calgary Flames
    175. Vancouver Canucks
    176. Columbus Blue Jackets
    177. Toronto Maple Leafs (from CAR)
    178. Philadelphia Flyers
    179. Toronto Maple Leafs (from COL)
    180. Washington Capitals
    181. Ottawa Senators (from STL via EDM)
    182. Boston Bruins
    183. New York Islanders
    184. Vegas Golden Knights
    185. Dallas Stars or Tampa Bay Lightning
    186. Dallas Stars or Tampa Bay Lightning

    Round 7

    187. Detroit Red Wings
    188. Montreal Canadiens (from OTT)
    189. Toronto Maple Leafs (from SJ)
    190. Los Angeles Kings
    191. Vancouver Canucks (from ANA)
    192. New Jersey Devils
    193. Buffalo Sabres
    194. Minnesota Wild
    195. Toronto Maple Leafs (from WPG via MIN)
    196. New York Rangers
    197. New York Rangers (from NSH)
    198. Florida Panthers
    199. Carolina Hurricanes (from TOR)
    200. Edmonton Oilers
    201. San Jose Sharks (from PIT)
    202. Philadelphia Flyers (from MTL)
    203. St. Louis Blues (from CHI via MTL)
    204. Arizona Coyotes
    205. Calgary Flames
    206. New York Rangers (from VAN)
    207. Columbus Blue Jackets
    208. Carolina Hurricanes
    209. Philadelphia Flyers
    210. Colorado Avalanche
    211. San Jose Sharks (from WSH)
    212. Toronto Maple Leafs (from STL)
    213. Boston Bruins
    214. New York Islanders
    215. Vegas Golden Knights
    216. Buffalo Sabres (from DAL) or Tampa Bay Lightning
    217. Buffalo Sabres (from DAL) or Tampa Bay Lightning

    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 3-1)

    Stars 4, Lightning 1 (recap)
    Lightning 3, Stars 2 (recap)
    Lightning 5, Stars 2 (recap)
    Lighting 5, Stars 4 [OT] (recap)
    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)

    Kevin Shattenkirk finds redemption after unlucky bounce

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    As the Dallas Stars celebrated the tying goal with 8:25 remaining in the third period, Kevin Shattenkirk was experiencing a sinking feeling.

    Joe Pavelski’s shot from the faceoff circle was stopped by Andrei Vasilevskiy, but the puck deflected off Shattenkirk’s knee and into the Tampa Bay Lightning net. Tie game, and any momentum gained from Alex Killorn’s go-ahead goal five minutes earlier was gone.

    Despite the unlucky bounce, Shattenkirk was trying to keep a positive mind.

    “In my head, I was thinking I deserved some sort of good karma after that,” he said after Game 4.

    Karma would find him a little while later. 

    On the power play in overtime, Shattenkirk took a pass from Victor Hedman in the Stars’ zone. He then skated into the same face-off circle where Pavelski took his shot that led to the tying goal. With Dallas defenseman Jamie Oleksiak and Lightning forward Pat Maroon providing the screens, Shattenkirk wired home his second career playoff overtime goal to put Tampa on the brink of a second Stanley Cup title.

    “He’s been scoring some big ones for us all playoffs,” said forward Brayden Point. “He’s so steady for us. He works so hard. He’s great in the room. He’s a great leader for us, he keeps us even-keel. To see him bury one, it’s awesome.”

    [NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

    It’s been almost 14 months since Shattenkirk signed a one-year deal with the Lightning. He was on the free agent market after being bought out by the Rangers, who signed him to a four-year, $26.65M deal in 2017. The end of his tenure with his hometown team wasn’t how he originally pictured it. A bad knee affected his play and ultimately factored into the decision, but time became an asset.

    Time allowed Shattenkirk to get back to 100% health, and signing with Tampa put him on a blue line where he didn’t have to feel the pressure to produce or live up to a big contract. He scored eight goals and recorded 34 points during the regular season, his highest totals since the 2016-17 season. Carrying a chip on his shoulder kept his focus on a bounce-back season.

    “I never kind of forget what happened last summer,” Shattenkirk said after Game 4. “I’ve used that to fuel me and just not get comfortable.”

    Shattenkirk has two goals and four points in the Lightning’s three Cup Final wins. Friday night was his second game winner of the series after scoring Tampa’s third goal in a 3-2 win in Game 2.

    [3 Takeaways from Lightning-Stars Game 4]

    The universe has a way of evening out as Shattenkirk discovered this season. A year ago he was looking to get his NHL career back on track. Now he’s one win away from being a Stanley Cup champion.

    “We’ve got a job to do here, it’s still not finished,” he said. “Anyway that I can contribute, whether it’s scoring goals or playing solid defensively, whatever the team asks, that’s what I aim to do every night. It’s been a great team effort so far. Looking forward to tomorrow night because then it could all come really full circle.”

    Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Dallas Stars (TB leads 3-1)

    Stars 4, Lightning 1 (recap)
    Lightning 3, Stars 2 (recap)
    Lightning 5, Stars 2 (recap)
    Lighting 5, Stars 4 [OT] (recap)
    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

    ————

    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.