Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz, a daily in-depth look at the 2021 NHL postseason. There are two playoff games scheduled for Saturday and there was one Friday.
There are two games on the Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule Saturday:
Toronto Maple Leafs at Montreal Canadiens (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS): For the first time in 14 months, the Canadiens will have fans inside the Bell Centre, with 2,500 expected for Game 6 against the Maple Leafs. Toronto, which leads the Stanley Cup First Round 3-2, is 0-5 in series-clinching games since 2018, including a 4-3 overtime loss to Montreal in Game 5 at home. Montreal’s four goals in the victory were as many as it had scored in the first four games of the best-of-7 series. The Maple Leafs have not defeated the Canadiens in a playoff series since winning the 1967 Stanley Cup Final in six games. The winner of this series plays the Winnipeg Jets in the Stanley Cup Second Round.
New York Islanders at Boston Bruins (8 p.m.. ET; NBC, SN360, TVAS2): The Stanley Cup Second Round gets underway featuring two teams who each eliminated higher seeds in the first round. The Islanders, the No. 4 seed in the Massmutual East Division, defeated the No. 1 seeded Pittsburgh Penguins in six games in their best-of-7 series. The No. 3 Bruins defeated the No. 2 seeded Washington Capitals in five games, rebounding from a loss in the opener to win four straight. Islanders rookie goalie Ilya Sorokin is 4-0 in the playoffs with a 1.95 goals-against average and .943 save percentage. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask is 4-1 with a 1.81 GAA and .941 save percentage. Boston is in the second round for the fourth straight season; New York is in the second round for the third straight season. This is the third time the two teams have met in a playoff series, and first since 1983.
What We Learned
Brodin’s absence shows his value to Wild
The value of defenseman Jonas Brodin was perhaps never more apparent than in the Minnesota Wild’s 6-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup First Round at T-Mobile Arena on Friday. Brodin played 1:56 before leaving with an undisclosed injury. He entered the game averaging 22:40 in ice time. That put stress on a defense corps that was already playing Calen Addison in his sixth NHL game in place of Carson Soucy. Ryan Suter entered the game averaging 23:14; he played 28:50. Matt Dumba entered the game averaging 22:47; he played 28:47. It was too much to overcome against a team like Vegas. — Nicholas J. Cotsonika, columnist
Golden Knights find different ways to score
Scoring was the big concern for the Golden Knights entering Game 7, considering they were coming off their second shutout loss of the series. They got the game-winning goal from forward Max Pacioretty, who led them with 24 goals in the regular season and had missed the past 12 games with an undisclosed injury. Forward Mattias Janmark scored a hat trick after scoring one goal in 15 games with Vegas in the regular season, and the other two goals came from defensemen Nicolas Hague and Zach Whitecloud. Hague scored five goals in the regular season; Whitecloud scored two. Depth scoring like that sure would help in the second round against the Colorado Avalanche. — Nicholas J. Cotsonika, columnist
About Last Night
There was one playoff game Friday:
Vegas Golden Knights 6, Minnesota Wild 2: Mattias Janmark scored his first NHL hat trick to help the Golden Knights win Game 7 and advance to the Stanley Cup Second Round against the Colorado Avalanche. Game 1 is at Colorado on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS). Janmark had scored one goal in 21 regular-season and playoff games with Vegas after being acquired in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on April 12. He is the eighth player in NHL history to score a hat trick in a Game 7 and first since Joel Kiviranta for the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Second Round last season. Among the positives for the Golden Knights was the return of forward Max Pacioretty, who scored his first goal since May 1 after being out with an undisclosed injury. The veteran forward scored the third series-clinching goal of his career and will be a key cog against the Avalanche. Minnesota has not advanced past the first round since 2015.