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NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Vegas to face Montréal in the Stanley Cup Semifinal

For the first time since 2018, the Vegas Golden Knights are heading back to the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs as they defeated the Colorado Avalanche, 6-3, on Thursday night as Vegas clinched the series 4-2 on home ice at T-Mobile Arena.

Marc-Andre Fleury (8-4, 1.91 goals-against average, .923 save percentage in 12 games played) made 30 saves on 33 shots against in the win as the Golden Knights advanced to the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinal.

Vegas will face the Montréal Canadiens in their first ever postseason series as the two teams will battle for one spot in this year’s Stanley Cup Final, while the Tampa Bay Lightning host the New York Islanders in the other Semifinal matchup.

The National Hockey League announced after Game 6 in Vegas, that the winner of the Golden Knights versus Canadiens series will be presented the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl– traditionally awarded to the victor of the Western Conference Final in a non-pandemic timeline.

Meanwhile, the winner of the Lightning and Islanders series will be presented with the Prince Of Wales Trophy as is usually awarded to the victor of the Eastern Conference Final when the league isn’t forced into a temporary realignment without conferences due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Golden Knights are the first team in league history to win seven playoffs series’ in their first four years of existence.

At the other end of the rink, Philipp Grubauer (6-4, 2.61 goals-against average, .914 save percentage in 10 games played), stopped 17 out of 22 shots faced in the loss.

Avalanche forward, Nazem Kadri, served the last game of his eight-game suspension on Thursday, while head coach, Jared Bednar, almost wasn’t available to do his duty behind the bench as a COVID test irregularity prevented him from attending morning skate.

Bednar was later cleared hours before the game on another test.

Colorado jumped out ahead of Vegas less than a minute into the opening frame– emulating the Golden Knights’ patented style at home in the postseason– as Devon Toews (1) scored the game’s first goal on a catch and release shot over Fleury’s glove.

Nathan MacKinnon (6) and Brandon Saad (1) had the assists on Toews’ goal as the Avs pulled ahead, 1-0, 23 seconds into the first period.

Colorado’s lead didn’t last long, however, as it turns out Vegas can still score within the opening minutes of a playoff game on home ice even if they allow the game’s first goal.

Nick Holden (1) received a pass from Reilly Smith and floated a shot through Grubauer’s five-hole while the Avalanche goaltender was still looking to the right corner– completely unaware of the puck’s location on the ice.

Smith (5) and Nicolas Roy (4) tallied the assists on Holden’s goal as the Golden Knights tied the game, 1-1, at 1:15 of the first period.

Both teams managed to score on their first shot on goal in Game 6.

Moments later, Vegas almost took advantage of a complete swing in momentum as Alec Martinez rang the post with a shot, but he’d play a factor later in the period regardless.

Martinez sent a pass through the slot to William Karlsson (4) for a one-timer goal that beat Grubauer low on the short side between his pad and the post to make it, 2-1, Vegas at 15:06.

Heading into the first intermission, the Golden Knights led on the scoreboard, 2-1, and trailed the Avalanche in shots on goal, 12-10.

Vegas held the advantage in everything else, however, as they dominated in blocked shots (15-5), takeaways (12-1), giveaways (5-0), hits (23-15) and faceoff win percentage (53-47).

Neither team had seen any action on the power play after one period.

Alex Pietrangelo kicked things off in the middle frame with an errant puck over the glass and an automatic delay of game penalty as a result at 2:23 of the second period.

Colorado took full advantage of the ensuing power play as Mikko Rantanen (5) sent a shot off of Zach Whitecloud’s skate and into the twine after the rubber biscuit clipped Fleury’s blocker on its way by.

MacKinnon (7) and Gabriel Landeskog (9) had the assists on Rantanen’s power-play goal as the Avalanche tied things up, 2-2, at 3:47 of the second period.

Midway through the middle frame, Shea Theodore worked the puck to Pietrangelo for the shot and subsequent redirection by Keegan Kolesar (1) as the Golden Knights forward pocketed his first career Stanley Cup Playoff goal and gave his team a, 3-2, lead at 14:27.

Pietrangelo (7) and Theodore (5) notched the assists on the marker, but Vegas wasn’t able to pull away just yet as Colorado kept things close.

Andre Burakovsky (1) scored his first of the 2021 postseason off the post and in while Martinez inadvertently screened his own goaltender.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (3) and Cale Makar (8) had the assists on Burakovsky’s goal as the Avs tied the game, 3-3, at 16:52.

Yet, just as quick as things can be evened up, things can fall apart as the Golden Knights’ forecheck forced a turnover in Colorado’s defensive zone as the Avalanche couldn’t make an exit.

Vegas worked the puck deep with an intentional shot wide of the net that caromed off the boards to the side of the slot where Pietrangelo (1) pounced on the loose puck for the eventual game-winning goal.

Alex Tuch (3) and Max Pacioretty (4) added the helpers as the Golden Knights took a, 4-3, lead at 19:42 of the second period.

Through 40 minutes of action, Vegas led, 4-3, on the scoreboard, despite trailing Colorado, 22-16, in shots on goal, including a, 10-6, advantage for the Avs in the second period alone.

The Golden Knights continued to lead in blocked shots (24-7), takeaways (16-1), giveaways (12-1) and hits (37-31), however, as both teams managed to split faceoff win%, 50-50, through two periods.

The Avalanche were 1/1 on the power play, while Vegas had yet to see time on the skater advantage entering the final frame.

Vegas executed a play unlike any other with tremendous hand-eye coordination as Brayden McNabb let go of a shot that was redirected by Theodore, then by William Carrier (1) on the doorstep on a zig-zag play that extended the Golden Knights’ lead to two-goals.

Theodore (6) and McNabb (2) had the primary and secondary assists, respectively, as Carrier’s goal made it, 5-3, for Vegas at 11:46 of the third period.

Less than a minute later, the Golden Knights went on the power play for the first time Thursday night as Ryan Graves cut a rut to the sin bin for tripping Karlsson at 12:33.

Vegas was unsuccessful on the resulting skater advantage, however.

It was no big deal, though, as Colorado pulled Grubauer for an extra attacker with about 3:26 remaining in the game, thereby giving the Golden Knights ample opportunity to score at least one empty net goal.

And that’s just what they did.

Martinez botched a surefire empty net goal, so Pacioretty (4) cleaned things up by putting the icing on the cake with some extra insurance, 6-3, as a result of his unassisted empty net goal at 16:50 of the third period.

Bednar pulled his goaltender again for an extra skater, but Colorado couldn’t get another puck past Fleury.

At the final horn, Vegas had won, 6-3, and finished off the Avalanche 4-2 in the series– eliminating the Avs in six games in the process after Colorado rocketed out of the gate in the series with a, 7-1, win in Game 1 and a thrilling, 3-2, overtime victory in Game 2.

