When Ron Francis knew something was working on faceoffs, he would experiment and not use his best moves right away. ''They've become more and more key as the games become more and more important,'' said Francis, now the general manager of the NHL's expansion Seattle Kraken. Faceoffs late in tight games are always important, particularly those in the zone of a team clinging to a lead.
For all the hype Dallas goaltender Anton Khudobin is receiving for helping the Stars reach the Stanley Cup Final, fellow Russian Andrei Vasilevskiy is reminding everyone the Tampa Bay Lightning have a strong presence in net, too. ''If you're going to make any sort of noise in the playoffs you need somebody back there,'' coach Jon Cooper said of the three-time Vezina Trophy finalist whose 15 wins this postseason are the second-most in a single year by a Lightning goalie.
The Sharks think Boughner can follow in the footsteps of a Jack Adams Award winner, the architect of one of the NHL's most amazing in-season turnarounds and a two-time Stanley Cup champion.