The Wrapround: Perry, trade deadline additions delivering for Lightning

The Wrapround: Perry, trade deadline additions delivering for Lightning
Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down the NHL playoff games today with the all-important television information.

• Catch up on Game 3 of Blues – Avalanche in the Saturday NHL Rink Wrap.

There are some injuries to watch from that Blues – Avs Game 3. Most prominently, Jordan Binnington left and did not return following a collision with Nazem Kadri, forcing Ville Husso in net. Samuel Girard is done for the playoffs after suffering a broken sternum.

• While Saturday only had that Blues – Avalanche Game 3, Sunday is as packed as you’ll get this deep into the playoffs, with three different contests.

• Although the Penguins have other fish to fry in Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang, they made a key offseason decision with a Bryan Rust contract extension.

In the grand scheme of things, Nikita Kucherov just being that much better during the playoffs is the big story so far in this Panthers – Lightning series.

Just consider how Kucherov swung things heading into Game 3 (1:30 p.m. ET). In Game 1, Kucherov deked Aaron Ekblad out of the building to set up a key Corey Perry goal. In Game 2, MacKenzie Weegar did not detect what would become essentially a buzzer-beating assist from Kucherov to Ross Colton.

Compare Kucherov’s superstar work (assists on both game-winning goals, a key goal in Game 1) to that of Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov (a mere assist between them), and it’s clear that Tampa Bay is winning the star battle in a big way.

Yet, as the Lightning push for a three-peat, the organization is once again showing a deft hand in adding supporting cast members who also make a key difference.

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info]

Perhaps the most startling difference-maker is Corey Perry.

By adding players to bolster a three-peat effort, some of the logic is to bring in fresher legs for a Lightning team that’s been through some real battles. Yet, with Corey Perry, you can throw that logic — really, a lot of logic — out the window.

Perry, 37, is the one player who’s appeared in more games (58) than any Lightning player during their three-peat bid. It’s almost audacious how effective he’s been, considering his age, all of that extra playoff fatigue, and the notion that it seemed like Perry was nearing NHL irrelevance as long ago as when the Ducks bought him out in 2019.

Yet, there Corey Perry is. He’s scored three points for the Lightning in two games against the Panthers, and even showing that a puck to the face can only slow him down so much.

” … When I look at where he ended up statistically at the end of the year, that was icing on the cake. Bringing him in for what he brings to our locker room, and his pedigree is as advertised,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said recently, via the Tampa Bay Times’ John Romano.

“But his on-ice product has been better than I imagined. That’s been typical him. Big moments, big times, Perry is there.”

[NHL Power Rankings: Top Second Round storylines]

Like Perry, Nick Paul captured attention with big goals — his coming during Game 7 against the Maple Leafs, in particular. But Perry, Paul, and Brandon Hagel have stood out in a number of ways.

  • They’re all in the team’s top seven in playoff points per 60.
  • Brandon Hagel ranks second in the NHL playoffs in net penalties at +5 (8 penalties drawn, three taken). Paul’s in the mix at +4 (seven drawn, three taken). While Corey Perry’s logged 16 PIM during the postseason, they all came in Game 1 of Toronto – Tampa Bay. Even then, he’s drawn even with four penalties drawn and four taken. The point is straightforward: these depth players are putting others in the penalty box more than they’re traveling there. Frankly, even if you’re mainly drawing even otherwise, getting your team’s power play on the ice for extra reps can be the sort of wonderful boost that gets lost in time.
  • Perry’s the only one of the three without positive possession stats across the board so far during the postseason. Even that is a positive situation the closer you look. Perry’s been on the ice for more high-danger chances for (12) than against (10) so far in these playoffs.

Naturally, the Lightning want Brayden Point back. Eventually, they’ll feel that they might need Point back. Yet, it really is a testament to the Lightning that they can plug-and-play over and over again.

Some of that is the structure of this franchise, most notably head coach Jon Cooper. Some of that boils down to the Lightning’s talent evaluators flat-out lapping the competition.