The Avalanche finished the night leading in shots on goal, 33-23, including an, 11-7, advantage in the third period alone and wrapped up Thursday’s effort leading in faceoff win% (53-47).

Meanwhile, the Golden Knights exited their own building leading in blocked shots (34-18), giveaways (15-1) and hits (46-42) in Game 6.

Colorado finished the game 1/1 on the power play, while Vegas went 0/1.

With the win, Fleury moved into sole possession of the fourth most postseason victories by a goaltender in league history with his 89th career Stanley Cup Playoff win.

Vegas will have home ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Semifinal and the Stanley Cup Final, should they eliminate Montréal in the Semifinal, by virtue of having the best regular season record of the remaining four playoff teams.

Game 1 at T-Mobile Arena is set for Monday night at 9 p.m. ET.

Viewers in the United States can tune to NBCSN for coverage, while those in Canada can tune to CBC, SN or TVAS.

Meanwhile, the Islanders open up their series with the Lightning on the road in Game 1, Sunday afternoon at Amalie Arena with puck drop set for 3 p.m. ET.

Fans in the United States looking to catch Tampa and New York can tune to NBC, while those in Canada can choose from CBC, SN or TVAS.

To summarize, that’s Sunday, June 13th for Game 1 between the Isles and Bolts and Monday, June 14th for Game 1 of the Habs and Golden Knights.

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NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Islanders will face Tampa in the Stanley Cup Semifinal

For the first time since 1979-84, the New York Islanders are heading to consecutive third round appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In “normal” years, the Islanders would be advancing to the Eastern Conference Final, however this season, in light of the ongoing global pandemic and subsequent temporary league realignment, New York is heading to the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinal as result of their, 6-2, win over the Boston Bruins on home ice on Wednesday.

Brock Nelson scored his second career series-clinching goal in the Game 6 victory at Nassau Live at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, trailing only Mike Bossy (six series-clinching goals) and Clark Gillies (four series-clinching goals) for the most in an Islanders uniform in franchise history.

A raucous Long Island crowd cheered as their “New York Saints” goaltender, Semyon Varlamov (4-3, 2.63 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in seven games played), made 23 saves on 25 shots against to win the series 4-2 and eliminate the Bruins as a result.

At the other end of the rink, 34-year-old pending-unrestricted free agent goaltender, Tuukka Rask (6-4, 2.45 goals-against average, .919 save percentage in 11 games played), turned aside 23 out of 27 shots faced in the loss.

Boston’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, fell to 33-33 in his postseason tenure behind the bench for the B’s (parts of five seasons) and dropped to 36-36 in his career as an NHL head coach in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Washington Capitals and the Bruins.

Isles head coach, Barry Trotz, improved to 25-17 overall in the postseason with New York, as well as 80-75 in his 22-year career as a head coach in the NHL, including 14 postseason appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Nashville Predators, Capitals and Islanders.

The Bruins were without Kevan Miller (upper body), Brandon Carlo (undisclosed) and Curtis Lazar (lower body) on Wednesday, while Ondrej Kase (upper body) and John Moore (hip) remained shelved for the season.

As a result of Lazar’s injury, Jake DeBrusk was re-inserted into the lineup on the left side of the third line with Charlie Coyle at center and Karson Kuhlman on right wing.

Nick Ritchie was demoted to the fourth line with Sean Kuraly at center and Chris Wagner on right wing.

Cassidy made no other changes to his lineup for Game 6.

The Bruins had a long list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and injured players that included Nick Wolff, Trent Frederic, Greg McKegg, Zach Senyshyn, Lazar, Jack Studnicka, Carlo, Kase, Jaroslav Halak, Steven Kampfer, Cameron Hughes, Jack Ahcan, Urho Vaakanainen, Oskar Steen, Jakub Zboril, Callum Booth, Dan Vladar, Anton Blidh and Miller.

Midway through the opening frame, Noah Dobson sent a shot on goal that generated a rebound right to Travis Zajac (1) who buried the puck from point blank as Rask had yet to find the puck.

Dobson (7) and Jean-Gabriel Pageau (9) tallied the assists on the goal as the Islanders jumped out to a, 1-0, lead at 8:52 of the first period.

Moments later, Anthony Beauvillier tripped up Charlie McAvoy and cut a rut to the penalty box as a result with a minor infraction at 14:13– presenting Boston with the game’s first power play, but the Bruins couldn’t score on the ensuing advantage.

Instead, as Casey Cizikas tripped Taylor Hall, the B’s ended up on a 5-on-3 skater advantage at 16:00 of the first period.

It didn’t take long for Boston to convert on the two-skater advantage as the Bruins whipped the puck around the attacking zone, first from Matt Grzelcyk along the point to David Krejci as Grzelcyk kept the play onside, then Krejci to David Pastrnak for the fake-shot pass to Brad Marchand (7) for a catch-and-release goal while Varlamov was caught behind the play.

Marchand’s power-play goal tied the game, 1-1, at 17:36 and was assisted by Pastrnak (8) and Krejci (6).

The two clubs entered the first intermission even on the scoreboard, 1-1, despite New York leading in shots on goal, 12-10.

The Isles also held the advantage in takeaways (2-1), while the Bruins led in blocked shots (9-8), hits (15-13) and faceoff win percentage (65-35).

Both teams managed to have three giveaways each in the opening frame, while only Boston had experienced any time on the power play and went 1/2 on the advantage heading into the middle period.

Kyle Palmieri shouldered McAvoy in the face after a stoppage in play early in the second period, sending the B’s defender to the ice and down the tunnel, though no penalty was called on the play.

McAvoy would later return in the period after a few shifts.

Kuhlman tripped up Mathew Barzal and presented the Islanders with their first and only power play of the night at 2:18 of the second period, but New York couldn’t muster anything in the resulting special teams action.

The Isles did, however, catch the B’s in the vulnerable minute after an advantage, as Nelson (5) emerged with a short breakaway after New York stole the puck in the neutral zone and beat Rask low on the glove side.

Josh Bailey (5) and Nick Leddy (5) tallied the assists on Nelson’s goal as the Islanders went ahead, 2-1, at 5:20 of the second period.

Nelson (6) scored his second of the night– back-to-back– moments later as Rask sent an errant pass to Mike Reilly that was too hot to handle for the Bruins defender, which Bailey quickly took and dished to Nelson on the doorstep.

Bailey (6) had the only assist on Nelson’s would be eventual game-winning goal as the Islanders extended their lead to two-goals, 3-1, at 12:39.

In the ensuing surge in momentum, Palmieri (7) managed to crash the net on a rebound and poke the loose puck through the Bruins goaltender to give New York a, 4-1, lead on an unassisted goal at 16:07.

