Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz: Avalanche host Golden Knights in Game 5


Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz, a daily in-depth look at the 2021 NHL postseason. There were two games on the schedule Monday and there are two games Tuesday.

On Tap

There are two games on the Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule for Tuesday:

Tampa Bay Lightning at Carolina Hurricanes (6:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS): The Lightning can advance to the Stanley Cup Semifinals with a road win in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Second Round. The defending Stanley Cup champions, the No. 3 seed in the Discover Central Division, showed how explosive they can be by scoring four straight goals in a 6-4 win in Game 4 after trailing 4-2. The Hurricanes, the No. 1 seed, haven’t decided their starting goalie: Alex Nedeljkovic, who was 0-2 with a 2.04 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in the first two games, or Petr Mrazek, who was 1-1 with a 3.90 GAA and .873 save percentage in the past two. Carolina forward Nino Niederreiter could return from an upper-body injury that has caused him to miss the first four games of the series. Forwards Warren Foegele and Vincent Trocheck each will be a game-time decision for the Hurricanes with an upper-body injury. 

Vegas Golden Knights at Colorado Avalanche (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS): Colorado and Vegas tied for the most points in the NHL in the regular season (82), with Colorado winning the Presidents’ Trophy and the No. 1 seed in the Honda West Division by the regulation-wins tiebreaker (35-30). Now they’re tied in the Stanley Cup Second Round entering Game 5 at Colorado. The Golden Knights, who won the past two games, have outshot the Avalanche 110-52 since the first period of Game 2. The home team has won each game in the best-of-7 series, and the Avalanche have won 13 straight home games and are 20-0-1 in their past 21 home games dating to the regular season.

What we learned

Here are some takeaways from Day 23 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

Caufield shines as passer too

Cole Caufield is still looking for his first NHL postseason goal. The 20-year-old rookie forward, who has four assists, has had his chances but his pass-first mentality at times had Montreal Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme urging him to change his ways. “Every time you have a chance to shoot at that time of the year here, chances are rare,” Ducharme said Sunday “So you need to take it, and the way he shoots the puck, that’s a weapon he’s got. So I told him to use it.” Good advice, sure. But on Monday night, Caufield showed just how valuable his passing skills can be as well. His stick-to-stick pass to teammate Tyler Toffoli at 1:39 of overtime resulted in the series-winning goal, a 3-2 victory against the Winnipeg Jets in Game 4 of the second round. Toffoli, whose goal finished off a 4-0 sweep, raved about Caufield’s setup. “He’s such a great player,” Toffoli said. “Every time the puck’s on his stick, something good happens. Hopefully he keeps doing what he’s doing. I’m definitely not going to tell him what to do with the puck. That’s his decision and right now he’s making the right ones. He certainly did that on the winning goal.” — Mike Zeisberger, staff writer 

Two tracks, Jets on the wrong one

Though the Canadiens’ four-game sweep of the Jets may have been difficult to predict, events late in Game 1, when Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele charged Montreal’s Jake Evans with a hit that would earn him a four-game suspension, sent the teams on different trajectories. The motivated Canadiens had found their game by then, became more determined and have won seven consecutive playoff games. The Jets, meanwhile, missed Scheifele. In Games 2-4, they had no goals from top-six forwards and one goal from any forward, Adam Lowry. It was similar when Scheifele was knocked out early in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the Calgary Flames last season. Without Scheifele for all but five minutes of that series, Winnipeg scored six goals in four games. — Tim Campbell, staff writer

Timeout exactly what Islanders needed

New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz pushed the right button when he called timeout at 14:43 of the third period after Boston Bruins center David Krejci scored to make it a one-goal game. The Islanders were outshot 18-3 in the third but allowed two shots on goal over the remaining 5:17 and hung on for a 5-4 win in Game 5 on Monday to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 second round. “I think you have to play to win,” Trotz said. “We were backing up, and I don’t like that. That’s not our style. We want to go forward, so I said, ‘Let’s get back to our game. Let’s get back to our game of pushing forward.’ I thought we stabilized that pretty well. I thought the last five minutes, our guys did an excellent job.” — Brian Compton, deputy managing editor

Bruins need to fix the PK

The Bruins got through Game 3 and Game 4 against the Islanders without giving up a power-play goal, but their penalty kill let them down in a 5-4 loss in Game 5. The Islanders went 3-for-4 on the power play, including goals on each of their first three opportunities, and are 6-for-15 (40 percent) in the series. Being without defensemen Brandon Carlo and Kevan Miller has depleted the Bruins penalty kill, but they also made mistakes that proved costly. That included giving Mathew Barzal too much room to shoot on his power-play goal that tied it 1-1 with 1:11 left in the first period and Sean Kuraly‘s failure to clear the puck before Kyle Palmieri‘s power-play goal that gave New York a 2-1 lead 4:49 into the second. “Carlo and Miller eat up a lot of those minutes. We miss them back there,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We had some breakdowns we need to correct. Guys don’t have their abilities on it, but we’ve got to coach them up, make sure they’re better. That’s what’s in front of us that sticks out right now. Obviously, some 5-on-5 things, but I thought 5-on-5 we were dominant. But the PK let us down and we’ve got to get better at it.” — Tom Gulitti, staff writer 

About last night

There were two playoff games Monday:

Montreal Canadiens 3, Winnipeg Jets 2 (OT): Tyler Toffoli scored 1:39 into overtime at Bell Centre in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Second Round, and Montreal swept the best-of-7 series. The Canadiens, the No. 4 seed in the Scotia North Division, have won seven straight games, their longest playoff winning streak since winning 11 in a row in 1993, when they won the Stanley Cup. They will play the Colorado Avalanche or Vegas Golden Knights, the top two teams in the NHL in the regular season, in the Stanley Cup Semifinals. Erik Gustafsson and Artturi Lehkonen gave Montreal a 2-0 lead in the first period. Logan Stanley scored twice to tie it 2-2 in the second, but Winnipeg couldn’t pull ahead. The Jets, the No. 3 seed in the North, never led in the series. Carey Price made 14 saves for the Canadiens. Connor Hellebuyck made 30 for the Jets.

New York Islanders 5, Boston Bruins 4: Semyon Varlamov made 40 saves and the power play went 3-for-4 at TD Garden in Game 5 and New York took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series. The Islanders pulled ahead 5-2 in the third period. The Bruins responded with two goals while outshooting the Islanders 18-3 in the third and 44-19 in the game, but they couldn’t complete the comeback. Mathew Barzal, Kyle Palmieri, Josh Bailey, Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson scored for the Islanders, the No. 4 seed in the MassMutual East Division. David Pastrnak scored twice for the Bruins, the No. 3 seed. Brad Marchand and David Krejci also scored. Tuukka Rask allowed four goals on 16 shots though two periods before leaving with an injury. Jeremy Swayman allowed one goal on three shots in the third.

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