The USA Today’s Jace Evans is one of many to write about Colorado netminder Andrew Hammond’s 44-save performance last night that kept the Avalanche alive for another day. Hammond was called into duty after Colorado goalie Jonathan Bernier was lost to injury after Game Four. Hammond burst onto the scene two seasons ago when he backstopped the Ottawa Senators to an unexpected playoff performance after going 20-1-2 in 24 games and boasting a .941 save percentage during that stretch. The Sens were bounced in the first round and Hammond couldn’t replicate that performance following 2014-15, leading to a demotion and eventual trade to Colorado as part of the Matt Duchene deal. Evans quotes the “Hamburglar” as saying you never know when you’re going to get a second chance, and with that bonus opportunity, Hammond turned a lot of heads.
- The Sporting News’ Brandon Schlager continues, calling it “perfect serendipity” for Hammond to rescue the Avalanche after falling down 3-1 to the defending Western Conference champion Nashville Predators. Schalger uses clips from the game intertwined with description to break down some of Hammond’s biggest saves in the game, and adds that the NHL playoffs are well known for “red-hot” goalies stealing games against teams that should otherwise win in convincing fashion. The Tennessean’s Mike Organ includes a few quotes from Nashville’s Mike Fisher, who thinks it’s as simple as putting the puck where Hammond isn’t in order to break through. While there doesn’t seem to be much worry on Nashville’s side, one has to wonder if the Hamburglar still has some games left to steal.
- For a litany of reasons, the Minnesota Wild are out of the first round for a third straight season. Chief among them: they didn’t show up for a crucial game five. CBS Sports’ Pete Blackburn cites the poor showing in the deciding game as a reason the Wild need to make serious changes this offseason. Teams are judged by their play when their backs are against the wall, and Blackburn charges the Wild as a squad that “produced a nice, wet, stinky turd.” In addition, the Jets relentless attack, some bad luck, and the strong play of Connor Hellebuyck doomed the Wild in the series.