Rangers hold off Kings for a victory in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, updates on Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Sean Couturier, Predators could be active under the salary cap and more.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Goals by Benoit Pouliot and Martin St. Louis, plus a 40-save performance by Henrik Lundqvist, carried the New York Rangers to a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Kings, however, still lead the best-of-seven series three games to one and can wrap it up and win the Cup in Game 5 on Friday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Rangers also got a bit of luck when a tiny amount of ice buildup on their goal crease prevented a game-tying goal by the Kings with 71 seconds remaining in the third period.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings aren’t letting themselves off the hook for failing to defeat the Rangers and sweep the series in four straight games. Though they outplayed the Rangers they were unable to score more than one goal against Henrik Lundqvist. Having overcome a 3-0 series deficit themselves earlier in the playoffs, the Kings don’t want to give the Rangers a ray of hope in this series.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After having the bounces go the Kings’ way in Game 3, they went the Rangers way in Game 4. That doesn’t detract from Lundqvist’s stellar play, as well as that of his desperate defensemen, who saved two sure goals in this game. While Kings fans may be thrilled about the prospect of their club winning another Stanley Cup on home ice, the Kings wanted to end this in Game 4. They’ve had a tendency toward streaky play in this year’s playoffs, so it’ll be interesting to see how Game 5 unfolds. The Kings will be determined to end it, while the Rangers will be equally determined to stay alive and force Game 6 back in New York.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman plans to have superstars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane re-signed to new long-term contracts on July 1. That’s the earliest date the ‘Hawks can re-sign the duo, who will be eligible for UFA status next July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not a question of “if” the Blackhawks re-sign the pair, but “when” and “for how much”. While both could get $10 million each per season on eight-year deals, I could see them coming in between $9 – $9.5 million annually. They might leave a bit of money on the table to allow the Blackhawks some wiggle room to add depth elsewhere.
NHL.COM: Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier underwent abdominal surgery last Friday and is undergoing five-six weeks of rehab. He’s expected to be fully recovered in time for training camp in September.
THE TENNESSEAN: A need to win and the new Canadian TV deal (along with possible revenue-sharing) could see the Nashville Predators become more active this summer, though they’re not expected to spend up to the cap ceiling.