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Russell’s Roundup: Cats Defend Home Ice; Penalty Kill Vital



Evan Rodrigues Celebrates a Goal during Game 2 // Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Stanley Cup Final is 120 minutes old. The Florida Panthers lead the series 2-0. Game Two differed starkly from Game One in that Florida dictated the terms and deservedly won. Yet it was never truly out of reach for Edmonton, whose power play has continued to misfire. Kevin Stenlund is a big part of that for Florida, and we’ll revisit him as a potential target for the New York Islanders in free agency. We’ll also touch on the New Jersey Devils targeting Jacob Markstrom, the PWHL Draft, and more.

Let’s go back to the Stanley Cup Final for a minute. The Oilers are now a firm underdog to come back and win the Cup. I’m not sure there’s a path for them now. They have to win both home games now, and they’ve got to score. They’ve scored once in 120 minutes of hockey. They also got routinely outplayed tonight at even strength, particularly early in the game, yet they led 1-0.

It didn’t matter because Florida kept pushing and bore down on Edmonton until they broke. Tonight wasn’t Stuart Skinner’s fault, but the difference in this series has been the goalies. One goalie can steal a game. The other can’t. 

New York Islanders News:

I’m officially putting this under the ICYMI column, but based on last night’s Cup Final game, you can see how vital the penalty kill is. Florida’s penalty kill has been one of the biggest reasons they lead 2-0 in the series. The Islanders’ PK floundered all year. Could Kevin Stenlund of Florida be a solution?

NHL Trade Talk, News, National Hockey Now:

Florida Hockey Now: Game 2 is done, and the Panthers lead the series 2-0. George Richards breaks down the game and how it all happened as the Cats dug their claws deep into the Oilers last night.

ESPN: During the Stanley Cup Final last night, the PWHL Draft took place, with the local PWHL New York team first on the clock. They selected a potential franchise-altering player in Sarah Fillier. Catch up on that pick and more around the PWHL after its second-ever draft.

Sportsnet: The talk of the weekend was Jacob Markstrom. His name is floating in rumors, with the likes of Toronto, Ottawa, and New Jersey all being linked. Plenty of other news surrounds players potentially hitting the UFA market, including some players that may interest the New York Islanders, like Jonathan Marchessault.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The Penguins have always been seen as a gold standard. They’ve been in the Islanders’ division since 1998. Then, Sidney Crosby arrived on the scene, they’ve just been ahead of the Islanders. However, in recent years, those tides have turned, thanks in part to the Penguins’ mediocre drafting. You will want to see Dan Kingerski rehash a few fun misses for the Penguins to remind yourself that even the best of franchises are mortal. 

Sportsnet: The team perhaps most hated around here right now, the Carolina Hurricanes, has already had a summer of change, with longtime GM and President Don Waddell walking away to take the same job in Columbus. That left a void in Carolina’s front office, but it seems that after a short search, they’ve made their decision.

Boston Hockey Now: Our old friend Andrew Fantucchio is settled back in Beantown, and he’s gotten right to quality work. He’s going right after the Bruins’ cap situation, including how they might reshape their top six, honing in on exactly what the Bruins’ situation is with the cap.

New Jersey Hockey Now: We’re headed back to Markstrom world, where Tom Fitzgerald has already deliberately told the media his 10th overall pick is available, and the Devils are open for business. When it comes to Markstrom, they’re reportedly the frontrunner.

Philly Hockey Now: Being in a foreign country to play a sport and make a living seems intimidating. Especially the culture shock that likely comes from living in Russia and moving to the US and Canada. The Islanders have a pair ofRussian friends in Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov, and now the Flyers could be looking to draft Mateo Michkov’s good friend Ivan Demidov.




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