Golden Knights survive late Sharks attack to take 3-2 series lead

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Vegas Golden Knights fans, are your heart rates returning to normal yet?

The Golden Knights hopped back on their magical playoff ride on Friday night in Sin City, but they sure didn’t make it easy on themselves after amassing a 4-0 lead through the first 50 minutes of the game.

Few figured the Golden Knights were going to roll over and die off after getting shutout in Game 3, and while they showed no signs of any lingering effects in Game 5 early following their worst loss of the playoffs two days earlier, things certainly got shaky in the third period.

Vegas was on cruise-control until the final 10 minutes, when the San Jose Sharks began their all-out assault on Marc-Andre Fluery’s net.

In a span of 6:09, the game went from a comfortable 4-0 rout to an uncertain 4-3 scoreline thanks near-epic comeback effort from the Sharks.

Earlier in the game, Alex Tuch scored two goals, including a third-period marker — a slick redirect that spelled the end of Martin Jones‘ night. Tuch’s goal proved to be an ever-important, being the fourth strike in what ended up being a 5-3 win and a 3-2 series lead for Vegas.

Jones allowed four goals on 31 shots while Fleury, who appeared to be on his way to his fourth playoff shutout this season alone, ended up stopping 27-of-30.

Kevin Lablanc, Tomas Hertl and Mikkel Boedker provided the quick strikes for San Jose, but with the Sharks’ net empty, Jonathan Marchessault slid a shot from his own blue line into the open cage to seal San Jose’s fate.

The Sharks are now in must-win mode as the series shifts back to the Shark Tank on Sunday night.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Boedker open to staying with Coyotes, but ‘it’s their turn to show what I mean to the team’

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After failing to agree to a long-term pact, Arizona and Mikkel Boedker agreed to a one-year, $3.75 million deal in early July. The deal allowed the two sides to avoid arbitration and extend their relationship — but it remains to be seen if Boedker will remain with the Coyotes beyond this season.

“I’m open for anything,” the Danish speedster told Fox Sports Arizona this week. “It obviously puts a lot of pressure on me this season but I think it’s their turn to show what I mean to the team.

“In some ways, it will be interesting to see, but I have to perform on the ice.”

According to agent Jarret Bousquet, Boedker, 25, was hesitant to sign long-term because of the constant uncertainty of the Coyotes’ future in Glendale.  Bousquet also suggested that Boedker could score as high as $5 million annually on the open market as a UFA, which could be why the camp was content to ink a one-year pact (Boedker will be a UFA when this current deal expires).

The expectations are for Boedker to reach new offensive highs this year, especially after a good ’14-15 campaign in which he scored 14 goals and 28 points in 45 games, missing the second half of the season with a ruptured spleen.

Should he post big numbers, an equally big payday could be in his future.

The Coyotes can begin to negotiate an extension with Boedker in January.

Coyotes want long-term deal with Glendale

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Last week, the Coyotes and Glendale resolved their contentious arena lease dispute.

Now, the Coyotes want to extend the deal.

“I would like to see us structure something with the city of Glendale on an extended basis sometime over this next year,” team president Anthony LeBlanc said, per the Arizona Republic. “Because I don’t want to go into free agency next year having Don [Maloney, Arizona GM] dealing with the same uncertainty he was dealing with this year.”

That uncertainty, according to the Republic, affected negotiations with RFA winger Mikkel Boedker, who opted to sign a one-year pact rather than a long-term extension.

The Boedker negotiations, in turn, apparently played a role in the Coyotes’ decision to target long-term with Glendale, rather than wait for the renewed lease — which went from a 15-year agreement to a two-year — to expire at the end of the 2017-18 campaign.

The desire for a long-term pact isn’t surprising. Though the Coyotes were able to land free agents like Steve Downie, Anders Lindback, Brad Richardson and ex-Coyotes Zbynek Michalek and Antoine Vermette, none of them signed on for longer than three years. The Republic reports that “a number of players [were] uninterested in the Coyotes because of their drama.”

If the club is going to be a significant player in free agency moving forward, Maloney needs to sell potential targets on a number of things.

Like, y’know, where they’re going to play.

“We will begin in earnest in the month of August having discussions about what we need to see on both sides to extend this,” LeBlanc explained. “Nobody benefits from a short-term deal like this, in particular, our hockey department.”

In ‘trying to fast-track’ prospects, do Coyotes risk rushing them?

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You know how they warn against rushing prospects into the NHL?

Well, the Arizona Coyotes should be an interesting team to watch in that regard.

“We’re trying to fast-track some people to the NHL,” coach Dave Tippett conceded at the team’s recent development camp, per The Arizona Republic.

Said GM Don Maloney: “We’ve got some unreal talent coming. We just have to hurry it along.”

Top prospects include forwards Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Dylan Strome and Christian Dvorak. Domi is the eldest of those four, at just 20 years old.

Now, the optimist will say that the NHL is a young man’s league, where youth is actually an advantage, not a disadvantage.

But the skeptic will argue that the Coyotes have tried this before, and it didn’t turn out so well.

You’ll recall the Wayne Gretzky-coached teams that featured top draft picks Mikkel Boedker (eighth overall in 2008), Viktor Tikhonov (28th overall in 2008), and Kyle Turris (third overall in 2007).

Today, only Boedker remains with the club. And he first needed to be returned to the minors for more seasoning. The consensus, in hindsight, is that the Coyotes forced their prospects to bite off more than they could chew.

Not that there’s anything wrong with giving the youngsters a chance. If they’re ready, they’re ready.

The question the Coyotes will have to ask come the start of next season is, are they really ready?

Related: Coyotes praise Duclair’s ‘outstanding’ playmaking skill

NHL releases arbitration dates

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Per the players’ union, a quick look at the players (and teams) that have elected arbitration, and what dates they’re scheduled for. Italicized names with asterisks means deals have already been reached, nullifying the need for a hearing.

PLAYER ELECTED FILINGS

Arizona Coyotes
Mikkel Boedker * (signed one-year, $3.75M deal)
Phil Samuelsson – July 21, 2015
Brendan Shinnimin- July 20, 2015

Buffalo Sabres
Phil Varone* (signed one-year, $600,000 deal)

Calgary Flames
Lance Bouma – July 22, 2015
Paul Byron – July 30, 2015
Josh Jooris – July 28, 2015

Colorado Avalanche
Andrew Agozzino – July 20, 2015
Mathew Clark – July 22, 2015

Detroit Red Wings
Gustav Nyquist * (signed four-year, $19M deal)

Minnesota Wild
Erik Haula – July 31, 2015

Nashville Predators
Craig Smith – July 20, 2015
Colin Wilson – July 28, 2015

New Jersey Devils
Eric Gélinas – July 21, 2015
Adam Larsson – July 29, 2015

New York Rangers
Derek Stepan – July 27, 2015

Ottawa Senators
Alex Chiasson – July 23, 2015
Mike Hoffman – July 30, 2015

Philadelphia Flyers
Michael Del Zotto – July 21, 2015

St. Louis Blues
Magnus Paajarvi *  (signed one-year, $700,000 deal)

Toronto Maple Leafs
Taylor Beck – July 24, 2015

Washington Capitals
Braden Holtby – July 23, 2015
Marcus Johansson – July 29, 2015

CLUB ELECTED FILINGS

Edmonton Oilers
Justin Schultz – July 24, 2015

Toronto Maple Leafs
Jonathan Bernier – July 31, 2015