As the Tampa Bay Lightning advance to their third Stanley Cup Final appearance, the Washington Capitals remain the last team to defeat the Bolts in an ECF series. At the same time, they see a couple of their prospects thriving at the junior level.
Meanwhile, as the Bolts advanced, the New York Rangers saw their impressive run come to an end, and head coach Gerard Gallant has some questions to answer after a strange choice to scratch Kaapo Kakko for Dryden Hunt and an injured Ryan Strome in Game 6.
Here is everything to know and the latest news and notes from across the NHL:
- Capitals defensive prospect Martin Has helped lead the Shawinigan Cataractes to their first-ever President’s Cup and QMJHL title. They will advance to the Memorial Cup. Fellow Washington forward prospect Henrik Rybinski, meanwhile, is still in the running for a shot at the Memorial Cup with the Seattle Thunderbirds.
- Meanwhile, in former Capitals news, Barry Trotz is reportedly one of the finalists for the Philadelphia Flyers head coaching job.
- Speaking of Trotz and looking back at 2018, Washington is the last team to defeat the Lightning in an Eastern Conference Final. Here’s a look back at that series and where Washington and Tampa stand now.
- Gallant and the Rangers have a lot to consider this offseason, including restricted free agent Kaapo Kakko’s next deal with the team. However, after the 2019 second overall pick’s controversial Game 6 scratch, will he want to take his talents elsewhere?
- Speaking of New York, there’s a lot of room for improvement going forward despite the club’s impressive run in 2021-22.
- And on the topic of the Stanley Cup Final, the Colorado Avalanche are considered favorites. Can they spoil a three-peat for the Bolts?
Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes
- Has played a key role with the Cataractes in their run to the President’s Cup. He was skating on the top pairing and also came in clutch at times, while also providing some offense. It just goes to show how the Capitals have been able to build depth on the blue line and how there’s a lot of promise for the future.
- Kakko’s scratch was indeed a head-scratcher, especially considering Strome was hurting and didn’t play after the first two periods. Plus, the “kid line” was one of the best all series. Still, it’s too soon to speculate anything with regard to Kakko’s future or possible “bad blood” based on that one decision. There’s still a lot we don’t know.
- Steven Stamkos has earned consideration as one of the best captains in the game. He has been clutch and, if not for injuries over time, would have a lot more goals to his name.