Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz, a daily in-depth look at the 2021 NHL postseason. There are two playoff games on the schedule for Friday and there were two games Thursday.
There are two games on the Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule for Friday:
Montreal Canadiens at Winnipeg Jets (7:30 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, SN, TVAS): The Canadiens will try to maintain their momentum after a 5-3 win against the Jets in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Second Round on Monday. Montreal has won four straight dating to Game 5 of its first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs and has not trailed in any of them. The Jets will be without forward Mark Scheifele who was suspended four games by the NHL Department of Player Safety on Thursday for charging Montreal forward Jake Evans in the series opener. Evans is out indefinitely with a concussion.
Colorado Avalanche at Vegas Golden Knights (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS): The Golden Knights return home trailing the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Second Round 2-0 despite dominating the Avalanche at times in Game 2. Vegas outshot Colorado 41-25 but was repeatedly stymied by goalie Philipp Grubauer, who made 39 saves before forward Mikko Rantanen scored at 2:07 of overtime in the 3-2 Avalanche win. The line of Rantanen (10), Nathan MacKinnon (13) and Gabriel Landeskog (11) has combined for 34 points and has been dominant through Colorado’s first six games of the playoffs, where they are 6-0.
What we learned
Here are some takeaways from Day 19 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:
The Bruins’ second line is worthy
It’s not always going to be perfect for the Boston Bruins’ top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. Which is where the Bruins’ second line comes in. With the addition of Taylor Hall before the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline, the Bruins found what they have sought for so long, chemistry on David Krejci‘s line. That was evidenced Thursday in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Second Round at Nassau Coliseum, when the Bruins defeated the New York Islanders 2-1 in overtime on a goal scored by Marchand. Hall, Krejci and Craig Smith, who returned from injury to score Boston’s first goal, combined for 10 shots on goal and did much of the heavy lifting throughout the game, something the Bruins will need if they continue further into the playoffs. As Smith said of Hall, “He’s a special kid. He’s a special player. … You see the plays that he’s made and just the way he talks on the bench, kind of how smart he is, looking for opportunities to score and trying to make things happen, I think he’s one of the best players I’ve played with.” That line just works, and that’s good news for the Bruins. — Amalie Benjamin, staff writer
Barzal is coming on
The New York Islanders have been waiting for Mathew Barzal to break through and score a goal and he finally did to force overtime in their 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Second Round. Barzal’s first goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which tied the score 1-1 with 5:26 remaining in the third period, was the culmination of consecutive dynamic games for the center when he created chances for himself and his teammates. Although Barzal failed to convert on a rebound chance to score again in overtime, his goal could be a sign of more good things to come for him and the Islanders in the series. — Tom Gulitti, Staff Writer
Special teams come through at end for Carolina
The Carolina Hurricanes entered dicey territory in overtime in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Second Round on Thursday. They had already given up two power-play goals to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second period. Now they had to kill off the remaining 53 seconds of defenseman Dougie Hamilton‘s tripping penalty, which he was called with 1:08 remaining in the third period, to start overtime. They killed that, then got their second power play of the game, when Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov was called for holding the stick 4:16 into overtime. While their first power play in the first period yielded zero shots, the Hurricanes were more aggressive on this one, with forward Jordan Staal tipping forward Sebastian Aho‘s shot for the win. It was a necessary jolt for the Hurricanes, who trail the Lightning 2-1 in the best-of-7 series. — Tracey Myers, staff writer
Tampa Bay’s power play finds groove
It took two games, but the Tampa Bay Lightning’s power play has adjusted to the Carolina Hurricanes’ aggressive, attacking penalty kill. The Lightning went 2-for-3 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Second Round, a 3-2 overtime loss, after going 1-for-5 in the first two games. They were quicker on breakouts and didn’t fumble the puck like they did in Games 1 and 2. They prevented the Hurricanes from being aggressive. Instead, Carolina had to sit back, giving Tampa Bay a chance set up. The first power-play goal was scored after some surgical passing from Steven Stamkos in the left circle through the seam to Nikita Kucherov in the right circle and back to Brayden Point in the high slot for a one-timer. A quick zone entry from Kucherov and Point led to the second power-play goal. Point lost the puck, but the Lightning were moving so quickly that the Hurricanes had no time to try to get it. Kucherov did, put a shot on goal, got his own rebound and one-touched a pass to forward Alex Killorn in the high slot for a one-timer that went in. The chances were similarly good on their third power play that carried into overtime. They were quick, precise and on point, exactly what they weren’t in Games 1 and 2. — Dan Rosen, senior writer
About Last Night
There were two games on the schedule Thursday:
Boston Bruins 2, New York Islanders 1 (OT): Brad Marchand scored his second overtime winner in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. The Boston forward, whose sharp-angle shot beat Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov at 3:36 of overtime, also scored the overtime winner in the Bruins’ 4-3 win against the Washington Capitals in Game 2 of the first round. Varlamov had 39 saves, including 21 in the third period; Boston goalie Tuukka Rask had 27. Each team struggled on the power play. The Islanders were 0-for-3; the Bruins were 0-for-2.
Carolina Hurricanes 3, Tampa Bay Lightning 2 (OT): Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal scored at 5:57 of overtime and they trail this best-of-7 series 2-1 after losing the first two games at home. It was Staal’s second overtime goal in the 2021 postseason, his first coming in Game 5 of the first round against the Nashville Predators. Carolina forward Sebastian Aho led all skaters with three points (one goal, two assists) and assisted on Staal’s winner. Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek made 35 saves in his first start this postseason. Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn scored his sixth goal and is tied for second in the playoffs with Aho and teammate Brayden Point, two behind Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, who has scored eight goals.