Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz: Hurricanes can even series against Lightning


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

On Tap

There is one game on the Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule for Tuesday:

Tampa Bay Lightning at Carolina Hurricanes (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS): Goaltending is the theme entering Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Second Round after a 2-1 win by Tampa Bay in Game 1. Hurricanes rookie goalie Alex Nedeljkovic needs to bounce back after allowing a soft goal in the third period that turned out to be the winner, and his teammates need to find a way to solve Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, the 2019 Vezina Trophy winner and 2020 Stanley Cup champion. The only puck Carolina slipped past Vasilevskiy in Game 1 came when a point shot on a power play went through two screens. Expect the Hurricanes to try to get more traffic in front.

What we learned

Here are some takeaways from Day 16 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

Perry still has game

Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck better be prepared to see plenty of Montreal Canadiens forward Corey Perry in the Stanley Cup Second Round. At age 36, Perry doesn’t have the wheels he once did. At the same time, he remains an effective presence in front of the opposing net, consistently creating chaos around the crease. Perry scored the series-winning goal in Montreal’s 3-1 win in Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday in typical Perry fashion. He was standing in front of the Toronto net when the puck deflected in off a body part. It was the second consecutive game Perry scored a goal while on the doorstep of Maple Leafs goalie Jack Campbell. The list of heroes is long for the Canadiens in their comeback against the Maple Leafs, but Perry, who was tied for second on Montreal with four points (two goals, two assists) in the series, is near the top. — Mike Zeisberger, staff writer

Slow starts doomed Maple Leafs

Through four games of the Stanley Cup First Round against the Canadiens, the Maple Leafs led the best-of-7 series 3-1 and were rolling, having won three straight. One more victory and they would win their first playoff series since 2004. Not only did they lose the final three games, they would not hold a lead in any of them. In Game 5, they trailed 3-0 before losing 4-3 in overtime. In Game 6, they trailed 2-0 before losing 3-2 in overtime. In Game 7, they again surrendered the first three goals in a 3-1 loss that ended their season. As forward Mitchell Marner accurately pointed out, the Maple Leafs are a team that thrives on playing with the lead. Without it, they were always chasing the game. That cost them in the end. — Mike Zeisberger, staff writer 

The Islanders are resilient

The New York Islanders demonstrated their mental toughness in a 4-3 overtime win against the Boston Bruins in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Second Round by rebounding quickly after letting a 3-1 lead slip away in the third period. New York pushed back immediately after Brad Marchand‘s power-play goal with 4:54 remaining pulled the Bruins even at 3-3 and nearly retook the lead on good scoring chances by Anthony Beauvillier and Jean-Gabriel Pageau on a power play late in the third. New York remained aggressive and composed in overtime and was rewarded when Casey Cizikas scored a breakaway goal at 14:48 to win the game and tie the series. “We just kept going at ’em,” forward Kyle Palmieri said. “I think that’s a really good team over there, we’re a really good team and it’s going to be a hard-fought series.” — Tom Gulitti, staff writer

Bruins didn’t let up

The Bruins know they’re in for a fight against a team that has reached the second round of the playoffs for a third straight season. As expected, the Islanders made adjustments after the Bruins’ 5-2 win in Game 1 on Saturday and opening face-off Monday. New York allowed the first goal but answered with three of its own in the second period, and eventually evened the best-of-7 series with a 4-3 overtime win in Game 2. “I think we’re playing a good team that decided they had to push harder,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. “To me, second periods are momentum periods. I’m going to guess it’s the highest-scoring period throughout the League, because when you get momentum in the second period, it’s tough to get a line change. You either have to ice the puck or make a clean breakout. You’re usually fatigued if you’re stuck in your end. That’s what happened.” — Brian Compton, deputy managing editor

About last night

There were two playoff games Monday:

Montreal Canadiens 3, Toronto Maple Leafs 1: The Canadiens completed an epic upset of the Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup First Round. In the first playoff series of the Original Six rivals since 1979, Montreal won three games in a row after trailing the best-of-7 series 3-1. Carey Price made 30 saves and Brendan Gallagher, Corey Perry and Tyler Toffoli scored in Game 7 for the Canadiens, the No. 4 seed in the Scotia North Division who advanced to play the No. 3 Winnipeg Jets in the second round. Game 1 is in Winnipeg on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS). Jack Campbell made 20 saves and William Nylander scored for the Maple Leafs, the No. 1 seed in the North, who have not won a playoff series since 2004 despite eight chances to clinch a series in that span.

New York Islanders 4, Boston Bruins 3 (OT): Casey Cizikas scored at 14:48 of overtime in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Second Round, spoiling a Boston comeback and evening the best-of-7 series. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand scored in the third period for the Bruins, who trailed 3-1 after Josh Bailey, Kyle Palmieri and Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored for the Islanders in the second. Charlie Coyle also scored for Boston, the No. 3 seed in the MassMutual East Division; Tuukka Rask made 35 saves. Semyon Varlamov made 39 saves for New York, the No. 4 seed. Game 3 is on Long Island on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVAS).

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