Entering the second intermission, the Islanders led, 4-1, on the scoreboard and, 22-20, in shots on goal, despite both teams managing ten shots apiece in the second period alone.

New York held the advantage in blocked shots (16-15), takeaways (4-2) and giveaways (7-5), while Boston led in hits (26-23) and faceoff win% (61-40).

The Islanders were 0/1 and the Bruins were 1/2 on the power play heading into the final frame.

Matt Martin tripped Jarred Tinordi at 5:20 of the third period and presented the Bruins with their final power play of the night.

It didn’t take Boston long as they won the resulting faceoff in the attacking zone before McAvoy sent it to Krejci as Marchand (8) wound up corralling Krejci’s quick dish in front and scored on a backhand shot while falling for his second goal of the night.

Krejci (7) and McAvoy (11) notched the assists on Marchand’s power-play goal at 5:38 and the Bruins trailed, 4-2.

Unlike in Game 5, though, Boston wouldn’t get enough going thereafter to attempt a comeback.

With 1:22 remaining in the game, Cassidy pulled Rask for an extra attacker, but it quickly backfired for the Bruins as Cal Clutterbuck (3) was the benefactor of an open goal frame and added some insurance with an empty net goal to make it, 5-2, New York.

Pageau (10) and Cizikas (2) had the assists on Clutterbuck’s goal at 19:01 of the third period.

The B’s pulled Rask again for an extra skater with about 53 seconds left, but Ryan Pulock (3) used the power of geometry to angle the puck off the boards, clear it down the ice and watch as it trickled over the goal line into Boston’s empty net to extend New York’s lead, 6-2.

Pulock’s goal was unassisted at 19:12 of the third period as the final horn sounded shortly thereafter to give the Islanders the, 6-2, victory in Game 6 and a 4-2 series win.

The B’s had previously lost to the Islanders in five games in the 1980 Quarterfinal and in six games in the 1983 Wales Conference Final. They fell to 0-3 all-time in a best-of-seven series versus New York.

Though Marchand’s pair of goals was enough to tie Milan Lucic, Cam Neely and Rick Middleton for the second most goals (8) in an elimination game in a Bruins uniform in franchise history in Boston’s all-time postseason stats, it wasn’t enough to outpace the lack of a defense all night for Boston.

New York finished Wednesday night’s effort leading in shots on goal, 29-25, including a, 7-5, advantage in the third period alone and held the advantage in blocked shots (23-21), while Boston exited Long Island leading in giveaways (13-9), hits (33-28) and faceoff win% (57-43) in Game 6.

The Isles finished the game 0/1 and the Bruins went 2/3 on the power play, despite losing, 6-2, on the final scoreboard.

The Islanders advanced to the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinal round where they will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in a rematch of their 2020 Eastern Conference Final series, in which the Bolts beat the Isles in six games before going on to defeat the Dallas Stars in another six games in the 2020 Stanley Cup Final.

No information has been provided yet as to when the next round of the playoffs will begin (likely this weekend) as the Colorado Avalanche look to stave off elimination on Thursday night at T-Mobile Arena against the Vegas Golden Knights, who lead their Second Round series 3-2.

The winner of Colorado/Vegas will face the Montréal Canadiens in the other Stanley Cup Semifinal matchup.

Tampa and the winner of the Avalanche vs. Golden Knights series will have home ice in the next round.

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NHL Playoff Recaps

Tampa Bay One Step Closer To Repeating

The Tampa Bay Lightning claim the second spot in the Semi Finals after shutting out the Carolina Hurricanes at home. Andrei Vasilevskiy saved 29 shots and received quite the praise from Carolina coach, Rod Brind’Amor.

The Carolina Hurricanes biggest problem throughout the series was the amount of penalties they took. Their penalty was exposed by Tampa Bay. The Lightning struck 8 times on the power play through six games.

Brayden Point scored the first goal of the night on the power play. Alex Killorn and Nikita Kucherov were credited with the assists. Point leads the team in scoring with 8 goals.

Ross Colton, who spent quite some time with Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, Syracuse Crunch scored the game winning goal. This is his first career playoff run. Through 11 games he has scored 3 goals and tallied 1 assist. He is one of two players who was not on the Stanley Cup team last season.

Carolina won the division but what Tampa did not have was their not so secret weapon, Kucherov. He missed the regular season do to recovering from hip surgery. Hip surgery is something that takes quite some time to heal. We’ve seen players rush back after surgery and end up re-injured. While holding Kucherov out was also to circumvent the cap, it is also still very legal. Kucherov currently has 5 goals through the postseason.

The Carolina Hurricanes have had quite the playoff run these last few years. In 2019, Carolina made the playoffs for the first time in years and made it to the Eastern Conference Finals. They were swept by the Boston Bruins and have yet to have a deep run since. They have the right pieces but have yet to find the best formulation for complete success.

Tampa Bay will go on to play the winner of the New York Islanders Boston Bruins series. New York could advance tonight unless Boston forces a game 7.

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NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Vegas completes comeback with OT victory in Game 5

Hockey is a 60-minute game and generally requires a “full 60-minute effort” to win, you know, the game, but the Colorado Avalanche didn’t do that on Tuesday, didn’t they?

If you read that in one of Bill Hader’s impression voices, give yourself a pat on the back.

Anyway, the Vegas Golden Knights scored two quick goals in the third period to send Game 5 into overtime, which was ended 50 seconds into the extra frame as the Golden Knights completed their comeback thanks to a game-winning goal from their captain, Mark Stone, and defeated the Avalanche, 3-2, on the road at Ball Arena in Denver.

Vegas leads the series 3-2 and can eliminate the 2020-21 Presidents’ Trophy winners on home ice in Game 6 on Thursday.

Marc-Andre Fleury (7-4, 1.81 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in 11 games played) made 28 saves on 30 shots against in the win for the Golden Knights.

Avs goaltender, Philipp Grubauer (6-3, 2.33 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in nine games played) stopped 22 out of 25 shots faced in the loss.

Colorado’s head coach, Jared Bednar, made two changes to his lineup, replacing Carl Soderberg and Kiefer Sherwood with Alex Newhook and Logan O’Connor.

Meanwhile, Nazem Kadri remains suspended for one more game after Tuesday’s effort. The earliest Kadri can return is if the Avalanche force a Game 7.

Mikko Rantanen fanned on a chance to score with an open net early in the opening frame, then bumped into Fleury and was assessed a minor penalty for goaltender interference as a result at 6:07 of the first period.

Vegas went on the power play for the first and only time of the night, but couldn’t convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Late in the period, with just over a second remaining on the clock, Brandon Saad (7) entered the attacking zone and floated a shot over Fleury’s shoulder on the blocker side while the Golden Knights netminder botched a save by reaching across his chest with his glove hand and coming up empty as the puck hit the twine behind him.

