With their overtime win on Tuesday night, the Philadelphia Flyers have delayed the start of the Eastern Conference Finals in Toronto and the Tampa Bay Lightning will be moving out to Edmonton (where they’ll be joined by their families). The Lightning are quite happy with this arrangement, because despite Jon Cooper making hints at not wanting to leave a first-class city like Toronto, they have a lot of players injured (Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Jan Rutta to name three) and a week for them to heal would be ideal.

The Vancouver Canucks also survived another night with an improbable 2-1 win over the Golden Knights in which 24-year-old playoff debutant Thatcher Demko made 42 stops en route to his first playoff win. I now ask Kyle Dubas why he hasn’t traded for him yet. We are waiting!!!

Yesterday’s games

Both the Flyers and Canucks survived another night in the bubble with Game 5 wins for themselves. Game 6 both both teams is on Thursday.

Philadelphia Flyers 4, New York Islanders 3 (OT) — NYI leads 3-2
The Flyers got out to a good start and scored themselves to a 3-1 lead thanks to goals from Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk, and Matt Niskanen, but the Islanders came back in the third and it took an overtime goal from Scott Laughton to end the game. [Recap]

“It’s been an up and down series for Laughton, but he had a strong game tonight, and it really felt like he deserved to pick up the winning goal. With Couturier missing the third and overtime periods, Laughton jumped up to take many of what would have been his shifts, and he did well in those matchups. He was asked to rise to the occasion in this one, and boy did he ever do that.”

Vancouver Canucks 2, Vegas Golden Knights 1 — VGK leads 3-2
Thatcher Demkos had himself a pretty good playoff debut, stopping 42 of 43 shots against arguably the best team in the Western Conference and getting his team the win to survive another night in the playoffs. The Canucks got massively out-played in this game, Vegas out-shot them 43-17. Vancouver had single-digit shots in all three periods, including a period low of four in the second frame. Shea Theodore opened the scoring for Vegas, but goals from Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson were enough to win the game. [Recap]

“Vegas will need to find ways to beat Demko if he’s back in net in Game 6 or continue to overpower the Canucks if Markstrom gets the net back. Watching Vancouver get a tip and a deflection for their goals when Vegas didn’t get enough of those had to leave an impression. Both of Vancouver’s goals in this game were high-danger, a continued pattern for the Golden Knights’ defense (even in a good game otherwise).”

Today’s game

Colorado Avalanche “@” Dallas Stars — DAL leads 3-2

The Avalanche are very likely to turn back to Michael Hutchinson again tonight to help win them Game 6 and force a Game 7 against the Dallas Stars. The 30-year-old Hutchinson 14th goaltender in NHL history to make his first playoff start in a game in which his team is facing elimination and win. Thatcher Demko, 24, completed the same feat one night later.

The Stars did not have the best start (they gave up five straight goals before they hit four shots, in case you forgot), so expect them to come out hard, likely with Anton Khudobin in net.

Which former Leafs are making the Conference Finals? (part 1)

Komarov and Martin105

Which former Leafs are making the Conference Finals? (part 2)

Kadri and Hutchinson87

Which former Leafs are making the Conference Finals? (part 3)

Josh Leivo (inj)24
It’s ironic that the expansion team doesn’t have any former Leafs on it130

Various Hockey Branches

Maple Leafs hire Sam Kim as video and coaching coordinator — Hardev

“Kim’s path to the NHL saw him start at ground zero, work his way through amateur and professional hockey, wearing multiple hats, and eventually getting to the NHL with one of its biggest teams. It’s an incredible and inspiring accomplishment from someone with no professional playing experience or obvious connections, a rarity in hockey and something I hope we can see more of.”

On the trade rumours front, here is what we heard yesterday (trade bait board):

  • The Winnipeg Jets want to trade someone, it’s likely down to Patrik Laine or Nikolaj Ehlers. The Jets like Ehlers more than Laine because he’s versatile and is a very consistent and positive player for them while Laine is needs to be specialized like a shooters version of Jeremy Bracco (I think that’s what Dreger meant/was told to say)./
  • JVR is on the board, and unless he gets traded back to Toronto, he’ll say this:/
  • The Minnesota wild seem to be deciding between moving Matt Dumba or Jonas Brodin. I want one, but I know the other is better. Do you think they’ll take Alex Kerfoot?/

The Florida Panthers are expected to sign former agent and longtime Blue Jackets assistant GM Bill Zito as their GM. Me thinks they want someone who can hand out contracts that look more like Zach Werenski’s and not Mike Matheson’s.

Former prospect Carl Grundstrom has signed a two-year extension with the LA Kings, his ELC expired this year. Grundstrom played 13 games last season (4a), and 15 games the season he was traded (5g, 1a). The 22-year-old (23 in December) has spent most of his time in the AHL but still has some time to develop. That said, if he’s not on the bottom-feeder Kings now...