Tonight’s the night. Not for the Calgary Flames, but the 2022 NHL playoffs kick off tonight. Will the Stanley Cup finally return home to Canada for the first time since the original Jurassic Park was hitting theatres? In addition to the drama of one of the early Stanley Cup favourites going home from the Atlantic Division in the first round — with the Toronto Maple Leafs facing the Tampa Bay Lightning — there are other things happening around the league. The Detroit Red Wings sacked Jeff Blashill and may go after John Tortorella, and it’s been an emotional year for Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser.
The Calgary Flames were given the second most votes in the NHL.com predictions, earning four Cup title nods to finish three behind the Colorado Avalanche. They’re a popular bet for the Western Conference final.
Hitting the ice at the Saddledome on Monday, the Flames launched the same lines they used regularly down the stretch. We’ll see what the best line in the regular season does in the playoffs, with Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk looking to translate their incredible year into spring success.
NHL & National Hockey Now:
TSN Video: Will Canada finally reclaim the Cup? There are only three Canadian teams in the playoffs, but Edmonton, Calgary, and Toronto have more than a fighting chance. Toronto has lost six straight Round One series. This is a wonderful little watch.
The NHLPA is beginning its search to replace union head, Donald Fehr.
Sportsnet: Full preview: TB vs. TOR. This may be the most-watched series, or at least close to the Penguins-New York Rangers battle. Toronto has home ice against the Tampa Bay Lightning. That’s going to be incredible hockey.
Vancouver: Brock Boeser opened up about his father’s health struggles. Calgary Flames fans aren’t fond of the Vancouver Canucks and their players, but sometimes it’s important to remember they’re human. Vancouver Canucks emotional day.
Detroit: Jeff Blashill is out. Could Steve Yzerman turn to a taskmaster–say, John Tortorella? Our folks in Detroit, Kevin Allen and Bob Duff are all over the story, from the dismissal to the rumoured candidates. Detroit Red Wings news.
Here’s a sticky wicket: Sergei Federov? He just coached his team to the KHL championship, but he is also seen as a friend to the Mad King of Russia. Could he be in the mix? More Detroit Red Wings discussion.
Montreal: Carey Price took off his trapper and gave a little wave to his family in the stands during Montreal’s 10-2 win over Florida on Friday. What did it mean? Montreal was abuzz. It meant what you thought it did–Price admitted he might not return to Montreal…or the NHL. Montreal Canadiens bombshell.
Pittsburgh: The WBS Penguins have their own playoff run, so you won’t see a big Black Aces contingent. Instead, Drew O’Connor got the call for the Pittsburgh Penguins playoff run.
Boston: It’s a Metro Division playoff battle. Here’s the full preview from our folks in Boston–The Carolina Hurricanes drew the suddenly hot Bruins in Round One. Don’t count out a Boston Bruins upset.
Philly: The locker clean-out day was heavy on sarcasm and disappointment. We learned more about Ryan Ellis’s injury, Carter Hart’s problems, and Ivan Provorov was a wee bit testy. Philadelphia Flyers clear out.
Washington: Capitals-Panthers schedule, broadcast info, and fast facts for the figurative 1v8 matchup. Washington Capitals quickie.