NHL Playoffs Every day 2021 – Washington Capitals, St. Louis Blues on the sidelines
Sunday brings us our first two playoffs for the Stanley Cup 2021 playoffs: The Colorado Avalanche and the Boston Bruins can secure their tickets for the second round. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals are struggling to stay alive, and both teams are trying to break out of their post-championship playoff slumps.
There was some drama about the ice – including a lot of yapping about officiating – but Saturday was all about the blowouts. All four games were decided by three or more goals.
Check out the ESPN NHL Playoffs Daily to catch up on each post-season day until the Stanley Cup hits out in July.
More: Playoff Schedule | Playoff Central
Game 4: Carolina Hurricanes at Nashville Predators | 2:30 p.m. (Canes lead 2-1)
This series has the arenas with the two best atmospheres in the playoffs to date. But after a double overtime in Game 3, Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour was seething about the office. “We played our bums off, played great, played hard,” said Brind’Amour on Friday. “We’re a great team and we’re in a battle. Nashville is a phenomenal team. But we also fight the referees. It’s that simple. You can’t tell me we’re playing two games in a row.” Seven and eight penalties and they get three when the game is on? It is not right. I give my guys loads of credit for just holding out and playing their butts and having a good chance of winning. “Filip Forsberg looks dangerous for Nashville after scoring 84.2% of the expected percentage goals in Game 3.
Game 4: Colorado Avalanche at St. Louis Blues | 5 p.m. (Avs leads 3-0)
The Avs can be the first team to advance to the second round with a win. Brind’Amour isn’t the only coach disappointed with the reigning playoffs. St. Louis coach Craig Berube said on his show: “It’s so one-sided, it’s not even funny.” The Blues have been ravaged by injuries, particularly from defenders Robert Bertuzzo and Justin Faulk. The team’s highest-paid strikers – Brayden Schenn, Ryan O’Reilly, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko – have only collected two points together and are a collective minus of 24. It’s a big difference from the five goals in three games that Avalanche- Star Nathan MacKinnon scored, although Game 3 also improved Colorado’s depth. 20-year-old Alex Newhook scored his first NHL goal.
Game 5: Boston Bruins in Washington Capitals | 7 p.m. (Bruins lead 3-1)
If the Caps lose this streak, it will be the third consecutive round one exit after the 2018 Stanley Cup win. The Caps finally had all of their skaters back and were healthy for Game 4, but came out lifeless. Some players could still be brought to their knees, but it seems that Washington may not be able to resolve its myriad problems, which included key players that have been withdrawn from circulation due to COVID protocols. The Bruins were certainly the faster team. With defenseman Kevan Miller (who was hospitalized but was released after a hit from Dmitry Orlov) was banned for Game 5, it means either Jarred Tinordi or Urho Vaakanainen will be added to the Bruins lineup.
Game 3: Edmonton Oilers at Winnipeg Jets | 7:30 p.m. (Jets lead 2-0)
Edmonton was seen as the top favorite on that series, but the tables have turned. The Oilers’ biggest advantage is of course Connor McDavid. However, the jets effectively shut down McDavid, clogged the shooting lanes and kept him out. McDavid has been saved without a point in two games so far. Trainer Dave Tippett even reunited McDavid with Leon Draisaitl for Game 2 – which is usually magic – and often paired the duo with Darnell Nurse for defense, but without the dice. Now the series is heading back to Winnipeg, but maybe that doesn’t translate into a home advantage for the Jets. The Oilers went 4-1 in the regular season at Winnipeg.
Because of last night
Tampa Bay Lightning 6, Florida Panthers 2 (Lightning Tour 3-1)
The Battle of Florida brought the heat, but could it be over soon? The Lightning have taken control of this streak after scoring two goals in their first three shots to go on to a win in Game 4. Not an ideal start for Sergei Bobrovsky, who made his second start in the series. Tampa Bay felt great to have Nikita Kucherov back and he scored one goal and three assists in that one. The game ended grimly, however, when the star winger went down after a goal from Florida’s Anthony Duclair in the middle of the third half. The extent of Kucherov’s injury is unclear. This got sloppy as both teams ended up with 13 penalties. “The hockey game ended in the middle of the second half and then became something else,” said Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper. Complete summary.
