Throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs we’ll be keeping track of all the action around the league, and bringing you all of the results in one place.
No. 7 Arizona Coyotes vs. No. 2 Colorado Avalanche
The Coyotes picked up the first few shots of the game and looked like they were pulling away with the momentum, but just like that, Nathan MacKinnon forced a turnover in the neutral zone and stormed in on the rush to open up the scoring for the Avalanche. The Avalanche picked up some momentum from there, but the Coyotes still got the equalizer late in the first period, as a shot by Clayton Keller trickled through the legs of Philip Grubbauer, and as Samuel Girard went to collect it from behind him in the crease, put it in his own net. Whomp whomp.
The second period started with some jump as the Coyotes got the first good chance of the period, with Michael Grabner hitting the crossbar on his shot, and then the Avalanche went right back the other way and scored, with Tyson Jost tipping a shot from Cale Makar in front of the net. But we’re not done, not even a minute and a half later, Grabner redeemed himself, getting another chance on the rush, and this time he didn’t miss. Back to a tied game, and tied we would stay for almost the remaining duration of the game. With just 2:53 left in the third and this one looking like it was heading straight for overtime, a quick shot by Andre Burakovsky got the Avalanche back in the lead, and carried them to a 2-0 series leave.
No. 8 Montreal Canadiens vs. No. 1 Philadelphia Flyers
After eking out a win in Game 1 of their series, the Flyers came back for Game 2 and somehow looked much, much worse in this one. Struggling to manage the puck and complete many of their passes, they broke down under the pressure of Montreal’s forecheck in a big way. They gave up goals for Tomas Tatar inside the first two minutes and Jesperi Kotkaniemi about midway through the first, while taking until just about the 17 minute mark to register a shot on goal of their own.
Things continued to go south for the Flyers, as, even though they were able to manage a few stretches of more complete (and even dangerous) play, the Canadiens seemed to make them pay for every mistake they made. They gave up two more goals in the second period, a second for Tatar on the power play and one for Joel Armia on a weird deflection off of the skate of Shayne Gostisbehere, and Carter Hart found himself pulled from the game, despite his playing a fine enough individual game. Brian Elliott came in and played well enough, but it wasn’t nearly enough to stop the bleeding. Kotkaniemi picked up his second of the night on the power play midway through the period, and that was all she wrote. The Flyers came away unable to solve Carey Price, and thoroughly beaten down.
No. 5 Vancouver Canucks vs. No. 4 St. Louis Blues
With the Canucks taking a commanding series lead with their Game 1 win, the Blues came into this one looking to get back to their game and hopefully tie up the series. They would get the first really good chance to do this of the game, or at least that was the idea as they were given an early chance on the power play, but Bo Horvat had other ideas, as he broke the puck out and blasted past the Blues defenders for a stellar shorthanded goal. The Canucks would get a few more good chances in that period, as the Blues really struggled with their speed early in this one.
The Canucks carried that momentum with them into the second period. They very nearly extended their lead to two inside four minutes into the period, as they killed off a penalty and, fresh out of the penalty box, JT Miller received a stretch pass and beat Binnington on a breakaway. The Blues challenged, though, and the play was offside, so the goal came back. So they dodged a bullet there, but the Canucks were going to get that one back, in the end. After failing to capitalize on a couple of chances on their own power plays on the night, the Blues would give up a power play goal to Tanner Pearson with just under seven minutes to go in the second, and the Canucks had their two goal lead, for real this time. The Blues would get one back before the end of the period, though, as they finally capitalized on a power play chance, and Ryan O’Reilly got them back within one.
Vancouver extended their lead to two goals with a power play goal from Elias Pettersson early in the third, but the Blues rallied back, with goals from Sammy Blais and then Jaden Schwartz with just seven second left in regulation to force overtime. They then had a couple of good chances in overtime, but it was Bo Horvat who came up big for the Canucks and picked up the OT winner.
No. 6 New York Islanders vs. No. 3 Washington Capitals
After dropping the first game of this series, the Capitals came out looking sharp for this one, and were able to open up the scoring early in this one, care of an Alexander Ovechkin goal just 56 seconds into the period. The momentum was pretty comfortably held by the Capitals through the first half of the first period, but the Islanders kept their heads down, kept working, and were eventually able to pull it back in their favor. When the second period hit, we got a good burst of activity, as Nick Leddy opened up the scoring for the Islanders, and then Matt Martin extended their lead to two. Ovechkin picked up his second of the night to tie things up again, but just 15 seconds later, the Islanders surged back and Brock Nelson scored to reclaim the league.
And from here is where the Islanders really started to pull away—through the third period they really dominated the possession game, and the Capitals really didn’t have a whole lot of space to work with. They were looking to make a comeback but this just wasn’t in the cards—with 2:46 left in the third, Cal Clutterbuck made it 4-2 for the Islanders, and Anders Lee sealed the win with an empty netter in the final two minutes of play.
No. 6 Calgary Flames vs. No. 3 Dallas Stars
With a quick turnaround after Game 2 on Thursday night, the Flames and Stars were right back at it last night for Game 3. Perhaps unsurprisingly, after an intense game, both physically and offensively, the night before, this one didn’t have quite the same oomph to it, if you will. Both sides traded some chances in the first periods, but couldn’t break through, and it wasn’t until the second period that we finally got a bit of scoring. with the Flames jumping into the lead just under six minutes into the period case of a shorthanded goal by Michael Backlund, their second shorthanded goal in as many nights.
We got some weirdness at the close of the second period, as the Stars drew a penalty but also saw Blake Comeau coming off the ice and slamming his stick against the glass, breaking it. So the second period ended 38 seconds early, and the glass was fixed during intermission, and we picked back up, the Stars played their first 38 seconds of power play, we switched sides, and the third period officially began. Normal stuff.
The Stars had the early momentum in this period, but the Flames were able to make the most of their chances—they doubled their lead just past the midway point of the third as a shot from the point by TJ Brodie made its way through heavy traffic in front of the net, past a screened Anton Knudobin. The Stars had some pushback left in them, but in the end they came up short, and the Flames pulled off the win and reclaimed the series lead.