The St. Louis Blues are in serious trouble!
The Kings took a commanding 2-0 series lead on Monday night winning both games in St. Louis. The Blues are missing Jaroslav Halak, who Ken Hitchcock announced will not return for the remainder of the second round. Brian Elliott who enjoyed an All-Star season struggled in game two, allowing five goals off 21 shots.
The Blues were also missing Alex Pietrangelo due to a lower body injury (not a concussion after having his face smashed against the glass in game 1), and winger Chris Stewart who was a healthy scratch!
Chris Stewart has struggled in St. Louis and has been in the coaches dog house all season long. Being a healthy scratch makes him a prime candidate to be trade bait this summer. Stewart could be an excellent fantasy hockey buy low candidate as he could rediscover his scoring touch on a new team. The Toronto native would be a fine addition to the Leafs.
Speaking of potential forwards available this summer, here are the top names who could be on a new team. Rick Nash, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Jordan Staal, Derek Roy, MPS, and Jarome Iginla. A good read on Iginla needing a Cup ring on Hockey Writers shows how he may accept a trade.
The Kings got off to an early start with Mike Richards scoring 31 seconds into the game. Anze Kopitar scored two goals and Jeff Carter added one to give the Kings a 4-0 lead after 20 minutes.
Jonathan Quick made 27 saves on 29 shots and looked strong. It was good to see him get some goal support. Quick is my pick to win the Vezina trophy, here is a good article on Quick for Vezina on Hockey Writers
Alex Ovechkin had the last laugh in game two in New York. The Rangers fans jeered him in the final eight minute mark of each period. Ovechkin scored the game winning goal in the third period shortly after with 7:27 remaining. During his goal celebration he put his hand to his ear a la Hulk Hogan. The series is now even at 1-1.
The NHL announced the finalists for the Jack Adams Award for Coach of the year. John Tortorella (New York Rangers), Paul MacLean (Ottawa Senators), and Ken Hitchcock (St.Louis Blues) beat out several other worthy nominees. Who is you pick? Leave it in the comment section below. My vote goes to Hitch.
Elliotte Friedman tweeted @FriedgeHNIC
"According to @plysenkov, high-level Capitals prospect Evgeni Kuznetsov has decided to stay in the KHL for two more seasons"
This will obviously have a major impact on deep fantasy leagues as he is the top rated player in the world, not in the NHL. Kuznetsov stood out in the World juniors, and looks like he will play with Evgeni Malkin for Russia in the World Championship. When Kuznetsov comes to the NHL (If ever!) he will have a major fantasy impact.
Vladamir Tarasenko is another elite level prospect who's future is unclear. Will he follow Kuznetsov and remain in the KHL, or will he join the Blues further making Chris Stewart expendable?
Injury Update: Ilya Kovalchuk will not play in game two due to a lower body injury. The Devils are down 1-0 in the series.
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