On paper, the Panthers seem like they should be deeper than the Lightning. On the ice, that advantage hasn’t been so clear.


Game 3 (TBL leads 2-0): Panthers at Lightning, 1:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports)

Game 3 (CAR leads 2-0): Hurricanes at Rangers, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN, Sportsnet, SN360, TVA Sports): Instead of being skated out of the building each night, the Rangers played the Hurricanes tight in this series. These have been close games, which may inspire mixed feelings of relief about hanging in there and regret from letting opportunities slip away. After you wade through moral victories, the bottom line is that the Rangers need to get into this series by taking over at home against the Hurricanes. That idea seems more feasible on Sunday than it would have been if you told someone about the 2-0 series score in favor of Carolina about a week ago, yet the Rangers still need to make those extra pushes.

Game 3 (Series tied 1-1): Flames at Oilers, 8 p.m. ET (Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports, ESPN2): In two games in Calgary, there was rarely a dull moment to open “The Battle of Alberta.” Can we expect the same action as the series shifts to Edmonton? Which team would benefit the most from a slower pace, anyway? The Flames may possess a more varied array of weapons, but Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl made it clear just how lethal a combination they can be in swinging Game 2. Whoever wins, let’s hope it stays hectic, fun, and at times almost chaotic. Though, to be fair, the Oilers and Flames already set the bar extremely high (and lit it on fire).

PHT’s 2022 Stanley Cup previews
Avalanche vs. Blues

Lightning vs. Panthers
Makar, McDavid lead Conn Smythe watch after First Round
NHL Second Round predictions
Storylines for the NHL’s Second Round

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    Stanley Cup champion Avalanche steadily returning to health

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    ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Had his coach been watching, this might have made for an anxious moment: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar catching an edge and falling in the fastest skater contest.

    Jared Bednar wasn’t tuned in, though, and had no idea what happened in the skills contest over All-Star weekend. Only that Makar emerged from his crash into the boards just fine.

    These days, things are definitely looking up for the Stanley Cup champions on the injury front. Defenseman Bowen Byram returns to the lineup, along with forward Valeri Nichushkin. Defenseman Josh Manson is creeping closer to a return. Same for captain Gabriel Landeskog, who’s yet to play this season. Forward Darren Helm is progressing, too.

    In spite of all their bumps and bruises, the Avalanche entered the All-Star break in a playoff spot. To weather the injury storm, Colorado has relied on 39 different skaters this season, a mark that’s tied for the most in a single season since the team relocated to Denver in 1995.

    “Anybody we can get back right now is huge,” said Makar, whose team kicks off a three-game trip Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

    Byram returns after being sidelined with a lower-body injury since early November. He was an integral part of their Stanley Cup run a season ago, when he led all rookies with nine assists in the postseason. Byram was off to a fast start this season – two goals and three assists in 10 games – before his injury.

    “He’s looking great. He’s buzzing out there,” Makar said of his fellow blue liner. “Hopefully it doesn’t take him too long to get back into game mode. But I think he’s a guy that can turn it on pretty quickly.”

    Byram missed a chunk of games last season as he dealt with concussion symptoms. This time, he was able to be around the team as he worked his way back.

    “I was just happy it wasn’t my head,” Byram said. “It was a lot easier to be out when you’re still feeling good and feel like yourself. … I’m just excited to get going again.”

    Count on Byram for as many minutes as necessary, too.

    “I’m 100%, so no reason to ease into it,” Byram said. “I’m confident with jumping back in.”

    Manson will join the Avalanche on the trip so he can skate with the squad. He’s been out with a lower-body injury since the start of December.

    “I do think it helps to get on the road, be around the guys,” Bednar said.

    Landeskog could be back “fairly soon,” Bednar said, but didn’t have a definitive timeline quite yet. The longtime Avalanche captain has been sidelined since knee surgery in October.