Devon Toews (5) and Rantanen (8) tallied the assists on Saad’s goal as the Avalanche took a, 1-0, lead at 19:58 of the first period.

Entering the first intermission, Colorado led, 1-0, on the scoreboard thanks to Saad’s fourth goal of the series.

The Avs also held the advantage in shots on goal, 10-9, and led in takeaways (8-2), giveaways (6-1), hits (13-8) and faceoff win percentage (59-41).

Meanwhile, Vegas led in blocked shots (8-7) and was 0/1 on the power play as Colorado had yet to see any time on the advantage entering the middle frame.

There were no penalties in the second period as the two clubs swapped chances, ultimately leading to a one-timer goal from the bumper for Joonas Donskoi (3)– giving the Avalanche a, 2-0, lead at 16:28 of the second period as a result.

Newhook (1) and Patrik Nemeth (1) notched the assists on Donskoi’s goal as the Avs took a, 2-0, lead heading into the second intermission.

Colorado held the advantage in shots on goal, 21-14, and led in second period shots alone, 11-5, while also dominating in takeaways (13-8), giveaways (8-2), hits (30-20) and faceoff win% (53-47).

Vegas led in blocked shots (19-8), which would soon haunt the Avs.

The Golden Knights were still 0/1 on the power play and the Avalanche had yet to see time on the skater advantage.

Just over a minute into the final frame, Alex Tuch (4) batted the puck out of mid-air while settling a saucer pass from Nicolas Roy past Grubauer to cut Colorado’s lead in half, 2-1.

Roy (3) and Mattias Janmark (4) had the assists on Tuch’s goal at 1:03 of the third period as Andre Burakovsky’s turnover in his own zone deflected off of Janmark’s stick and led to Tuch’s goal.

The Golden Knights pounced on the swing in momentum as the home crowd was momentarily stunned.

Gabriel Landeskog misfired on a pass intended for either J.T. Compher or Ryan Graves along the point, but the rubber biscuit bounced off of the Avalanche defender’s skate and led Vegas on a rush back the other direction, whereby William Karlsson setup Jonathan Marchessault (6) for the game-tying goal.

Karlsson (7) had the only assist as Marchessault made it, 2-2, at 4:07 of the third period.

Just like that, Colorado’s two-goal deficit was gone.

Two, quick, sloppy plays gone horribly wrong. Vegas was surging.

The Avalanche managed to survive the Golden Knights’ onslaught, but failed to score on their only power play when Shea Theodore sent an errant puck over the glass for an automatic delay of game infraction at 10:50.

At the end of regulation, Colorado and Vegas were deadlocked, 2-2, on the scoreboard, despite the Avalanche holding a, 28-24, advantage in total shots on goal.

The Golden Knights actually led in shots on goal in the third period alone, 10-7, while Vegas also held the advantage in blocked shots (24-12).

The Avs dominated in just about everything else, including takeaways (18-12), giveaways (11-5) and hits (40-31), as both teams went, 50-50, in faceoff win% entering the extra frame.

As there were no penalties called in overtime, both clubs finished 0/1 on the night on the power play.

Less than a minute into the extra period, as some fans were probably just getting back to their seats from the long line at the bathroom during the 15-minute intermission, Stone (5) notched his first career Stanley Cup Playoffs overtime game-winning goal– top shelf, right in the corner on Grubauer’s far glove side.

Max Pacioretty (3) and Alex Pietrangelo (6) had the assists on Stone’s goal 50 seconds into overtime as the pair of Golden Knights teammates worked a quick break after blocking a shot in their own end.

Vegas won Game 5, 3-2, and taken a 3-2 series lead as a result, despite finishing the night trialing in shots on goal, 30-25, including a, 2-1, advantage in overtime alone for the Avalanche.

The Golden Knights wrapped up Tuesday night’s effort leading in blocked shots (26-11), while the Avs led in giveaways (11-5) and hits (41-31).

The two teams finished the night, 50-50, in faceoff win%.

Vegas can eliminate Colorado on home ice at T-Mobile Arena on Thursday night in Game 6 of their 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round series.

Puck drop is expected a little after 9 p.m. ET and viewers in the United States can tune to NBCSN for coverage, while those in Canada can choose from CBC, SN or TVAS.

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NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Chance to advance: Isles road victory in Game 5 means New York can win series on home ice

The New York Islanders failed to register a shot on goal after Brock Nelson scored in the third period as they outlasted an onslaught of offense and an attempted comeback in a, 5-4, victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 5 at TD Garden on Monday.

Semyon Varlamov (3-3, 2.73 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in six games played) made 40 saves on 44 shots against in the win for the Islanders.

Meanwhile, Tuukka Rask (6-3, 2.29 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in 10 games played) made 12 saves on 16 shots for no decision before he was replaced prior to the third period after 40:00 time on ice.

Jeremy Swayman (0-1, 3.33 goals-against average, .667 save percentage in one game played) stopped two out of three shots faced in the loss for Boston in relief of Rask.

The Bruins were without Kevan Miller (upper body) and Brandon Carlo (undisclosed) on Monday, though Miller continues to skate on his own and Carlo took part in morning skate prior to Game 5.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, would not comment one way or another whether or not Carlo will be ready for Game 6 on Wednesday night.

Cassidy did not adjust his defensive pairings, but made one change to his forward group, replacing Jake DeBrusk with Karson Kuhlman on the right side of the third line.

The long list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and injured players for the B’s on Monday included Nick Wolff, Trent Frederic, Greg McKegg, Zach Senyshyn, Jack Studnicka, Carlo, Ondrej Kase, Jaroslav Halak, Steven Kampfer, Cameron Hughes, Jack Ahcan, Urho Vaakanainen, Oskar Steen, Jakub Zboril, Callum Booth, DeBrusk, Dan Vladar, Anton Blidh and Miller.

David Pastrnak (6) rocketed a one-timer over Varlamov’s glove side with traffic in front from his usual spot at the top of the faceoff circle to give the Bruins the first lead of the night, 1-0, at 1:25 of the first period.

Charlie McAvoy (8) and Brad Marchand (4) tallied the assists as Boston went ahead early and looked to be in complete control of the game flow for most of the opening frame.

Once more, Varlamov allowed the game’s first goal for the fifth time in six starts this postseason, but his Islanders teammates have rendered that little fun fact mostly useless at this point.

Late in the period, despite an earlier non-call of similar nature, Sean Kuraly just tapped Noah Dobson with an errant slash and was assessed a minor penalty at 18:17.

