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From the Branches: Will the Conference Final end tonight?

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There’s one game on the schedule, and it could determine who goes on to face Dallas.

New York Islanders v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Five Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

While some teams have moved firmly into offseason mode, signing players and making trades and stressing out over draft picks (cough), it feels weird to remember that the conference finals haven’t even wrapped up yet. I stumbled across an article entitled The New York Islanders Refuse To Go Home, which makes it sound like they’re all camped out on somebody’s hotel room carpet, doing bong hits and eating dry handfuls of Cocoa Puffs.

In reality, they’re lining up against the Bolts for Game 6 tonight. If the Islanders win, Game 7 will be on Saturday, so Dallas could potentially be sitting around twiddling their thumbs and waiting for the final through the weekend. As Leafs fans, it also gives us a few extra days of boredom so we can pore over draft boards, or plan new ways to woo Alex Pietrangelo, or collectively come up with the fantasy hockey trade equivalent of that guy who eventually traded up a paper clip into a house. (In this metaphor, Andreas Johnsson is the paper clip.)

It’s also Auston Matthews’ birthday today! Congratulations on turning 23, Auston, and let me politely suggest that you go on an (online) shopping spree, because that’s the kind of thing that benefits us both.

Today’s Game

Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Islanders, Game 6 (Tampa Bay leads series 3-2) 8pm ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, SN

ICYMI

Report: Maple Leafs Kyle Clifford will be going to free agency - Pension Plan Puppets
The second-round pick is safe!

Miscellaneous Leaf Thoughts: Choose Wisely - Pension Plan Puppets
Approaching a few choices in the next month.

Top 25 NHL Draft Prospects of 2020: And the winner is... - Pension Plan Puppets
Who gets to wear the Leafs jersey in this imaginary draft?

Stuff We Didn’t Write

New Hampshire hub to play first PWHPA games - The Ice Garden
The hub is set to play two games against two USPHL teams.

Report: Bill Armstrong confirmed as Arizona Coyotes’ new General Manager - Five For Howling
Armstrong previously served as assistant General Manager for the St. Louis Blues.

A Walkthrough of the Rangers’ Rationale for the Impending Lundqvist Buyout - Blueshirt Banter
The Rangers’ reasoning is more than meets the eye.

Down Goes Brown: Which team had the most miserable season one year before a Cup win?

Montreal Canadiens look to Europe for short-term player development - Eyes On The Prize
Four players are on loan, but should there be more?

Kukla's Korner Hockey - Kukla's Korner

Wild trade Eric Staal to Sabres, acquire Marcus Johansson - Hockey Wilderness
It’s a one-for-one deal. Johansson is coming in and veteran Eric Staal is heading to Buffalo.

Bob Boughner to be named Sharks head coach in ‘next week or two’ - Fear The Fin
You think your quarantine has been long? Boughner’s been waiting on a job this whole time.

TSN Hockey Draft Primer: Toronto Maple Leafs - TSN.ca

Blues hire Jim Montgomery as assistant coach - St. Louis Game Time
The former Dallas head coach has playoff success.

Canadiens sign Joel Edmundson to a four-year contract - Eyes On The Prize
Marc Bergevin hopes to add another prong to the Canadiens blueline trident.