    The Avalanche entered the All-Star break on quite a roll, winning seven of their last eight. They’ve amassed 57 points, which trails Dallas (66 points at the All-Star break), Winnipeg (65) and Minnesota (58) in the Central Division.

    One thing the Avalanche are guarding against is another slow start out off the break. It happened over Christmas when the team had a few days off and promptly went 0-4-1 upon their return.

    “It’s just shifting the mentality back to game mode. No more vacation,” Makar said. “We still have a long way to go. We’re not where we want to be right now. But there’s a lot of time left.”

    Kraken add some size, acquire Jaycob Megna from San Jose

    Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

    SEATTLE — The Seattle Kraken acquired defenseman Jaycob Megna from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2023 fourth-round draft pick.

    Megna is in the midst of his best season with 12 points in 48 games for the Sharks while averaging more than 19 minutes per game.

    “Jaycob has shown with his play this season that he is a responsible defenseman that can be relied on in all situations,” Seattle general manager Ron Francis said. “He provides welcome depth to our defensive group and we are happy to have him join our organization.”

    The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Megna will add some size and bulk to Seattle’s lineup. Megna ranked fifth for San Jose in both blocked shots and hits.

    Megna previously played for Anaheim for parts of three seasons between 2016-19. The 48 games played this season is a career-high for the 30-year-old.

    Seattle is tied for the lead in the Pacific Division and will return from the All-Star break beginning against the New York Islanders.

    Islanders sign Bo Horvat to 8-year deal after trading for him

    Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

    The New York Islanders signed center Bo Horvat to an eight-year contract less than a week after acquiring him in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks.

    The team announced the contract after their first practice following the All-Star break. Horvat’s deal is worth $68 million and carries a $8.5 million salary cap hit through the 2030-31 season.

    General manager Lou Lamoriello joked to reporters at practice on Long Island that Horvat’s contract was “too long and it’s too much money.”

    The Islanders sent forward Anthony Beauvillier, prospect Aatu Raty and a protected first-round pick to the Canucks for Horvat . He was set to be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and the trade was a result of Vancouver and Horvat’s camp being unable to reach a deal last summer.

    Lamoriello and Horvat expressed confidence about getting a deal done after the trade. The 27-year-old has scored more than 30 goals for a second consecutive season.

    Horvat was chosen as an All-Star and played for the Pacific Division despite the trade. He played with longtime Canucks teammate Elias Pettersson and combined on one last goal together before parting ways.

    “I want to get going,” Horvat said after the All-Star 3-on-3 tournament. “That’s enough. Let’s start playing some games and getting to know the guys. I just want to start playing hockey again.”

    Horvat was on vacation with his family in Orlando when he was traded. He said coach Lane Lambert wanted him to enjoy All-Star festivities before getting rolling with the Islanders, who play at the Philadelphia Flyers.

    “Obviously getting my legs under me is going to be No. 1 and getting systems down and obviously chemistry with the new linemates and stuff like that,” Horvat said.

    After facing the Flyers and Seattle, Horvat will play against his former team when Vancouver visits UBS Arena.

    Bruins rolling, rest of NHL making final push for playoffs

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    SUNRISE, Fla. — Bruce Cassidy’s Vegas Golden Knights lost eight of 10 games going into the All-Star break after leading the Pacific Division at the midway point of the NHL season.

    They’re still safely in a playoff spot in the Western Conference, but they can’t keep it up.

    “We’re still in a good position – that’s the way we look at it,” Cassidy said. “There’s not too many teams that can cruise home the last 30 games in this league, and we’re certainly not one of them.”

    Cassidy’s old team, the Boston Bruins, probably could. They’re atop the NHL and running away with the Atlantic Division.

    With 39 wins and 83 points through 51 games, Boston is on pace to break the record for the best regular season in NHL history. The Carolina Hurricanes, who beat Boston in seven games in the first round last year, are next in the standings at 76 points.

    “Top to bottom, there’s no weaknesses,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said.

    The Bruins are in a class of their own, but the playoff races behind them in the East and West should be hot down the stretch with roughly 30 games to go before the chase for the Stanley Cup begins.