New York’s resulting power play was rather efficient as the Isles won the faceoff, worked the puck back to the point, then across the ice to Mathew Barzal, whereby Barzal (3) skated forward ever so slightly before unloading a snap shot from the dot over Rask’s glove and under the bar to tie the game, 1-1.

Dobson (5) and Jordan Eberle (5) had the assists on Barzal’s power-play goal at 18:49.

Entering the first intermission, the Bruins and Islanders were tied, 1-1, on the scoreboard, while Boston led in shots on goal, 11-7.

The B’s also held the advantage in takeaways (9-4), while New York led in blocked shots (5-3), giveaways (4-3), hits (19-17) and faceoff win percentage (65-35).

The Islanders were 1/1 on the power play, while the Bruins had yet to see time on the skater advantage after one period of play.

Matt Grzelcyk cross checked Leo Komarov early in the middle frame, presenting another power play to the Isles at 2:56 of the second period.

Late in the resulting advantage, New York’s power play benefitted off of a lucky bounce off of Connor Clifton’s skate right to where Kyle Palmieri (6) was waiting to score from the doorstep– giving the Islanders their first lead of the night, 2-1, at 4:49.

Josh Bailey (4) and Nick Leddy (4) tallied the assists on Palmieri’s power-play goal.

Moments later, Marchand (6) entered the attacking zone with a nifty deke around Ryan Pulock before dragging the puck around Varlamov to tie the game, 2-2, at 7:27 of the second period.

Pastrnak (7) and McAvoy (9) had the helpers on Marchand’s goal.

Midway through the middle frame, Bailey (5) buried the rubber biscuit top-shelf from point blank over the blocker on a close range give-and-go play for the Islanders.

New York jumped ahead, 3-2, as Jean-Gabriel Pageau (8) and Anthony Beauvillier (6) pocketed the assists on Bailey’s goal at 14:30.

The hits just kept coming for Boston as Chris Wagner cut a rut to the sin bin for high sticking at 15:18, then the Isles notched another power-play goal at 16:38.

This time, Eberle (3) tallied the power-play goal over the far glove side as New York made quick work of sending the puck around the attacking zone before hitting the twine.

Barzal (6) and Dobson (6) had the assists on Eberle’s power-play goal as the Islanders extended their lead to two-goals, 4-2.

For the first time Monday night, Boston went on the power play as Eberle caught Clifton with a quick slash at 18:50, but the B’s couldn’t capitalized on the skater advantage as it was split between the late second period and final frame of regulation.

Through 40 minutes of action in Game 5, the Islanders led, 4-2, on the scoreboard, despite Boston being in command of shots on goal, 26-16, including a, 15-9, advantage in the second period alone.

The Isles led in blocked shots (11-5) and hits (29-28), while the Bruins held the advantage in takeaways (12-8) and faceoff win% (53-47).

Both teams had six giveaways each, while New York was 3/3 on the power play and Boston was 0/1.

Cassidy switched out Rask for Swayman to start the third period, but Boston’s nightmare only continued early in the frame as Nelson (4) wired a puck from the slot under Swayman’s glove to give New York a, 5-2, lead at 1:59.

Beauvillier (7) and Adam Pelech (1) notched the assists as the Islanders capitalized on another failed defensive zone exit for the Bruins.

Less than a couple of minutes later, Pelech was penalized for hooking Pastrnak at 3:24.

Boston didn’t waste time on the ensuing power play as Pastrnak (7) scored his second goal of the game on another one-timer.

McAvoy (10) and Patrice Bergeron (5) were credited with the assists on Pastrnak’s power-play goal as the B’s trailed, 5-3, at 3:48 of the third period.

Just as it looked like the Bruins might be able to get momentum going, they were hit with an automatic infraction as Bergeron sent an errant puck over the glass (minutes after the Islanders avoided a missed call for the same thing) at 7:41.

Though the Bruins managed to kill off Bergeron’s minor, it set their inevitable comeback attempt back more than a few minutes.

Finally, David Krejci (2) tapped in a rebound through Varlamov– just under the glove while the Isles netminder tried to desperately make a save as the puck trickled over the goal line.

Craig Smith (3) and Mike Reilly (4) had the assists on Krejci’s goal as the Bruins pulled to within one– trailing, 5-4, at 14:43 of the third period.

As a result of Krejci’s goal, Islanders head coach, Barry Trotz, used his timeout with 5:17 remaining to ease the nerves of New York’s skaters as the Bruins were outshooting the Isles, 16-3, at the time of Krejci’s tally.

New York had not recorded a shot on goal since Nelson’s eventual game-winner.

With 1:47 left on the clock, Swayman vacated the crease for an extra attacker.

Less than a minute later, after a stoppage in play, Boston used their timeout to draw up one last masterplan with 1:06 remaining.

Once more, Swayman sprinted for the bench with about 45 seconds left in the action, but the Bruins botched a play in the attacking zone, were forced to regroup with about 15 seconds left and barely got off one more attempt as the final horn sounded.

The Islanders had won, 5-4, and stolen Game 5 on road ice– securing a 3-2 series lead as a result.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 44-19, including an, 18-3, advantage in the third period alone, while New York led in blocked shots (15-6) and hits (38-37).

The Bruins wrapped up Monday’s action leading in giveaways (9-7) and faceoff win% (51-49) and went 1/2 on the power play, while the Isles went 3/4 on the skater advantage.

The Islanders take a 3-2 series lead heading back to New York for Game 6 on Wednesday night.

Puck drop at Nassau Live at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and viewers in the United States can tune to NBCSN for coverage, while those in Canada can choose from CBC, SN or TVAS.

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NHL Playoff Recaps

How Sweep It Is, Montreal Moves On To Semi-Finals After Defeating The Jets in OT

The Montreal Canadiens complete the sweep against the Winnipeg Jets. Cole Caulfield comes up big in overtime with an assist for Tyler Toffoli’s series winner. They are the first team to advance to the final four. This is the first time a Canadian team has advanced to the semi-finals since 2017. The Habs will play the winner of the Vegas and Colorado series. 

Montreal outshot Winnipeg 42-16. Winnipeg would receive a consolation prize of two goals. The Jets’ offense stalled at the start of the series but gained some ground in the final two games. Unfortunately for them that would not be enough. 

Similar to the last elimination game the Canadiens played, they opened the game with 2 goals. Erik Gustafson would put the team on the scoreboard with a powerplay goal. Artturi Lehkonen had a beautiful deflection from behind to put his team up by the end of the first period. 

Logan Stanely scored both of Winnipeg’s goals in the second period. The Jets should get him a nice bottle of wine since it was his kind effort that sent them to overtime. 

While the Jets are no strangers to playoff overtime, you have to wonder about momentum. A goalless third period and the brink of elimination. It’s all on the line. Can they capitalize? No. You know that because you either watched the game or you read the headline here. No one is burying a lead about playoff hockey. 

