Preparing for an awesome night of hockey in today’s links.

Leafs & NHL Links

McKenzie: Doubtful Maple Leafs will pursue Ilya Kovalchuk (TSN1050)
TSN Hockey insider Bob McKenzie joined Naylor & Landsberg to discuss if the Maple Leafs will pursue former Devils superstar Ilya Kovalchuk, Sidney Crosby’s concussion and the NHL’s concussion protocol.

“I don’t think [the Leafs are interested]. I think the type of deal he’ll be looking for at the age he’s at, and the money he’s looking at… he’s 34 years old right now and he’s going to be 35 a year from now when next season’s over. He’ll be looking for — my guess — a two-year deal or a three-year deal. Probably a three-year deal. My guess is it’s going to be way north of $6 million, maybe $7 million a year, if he can get it. I think the Leafs have to allocate their resources differently than that, and I don’t think he’ll necessarily be a fit for them.”

Three goals in 33 seconds spark Marlies to Game 3 win over Crunch (MLHS)
Toronto now trails in the series 2-1 with Game 4 coming Wednesday night at Ricoh Coliseum. “We’re going to have to be a whole lot better tomorrow,” said Keefe. “Hopefully this helps our confidence and we have a little bit of a sense we can play with these guys here. We’ve got to come out tomorrow and have an even better effort.”

A remarkable final two minutes breathes life into Marlies playoffs (Toronto Star)
Grundstrom has two goals in his first two North American games. His goal Wednesday was the winner, so understandably he was named one of the game’s three stars. They have three stars in Sweden he said, but he didn’t know what to do when — prodded to go for a skate when his name was called — he was handed a t-shirt. He thought for a second it was his. Then he was prompted to throw it to a fan.

Stop talking about defence and notice the total lack of centres on the Leafs (PPP)
With Boyle, it’s a question of dollars, cap hit, term, and even his own willingness to move his young family permanently to Toronto. But the Leafs would take him on the right deal, and barring the Vegas period of discussion with UFAs, the Leafs have exclusive rights to talk contract with him until July 1.

Mike Babcock on Matthews, Marner, Nylander, Zaitsev, upcoming signings (MLHS)
“We’re going to do everything we can to improve your team, and we could use help both up front and on the back for sure. We’re going to see what is available. Our scouting staff, with Hunter and his crew there, have done an unbelievable job this year. We’ll announce here coming up some signings that will be important for our hockey club as well. We think we’re going in the right direction, but for me to be able to tell you what’s going to happen… I don’t know for sure. Lou wouldn’t know for sure, either. We’ll see what comes and we’ll try to be as prepared as we are to make the right deal at the right time.”

Marner: Building off playoff experience, World Championship (TSN1050)
Mitch Marner joined Leafs Lunch to talk about his experience so far at the World Hockey Championship, his playoff experience and looking back at his rookie season with the Maple Leafs.

“I think we surprised a lot of people and a lot of teams with what we did. A lot of teams thought it was going to be an easy series. The experience in general — just make sure you play each shift like your last. It’s hard. There is not going to be time and space, but you can’t get frustrated. You’ve got to play through that stuff, and when an opportunity comes, you’ve to make sure you’re bearing down.”

Nylander: We learned a lot in our series against the Capitals (TSN1050)
Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander joined Naylor & Landsberg to discuss the Maple Leafs playoffs, what the team learned in their loss to the Capitals, the World Hockey Championship and more.

“We played well and we learned a lot through the series. Every little inch matters. The battle all the way to the end… any one play could win the game and [the series] with how important every game is.”

Justin Williams is Mr. Game 7 and his time has arrived (Puck Daddy)
Williams is 7-0 in Game 7s. He has seven goals and seven assists in those games. It’s earned him the moniker “Mr. Game 7,” which he’s not fond of, but he really doesn’t have a say in this because a guy who has 14 points and is 7-0 in Game 7s is pretty damn well “Mr. Game 7.”

Capitals suddenly the team with all the answers vs. Penguins (National Post)
So much of this was a clinic, this 5-2 victory for the Capitals in Game 6 of their second-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. And because of the style of this performance — one that had the faithful here streaming for the exits in the third period, their team down five goals — here are two realities: Wednesday night’s Game 7 at Verizon Center is the biggest of the Alex Ovechkin era of Washington hockey. And when the puck drops to decide the series, the clear favorite will be the team in red sweaters.

Struggling Penguins face Game 7 against surging Caps (CBC)
Pittsburgh registered just one shot in the first 17 minutes of Game 6, that one a 136-foot knuckler on a clear by defenceman Brian Dumoulin that just happened to make its way to Washington goaltender Braden Holtby. The Penguins finished with just 18 over the course of the game, a pair of late goals by Malkin and budding rookie star Jake Guentzel making the final score a bit more respectable but no less decisive.

Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Ducks and the intrigue of Game 7 (Edmonton Journal)
There are many storylines, but the main one surrounds the Ducks organization and their inability to win Game 7 on home ice. This is the fifth season in a row the Ducks have held a 3-2 series lead. In the previous four, they lost Game 6 on the road and Game 7 at home, and they got crushed 7-1 in Game 6 vs. the Oilers on Sunday night. They will try to avoid a fifth consecutive collapse.

Oilers set as underdogs for Game 7 matchup vs. Ducks (Sportsnet)
The Edmonton Oilers will be looking for their first Game 7 victory since 1998 when they visit the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday for the deciding contest in their second-round series as +105 underdogs on the NHL betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by

Pain or pleasure awaits the Edmonton Oilers in Game 7 (Edmonton Journal)
Precious few of these Edmonton Oilers have turned their boyhood Game 7 dream into either version of the adult reality. Matt Benning, Drake Caggiula, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Darnell Nurse and others are all new to it, notwithstanding the fact they just won an elimination game. Milan Lucic has Game 7 experiences good and bad. Patrick Maroon has played and Todd McLellan coached in the pressure-cooker of a Game 7. They’re not looking backward or telling old tales to the fresh faces in the Oilers room.