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NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens and Las Vegas Golden Knights all on the ice

We’re fast approaching the end of the regular season, but there’s still plenty of games to get stuck into over the coming week. There are some mouth-watering clashes, including Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens, Las Vegas Golden Knights v St Louis Blues, and Boston Bruins v New York Islanders. We will preview these games, and highlight any potential talking points. 

Toronto Maple Leafs announce deal for KHL forward Kirill Semyonov 

The Maple Leafs have been the movers and shakers in terms of trades. This week, they announced a deal for KHL forward Kirill Semyonov, who has been signed on a one-year entry-level contract for the 2021/22 season. Semyonov enjoyed an impressive season with Avangard Omsk where he scored 26 points in 60 regular season games for the side. 

Semyonov excelled in the KHL making 377 appearances, scoring 70 goals and contributing 169 points. His signing is the latest in a wave of deals that has seen the Maple Leafs clinch the services of KHL free agents who won’t burden the team’s wage bill. Aside from Semyonov, the Maple Leafs have also tied up a deal for third-line winger Ilya Mikheyev. 

Montreal Canadiens hitting form at just the right time 

While April was largely rough, the Canadiens’ return to form has been timely. They are currently occupying a Stanley Cup play-off spot, as they are fourth in the Scotia North Division. Their 3-2 OT victory over the Maple Leafs has sent spirits soaring throughout the camp. They face the Ottawa Senators next before another clash with the Maple Leafs. 

Las Vegas Golden Knights snatch defeat from jaws of victory 

The Golden Knights have been irresistible for large parts of the campaign, and they have been a model of consistency too. But against the Minnesota Wild, the Knights inexplicably let a lead slip. The Knights were 5-3 up halfway through the third period, and even holding at 5-4 in the final two minutes of the game, before slipping to a 5-6 defeat. 

Las Vegas Golden Knights have to learn how to ‘seal the deal’ 

The defeat to the Wild would have been understandably disappointing for the Golden Knights, whose record now stands at 36-13-2. Golden Knights captain Mark Stone insists his side has to learn to close out games better. He said: “We’ve got to seal the deal. Got to keep playing the entire game.” 

St Louis Blues moving in the right direction 

The Blues have caught fire in the past few weeks, notching up five wins in their past six outings. They made light work of the Anaheim Ducks earlier this week, as they romped to a 3-1 win. In particular, David Perron reached some notable milestones in the victory. 

Earlier this week, Perron took to the ice for his 900th career NHL game, and it was his 600th in the Blues jersey. If that wasn’t enough, Perron amassed his 600th career point, and his 400th for the Blues, so, in total, Perron notched up four milestones during one game. 

Meanwhile, Klim Kostin is training with the taxi squad. Having recently finished the KHL season, Kostin is looking to force his way into the reckoning with the Blues. And Blues head coach Craig Berube thinks Kostin has a future with the Blues. He said: “He [Kostin] is definitely a guy that I think could help our hockey team.” 

Boston Bruins refuse to give up the chase 

The Bruins are still in the mix in the top half of the Mass Mutual East division. Currently, they lie in third spot, and they are just two points behind the Washington Capitals. Aside from a 4-3 defeat to the New Jersey Devils earlier this week, the Bruins have been in the groove and had notched up four victories on the trot. 

Of course, the New York Islanders will represent a stiff test for the Bruins on Monday evening. The Islanders are on course for a playoff spot, as they are fourth and just a solitary point behind the Bruins. However, in terms of the head-to-head record, the Bruins have fared better against the Islanders, winning 94 of their 179 meetings. 

 

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