Day 5 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs started with a shock announcement, Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask opted out of the playoffs citing wanting to spend time with his family as the reason.
The announcement came just a little over an hour before puck drop in their Eastern Conference First Round Game 3 matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes in Toronto. Heading in to the day the series was tied 1-1.
We also saw the Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes play the second of a back-to-back in Edmonton, the Tampa Bay Lightning take on the Columbus Blue Jackets in Toronto, and the Golden Knights play the Chicago Blackhawks in the 8pm game in Edmonton.
Boston Bruins v Carolina Hurricanes
The Boston Bruins defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
Jaroslav Halak, in for Rask, made 29 saves, Charlie Coyle and Brad Marchand each had a goal and an assist, and Sean Kuraly scored shorthanded for the fourth-seeded Boston, who lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.
It was Halak‘s first start in the playoffs since April 27, 2015, when he was with the New York Islanders.
Nino Niederreiter scored, and Petr Mrazek made 36 saves for Carolina.
The Canes’ goal came on the power play at 6:30 of the third, with Niederreiter gloving a clearing attempt by Halak from behind the net and scoring backhand into the open net.
The Hurricanes lost forward Andrei Svechnikov with 4:38 remaining in the third after tangling with Zdeno Chara. He was helped off the ice by teammates before heading to the locker room with what looked like an ankle injury.
Meanwhile Boston were still without David Pastrnak, who missed a second consecutive game.
Bruins v Canes – Monday, Aug. 17 (8pm ET – NBCSN, FS-CR, NESN)
Tampa Bay Lightning v Columbus Blue Jackets
Brayden Point and Victor Hedman scored in the second period, to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference First Round series.
Teams that win Game 3 after being tied 1-1 are 215-106 (67%) at going on to win their best-of-7 NHL series.
Andrei Vasilevskiy made 15 saves, and Alex Killorn scored for the Bolts, who lead the series 2-1.
Riley Nash and Eric Robinson scored, and Joonas Korpisalo made 31 saves for Columbus, who went 0-for-4 on the power play.
Point extended his point streak to six games when he gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead at 14:16 of the second period.
Rookie forward Carter Verhaeghe set up Hedman for his first point in his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut.
Game 4 is in Toronto on Monday (3 pm ET – NBCSN, SN360, SN1, TVAS, FS-O, SUN).
Lightning v Blue Jackets – Monday, Aug, 17 (3pm ET – NBCSN, FS-O, SUN)
Colorado Avalanche v Arizona Coyotes
Darcy Kuemper made 49 saves helping lift the Arizona Coyotes to their first win of their Western Conference First Round, a 4-2 victory against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 3.
Derek Stepan, Brad Richardson, Taylor Hall and Lawson Crouse scored for the Coyotes, the No.7 seed in the West.
Andre Burakovsky and Mikko Rantanen scored, and Pavel Francouz made 19 saves for the Avalanche, the No.2 seed.
Hall and Crouse‘s emptynetters sandwiched Colorado’s second, scored by Rantanen with 57 seconds left in the game, with Francouz pulled for the extra attacker.
The Avs were without forward Vladislav Namestnikov, whilst Arizona were missing forward Nick Schmaltz, who were both ruled unfit to play.
As part of the NHL’s Return to Play Plan, a team is not permitted to disclose the injury or illness information of any player.
Game 4 will be in Edmonton on Monday at 5:30pm ET (NBCSN, FX-CA, TVAS, FS-A, FS-A PLUS, ALT).
Avalanche v Coyotes –Monday, Aug. 17 (5:30pm ET – NBCSN, FS-A, FS-A+, ALT)
Vegas Golden Knights v Chicago Blackhawks
Marc-Andre Fleury made 26 saves as the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in Game 3, taking a 3-0 lead in their Western Conference First Round series.
William Karlsson and Patrick Brown scored for Vegas, the top-seeded team in the West who have won six consecutive games to start the postseason.
Fleury, who hadn’t played since their 6-4 Aug. 6 win over the St. Louis Blues in the round-robin, replaced Robin Lehner who won Games 1 and 2.
Olli Maatta scored, and Corey Crawford made 24 saves for the eighth-seeded Blackhawks.
Karlsson gave the Knights a 1-0 with a shorthanded goal from the right circle at 4:12 of the first period, before Brown extended the lead with his first career postseason goal off a rebound from the slot at 15:23 of the second.
Maatta scored on a wrist shot from the left circle at 6:21 of the third to make it 2-1, adding a little nervousness to the Vegas bench.
The Golden Knights were without forwards Paul Stastny and Tomas Nosek, each unfit to play, whilst Mark Pacioretty, who was unfit for Game 2, returned to the lineup.
The victory sees Fleury move into a sixth-place tie with Ken Dryden with 80 career NHL playoff wins.
Teams who take a 3-0 lead in a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series are 190-4 (97.9%) in going on to win the series.
Game 4 will be in Edmonton on Sunday at 6:30pm ET (NBCSN, SN360, SN1, NBCSCH, ATTSN-RM).
Knights v Blackhawks – Sunday, Aug. 16 (6:30pm ET – NBCSN, NBCSCH, ATTSN-RM)