Day 4 of the season’s Stanley Cup saw the Carolina Hurricanes sweep the New York Rangers. The New York Islanders headed in to the day hoping to do the same against the Florida Panthers.
Day 5 saw more round-robin games with the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars going head to head, as well as the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins.
Eastern Conference – Best-of-5
New York Islanders v Florida Panthers
The Florida Panthers held on to deny the New York Islanders the sweep with a 3-2 victory at Scotiabank Arena.
Erik Haula and Brian Boyle scored, Mike Hoffman got a goal and an assist, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 20 saves for the Panthers, the No.10 seed in the East.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Brock Nelson netted, and Semyon Varlamov made 19 saves for the seventh-seeded Islanders.
Haula put Florida ahead with a power-play goal at 4:02 of the second, before Pageau equalized at 16:26.
Hoffman put the cats ahead once again with a power-play goal 41 seconds into the third. Boyle scored unassisted at 2:48 in order to extend their lead to 3-1.
The game got tense and the clock started ticking incredibly slowly for Panthers fans when, with an empty net and the extra skater, Brock Nelson brought the Isles within one with 1:27 left in the game. Florida fans can rest easy after Bobrovsky and his defense stayed strong and played out the final moments for the win, denying the Islanders an opportunity to sweep.
After being a healthy scratch for the first two games Lucas Wallmark saw his first postseason action of the season, accumulating 12:19 of ice time.
Game 3 will be played on Friday, Aug. 7 at a time yet to be determined.
Islanders v Panthers – Friday, Aug. 7 (12pm ET – NBCSN, NHL.TB, FS-F, MSG+)
Pittsburgh Penguins v Montreal Canadiens
The Montreal Canadiens scored three straight goals to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in Game 3 of their best-of-series at Scotiabank Arena.
Shea Weber had a goal and two assists, Jonathan Drouin, Paul Byron and Jeff Petry also scored, and Carey Price made 30 saves for the Habs, who are the 12th seed in the Eastern Conference.
Matt Murray made 27 saves, and Patric Hornqvist, Jason Zucker and Teddy Blueger scored for the fifth-seeded Penguins.
Sidney Crosby‘s assist on Hornqvist‘s goal moves him past Doug Gilmour and Joe Sakic into sole possession of eight all-time in the NHL postseason points with 189 (68g, 121a) in 167 games.
Montreal rookie forward Jake Evans left his NHL postseason debut with 7:18 remaining in the second period after Brandon Tanev hit him in to the boards.
The Canadiens lead the best-of-5 series (2-1) with Game 4 in Toronto on Friday (4pm ET – NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN, TVAS, ATTSN-PT).
The series winner advances to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, whilst the loser will have a 12.5% chance at the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft in the Second Phase of the NHL Draft Lottery, to be held Monday.
Penguins v Canadiens – Friday, Aug. 7 (4pm ET – NBCSN, NHL.TV, ATTSN-PT)
Eastern Conference – Round-Robin
Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins
Tyler Johnson scored with 1:27 remaining in the third period to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins in their round-robin game.
Brayden Point and Alex Killorn also scored, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 saves for the 2-0-0 Tampa.
Charlie McAvoy and Chris Wagner scored for the 0-2-0 Bruins. Tuukka Rask made 32 saves after returning from “unfit to play” status.
Tampa forward Steven Stamkos missed his second consecutive round-robin game due to a lower-body injury sustained before training camp.
It was the second consecutive game in which the Bolts have squandered a 2-0 lead. They had led the Washington Capitals 2-0 before allowing two goals in the final 2:36 of the second period, they went on to win 3-2 in the shootout on Monday.
Boston had two power-plays after Wagner‘s goal but combined for just one shot on goal. They are 0-for-7 on the power play in their two round-robin games. They lost 4-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.
Tampa will play the Flyers (1-0-0) on Saturday in their final game of the round-robin series, whilst the Bruins play their final game against the 0-0-1 Capitals.
Despite winning the Presidents’ Trophy as the top team in the regular season, Boston can finish no higher than third among the four teams in the East due to their poor playoff record thus far.
