Ed Belfour

NHL players’ favorite Stanley Cup memories as fans

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Leading up to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final (Monday, 8 p.m. ET, NBC), Pro Hockey Talk will be looking at every aspect of the matchup between the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues.

Not every player has photos of themselves as young fans in team-appropriate jammies like John Tavares with the Toronto Maple Leafs, so it can be fun and surprising to hear about their memories. Sometimes you’d be surprised to learn more about a players’ roots, and rooting interests.

In the fun video above, a variety of NHL players share some of their favorite Stanley Cup memories. You’ll see some expected moments, such as Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson recalling Mark Messier and the 1994 New York Rangers lifting that curse. The video also reminds us of how dominant the Colorado Avalanche were, as evidenced by a reminiscent Ryan Reaves. And, shield your eyes, Sabres fans, as a foot is, again, in the crease.

There are some other interesting touches. One mildly sad aspect is that Canadian NHL’ers P.K. Subban and Tyler Seguin point to a Doug Gilmour wraparound goal … even though it wasn’t associated with a Stanley Cup win.

You also might be intrigued to learn who mentioned Chris Pronger battling Dustin Byfuglien during the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, which player pointed to Teemu Selanne’s tearful Stanley Cup win, and some other moments. You may also notice a much younger Gary Bettman during certain moments.

It’s good stuff overall, so enjoy.

STANLEY CUP FINAL PREVIEW
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Who has the better forwards?
Who has the better defensemen?
X-factors
PHT Power Rankings: Conn Smythe favorites
Stanley Cup Final 2019 schedule, TV info

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

The Buzzer: Big night for Coyotes — and Kucherov

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Three Stars

1. Nikita Kucherov

Let’s keep this one pretty simple, because we went deep on where Kucherov’s 115 points ranks in recent history here.

Narrowing the focus to Kucherov scoring two goals and two assists for four points in Thursday’s game is impressive enough. Kucherov grabbed the game-winning goal in this one, his second GWG in his last three games (both of those decisive goals came against Detroit, by the way).

Kucherov had a +1 rating in that tight win against the Red Wings, firing five shots on goal and ending up with just under 21 minutes (20:58) in that game. Masterful work by the clear frontrunner for the Hart Trophy.

2. Vinnie Hinostroza

While he’s been streaky in 2018-19, nights like these provide useful reminders of why a lot of stats-minded people were excited about Hinostroza’s potential after he was traded from Chicago.

For the first time in his career, the 24-year-old generated a hat trick, and Hinostroza added the flourish of making it a natural hat trick. Despite a modest 13:43 in ice time in Arizona’s win against Anaheim, Hinostroza fired eight SOG on his way to that hat trick.

Hinostroza now has 15 goals and 34 points in 61 games this season, and four goals in his last two contests. With the Wild losing in regulation and the Coyotes winning big, the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs suddenly look remarkably likely for Arizona.

They’re also only four points behind Vegas for third place in the Pacific, although that’s a big hurdle to leap with the Golden Knights also holding a game in hand.

3. Anders Nilsson

There were some very strong goalie performances beyond Nilsson on Thursday, with Darcy Kuemper stopping 37 out of 38 shots, Thomas Greiss making 33 out of 34 saves, and Casey DeSmith managing a 26-save shutout. There were also other worthy scoring performances, particularly by Brett Connolly (two goals, one assist) and Mark Scheifele (one goal, two assists).

But Nilsson managed an impressive 35-save shutout, boosting his 2018-19 save percentage from .908 to .915. He did so against a strong Blues team, too.

It doesn’t really do the lowly Senators a whole lot of good, but it might improve Nilsson’s chances of staying in the NHL in 2019-20, whether he remains with Ottawa or lands somewhere else.

Highlight of the Night

This got its own post, but it’s tough to top Zdeno Chara being strong enough to send Scheifele’s stick soaring, only for Scheifele to score a goal. Good times.

By the way, the lowlight was really a highlight, too, as Tyler Seguin was a good sport in absorbing grief for missing on an empty net. That got its own post as well.

Factoids

Scores

PIT 5 – BUF 0
NYI 2 – MTL 1
WAS 5 – PHI 2
OTT 2 – STL 0
TBL 5 – DET 4
DAL 4 – MIN 1
WIN 4 – BOS 3
ARI 6 – ANA 1
NSH 3 – LAK 1
FLA 4 – SJS 2

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Video: Ed Belfour remembers his time with Chicago

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Ed Belfour was never drafted by an NHL club, but the Chicago Blackhawks were willing to take a chance on him and the league proved to be better off for it. Only Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy have won more regular season games than Belfour. Chicago decided to honor his time with the team on Sunday.

Belfour also played for the San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Florida Panthers during his career. He was a particularly dominant force in the playoffs and won a Stanley Cup with the Stars in 1999. He got to the finals again one year later, but lost to the New Jersey Devils in six games.

PHT Morning Skate: Claude Giroux and Sidney Crosby are a bit too alike

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.

You know by now that Claude Giroux and Sidney Crosby keep getting mentioned together, but it might be for all the wrong reasons. (Sun Media)

One sure way to make sure NHL teams won’t let their WJC eligible players be released for the tournament is to have them get hurt. Brett Connolly got a bit banged up today… (TSN)

…But he tweeted that he’s doing just fine. (@bconnolly8)

Eddie Belfour will be given the royal treatment in Chicago. (CSNChicago.com)

Derek Dorsett’s prognosis is a lot better than expected after his wicked crash the other night. (Puck Rakers)

Ales Hemsky is having a hard time finding his game. If found, please return to Rexall Place in Edmonton. (Edmonton Journal)

Erik Gudbranson’s first NHL goal could’ve at least come in a better game for the Panthers. Celebrating in a blowout is awfully hard to do. (Sun-Sentinel)

The Sabres’ power play still stinks. They might want to get a handle on that already. (Buffalo News)

Finally, if you missed any of the good stuff last night we’ve got your hook up. (NHL)

Video: Why this Hall of Fame class was so special

This year’s induction class to the Hockey Hall of Fame was one teeming over with talent. With great forwards like Joe Nieuwendyk and Doug Gilmour, the impeccable goaltending of Ed Belfour, and the defensive prowess as well as the long wait Mark Howe had to get in it’s a special group to behold.

The NHL Overtime crew of Tony Amonte and John MacLean discuss what made each of these guys so special to watch.

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