Lightning’s 2020 trade for Blake Coleman paying off, again

Canadiens-Lightning stream
Getty Images

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final continues with Friday’s Game 3 between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning. Canadiens-Lightning stream coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN and Peacock. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

There’s so many elements to the Lightning’s depth.

If the top of the lineup, fueled by Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos, the playoff-clutch Brayden Point, and Vezina finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy are the capitalization at the start of the sentence of the Lightning, Blake Coleman is the punctuation at the end.

The Lightning, already 2020 Stanley Cup champions, are two wins away from going back-to-back. The deadline deal that helped them reach the pinnacle last season is already on pace to do so again heading into Game 3 (8 p.m. ET, NBC; livestream).

The Bolts added Coleman a few days before the NHL trade deadline last season, days before adding Barclay Goodrow as well. The duo combined for the game-winning goal in Game 2 of the 2021 Cup Final, giving them the two-game edge on underdog Montreal.

Trade results aren’t usually so blatantly cut and dry. Two titles in two years would certainly award the Lightning as winners in those deals — if they haven’t been already — especially with the kind of production Coleman has delivered in his less-than two seasons in Tampa Bay.

[NHL ON NBC STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

As Taylor Swift once said, “All along there was some, Invisible string, tying you to me.” That’s what Goodrow and Coleman — on an energy line with Yanni Gourde — feel like in this run. They’ll always be associated together for a few days in February that was destined to make them Cup champions. Now their fates are interwoven on the same line that’s making a repeat a reality.

“The microscope is on you at all times,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said following Game 2. “There are guys that rise to the occasion and sometimes there’s guys that don’t. These guys, the moment doesn’t seem to be too big for them.”

Since joining the Lightning, Coleman has produced 32 regular season points. He had just one in his nine regular season games with the Lightning before last season’s pause. He has 22 playoff points in 45 games with the Lightning, though, and that’s where his impact will be remembered.

The buzzer-beater that will forever be a part of the story of this era of the Lightning was created by the two acquisitions who will always be tied together.

“I knew the clock was winding down, but I saw (Goodrow) make that heads-up play in the neutral zone, that little poke past their D,” Coleman said to reporters. “I just tried to do everything I could to give him an option.”

Coleman committed a rough turnover in Game 6 with the Islanders that resulted in the winning goal. The Lightning responded with a Game 7 win and haven’t lost since, but it was the type of moment he could have lost confidence.

Instead, he’s dug deeper to perform the way he did in the Cup run a year ago.

“I told him, ‘don’t you dare lose a night of sleep over your turnover that he felt like cost us that game.’” Cooper told reporters. “I was like, ‘you are one of the straws that stir the drink for this team.’ All he’s done is had a remarkable Game 7 and two remarkable games here. He’s a winner. Turns the page and moves on and delivers, and he did that tonight.”

Coleman a free agent at the end of this season. He’s done a lot to up his value. If the Lightning win another Cup, they certainly won’t mind.

2021 NHL playoff schedule: Stanley Cup Final – (TB leads 2-0) series livestream link

Game 1: Lightning 5, Canadiens 1
Game 2: Lightning 3, Canadiens 1
Game 3: Fri. July 2: Lightning at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (NBC / Peacock)
Game 4: Mon. July 5: Lightning at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (NBC / Peacock)
*Game 5: Wed. July 7: Canadiens at Lightning, 8 p.m. ET (NBC / Peacock)
*Game 6: Fri. July 9: Lightning at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (NBC / Peacock)
*Game 7: Sun. July 11: Canadiens at Lightning, 7 p.m. ET (NBC / Peacock)

*if necessary

Marisa Ingemi is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop her a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Ingemi.

Scroll Down For:

    Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

    Ilya Mikheyev
    Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
    2 Comments

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

    Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

    Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

    Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

    Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

    austonmatthews
    Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

    The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

    Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

    After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

    Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

    Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

    caufield surgery
    David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

    But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

    “I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

    Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

    “I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

    Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

    Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

    Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

    All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

    matty beniers
    Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

    Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

    The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

    Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

    Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.