The Stanley Cup is now well under way, with Day 4 featuring only Best-of-5 series games.
Heading in to the day the Carolina Hurricanes knew that victory would secure them the series and they’d be moving on to the Playoffs, after taking a 2-0 lead on Monday.
The Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames also faced off in their third game, whilst the Florida Panthers vs New York Islanders, Columbus Blue Jackets vs Toronto Maple Leafs, Arizona Coyotes vs Nashville Predators and the Minnesota Wild vs Vancouver Canucks series were all in Game 2.
Florida Panthers v New York Islanders
Jordan Eberle scored twice and the New York Islanders racked up three unanswered goals to defeat the Florida Panthers 4-2 in Game 2 of their best-of-series. They now hold a 2-0 lead.
Matt Martin and Ryan Pulock also scored, and Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves for the No.7 seeded Isles.
Mike Hoffman and Aleksander Barkov netted, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves for Florida, the No.10 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Panthers forward Aleksi Saarela and defenseman Brady Keeper both made their series debut after being healthy scratches for Game 1. They replaced forward Dominic Toninato and defenseman Riley Stillman, meanwhile former Hurricanes forward Lucas Wallmark didn’t play for the second consecutive game.
Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk was unfit to play after an illegal check to the head from Mike Matheson in Game 1. Boychuk was replaced by Andy Greene.
Teams with a 2-0 lead are 56-1 (98.2%) winning a best-of-5 NHL series.
Game 3 is on Wednesday (12 Noon ET – NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN, TVAS, FS-F, MSG+).
Islanders v Panthers – Wednesday, Aug. 5 (12pm ET – NBCSN, NHL.TV, FS-F,
Columbus Blue Jackets v Toronto Maple Leafs
Frederik Andersen made 20 saves for his third NHL postseason shutout, as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0 in Game 2, tying their best-of-5 series 1-1.
Auston Matthews scored at 16:00 of the second period to get Toronto on the board. It was their first goal of the series, ending Joonas Korpisalo‘s shutout streak at 96:00.
John Tavares scored on a breakaway at 4:56 of the third to make it 2-0, before Morgan Reilly made it 3-0 with an empty-netter 47 seconds from time, after the game was delayed for 14 minutes following an injury to Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin.
Muzzin was injured with 1:52 remaining in the third period. He lay on his back on the ice after he fell and his head struck the leg of Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand. The Defenseman’s neck was immobilized before he was taken off on a stretcher. Toronto said he was alert at the hospital and able to move all his limbs.
Korpisalo made 35 saves, including the first 27 shots he faced. His 55 saves without a goal to begin his NHL postseason career includes 28 from the first shutout in Blue Jackets’ postseason history.
His shutout streak was the fourth longest in league history from the start of a postseason career, 10 seconds longer than Boston Bruins goalie Andrew Raycroft (95:50) in the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Normie Smith of the Detroit Red Wings had a 248:32 shutout streak to begin his playoff career in 1936, Tiny Thompson of the Bruins had a 129:27 streak in 1929, and Chris Osgood also of the Red Wings had a 97:14 streak in 1994. Andersen had two postseason shutouts for the Anaheim Ducks in 2015/16.
Nine penalties were called in Game 2, five against Columbus, who had just one in Game 1.
Game 3 will be on Thursday (8pm ET – NBCSN, FS-O).
Leafs v Blue Jackets – Thursday, Aug.6 (8pm ET – NBCSN, FS-O)
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers
The Carolina Hurricanes have advanced to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after completing a sweep of the New York Rangers with a 4-1 Game 3 victory.
James Reimer made 37 saves in his first start of the postseason after Petr Mrazek had started the previous two for Carolina, who secured just their third postseason sweep.
It was Reimer‘s first postseason start since May, 2013.
Sebastian Aho scored twice, assisted another, and Warren Foegele and Teuvo Teravainen scored for Carolina, the No.6 seed in the East, after Chris Kreider had scored for the No.11 Rangers.
Rangers rookie Igor Shesterkin made 27 saves in his NHL postseason debut. New York led for 3:06 in the series, all in Game 3 (it was the first time Carolina had trailed). Their power play was 1-for-14.