    The Hurricanes rode a seven-game winning streak into the break, putting some fear into the Bruins in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy and home-ice advantage through the postseason. Winger Max Pacioretty re-tearing his right Achilles tendon five games into his return didn’t slow them down, and if their goaltending holds up, Carolina stands a good chance of reaching the East final.

    “This team, it’s a special group of guys,” said Brind’Amour, who captained Carolina to the Cup in 2006 and is in his fifth year as coach. “We kind of show that nightly. It’s just very consistent, and they take their job real serious. They do it right.”

    The second-place New Jersey Devils are contending for the first time since 2018. Bottoming out the next season helped them win the lottery for No. 1 pick Jack Hughes, a two-time All-Star who has them winning ahead of schedule.

    “Much better than being out of the mix,” Hughes said. “We’re really excited because it’s going to be a lot of important hockey, and it’s going to be really competitive and we’re really pumped to be where we are.”

    They’re followed by the New York Rangers, Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders. All three New York-area teams could make it, which was the expectation for the Rangers after reaching the East final last year.

    “I think the run last year really taught us a few things and stuff that we obviously could build on for the rest of this year,” 2021 Norris-Trophy winning defenseman Adam Fox said.


    The Rangers lost to the Lightning in six games last spring, when two-time champion Tampa Bay reached the Stanley Cup Final for the third consecutive season before getting beat by the Colorado Avalanche.

    The Lightning are almost certain to face the Toronto Maple Leafs – who haven’t won a playoff series since the NHL salary cap era began in 2005 – in the first round and remain a threat to the Bruins.

    But Boston has separated itself despite starting the season without top left winger Brad Marchand and No. 1 defenseman Charlie McAvoy. The Bruins have lost only 12 games under new coach Jim Montgomery.

    “You just keep winning,” said All-Star right winger David Pastrnak, who’s tied for third in the league in scoring. “Every single line and every single guy is going and it obviously builds our confidence. It’s funny sometimes what confidence can do in hockey.”

    The Islanders should have some more confidence after acquiring 30-goal scorer Bo Horvat from Vancouver, but still need to make up ground to get in.


    Defending champion Colorado climbed in the standings – winning seven of eight going into the break despite an injury-riddled first half of the season. Captain Gabriel Landeskog still has not made his season debut since undergoing knee surgery. It would be foolish to bet against the Avs coming out of the West again.

    “It’s up to us: We control our own fate,” All-Star center Nathan MacKinnon said. “We need to definitely keep playing the way we were before the break. No matter who’s in the lineup we were playing well, playing hard, so it would definitely help with healthy bodies.”

    They still trail the Dallas Stars, Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild in the Central, and the Nashville Predators are on their heels. Only the Stars and Jets are essentially guaranteed a spot.

    “Every point, you grind for it,” Stars leading scorer Jason Robertson said. “Every point’s going to be a dog fight, so it’s going to be a fun 30 games down the stretch.”


    Undisputed MVP favorite Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers, who were swept by Colorado in the West final, have a little bit of catching up to do in the Pacific Division.

    The top spot is held by the Seattle Kraken, who surprisingly are on pace to make the playoffs in their second season but still need to fend off the Los Angeles Kings and the Vegas Golden Knights.

    Edmonton – and the Battle of Alberta rival Calgary Flames – have the talent to not only get in but make a run. McDavid leads the league with 41 goals and 92 points, 16 more than No. 2 scorer and teammate Leon Draisaitl, and is producing unlike anyone since Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux in the mid-1990s.

    Now he’ll try to carry the Oilers into the playoffs and beyond.

    “It hasn’t been easy at all for our group. We’ve kind of had to battle for everything that we’ve got,” McDavid said. “We’ve always been a second-half team for whatever reason. Even since my first year, we’ve always been better in the second half, so we’ll definitely look to continue that. That being said, we’re not going to hang our hat on that and expect that to carry us to the playoffs. There’s a lot of work to be done.”