The Chicago Blackhawks made no bones about their rebuild before this past season started and the pain was worth it as they won the NHL Draft Lottery on Monday night and with that, the right to pick Connor Bedard with the top pick.
Bedard is looked at as a generational talent, one who the Blackhawks hope will help Chicago get off the mat faster than expected.
The Blackhawks had the third-best odds to win the lottery but passed the Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets in the lottery.
Remember when the Blackhawks beat the host Penguins back in the final week of the season? Course you do. The Panthers clinched a spot in the playoffs because of that unexpected win.
Well, by winning, the Blackhawks dropped from having the best odds to win the lottery to third-best.
In the end, it worked out quite nicely for the Blackhawks — and Panthers as well.
Cannot say the same for the Ducks and Jackets.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
The Florida Panthers may have slipped into the NHL Playoffs and were down 3-1 to the Boston Bruins in the opening round.
But now that they have a 3-0 series lead on the Maple Leafs, Florida is the betting favorite to win the Stanley Cup.
Yes, the Panthers are the betting favorite to win the Stanley Cup. Let that sink in for a minute.
— Sam Reinhart has become a trusted voice in the Florida locker room, a leader both players and coaches come to when they need to talk things out. He’s also a pretty good player, eh?
— The Panthers do not have a question mark in net, but after Ilya Samsonov went out in Game 3, Toronto certainly does.
— The Panthers called up a ton of Charlotte players before Sunday’s Game 3 win over the Leafs but made another official on Monday when they signed 2021 first-round pick Mackie Samoskevich. He’s eligible to play immediately as he burns the first year of his ELC,
— Anthony Duclair set the tone for the Panthers on Sunday night as he played his best game since returning from his Achilles injury.
— The Panthers are all-in when it comes to the playoff beard tradition although some are wearing it better than others. Radko Gudas, obviously, is the Beard King of the Panthers. But who else is making their mark?
— With Sam Bennett back, the Panthers were able to put Eetu Luostarinen on the third line. It has been a great move.
— Sergei Bobrovsky bailed the Panthers out (again) in Game 2 against the Leafs.
— A lot of video is up on the FHN YouTube Channel including Game 3 postgame reaction from Paul Maurice, Sergei Bobrovsky, Anton Lundell, Aaron Ekblad and Sam Reinhart.
There is also Monday’s comments from Maurice and Brandon Montour.
To see all the videos, you can click the embedded videos below or head directly to the FHN YouTube Channel RIGHT HERE to see everything all in one place.
If you hit subscribe (it’s free), you will know when new content comes up.
NHL NEWS/NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW
The Vegas Golden Knights got on their horse in Edmonton and took control of Game 3 early en route to a 5-1 win.
Vegas grabs home ice back and takes a 2-1 series lead.
— The Vegas Golden Knights had to turn to Adin Hill in net when Laurent Brossoit got hurt.
— Jeremy Swayman is hopeful “good things will happen” when it comes to a new deal with the Boston Bruins.
— With the Panthers not crashing as the Montreal Canadiens hoped, will they be aggressive at the draft?
— Checking out some potential Los Angeles Kings trade chips.
— Who are the Colorado Avalanche looking at bringing back?
— The Pittsburgh Penguins stick at No. 14 in the draft.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (ATL2) AT FLORIDA PANTHERS (WC2)
GAME 4 (Florida Leads 3-0)
- When: Wednesday, 7 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TV: ESPN
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- First Round Schedule — Game 1: Florida 4, @Toronto 2; Game 2: Florida 3, @Toronto 2; Game 3: @Florida 3, Toronto 2 (OT); Game 4: Wednesday at Florida, 7 (ESPN); Game 5*:Friday, May 12 at Toronto (TNT); Game 6*: Sunday, May 14 at Florida (TBA); Game 7*:May 16 at Toronto (TNT). (*) – If Necessary
- How They Got Here: Toronto d. Tampa Bay 4-2; Florida d. Boston 4-3
- Season Series (Toronto won 3-1): Maple Leafs 5, @Panthers 4 OT (Jan. 17); @Maple Leafs 6, Panthers 2 (Mar. 23); Panthers 3, @Maple Leafs 2 OT (March 29); Maple Leafs 2, @Panthers 1 OT (April 10)
- Last season: Florida won 2-1
- All-time Regular Season Series: Toronto leads 48-36-7, 7 ties
- Postseason History: First Meeting