Ramblings – Golden Gong Show, Leafs Rant, Makar Magic and More (May 31)

Dobber

2021-05-31

Carolina hung in there, but in the end the Tampa team is just too strong. But the Lightning seriously shortened the bench. In fact, just four forwards saw more than 16:10 of ice time: Nikita Kucherov, Alex Killorn, Brayden Point and Barclay Goodrow. Steven Stamkos was seventh in ice time, as Coach Jon Cooper tried to manage a slim lead/tie game. Tampa was up by one goal for about 21 minutes, and tied during the rest of the game. This marks three out of the last four games where Stammer failed to see even 16:10 of ice time. But the guy has eight points in seven playoff games, so why complain?

Possession-wise, the only Tampa Bay line combination with a positive CF% (more chances for, than against) was the Kucherov-Point line (Ondrej Palat was the other member). That line dominated 21-10, while every other line was out-chanced. Which helps explain Stamkos' ice time.

Shot leaders in the game were all from one team: Carolina. Vincent Trocheck (7), Martin Necas (6) and Andrei Svechnikov (5).

Both the Jordan Staal line and the Trocheck/Necas line dominated the Lightning, whereas the Sebastian AhoTeuvo Teravainen connection got out-chanced. I wonder if Warren Foegele moving to that line in place of Brock McGinn turns things around?

Nino Niederreiter is "very, very doubtful" to play in this series, per Rod Brind 'Amour.

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The above series and the Boston series I struggled with, for the Experts Panel. I actually, after some back and forth in my head, submitted the Islanders and the Hurricanes as victors. Then… about a half hour later I submitted an "I changed my mind" email to Gooding, and had him switch it. The Isles and Canes are so well-coached, and such underrated teams. Particularly in the second half. But in the end, Tampa got a huge boost with Kucherov returning (and I wondered how well that would work, chemistry-wise – turns out very, very well). And Boston since getting Taylor Hall has been unstoppable. So that's why I changed my mind and went with the consensus/obvious teams to win.

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I picked Toronto to win the Stanley Cup in my preseason Fantasy Guide, as well as on the preseason Experts panel and again for the pre-playoffs postseason. The logic there, of course, is the fact that they'l