Something about the Canadiens taking Toronto to 7 games and turning around to sweep the Jets makes you wonder. Are they really some juggernauts? We saw how 9 days off impacted the Jets and now we will see what happens to the Canadiens as they wait for their next opponent. 

As we wait for the cards to fall into place, we can look forward to another exciting goaltending matchup. Carey Price will be matched up against either the legendary Marc-Andre Fleury ( 87-67-0, .912SV% ) or Jordan Binnington’s worst nightmare, Phillipp Grubauer. ( 19-8-1, .917SV%) As for injuries, Jeff Petry was out tonight for Montreal. A bit of a break in between the series could be beneficial for the blueliner who is dealing with an upper-body injury. It appears that his hand could be the issue after getting his hand stuck in a camera hole during game three. Jake Evans remains out indefinitely.  Mark Schiefele will serve the remaining one game of his suspension at the start of next season.
The Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche are currently tied at 2. Watch game 5 on Tuesday to see takes the series lead.

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NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Vegas cruises to a, 5-1, victory over Colorado in Game 4, series tied 2-2

Whether it was the glove side or sheer puck luck, everything went the right way for the Vegas Golden Knights in their, 5-1, win against the Colorado Avalanche at T-Mobile Arena in Game 4 on Sunday night.

The home team has not lost a game in the series thus far as the clubs are tied 2-2 in the best-of-seven Second Round matchup, while Jonathan Marchessault recorded a hat trick in front of the home crowd.

Marc-Andre Fleury (6-4, 1.79 goals-against average, .924 save percentage in 10 games played) made 17 saves on 18 shots against in the win for Vegas.

Colorado netminder, Philipp Grubauer (6-2, 2.25 goals-against average, .929 save percentage in eight games played) stopped 30 out of 35 shots faced in the loss.

Nazem Kadri remained out of the lineup for Colorado with two games remaining in his suspension after Game 4, while Ryan Reaves returned to Vegas’ lineup after completing his two-game suspension.

Robin Lehner was also back for the Golden Knights as Fleury’s backup, relegating Logan Thompson back to the press box as a healthy scratch on Sunday night.

Brandon Saad (6) kicked things off with a goal from the doorstep on a rebound to make it, 1-0, for the Avalanche at 1:50 of the first period.

J.T. Compher (1) and Andre Burakovsky (3) tallied the assists as the Avs struck first, but would not strike again on the scoreboard on Sunday night.

Less than a minute later, Patrik Nemeth cut a rut to the penalty box for holding and presented Vegas with the first power play of the night at 2:43 of the opening frame.

The Golden Knights failed to convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Moments later, however, Vegas started to swing momentum in their favor as they were clearly dominating possession and generating more shots on goal than Colorado.

One shot from Reilly Smith rang the crossbar behind Grubauer and bounced through the crease before William Karlsson let go of a followup shot that deflected off of Marchessault (3) and into the twine.

Karlsson (4) notched the only assist on Marchessault’s first goal of the evening as the Golden Knights tied the game, 1-1, at 7:07.

Late in the period, Marchessault was sent to the sin bin after he tripped up Joonas Donskoi at 18:02, but the first skater advantage for the Avs didn’t last long as Cale Makar interfered with Smith at 18:24 and cut Colorado’s power play short at 18:24.

Neither team managed to score in the ensuing 4-on-4 action as the first period drew to a close with the Golden Knights and Avalanche tied, 1-1, on the scoreboard, despite Vegas outshooting Colorado, 15-9.

The Avalanche were 0/1 and the Golden Knights were 0/2 on the power play heading into the middle frame.

Shortly after both teams emerged from the first intermission, Max Pacioretty (3) received a pass on a rush and beat Grubauer clean from the faceoff circle over the far glove side to give the Golden Knights their first lead of the night, 2-1.

Mark Stone (3) and Zach Whitecloud (2) tallied the assists as Vegas went ahead at 1:11 of the second period and never looked back.

Midway through the middle frame, Burakovsky was penalized for holding as a scrum ensued, yielding matching minors for Alex Tuch and Compher– each for roughing– at 9:35.

Late in the resulting power play, Vegas worked the puck to Marchessault (4) for a one-timer from the faceoff dot to the right of the Colorado goaltender.

Once more, Grubauer was beaten on the far side– only this time Marchessault’s shot sailed under the glove of the Avs goalie.

Alex Pietrangelo (5) and Karlsson (5) had the assists on Marchessault’s power-play goal as the Golden Knights extended their lead to, 3-1, at 11:28.

Through 40 minutes of action at T-Mobile Arena, Vegas was dominating on the scoreboard, 3-1, and in shots on goal, 24-14, including a, 9-5, advantage in the second period alone.

The Golden Knights held the lead in takeaways (10-4) and giveaways (9-7), while the Avalanche led in blocked shots (15-7) and hits (37-31). Both teams managed to split faceoff win percentage, 50-50.

Colorado remained 0/1 on the power play, while Vegas went 1/3 on the skater advantage entering the second intermission.

Early in the final frame, Whitecloud sent an errant puck out of play, resulting in an automatic infraction and a power play for the Avalance at 1:54 of the third period.

The Avs did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Moments later, Marchessault (5) completed his hat trick with a one-timer setup by Smith through the crease as No. 81 for Vegas wrapped around the net and beat Grubauer from point blank after the Colorado goaltender had lost his stick.

Smith (4) and Karlsson (6) recorded the primary and secondary assists, respectively, on Marchessault’s third goal of the game– his first career postseason hat trick and the second hat trick in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Golden Knights franchise history at 6:02 of the third period.

Vegas had pulled ahead, 4-1, as a result.

Midway through the third, some controversy emerged as Patrick Brown (2) managed to poke a loose puck through Grubauer’s five-hole, but the initial call on the ice was that there was no goal due to incidental goaltender interference.

That was quickly overturned by an official review, which deemed that Brown had not done enough to merit an infraction and, thus, Vegas led, 5-1, with Reaves (1) and William Carrier (2) earning the assists at 13:13 of the third.

But that wasn’t enough to convince Avs head coach, Jared Bednar, as the Colorado bench boss used a coach’s challenge on the grounds that he believed that Brown had, in fact, interfered with Grubauer’s momentum while making the initial save.

Turns out, the refs didn’t agree as the call that was originally “no goal”, then overturned to a “good goal” remained a “good goal” as the new call was upheld.

Grubauer was already skating backwards and had too much momentum to keep the puck, if not himself alone, in front of the goal line.

Confused? Don’t be.

Vegas made it, 5-1, was the end result.

Colorado was assessed a bench minor for delay of game– having lost the coach’s challenge at 13:13 of the third period, but the Golden Knights didn’t score on the resulting power play, while Kiefer Sherwood served the penalty in the box for the Avalanche.

