In this edition of Quick Hits, I’ll look at some of the news emerging from the Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Final. Last night the Tampa Bay Lightning moved to the Stanley Cup Final to meet the Colorado Avalanche. It will be a really interesting final because there are two really quite different teams.
The Lighting are goalie-centered and have probably the best goalie in the NHL today in Andrei Vasilevskiy. On the other hand, the Avalanche have a great offense and a superb defense. They can both score and shut down the other team. Who emerges this season as the Stanley Cup champions will be an interesting battle between the two teams quite different in makeup.
Quick Hit One: Steven Stamkos Comes Through in the Crunch
Just when his team needed him, Steven Stamkos delivered. He scored the only two goals his team got in an intense, tightly-contested 2-1 Game 6 Eastern Conference Final win over the New York Rangers. Both goalies were on their games. Vasilevskiy stopped almost every shot put on the net; and, Rangers’ goalie Igor Shesterkin did nearly the same.
The difference was in the two goals Stamkos scored. He scored the first of the game midway though the second period; then, just after the Rangers tied the game at 1-1, he scored his second – the game-winner in less than a minute. Give Stamkos tons of credit. He had an amazing Eastern Conference Final; and, before the handshakes started, he had scored five goals with two assists (for seven points) in six low-scoring games.
Quick Hit Two: Trade Deadline Andrew Copp Earned His Money for the Rangers
Trade deadline pickups can be funny. Sometimes they work out; and, somethings they’re a waste of draft choices. Andrew Copp played well and might have earned his way into a longer-term contract with the Rangers.
When Copp was traded to New York from the Winnipeg Jets in March with a round-6 draft pick in the 2023 draft for Morgan Barron, a conditional round-1 pick in the 2022 draft, and a round-5 pick in the 2023 draft, it looked like a heavy price. However, Copp was great for the Rangers.
Although his team lost the series, it wasn’t because Copp didn’t show up, He assisted on Frank Vatrano’s game-tying goal against Vasilevskiy in the third period. The Rangers could not score again; and, as noted, Stamkos could. That was the difference.
Copp scored 21 goals and added 32 assists (for 53 points) in 56 games during the regular season. Of that total, eight of the goals and 10 of the assists came in his 16 games after he was traded to the Rangers. Add to that Copp’s playoff point total of six goals and eight assists (for 14 total points) in 20 games and you have an interesting possibility that Copp will be asked back with the Rangers. He’ll probably get a raise to his $3.64 million contract he made for last season.
Quick Hit Three: The Upcoming Stanley Cup Final Will Be Corey Perry’s Third in Three Seasons
The Lightning’s Corey Perry will join a small group of players (actually Marian Hossa is the only other) who hold a unique distinction. It will be his third Stanley Cup Final in a row; and, he’s done it with three different NHL teams.
This season, it will obviously he was with the Lightning. Last season, he was a member of the Montreal Canadiens; and, in 2020, he reached the Final with the Dallas Stars. However, he’s never won. He obviously he believes in the old adage “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Both teams he played for prior to the Lightning lost to the Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final.
For those who are interested, Marian Hossa lost in 2008 with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He also lost in 2009 with the Detroit Red Wings until he finally was part of a Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks in 2010.
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