New York Islanders 4, Pittsburgh Penguins 1 (Draw 2-2)
This is the final year of the Nassau Coliseum as the islanders are scheduled to move to their new arena in Belmont Park next season. The islands say goodbye to the legendary arena in style. Saturday’s game, which concluded that streak at two games per game, featured a goalless premiere. Then the islanders broke it open with two power play goals (by Jordan Eberle and Oliver Wahlstrom) within 24 seconds, the fastest two power play goals in the islanders’ postseason history. Ilya Sorokin, who served as a backup for Games 2 and 3, stopped 29 of 30 shots. The penguins will sue their six sentences. Once again, New York was able to silence Sidney Crosby’s line (Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust have only scored two goals together in the series). Complete summary.
Ryan Pulock gives the islanders a 2-0 lead over the penguins as he bounces the puck and ricochets back through the 5 hole in an unlikely goal.
Toronto Maple Leafs 5, Montreal Canadiens 1 (Draw 1-1)
John Tavares will be out for at least two weeks after injuring his knee in his scary game 1 collision. Tavares also suffered a concussion so it’s hard to say when we’ll see him again. But Toronto rallied around its captain with an offensive breakout against the Habs. The Leafs scored two power play goals for the first time since March 3. Toronto is said to have an explosive power play, but it’s been 6 against 82 (7.3%) in their last 33 games, which isn’t great. The Maple Leafs dominated almost the entire game. The only bright spot for Montreal was Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s goal after being scratched in Game 1. Complete summary.
Vegas Golden Knights 4, Minnesota Wild 0 (Knights lead 3-1)
Minnesota surprised Vegas with Game 1. But the Golden Knights – behind Marc-Andre Fleury all along – stormed back for the next three, and now the savages are on the verge of ruin. Alex Tuch continues to torment the team that abandoned him in the draft expansion. We also have one of the best cellies of the postseason: we introduce Mark Stone’s jazz hands. Complete summary.
probably the biggest #ExpressiveMarkStone of all time pic.twitter.com/WOfuJYG06A
– Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) May 23, 2021
Three stars of the night
Auston Matthews, C, Toronto Maple Leafs
After becoming the first Maple Leafs player to win the Rocket Richard trophy, Matthews scored his first goal in the playoffs. It gave the Maple Leafs their first lead in the series and they never looked back on Saturday.
The young American also assisted on two other goals in Toronto, winning 16 of his 20 games.
Carey Price stops Justin Holl’s shot, but Auston Matthews follows the rebound in Toronto’s Game 2 win over Montreal.
Ilya Sorokin, G, New York Islander
After 29 parades and 30 shots on Saturday, the 25-year-old has taken control of the island’s network. At least for now. In his first two NHL playoff starts, Sorokin is 2-0 with 1.76 goals against the average.
Sorokin became the second rookie goalkeeper in Islander history to win multiple playoff games for the franchise and join Glenn Resch.
Alex Killorn, LW, Tampa Bay Blitz
The Lightning has scored 19 goals in the first four games of their streak against the Panthers, most in the first four games of a streak in franchise history
Killorn contributed to Saturday’s offensive, scoring two goals and adding two assists.
Talking about the day
Avalanche striker Nazem Kadri has been suspended for eight games for an illegal check against blues defender Justin Faulk’s boss. (Incidentally, the St. Louis defender missed Game 3 and remains doubtful for Game 4).
In determining the length of the suspension, the NHL took into account Kadri’s history with the player safety division – which is long and includes consecutive post-season suspensions with the Maple Leafs. Toronto traded Kadri for the Avalanche after the second such case, a five-game ban in 2019.
Avalanche trainer Jared Bednar took offense at the latest decision and found that Kadri has had no problems since moving to Colorado.
“You set the rules for a repeat offender and, as I understand it, it’s 18 months,” Bednar said on Saturday evening. “So you watch the video and they talk about him being a repeat offender, but he’s not. He’s been with us for 18 months and he has no history. So I don’t necessarily get it.”
The problem is that while Kadri is not a “repeat offender” according to the CBA, the NHL can continue to punish players who repeatedly violate the league’s rules of the game. The player safety department had no problem reminding Bednar of this on Sunday. (Note the subtle trolling: the FAQ the DOPS tweeted is from 2015).
For information on any obvious ambiguities regarding the definition and specific implications of repeat offender status, see Section 8 of the Player Safety Department FAQ, which is linked here: https://t.co/izpRbVZwOt
– NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) May 22, 2021
Fan of the day
We’ll be at the Isles Penguins game with New York Jets offensive lineman Dan Feeney:
Jets OL Dan Feeney with the elite mullet while chugging a beer at the Islanders game. What a beauty. pic.twitter.com/JcaqbriQQU
– Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 22, 2021
Jet quarterback Zach Wilson was also in attendance, but maybe he was the driver-designate.