Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz: Fleury, Golden Knights seek 3-1 series lead

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On Tap

There are four games on the Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule Saturday:

Florida Panthers at Tampa Bay Lightning (12:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN, TVAS2, BSSUN, BSFL): Sergei Bobrovsky will likely start for the Panthers in Game 4 when they try to even the best-of-7 series. Bobrovsky started Game 1, a 5-4 loss. Chris Driedger started Game 2, a 3-1 loss, and again in Game 3. But after Driedger allowed five goals on 12 shots in the second period, Bobrovsky replaced him to start the third and Florida rallied for a 6-5 win. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, has struggled against the Panthers with a 3.56 goals-against average and .908 save percentage in the series.

Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Islanders (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS): The Islanders will try to tie the series in Game 4 and could go back to rookie goalie Ilya Sorokin after Semyon Varlamov allowed five goals in a 5-4 loss in Game 3. Sorokin made 39 saves in a 4-3 overtime win in Game 1, which Varlamov missed for an undisclosed reason. Varlamov made 43 saves in a 2-1 loss in Game 2. Jeff Carter leads the Penguins with four points (three goals, one assist) in the best-of-7 series after scoring nine goals in 14 regular-season games following a trade from the Los Angeles Kings on April 12.

Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, SN, TVAS): The Maple Leafs will try to recover from Game 1, a 2-1 loss when they lost captain John Tavares to a concussion. Tavares took an accidental knee to the head from Canadiens forward Corey Perry, spent one night in the hospital and is out indefinitely. Carey Price is coming off an impressive performance in Game 1. He made 35 saves for Montreal in his first NHL start since April 19 after missing the final 13 regular-season games with a concussion.

Vegas Golden Knights at Minnesota Wild (8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN360, TVAS2): The Golden Knights will try to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series after a 5-2 win in Game 3, their first regulation win at Minnesota in nine games since they entered the NHL in 2017-18. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has been outstanding for Vegas with a 1.32 GAA and .951 save percentage. Forward Zach Parise, the leading playoff scorer in Wild history with 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists) in 40 games, could play for the first time in the series after forward Marcus Johansson broke his arm in Game 3. Forward Matthew Boldy, a first-round pick (No. 12) in the 2019 NHL Draft, could make his NHL debut.

 
What we learned

Here are some takeaways from Day 6 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

Bruins power-play adjustments paid off

After Game 1 of the Stanley Cup First Round, the Boston Bruins made some changes to the top power-play unit by moving defenseman Charlie McAvoy and forward David Krejci to join forwards Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. It didn’t show results in Game 2 or Game 3 but did in a 4-1 victory in Game 4 that gave them a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. The Bruins scored on three of four power-play chances, the goals coming from Marchand (8:00 of the second), Pastrnak (0:29 of the third) and Matt Grzelcyk (14:50 of the third). “Our power play, we made a few adjustments here,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Myself and [assistant Jay Pandolfo] sat down. Tonight, they paid off.” The Bruins have scored five power-play goals on 16 opportunities in the series (31.3 percent). The Capitals are 3-for-17 (17.7 percent). — Amalie Benjamin, staff writer

Still fight left in Predators

The Nashville Predators are back in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup First Round, trailing the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 after a 5-4 double-overtime win. But it wasn’t easy. They were close to claiming a regulation victory before Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce tied the game 4-4 with 3:21 remaining in the third period. That could’ve been a devastating blow for the Predators, but they didn’t break, and they got some needed performances from key players in their win. Forward Matt Duchene scored his first goal of the playoffs 14:54 into double overtime. Forward Ryan Johansen scored his first of the postseason to give Nashville a 4-3 lead 5:01 into the third period. Defenseman Ryan Ellis had a goal and an assist. The Predators have life again. — Tracey Myers, staff writer

Late-season slump behind them

The Winnipeg Jets took a 2-0 lead on the Edmonton Oilers in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup First Round with a 1-0 overtime victory, further proof they have recovered from a late-season slump. The Jets lost nine of their last 12 in the regular season (3-9-0) but there were multiple clues in winning three of the last five that the downtrend had been reversed. For starters, the Jets allowed nine goals over the final five games, one into an empty net, and their defensive habits became more reliable. Those games from May 5-14 hinted at the buy-in that has been seen with the Jets allowing one goal in the first two games against the Oilers. — Tim Campbell, staff writer

Depth scoring keys Avalanche

A lot of the talk surrounding the Colorado Avalanche has focused on the production of their top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen, who have combined for 18 points (six goals, 12 assists), 14 even-strength points (five goals, nine assists) and 35 shots on goal in three straight wins against the St. Louis Blues in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup First Round. In Game 3 on Friday, Colorado proved it is much more than a one-line team, receiving goals from Ryan Graves, Alex Newhook, Tyson Jost, Brandon Saad and J.T. Compher. Each player scored his first goal of the postseason; Newhook the first of his NHL career. The players spoke after the game about the importance of taking a next-man-up mentality and the need for everyone to contribute when the MacKinnon-Landeskog-Rantanen line is limited, which it was Friday (two assists, nine shots on goal). “We want to have everybody pitching in,” Graves said. “It’s a big part of our success in our game plan.” — Mike G. Morreale, staff writer

 
About last night

There were four playoff games Friday:

Boston Bruins 4, Washington Capitals 1: The Bruins broke open a 1-0 game with two goals in the first 1:03 of the third period and won their third straight to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Charlie Coyle and Matt Grzelcyk scored for Boston, which went 3-for-5 on the power play. Tuukka Rask made 19 saves for his 54th postseason victory, passing Gerry Cheevers for the most in Bruins history. Alex Ovechkin scored for Washington and Ilya Samsonov made 33 saves.

Nashville Predators 5, Carolina Hurricanes 4 (2OT): Matt Duchene scored at 14:54 of the second overtime and the Predators cut the Hurricanes’ lead to 2-1 in the best-of-7 series. Ryan Ellis, Filip Forsberg, Mikael Granlund and Ryan Johansen also scored for Nashville, which got 52 saves from Juuse Saros. Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal, Vincent Trocheck and Brett Pesce scored for Carolina and Alex Nedeljkovic made 49 saves. The game went back and forth, with Nashville leading 1-0 and 2-1, Carolina leading 3-2, and Nashville leading 4-3 before winning in double OT.

Winnipeg Jets 1, Edmonton Oilers 0 (OT): Paul Stastny scored 4:06 into overtime, Connor Hellebuyck made 38 saves and the Jets shut out the Oilers’ offensive stars and took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. Connor McDavid, who led the NHL with 105 points (33 goals, 72 assists) in the regular season, and Leon Draisaitl, who finished second with 84 points (31 goals, 53 assists), each was held without a point for a second straight game. Mike Smith made 35 saves for Edmonton.

Colorado Avalanche 5, St. Louis Blues 1: The Avalanche used depth scoring to take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series, getting goals from Ryan Graves, Alex Newhook, Tyson Jost, Brandon Saad and J.T. Compher. Newhook’s goal was the first of his NHL career. Philipp Grubauer made 31 saves for Colorado, Jordan Binnington 21 for St. Louis. Tyler Bozak scored for the Blues.

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