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Wake With Elias- June 21, 2022: Bolts Battle Back In Game Three, Kuzmenko Chooses Canucks

Tampa gets some big goals en route to a big Game Three win, and a prized KHL free agent is coming to Vancouver.

2022 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Three Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

After getting thoroughly clowned by the Colorado Avalanche in Game Two Saturday, the Tampa Bay Lightning responded at home with a big 6-2 win last night at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Nick Paul got the eventual winner early in the second period despite being quite obviously injured on the previous shift, and they also got goals from Anthony Cirelli, Ondrej Palat, Pat Maroon, Steven Stamkos and Corey Perry.

Gabriel Landeskog scored both Colorado goals, and the Avs pulled Darcy Kuemper after the 5th goal, bringing in Pavel Francouz for the remainder of thegame. Things got a little testy near the end of this one, as Logan O’Connor and Ross Colton fought, while Andrew Cogliano and Pat Maroon were given ten minute misconduct penalties.

Game Four goes tomorrow night in Tampa, as they try to avoid heading back to Denver for a potential elimination Game Five on Friday night.

CANUCKS NEWS

As Beggsy reported earlier, KHL free agent Andrei Kuzmenko has chosen to sign with the Vancouver Canucks this season. Kuzmenko had visited with three other teams: Vegas, Detroit, and Edmonton. There had been rumblings that he was leaning towards the Canucks, but after meeting with GM Patrik Allvin and Head Coach Bruce Boudreau, Kuzmenko’s camp chose the Canucks.

Kuzmenko will be given time in the top 6 as well as PP time, and to get a top 6 winger on an entry level deal is a massive win in and of itself for a Canucks team trying to rebuild themselves in terms of cap space. It does make one think that we’re likely to see one of JT Miller or Brock Boeser on their way out, though we’ll see what Allvin and Jim Rutherford can do over the next few weeks in terms of clearing out some cap space to address signings.

From a PR standpoint, again it’s a huge win for the Canucks, sending a message to other free agents that Vancouver will once again be a desirable place to sign as they try to remodel the team back into contention. When the top ranked European free agent chooses you over being able to play with Connor McDavid, that speaks volumes.

It’s also a great signing to have another Russian to join Vasily Podkolzin for next season, and while it remains to be seen if the two will be on a line together, the possibility of Podkolzin paired with a playmaker like Kuzmenko is exciting.

So while we await the contract details, I am sure you all can’t wait to get your look at the kid who will wear number 96 next season, right? That could come in September in Penticton, with the return of the Young Stars tournament this upcoming season after COVID-related cancellations the past couple years. The Oilers, Flames and Jets will send their prospects for the tournament that will be held September 14-18, just before training camp gets underway in Whistler.