At the final horn, the Golden Knights had won, 5-1, and tied the series at 2-2 as a result.

Vegas finished Game 4 leading in shots on goal, 35-18, including an, 11-4, advantage in the third period alone, while also leading in giveaways (11-9).

Colorado wrapped up Sunday’s effort leading in hits (48-44) and faceoff win% (52-48), while both teams managed to amass 18 blocked shots each.

The Avs finished the night 0/2 on the power play, while the Golden Knights went 1/4 on the skater advantage.

Vegas outshot Colorado at home in Games 3 and 4 by a combined shot total of 78-38.

Or for another fun stat…

The Avalanche managed to last in Game 2 because of their first line. The Avs were stifled in Games 3 and 4 because of a lack of depth scoring and because the Golden Knights kept Colorado’s first line quiet– completely off the scoresheet– in the latter game.

The series is tied 2-2 heading back to Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado for Game 5 on Tuesday night.

Puck drop is expected a little after 9 p.m. ET and viewers in the United States can tune to NBCSN for the action, while those in Canada can catch the game coverage on CBC, SN or TVAS.

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NHL Playoff Recaps

Montreal Canadiens Ground The Jets Again

The Montreal Canadiens are one win away from advancing to the semi-finals. They beat the Jets 5-1. You know the drill. Offense, solid goaltending from Price, and of course trips to the penalty box for both teams. How was tonight different for the Canadiens? 

Corey Perry opened up the scoring tonight. Yes, you’re reading that right. Your eyes aren’t deceiving you and I promise this isn’t 2007. The forward continues to find success on Montreal’s fourth line. Artturi Llehkonen earned his first of the postseason followed by another goal from Joel Armia. Armia’s last multi point game came on May 27 against the Leafs. The Jets couldn’t get a hold of themselves or get one past Carey Price. That was until Adam Lowry snapped the drought. Winnipeg hadn’t scored a goal since Game one. 

Cole Caufield had a beauty of a pass that Nick Suzuki buried to give the Canadiens a 4-1 over the Jets. There was a shift in the game come the third period. The Jets appeared to be frustrated and tempers began to flare. Paul Stastny took two penalties this evening. He was given a roughing penalty earlier in the game and earned his second trip to the box for high sticking. Pierre – Luc Dubios made his presence known by getting a little too up close and personal with a cross check to Brett Kulak. Andrew Copp punched his ticket to the sin bin with a cross check against Paul Byron. Montreal wouldn’t get away without getting caught though. Josh Anderson earned himself two minutes for slashing Connor Hellbuyck. Winnipeg couldn’t capitalize on the power play and would lose 5-1 after Armia scored an empty netter to close out the night. 

We have to take a look at Connor Hellebuyck. Who would have thought that the Canadiens would be the team to break and expose the Vezina winner? The goaltender had an .875 SV% tonight. This would be the second time this series the goaltender dipped below .900%. On the other hand, you have Carey Price putting on a show. Price made 26 saves clocking in at a .963SV%. The major difference this series is that the offense is showing up for Price. It feels as if they are on the same page through sixty minutes might after night. 

Jeff Petry left tonight’s game with an upper-body injury. As of now, there is no update on Petry. 

There is not a world where any expert predicted this. The Jets swept Edmonton after a battle of overtime hockey while the Habs forced a game seven against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Rule number one is to never underestimate your opponent.

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NHL Nick's Net Playoff Recaps

Islanders breakthrough with, 4-1, win & tie series 2-2 heading back to Boston for Game 5

The New York Islanders managed to pull ahead midway through the third period before adding a pair of empty net goals to defeat the Boston Bruins, 4-1, in Game 4 of their 2021 Second Round series at Nassau Live at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.

Semyon Varlamov (2-3, 2.48 goals-against average, .929 save percentage in five games played) made 28 saves on 29 shots against in the win for New York.

Boston goaltender, Tuukka Rask (6-3, 2.04 goals-against average, .934 save percentage in nine games played) stopped 30 out of 32 shots faced in the loss.

The Bruins were without Ondrej Kase (upper body), Kevan Miller (upper body), Brandon Carlo (undisclosed) and John Moore (hip) on Saturday.

B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, informed reporters after Saturday’s morning skate that Miller continues to skate back in Boston and that Carlo is “feeling better” and rode the bike on Saturday, so he’s not yet ruled in or out of the lineup for Game 5.

As a result of Carlo being out of the lineup for Game 4, Jarred Tinordi drew into Cassidy’s plans on the third pairing alongside Connor Clifton, while Jeremy Lauzon was promoted to the right side of Mike Reilly on the second defensive pair.

Boston’s long list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and injured players on Saturday included Nick Wolff, Trent Frederic, Greg McKegg, Zach Senyshyn, Jack Studnicka, Carlo, Kase, Jaroslav Halak, Steven Kampfer, Cameron Hughes, Jack Ahcan, Urho Vaakanainen, Oskar Steen, Jakub Zboril, Callum Booth, Dan Vladar, Anton Blidh, Karson Kuhlman and Miller.

Tensions boiled midway through the opening frame as Taylor Hall and Scott Mayfield exchanged fisticuffs at 7:28 of the first period.

Each player received a fighting major, while it was just the second fight ever for Hall (and his first postseason fight), who last fought Derek Dorsett– then of the Columbus Blue Jackets– back in the days when Hall was on the Edmonton Oilers on March 3, 2011.

It was also the first fight of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs for Boston.

About a couple minutes later, Tinordi and Matt Martin dropped the gloves and exchanged punches before Tinordi wrestled Martin to the ice after a scrum ensued following Mathew Barzal’s cross check on Curtis Lazar at 9:23 of the opening period.

Barzal was assessed a minor infraction, while Tinordi and Martin went to the box with five-minute majors for fighting.

The Bruins weren’t able to convert on the ensuing power play.

With about three minutes left in the first period, David Pastrnak sent a one-timer off the iron behind Varlamov, whereby the puck bounced off the post and struck the Isles netminder’s skate before Varlamov fell back onto the loose puck.

Pastrnak’s missed shot on net came back to haunt Boston on the scoreboard as the two teams entered the first intermission still tied, 0-0, despite the Bruins leading in shots on goal (so, excluding Pastrnak’s shot off the post), 11-7.

The B’s also led in takeaways (1-0), giveaways (3-1) and hits (17-12), while the two clubs each recorded eight blocked shots and went, 50-50, in faceoff win percentage in the first 20 minutes of action.

New York had yet to see time on the power play, while Boston was 0/1 on the skater advantage heading into the middle frame.

Martin went to the box for holding at 2:46 of the second period as the action resumed after the first intermission.

