Snap Shots: Bottlegate!

The second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs have been nothing short of exciting thus far. We’ve had upsets, blowout games, injures, and even a player continue a feud with another player off the ice. It’s all in this week’s edition of Snap Shots!

1. Panthers Lose Three Straight Games

The Florida Panthers are on the brink of elimination! I’ll say that again: the President’s Trophy-winning Florida Panthers are about to get knocked out of the playoffs. Their opponents, the Tampa Bay Lightning, have a 3-0 lead in the series. 

Of course, the Lightning did win the past two Stanley Cup Championships in a row, and have arguably the best goalie in the world in Andrei Vasilevskiy.  So, the fact that the Panthers are having a hard time is not surprising. No one thought this series would be a sweep for either team. What is surprising though is how easy the Lightning are making it look. In the first three games, Tampa has outscored Florida 11-3. Not counting the two empty-net goals scored in Game 3, Tampa has still outscored Florida 9-3. The Panthers scored 340 goals during the regular season, or about an average of four goals per game. Yet, they can only muster one goal per game against the Bolts. 

I predicted that the Panthers would win this series in seven games. Well, if they are going to do that, they’d have to win the next four games in a row, which is easier said than done. Then again, the “Comeback Cats,” as I call them, have 29 come-from-behind wins during the regular season, and came back in their first-round series — including come-from-behind wins in three games — against the Capitals. Perhaps four straight wins will be Florida’s ultimate come-from-behind victory this season. 

Either way Game Four — be it a sweep for the Lightning or perhaps the start of a great comeback for the Panthers — takes place tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET. 

Further Reading: On verge of being swept, No. 1 seed Florida Panthers try to ‘find some energy and some passion’

2. Bottlegate

In Game Three between the Avalanche and Blues Saturday night in St. Louis, Colorado forward Nazem Kadri collided with Blues’ goalie Jordan Binnington while chasing down a loose puck. Binnington left the game with a lower-body injury and is out for the rest of the playoffs. Blues’ backup goalie Ville Husso — who was initially the starting goalie earlier in the playoffs — was put into the game and let in four goals on 23 shots. The Avalanche won Game Three 5-2. 

During a postgame interview with TNT, Kadri was discussing his collision with Binnington — and then Binnington allegedly threw a water bottle at or near Kadri. He paused and looked off camera, before saying “not sure if he (Binnington) just threw a water bottle or me or not,” followed by a short laugh. 

You can see the play, as well as Kadri’s interview, in the video above. 

And here’s the bottle in question: 

Kadri was not penalized for colliding with Binnington, and the NHL will not suspend him. The two had another on-ice incident back in October, when Binnington swung his stick at Kadri but missed. 

Meanwhile, Kadri has been the subject of threats by Blues fans via social media. Many of the threats were racial in nature, as Kadri is Muslim and of Lebanese descent. The Avalanche contacted St. Louis law enforcement, who stationed extra police in front of the hotel the Avs are staying at. 

Former NHLer Akim Aliu, who is on the Hockey Diversity Alliance with Kadri, released this statement via Twitter: 

The Avalanche have a 2-1 series lead over the Blues. Game four is in St. Louis tonight at 9:30 pm ET. 

Further Reading: Colorado Avalanche working with law enforcement in St. Louis regarding threats made toward center Nazem Kadri after Game 3

3. Evander Kane Scores a Natty Hatty

The Oilers trounced the Flames 4-1 in Sunday night’s Game Three in Edmonton. Zach Hyman netted his 6th goal of the playoffs when he scored the first goal of the game early in the second period. Then, Evander Kane scored a natural hat trick — three unanswered goals in a row by the same player — in a six-minute span later that period. Those were Kane’s 8th, 9th, and 10th goals of the playoffs. Kane now leads the league with 10 postseason goals.

Connor McDavid notched three assists that night and Leon Draisaitl assisted on all four goals. McDavid leads all playoff scorers thus far with 23 points, while Draisaitl is second with 19 points.

The Oilers now have a 2-1 lead in the series. 

Further Reading: Kane, Oilers defeat Flames in Game 3, take lead in Western Second Round

4. Mitch Marner Carjacked in Etobicoke 

Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner was carjacked at gunpoint on May 16. He and a friend were on their way to a movie in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke. They were approached by men wearing masks, who demanded Marner’s Range Rover, to which Marner reportedly said, “Go ahead and take it.” 

Marner released the following quote two days later:

Fortunately, Marner and his friend were unharmed and he is “safe and doing well.” 

Further Reading: Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner carjacked at gunpoint outside Toronto

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Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

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