The Rangers have a 12.5% chance at the No.1 pick in 2020 NHL Draft in the Second Phase of the NHL Draft Lottery, to be held Aug. 10.
The Hurricanes will play either the Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals or the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference First Round. All four teams are currently playing in the round-robin portion of the qualifiers to determine the top four seeds.
Canes sweep series 3-0 – Advance to Stanley Cup Playoffs
Arizona Coyotes v Nashville Predators
Juuse Saros made 24 saves for his first NHL postseason win, helping the Nashville Predators defeat the Arizona Coyotes 4-2 in Game 2.
The result sees them tie their best-of-5 series 1-1.
Ryan Johansen had a goal and an assist, and Nick Bonino, Calle Jarnkrok and Viktor Arvidsson also scored for the sixth-seeded Predators.
After Pekka Rinne struggled throughout the season, Saros took over as the Preds’ No.1 goalie, going 12-5-1 with a 2.22 goals-against average and .934 save percentage in his last 20-regular season games (18 starts). Rinne, whose streak of 89 consecutive postseason starts ended Sunday, was 4-6-1 with a 3.59 GAA and a .895 save percentage (.904 at even strength) in 11 games (all starts) in that time span.
Clayton Keller and Lawson Crouse scored, and Darcy Kuemper made 24 saves for Arizona, the No.11 seed in the West.
Nashville had 21 blocked shots, including a game-high five by Bonino.
Game 3 will be played on Wednesday (2:30pm ET – NHLN, NHL.TV, SN360, FS-A, FS-A PLUS, FS-T).
Teams that win Game 3 after a series tied at 11 are 21-7 (75%) at winning a best-of-5 NHL series.
Predators v Coyotes – Wednesday, Aug.5 (2:30pm ET – NHLN, NHL.TV, FS-A, FS-A+, FS-TN, SN360)
Calgary Flames v Winnipeg Jets
The Calgary Flames scored three power-play goals in a 6-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in Game 3 of their best-of-5 series, taking a 2-1 lead.
Sean Monahan had a goal and two assists, and Elias Lindholm, Johnny Gaudreau and Mikael Backlund each had a goal and an assist for Calgary, the No.8 seed. Cam Talbot made 34 saves.
Nikolaj Ehlers and Andrew Copp scored, and Connor Hellebuyck made 26 saves for the ninth-seeded Jets, who were playing without forwards Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine and Mason Appleton for a second straight game after they were all injured in their 4-1 Game 1 defeat on Saturday.
Winnipeg forward Mathieu Perreault left the game with an apparent lower-body injury at 13:13 of the second period.
The Flames, who have scored five power-play goals and one shorthanded in the series, were 3-for-4 on the power-play after going 0-for-6 in Game 2.
Game 4 will be played on Thursday at 10:30pm ET (CNBC, NHLN, NHL.TV, SN).
Flames v Jets – Thursday, Aug.6 (10:30pm ET – CNBC, NHL.TV)
Minnesota Wild v Vancouver Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks held on, despite two late goals from the Minnesota Wild, to tie the series (1-1) with a 3-4 victory.
J.T. Miller and Bo Horvat each had a goal and an assist for the seventh-seeded Canucks. Jacob Markstrom made 32 saves for his first NHL postseason win. Tanner Pearson and Brock Boeser also netted for Vancouver.
Quinn Hughes recorded his first postseason NHL point with an assist on Horvat‘s goal, and Alexander Edler registered two assists.
Kevin Fiala scored twice in the final 2:29 to get Minnesota, the no.10 seed, within one goal, with Luke Kunin also scoring, and Eric Staal and Zach Parise both registered two assists for the Wild.
Canucks forwards Micheal Ferland and Antoine Roussel both left the game. Ferland didn’t play after taking four shifts in the first period and Roussel left 4:18 into the third after getting hit in the face by a deflected puck. They were already without forwards Tyler Toffoli and Adam Gaudette, who were replaced by Jake Virtanen and Loui Eriksson.
Game 3 will be played on Thursday at 2:30pm ET (NHLT.TV, NHLN, SN,
Canucks v Wild -Thursday, Aug. 6 (2:30pm ET – NHLN, NHL.TV, FS-N)