The Bruins didn’t waste too much time on the resulting power play as David Krejci (1) buried a loose puck for the game’s first goal as Brad Marchand (3) picked up the primary assist– surpassing Phil Esposito for sole possession of the fourth-most postseason points as a Bruin in franchise history in the process– while Pastrnak (6) was charged with the secondary helper.

Krejci’s power-play goal gave Boston a, 1-0, lead at 3:57 of the second period.

It would be the first and last time that the Bruins led all night and it didn’t last long, despite Islanders head coach, Barry Trotz, challenging the call on the ice on the grounds that he believed there had been incidental goaltender interference that would otherwise negate the goal.

Upon review, however, the call on the ice was upheld– Krejci’s goal would count, while New York’s bench was assessed a minor for delay of game, served by Jordan Eberle at 3:57 of the second period.

Upon leaving the box Eberle had a couple of quick chances denied by Rask, but within the vulnerable minute after special teams action, the Bruins were caught lagging as Barzal worked a quick pass to Kyle Palmieri (5) for the one-timer goal from point blank.

Both Boston defenders were below the goal line, while Charlie Coyle shattered his stick while trying to disrupt Palmieri’s reach in front of the crease (instead of just going for a stick lift or, you know, shoving Palmieri out of the way).

Barzal (5) and Eberle (4) tallied the assists on Palmieri’s goal as the Isles tied the game, 1-1, at 6:38 of the second period.

Moments later, Barzal delivered a few cross checks on Krejci, leading to No. 46 in black and gold retaliating with a swift spear, later determined to be a slash to Barzal.

The ref at the other end of the rink with full sight of all of the events that transpired leading to the outcome determined that only the retaliation was worthy enough of a penalty– at first handing out a five-minute major, only to be reviewed and downgraded to a minor.

Not only was it not the on-ice official closest to the play making the call, but the one at the other end with a clear line of sight for the multitude of infractions committed and yet… …at least there wasn’t another traumatic brain injury on full display.

Anyway, Krejci went to the box at 11:16 and the Bruins killed off the minor penalty.

Late in the middle frame, Charlie McAvoy caught Anthony Beauvillier with a high stick and was sent to the box at 19:06, yielding a power play to the Islanders that would extend into the final frame.

Through 40 minutes of action, the score was tied, 1-1, and shots on goal were even, 21-21, despite New York leading in shots on goal in the second period alone, 14-10.

Boston led in blocked shots (14-10), takeaways (2-1) and giveaways (8-5), while the Islanders lead in faceoff win% (55-45).

Both teams managed to amass 20 hits apiece, while the Isles were 0/2 and the B’s were 1/3 on the power play heading into the second intermission.

Barzal (2) batted a loose puck out of mid-air on an odd bounce past Rask to give the Islanders a, 2-1, lead at 13:03 of the third period and New York never looked back from that moment on.

Mayfield (4) and Noah Dobson (4) had the assists on Barzal’s eventual game-winning goal.

No penalties were called in the third period as the Bruins pulled Rask for an extra attacker with about 1:11 remaining in the game.

A forced turnover led to a chance for Casey Cizikas (2) to put the icing on the cake with an empty net goal to make it, 3-1, Isles with an assist for Cal Clutterbuck (1) at 18:57.

Rask vacated the crease once more as the Bruins were desperate to score a pair of goals in the final 63 seconds, but couldn’t muster anything as once more New York hit the back of the empty net– this time from Jean-Gabriel Pageau (3) with an assist by Leo Komarov (3) to make it, 4-1, for the Islanders at 19:57.

At the final horn, the Isles had won, 4-1, and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 34-29, including a, 13-8, advantage in the thrid period alone.

New York wrapped up Saturday night’s effort leading in giveaways (11-9) and hits (30-27), while Boston led in blocked shots (20-13). The two teams split faceoff win%, 50-50, while the Isles went 0/2 and the Bruins went 1/3 on the power play.

The series is tied 2-2 as a result of the Islanders’ victory in Game 4 on Saturday, which means there will be a Game 6 after Game 5 on Monday in Boston.

Puck drop at TD Garden is scheduled to be at 6:30 p.m. ET and viewers in the United States can tune to NBCSN for the action, while those in Canada can choose between SN1 and TVAS.

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NHL Playoff Recaps

Lightning Strike With 4 Unanswered Goals

The Tampa Bay Lightning are one win away from advancing after they beat the Carolina Hurricanes 6-4 Saturday afternoon.

Tempers were flaring before the puck even dropped. Warren Foegle and Blake Coleman were given unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Both knew better and should have said no to avoid 4v4 hockey. You could see the disappointment in Carolina’s head coach Rod Brind’Amour’s face. Tampa Bay went 0 for 2 on the power play through the first frame. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise as Carolina’s penalty kill was among the most successful. However, we’d see that PK expose themselves come the second period.

   Tampa Bay led after 20 with a goal from Brayden Point. There wasn’t much to write home about after the first frame. Though it would not stay that way for long. 

Period two was nothing shy of a battle. The teams went back and forth for the entire twenty minutes. Truro Teravainen was the first Hurricane on the score sheet. Jesper Fast would follow suit, giving the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead. Game 2 was the first time the Canes had a lead in five games. The inability to take the lead proved to be detrimental. The lead would not last long as Stamkos tied it up at 2 a piece. Dougie Hamilton turned one of his seven shots on goal into a go ahead goal for the Canes. The Hurricanes were able to keep the Lightning off their radar for a little while longer with Jaccob Slavin scoring their fourth goal of the evening. Tampa Bay were in their Reputation Era if you will, when they fell behind 4-2. It was time for them to be methodical and strike back. They would do just that with three unanswered goals to secure a 5-4 lead at the end of the period. Steven Stamkos fought through the eye of the storm’s penalty kill with two power play goals. Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson had a helping hand in the 8 goal period. 

Tampa would hold off the storm while Nikita Kucherov scored his fifth postseason goal, securing a 6-4 win over the Canes. The Lightning now hold a 3-1 series lead. With the Canes on the brink of elimination from the second round, there is one thing they must do and that is play a more disciplined game. 

Andrei Svechnikov made.the penalty box his home this afternoon, racking up a total of six minutes. The discourse surrounding Svech is a bit troubling. He is 21 years old and while he plays a somewhat undisciplined game, there is room to grow and learn. I know trouble when I see it but I don’t think you have to worry about this being a long term problem. He is 21 years old. He will grow out of his undisciplined penalty phase. Wanting to trade a guy who has 59 regular season goals in his first three years is laughable. This isn’t Zac Rinaldo we’re talking about here. He isn’t this big liability that will weigh the team down every time he enters the line up. It would make sense for him to tighten up his game as he grows into the league. Sorry but I think there is a bit of an overreaction coming from people. Just play a better game as a team and worry about the rest later.