The Florida Panthers staved off elimination in game three of their qualifying game against the New York Islanders as they ran out 3-2 winners thanks to goals from Erik Haula, Mike Hoffman, and Brian Boyle. Both Haula and Hoffman scored on power plays that the Islanders will be unhappy with as both were completely avoidable. Haula’s came in the second period after the Islanders were called for too many men on the ice while Hoffman made goaltender Semyon Varlamov pay for playing the puck outside the trapezoid by scoring on the resulting man advantage. Game four will take place Friday morning as Islanders look to end the fightback from the Panthers.
After a positive performance in game two of the series where the Nashville Predators tied up their series with the Arizona Coyotes, the Preds failed to keep their momentum going as they fell apart in the third period and wound up on the wrong side of a 4-1 loss. The Coyotes now lead the series 2-1 going into Friday’s game four and have a hot goaltender in Darcy Kuemper who stopped 39 of 40 shots on Wednesday. Nashville had the puck in the net first in the third period, but it was called back for offside on a coaches challenge after Matt Duchene strayed offside on Kyle Turris’ goal.
In the Round Robin games, Tampa squeezed past the Boston Bruins thanks to a goal from Tyler Johnson with 1:27 remaining in the third. Tuukka Rask stopped Yanni Gourde’s original shot but the rebound went straight to Johnson for an easy finish. The win puts the Lightning in pole position in the Eastern Conference and leaves Boston, who was the best team during the regular season, facing the possibility of being the number four seed. Boston fought back from 2-0 down through goals by Charlie McEvoy and Chris Wagner and will be disappointed to lose in regulation time after thinking they’d forced overtime.
In the Western Conference, the Dallas Stars’ struggles continued as they were run off the nice by the Colorado Avalanche in a 4-0 beating. Dallas, who gave up a 3-1 third period lead in their last outing against the Vegas Golden Knights, couldn’t handle Nathan MacKinnon and company and only for goaltender Anton Khudobin (who faced 40 shots on the night) could have been left really embarrassed. At the other end, Pavel Francouz made the saves needed as he recorded his first-ever NHL postseason shutout.
The Montreal Canadiens came from 3-1 down against the Pittsburgh Penguins to win game 3 and go 2-1 ahead in their series. Going into the series not many people gave the Canadiens a chance (including myself) but they have pushed the Penguins in each of the first three games and Carey Price, who it was thought would have to be fantastic, has been a major factor in the lead. Game four will be Friday for a Penguins side who will not want to exit the postseason at the first hurdle for the second year running, even if it gives them a chance at Alexis Lafrenière.
NHL Roundup: NY Rangers first to pack their bags to head home and NY Islanders extend their lead over Panthers
If you keep Connor McDavid quiet you have a chance. This is what the Chicago Blackhawks are finding out in their postseason series as they won game three to take a 2-1 series lead. In game one of the series they limited him to one goal and won the game. They did the same in game three with similar results and now go into Friday’s crucial game four clash with a little bit of hope that they could upset the Oilers. Jonathan Toews has been a major factor behind that and the captain has made it his mission to try to stop McDavid. It didn’t work in game two where he scored a hat-trick but two out of three against the greatest player in the game is not bad.