Day 3 treated us to even more theatrics, and as hundreds of fans on social media put it “terrible refereeing” in the evening Eastern game.
In Toronto, the Eastern Conference hub city, the Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins played back-to-back, and the Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning looked well rested after their 5OT thriller on Tuesday.
Meanwhile in Edmonton, hub city to the Western Conference, Chicago battled it out with Vegas and the Dallas Stars looked to find their good form of games past.
Columbus Blue Jackets v Tampa Bay Lightning
Ryan Murray and Oliver Bjorkstrand scored in the first period to help lift the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference First Round Series.
Alexander Wennberg also scored, Pierre-Luc Dubois had two assists, and Joonas Korpisalo made 36 saves after stopping an NHL-record 85 shots in their 5OT thriller, to tie the series best-of-7 series 1-1.
Korpisalo is 3-2 with a 1.30 goals-against-average, a .962 save percentage and two shutouts in six Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Nikita Kucherov scored and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 19 saves for the Bolts, who won 3-2 in the fifth overtime of the fourth-longest game in Stanley Cup Playoff history on Tuesday.
Wennberg‘s highlight-reel goal have Columbus a 3-1 lead at 11:27 of the third. The Swede carried the puck down the right side and played it between his legs to drive outside and past Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk before cutting to the net to shoot and score whilst crashing into Vasilevskiy.
“It felt like a good time to pull that off, so it worked out,” said Wennberg.
Shattenkirk took the blame for allowing Wennberg to get around him stating, “The initial rush, he had quite a bit of speed on me… I just bit on the shot and he just made a move on me. But at that point in the game it’s a pretty unacceptable play by me to allow us to go down by two there when we really needed a goal.”
Columbus have now played 422:01 in five games over eight days since Aug. 6, the equivalent of seven games.
Blue Jackets forwards Cam Atkinson and Nathan Gerbe were unfit to play. They were replaced by Devin Shore and Emil Bemstrom.
Game 3 is on Saturday (7:30pm ET – NBCSN, SN360, TVAS, FS-O, SUN).
Lightning v Blue Jackets – Saturday, Aug. 15 (7:30pm ET – NBCSN, FS-O, SUN)
Carolina Hurricanes v Boston Bruins
Dougie Hamilton scored at 8:30 of the third period to ensure the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Boston Bruins 3-2.
Andrei Svechnikov had a goal and an assist, Teuvo Teravainen also scored, and James Reimer made 33 saves for Carolina, who tied the best-of-7 series 1-1.
Reimer started for the Canes after Petr Mrzaek made 26 saves in a 4-3 Game 1 2OT loss.
Brad Marchand and David Krejci each had a goal and an assist, and Tuukka Rask made 23 saves for Boston, who were without forward David Pastrnak.
The Czech was deemed unfit to participate after coach Bruce Cassidy said he intended to use the same lineup from Game 1 if everyone was healthy. As part of the NHL Return to Play plan, a team is not required to disclose a player’s injury or illness information.
Hamilton, who played his first three NHL seasons with Boston (2012-2015), was playing his second game in two days after being out for almost six months with a broken left fibula.
The Hurricanes had forward Justin Williams and defenseman Sami Vatanen back after they were deemed unfit to play Game 1 on Wednesday. They each had two shots on goal.
This game took the internet by storm, with fans of various teams from all over the world taking to social media to complain about the quality of the refereeing throughout the game. The protests come just a day after the officials were also called out for unfair calls against Carolina in Game 1.
Game 3 is in Toronto, the Eastern Conference hub city, on Saturday (Noon ET; NBC, SN, TVAS).
Bruins v Canes – Saturday, Aug. 15 (12pm ET – NBC)
Chicago Blackhawks v Vegas Golden Knights
Reilly Smith scored 7:13 into overtime to give the Vegas Golden Knights a 4-2 Game 2 victory, and a 2-0 series lead over the Chicago Blackhawks.
It was Smith‘s first career overtime goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Paul Stastny, Tomas Nosek and Mark Stone also netted, Jonathan Marchessault had two assists, and Robin Lehner made 22 saves for Vegas, who were once again without forward Max Pacioretty (unfit to play).
Nosek, who replaced Pacioretty in the lineup, left the game after the second period.
Kirby Dach, Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome scored, Patrick Kane had three assists, and Corey Crawford made 35 saves for the Blackhawks, 16 of which came in the third period.
Teams that take a 2-0 lead are 324-51 (86.4%) at going on to win their best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series.
Game 3 is in Edmonton on Saturday at 8pm ET (NBC, CBC, SN).
Knights v Blackhawks – Saturday, Aug. 15 (8pm ET – NBC, CBC, SN)
Calgary Flames v Dallas Stars
Jamie Oleksiak scored in the dying seconds to lift the Dallas Stars to a 5-4 victory over the Calgary Flames, tying their best-of-7 series 1-1.
Miro Heiskanen scored two, Corey Perry and Alexander Radulov both got a goal and an assist, and Ben Bishop, who made 22 saves, also registered an assist for Dallas, the No. 3 seed in the West.
At 21yrs, 26 days Heiskanen became the fourth youngest defensemen with a multi-goal playoff game. Phil Houlsey is the youngest after achieving the feat at 19yrs, 44 days in 1983 for the Buffalo Sabres, with Red Kelly (20yrs, 267 days -1948 Detroit Red Wings) and Sergei Conchar (21yrs, 23 days- 1995 Washington Capitals) finishing off the list.
He has a three-game point streak (two goals, two assists), and leads Dallas with seven points (two goals, five assists) in the postseason.
Dillon Dube, Derek Forbort, Tobias Rieder and Sam Bennett scored, and Cam Talbot made 31 saves for the Flames, who defeated the Winnipeg Jets in four games in their best-of-5 Stanley Cup Qualifier.
Dube scored 19 seconds into the game for Calgary’s fastest postseason goal.
The Stars led 4-2 with less than eight minutes remaining, before Rieder put the Flames within one with a shorthanded goal, and Bennett scored on the power play from Elias Lindholm and birthday boy, Johnny Gaudreau, to tie the game.
Just when it looked like the Calgary had done enough to send the game in to overtime, Oleksiak tipped the puck in to the net with 39.2 seconds remaining in regulation, becoming the third player in franchise history to score a go-ahead goal in the final minute of regulation in the playoffs.
Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk left the game at 4:51 of the third period after being involved in a a collision with Oleksiak and Stars captain Jamie Benn.
Game 3 will be on Friday at 10:30pm ET (NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS, FS-SW).
Stars v Flames – Friday, Aug. 14 (10:30pm ET – NBCSN, FS-SW)