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Eastern Conference

Lightning’s Steven Stamkos Driven To Finish Job Against Capitals

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Tampa Bay Lightning superstar Steven Stamkos is a man on a mission to reach the elusive Stanley Cup that has evaded his grasp during his career

“You have to look at it like: ‘Is this the last opportunity?’ Because opportunities like this are so few and far between,” Stamkos said (h/t NHL.com).

“With some of the injuries I’ve had, you have a new perspective on your career as an individual and you have a new perspective of when you get the opportunity to play on a team of this caliber. You just never know. You need so many things to go your way in the playoffs when you go on a run to get where you are now.”

The Lightning are one victory from the Stanley Cup Final and currently lead their best of 7 series against the Washington Capitals 3-2 as the teams head into Game 6 at Capital One Arena in Washington on Monday.

The last time Stamkos as the Lightning reached the Stanley Cup Final was back in 2015 when they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in 6 games and Stamkos is still haunted by what could have been had he scored on a first-period breakaway instead of seeing his shot clank off the goal post.

“I still remember the sound,” Stankos said. “I don’t forget anything.”

“He’s been through tough times before,” Chris Stamkos, Steven’s dad, said of his son. “He knows what it takes.”

“You see the core, you see the ability that we have and you see how special it can be,” Stamkos said. “You want to be part of that. I saw that here. I knew there was a great window here.

“And now we’re on our way right now.”

Stamkos is only 28, so it’s not crazy to think he will have another shot, or more, during his career, but his teammates also know that it’s not crazy to think this may be his last shot as well.

“Not at all,” Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. “He’s absolutely right. Like he said, we’ve been close but we’ve also missed the playoffs. These opportunities don’t come around every year. For us, we have to approach every game like our life depends on it.”

“Mats Sundin. Markus Naslund. The Sedin twins. Just to name a few guys,” Hedman said. “They’ve been close but they haven’t reached all the way.

“We’re so fortunate to be one game away to play for the Stanley Cup again. For us to reach that goal, we have to play our best hockey from here on in.”

“Like I said, you never know if it’s your last opportunity,” Stamkos said. “And if it is, you want to take advantage of it.

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Eastern Conference

Penguins Sign Oula Palve

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed European center Oula Plave to a one-year, entry level contract, according to an official team announcement on Monday.

Palve’s new deal is for the league minimum $700K and includes a $92.5K signing bonuses. There are also games-played incentives that could total $132.5K.

Palve is coming off a solid season withTPS Turku in the Finnish sm-Liiga , leading the team with 16 goals and 35 assists in 53 games.

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Eastern Conference

Caps’ T.J. Oshie Likely Out For The Playoffs

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The Washington Capitals will be without winger T.J. Oshie for whjat appears to be the entire postseason, according to Isabelle Khurshudyan and Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post.

Oshie’s injury is being termed as an upper-body issue by the team, but Oshie was seen in a sling following a hit from Carolina Hurricanes winger Warren Foegele.

Despite the hit, the Department of Player Safety opted not to hand anything down in terms of discipline on Foegele.

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Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings Hire Steve Yzerman

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The Detroit Red Wings have hired franchise icon and former Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman to take over the post as their general manager.

Current general manager, Ken Holland, will move to a position called Senior Vice President and has inked a multi-year contract extension to remain with the club, according to TSN’s Gord Miller.

Yzerman stepped down from his role as GM of the Lightning in September but he is largely responsible for building the roster that led Tampa Bay to a President’s Cup this season, matching the NHL record for wins in a single season, posting a 62-16-4 record this past season.

Yzerman could be bringing some members of the Lightning front office to Detroit with him, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

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