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Lightning's Drouin could play bigger role in Game 6

Sunday, 06.14.2015 / 10:22 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Long - Correspondent

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin has been an afterthought for much of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The third pick in the 2013 NHL Draft has played in five games and has a minus-6 rating.

But Drouin could be a major piece of the Lightning's lineup in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports) if forward Nikita Kucherov is unable to play.

Kucherov left Game 5 in the first period after he slammed into the goal post chasing after a loose puck. Chicago won 2-1 in Game 5 at Amalie Arena on Saturday and has a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series. Kucherov did not return and Lightning coach Jon Cooper had no further information on his status.

Physical defenseman Zboril adapted well in QMJHL

Sunday, 06.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

When European players come to North America, there's always an adjustment to the style of hockey played on this side of the Atlantic.

In the case of Czech-born defenseman Jakub Zboril of the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, scouts didn't need long to see he would do just fine on the smaller rink with the more physical play.

Zboril, a 6-foot-1, 184-pound left-shot defender, had 13 goals and 33 points in 44 games. As skilled as he was offensively, he also had 73 penalty minutes and never backed away from physical play. NHL Central Scouting ranked him No. 12 on its final ranking of North American skaters for the 2015 NHL Draft.

"We think he's a solid two-way player," NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr said. "His game with the puck, without the puck, I don't know there's too many holes in his game. … He's a solid two-way guy that these are the type of guys you see playing in the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs."

Saint John could be popular team at 2015 draft

Sunday, 06.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

The Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League were a popular destination for NHL scouts this season.

NHL Central Scouting invited six players from the Sea Dogs to the NHL Scouting Combine, and had a Canadian Hockey League-leading 10 players listed on Central Scouting's final ranking of the top prospects for the 2015 NHL Draft.

"They have a young team, have done well in the European draft and have had the top picks in the QMJHL draft the last couple of years," Central Scouting's Troy Dumville said. "They've built a good stable of young players."

Among those players are four ranked among Central Scouting's top 55 prospects: Defensemen Jakub Zboril (No. 12) and Thomas Chabot (No. 16), and forwards Nathan Noel (No. 54) and Adam Marsh (No. 55). Also well-regarded forwards Samuel Dove-McFalls (No. 70) and Mathieu Joseph (No. 125), and defensemen Bailey Webster (No. 122) Jack van Boekel (No. 180) and Jason Bell (No. 187).

Chabot rounded out game after early-season benching

Sunday, 06.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Early last season former Saint John Sea Dogs coach Ross Yates wanted to get the message across to one of his top defensemen, Thomas Chabot, that his game wasn't where it needed to be for him or the team to be successful.

So when he filled out the lineup card for the Sea Dogs' home opener against the Halifax Mooseheads, he left Chabot's name out.

"You always run a chance when you do something like that," Yates said.

Yates was as curious as anyone how Chabot would take the slight. But the chance paid off, as Chabot took the benching as a challenge. By the end of the season it was clear Chabot met that challenge by developing into one of the top defensemen eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft.

Scoring drought continues for Lightning's Stamkos

Sunday, 06.14.2015 / 2:11 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

TAMPA -- Having one of the best goal-scorers on earth playing for your team can't be seen as anything but a blessing for a coach.

Until it isn't.

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper has the luxury of having Steven Stamkos on his bench every game, but if he spends too much time on that bench, the spotlight turns to Cooper, not in a good way.

When the Lightning needed a goal in the third period of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, Stamkos was just another player when you look at his ice time.

The Lightning did not get that goal, lost 2-1, and head back to Chicago down 3-2 in the best-of-7 series with Game 6 on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Lightning's Bishop laments mishap in return to Final

Sunday, 06.14.2015 / 1:48 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Long - Correspondent

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop played well in his return to the Stanley Cup Final, making 27 saves on 29 shots, but a costly mistake early in Game 5 helped the Chicago Blackhawks to a 2-1 win Saturday at Amalie Arena.

Bishop missed Game 4 because of an undisclosed injury after twice leaving Game 2 in the third period and gutting out a 3-2 win in Game 3 with 36 saves.

The Blackhawks tested Bishop early Saturday, outshooting the Lightning 9-1 in the first 4:50. Bishop stopped a slap shot from Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw from close range, then made a tough save against defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson through traffic off a faceoff.

But Bishop was overly aggressive a little more than a minute later, and his decision led to a goal by Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp.

Garrison: Game 6 can go Lightning's way

Jason Garrison - Special to

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison will be blogging for periodically throughout the Stanley Cup Final. In this edition, he reflects on a 2-1 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 5.

TAMPA -- Well, Game 6 on Monday is a must-win. It's about as simple as that.

It's obviously been close games every game, one-goal games, you can be on either side of it, but this is a tough one to lose tonight and definitely a tough one to put behind you. But we've got to be able to do that, to try to move forward as best as we can, and really just focus on the next one.

The next one is a must-win.

Desjardins: Game 5 was our best effort of Final

Andrew Desjardins - Special to

Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Desjardins will be blogging for periodically throughout the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In this edition, he provides his thoughts on Chicago's 2-1 victory in Game 5.

TAMPA -- I thought that was our best game of the series.

We played a pretty sound game. After every other game of the series I could think of a bunch of things we needed to improve on, but I can't really think of one after this game.

Still, we know we can be better.

Resilient Blackhawks are one win from another Cup

Sunday, 06.14.2015 / 1:10 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

TAMPA -- The Stanley Cup has long been considered the hardest trophy in all of sports to win. The Chicago Blackhawks are raising the bar on its degree of difficulty.

The fact that the Blackhawks have survived through every piece of adversity they've faced in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs and are in position to win their third Stanley Cup championship in six seasons with a victory in Game 6 of the Final on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports) is a testament not only to their experience, but also to their conditioning, coaching and depth.

Consider what the Blackhawks have done to date in the playoffs. Take in its totality and try not to be impressed, and quite frankly, amazed that their 2-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Saturday has them on the brink of what may very well be looked at as a modern-day NHL dynasty.

Lightning's Kucherov leaves Game 5, status unknown

Sunday, 06.14.2015 / 1:01 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov did not return to Game 5 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final on Saturday after he was injured crashing into the Chicago Blackhawks net early in the first period.

Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper did not have an update on Kucherov after the 2-1 loss.

"Actually I thought he was coming back [in the game]," Cooper said. "I just got word he wasn't going to come back. I don't know. He'll be evaluated probably tonight and tomorrow."

Kucherov is second on the Lightning in goals (10), assists (12), points (22), power-play goals (three) and game-winning goals (three) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Game 6 is at United Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). Tampa Bay trails the best-of-7 series 3-2.

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