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NYHN: Islanders Looking Ahead to Matchup with Lightning & More



New York Islanders puck

The New York Islanders will have to wait until Sunday afternoon to kick off the semi-final matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning are the same team that took down the Islanders in the Eastern Conference Final a season ago. Travis Zajac has helped the Islanders get to this point as he has come up big since entering the lineup for the injured Oliver Wahlstrom. These stories and more in today’s daily links!

The chants were loud and clear as the final minute of Game 6 was ticking away. “We Want Tampa,” an ecstatic crowd of New York Islanders fans screamed as it became clear their team would be advancing to the Stanley Cup Semifinals. Now the Islanders, and their fans, will in fact get Tampa Bay in the next round, a rematch of last year’s bubble version of the Eastern Conference Finals. Tampa Bay eliminated the Islanders in six games before going on to win the Stanley Cup. (NYI Hockey Now)

New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello made a blockbuster trade days before the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline. He acquired Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils in a move that stunned the hockey world at the time but has surely paid off. While Palmieri has been an offensive machine during this postseason run, Zajac has been equally important in the Islanders making it back to the final four for the second-consecutive season. (NYI Hockey Now)

Once again, the Lightning stand in the way of the Islanders’ first berth in the Stanley Cup Final since 1984. Last season, the Lightning needed six games to eliminate the Islanders in the Eastern Conference finals in the Edmonton bubble before winning the franchise’s second Cup. Now, the East Division champion Islanders meet the Central Division champion Lightning, who have home-ice advantage, in the NHL semifinals with the series being played in the teams’ arenas in front of fans. (Newsday)

Get ready, because the Boston Bruins are about to be very busy on the NHL trade and free agent markets. The Bruins team that walked off the Nassau Coliseum ice for their last time ever is going to look drastically different for the 2021-22 NHL regular season next October. (Boston Hockey Now)

If you are curious just how successful the Sidney Crosby era of the Pittsburgh Penguins has been, the NHL chart measuring playoff games played will provide just a little reminder. They have won the most playoff games over the last 15 years. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)

The elimination of the Colorado Avalanche from the Stanley Cup playoffs is ending the last chance for a member of the 2021 Detroit Red Wings to gain an inscription on the storied mug this season. The Avs acquired defenseman Patrik Nemeth from the Wings at the NHL trade deadline. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of players with Red Wings connections still in the hint for Lord Stanley’s mug. (Detroit Hockey Now)

It wasn’t easy, but the Vegas Golden Knights answered every Colorado Avalanche goal and overcame a gutsy Colorado effort from the Colorado Avalanche to win Game 6 6-3 and advance to the Stanley Cup Semi-Final to face the Montreal Canadiens. The winner will get the Clarence Campbell Bowl, which is awarded annually to the Western Conference winner. (Vegas Hockey Now)

As Deano sang, “Ain’t that a kick in the head.” For the third year in a row, the Avalanche is out after the second round of the NHL playoffs. So much for all that “learning what it takes to win” and “maturing into a winner.” (Colorado Hockey Now)

The Montreal Canadiens will play the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Semifinals. The Golden Knights advanced with a 6-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 on Thursday. “They finished first or second in the League, but our objective is not to end it here,” Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme said Monday. “If we want to make it to where we want to go, we’re going to have to beat the best teams.” (NHL)

Nathan MacKinnon, Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid were named finalists for the Hart Trophy on Thursday. The award is given annually to the NHL player voted to be most valuable to his team by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. The winner will be announced as part of the 2021 NHL Awards presented by Bridgestone during the Stanley Cup Semifinals or Stanley Cup Final. (NHL)

Brad Larsen was named coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. Larsen, who turns 44 June 28, replaces John Tortorella after the Blue Jackets announced May 9 he would not return after six seasons. Larsen was an assistant under Tortorella and Todd Richards for seven seasons and coached Springfield of the American Hockey League from 2012-14. Larsen was given a three-year contract. (NHL)

The Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders will meet in the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second straight season when they play in the Stanley Cup Semifinals. The Lightning eliminated the Islanders in six games in the Eastern Conference Final last season before defeating the Dallas Stars in the Stanley Cup Final.  “We feel like we still have some unfinished business,” New York forward Josh Bailey said. (NHL)

Dougie Hamilton said he’s hoping to get a new contract to remain with the Carolina Hurricanes. The defenseman can become an unrestricted free agent July 28. He said the Hurricanes have yet to resume discussions with agent J.P. Barry about keeping him long term after the final season of a six-year contract he signed with the Calgary Flames on June 30, 2015. He was traded to Carolina on June 23, 2018. (NHL)

Mayor John Tory flew a Montreal Canadiens flag at Toronto City Hall on Thursday. No, pigs weren’t soaring through the air. He was just making good on a bet he lost with Montreal mayor Valerie Plante. (NHL)

Boston Bruins pending unrestricted free agent Tuukka Rask announced Friday he will undergo surgery after playing through a torn labrum in his hip during the postseason. Rask added that he wants to return to the Bruins next season, though the surgery will likely sideline him into January or February. (TSN)

With the New York Islanders completing their upset over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night, the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is starting to take shape. One interesting dynamic? Each series will be its own David-versus-Goliath matchup. (TSN)