The top four seeds in both the East and the West will be determined by points from the round-robin games, with regular-season points percentage being the tiebreaker.
Flyers v Lightning – Saturday, Aug. 8 (TBD) ***
Bruins v Capitals – Sunday, Aug. 9 (TBD) ***
Western Conference – Best-of-5
Nashville Predators v Arizona Coyotes
Darcy Kuemper made 39 saves, aiding the Arizona Coyotes to a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators in Game 3 of their best-of-5 series.
Arizona lead the best-of-5 series. Teams that win Game 3 after a series is tied 1-1 are 21-7 (75%) at going on to win the series.
Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist, and Christian Dvorak, Conor Garland and Carl Soderberg also netted for the Coyotes, who are the No.11 seed in the West.
Viktor Arvidsson scored, and Juuse Saros made 24 saves for Nashville, the No.6 seed.
With the game tied 1-1, Kyle Turris scored for the Predators at 1:10 of the third, but the goal was overturned after Arizona head coach Rick Tocchet challenged for offside.
Game 4 will take place at Rogers Place, Edmonton, on Friday (2:30pm ET – NHL, NHL.TV, SN360, FS-A, FS-TN).
Whoever loses this series will have a chance at the No.1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft in the Second Phase of the NHL Draft Lottery, to be held Monday. The winner will advance to the first round of the Western playoffs.
Predators v Coyotes – Friday, Aug. 7 (2:30pm ET – NHLN, NHL.TV, FS-A, FS-TN)
Edmonton Oilers v Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews scored twice, including the game-winner with 1:16 remaining, lifting the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-3 victory in Game 3 to take the lead in their best-of-5 series.
Olli Maatta and Matthew Highmore both scored one and assisted the other’s goal, and Corey Crawford made 25 saves for Chicago, the No.12 seed in the West.
Leon Draisaitl had two goals and an assist, Connor McDavid scored, and Mikko Koskinen made 21 saves for Edmonton, the No.5 seed in the West.
Oilers center Tyler Ennis, who had the assist on Draisaitl‘s first goal, left the game with 3:15 remaining in the second after being checked into the boards by Kirby Dach. Oilers head coach Dave Tippet said he expected to have an update on his status Thursday (Aug. 6).
Edmonton were also without defenseman Adam Larsson who was unfit to play. Caleb Jones replaced him in the lineup.
Chicago are just one win away from advancing to the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
Game 4 is on Friday at 6:45pm ET (NBCSN, NHL.TV, SN, NBCSCH).
Oilers v Blackhawks – Friday, Aug. 7 (6:45PM ET – NBCSN, NHL.TV, NBCSCH)
Western Conference – Round-Robin
Colorado Avalanche v Dallas Stars
Pavel Francouz made 27 saves for the Colorado Avalanche in his NHL postseason debut, a 4-0 shutout win over the Dallas Stars in their round-robin meeting.
Francouz became the first goalie in Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche history to have a shutout in his first postseason game.
Andre Burakovsky and Joonas Donskoi both had a goal and an assist, Cale Makar and Vladislav Namestnikov also found the back of the net, and Sam Girard recorded two assists for the Avs.
Colorado will conclude their round-robin play against the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday. The round-robin will decide the top four seeds in the West for the playoffs.
Anton Khudobin made 36 saves for Dallas (0-2-0), who play the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.
Stars goalie Ben Bishop, who was not scheduled to play, and defenseman John Klingberg were ruled unfit to play. As part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, a team isn’t permitted to disclose a player’s injury or illness information, however it did look like he hurt his groin during their game with Vegas on Monday.
Klingberg was replaced by Thomas Harley, who made his NHL debut. The 18-year-old defenseman, the no.18 pick by Dallas in the 2019 Draft, had one hit and blocked one shot in 10:58 of ice time. He scored 57pts (18g, 39a) in 59 games for Mississauga of the Ontario Hockey League this season.
The Avs went 2-for-5 on power-plays; three of their six goals in their two round-robin games have come with the man-advantage.
Knights v Avalanche – Saturday, Aug. 8 (TBD) ***
Stars v Blues – Sunday, Aug 9 (TBD) ***
*** Time and channels dependent on best-of-5 series results