A hated rival finds itself on the brink. The Flames kinda suck without Tkachuk. Our smaller, honey badger of an estranged son got on the board even though his team couldn’t close the deal. And our larger, even more enthusiastic estranged son had plenty of reasons for fist bumps and high fives and probably injured some of his teammates in the celebration.
So much for momentum. It looks like that 5-0 blowout may have been more aberration than a harbinger as Philadelphia has this series all but in their pocket. This game had shades of the early 2000s with just a couple of routine shots deflecting to beat Carey Price and not much else. I don’t know exactly when the Flyers became a team known for strong goaltending and responsible two-way play as opposed to high-flying offence and little else but as long as they finish off this series and end Montreal’s season, I’ll take it. Alain Vigneault’s “take the lead and turtle” style that backfired back in 2017 when he coached the Rangers worked out fine for him today as the Habs peppered Carter Hart after the Flyers established their lead but couldn’t get one past the young Philadelphia netminder.
Dallas 2, Calgary 1, DAL leads series 3-2
Rooting interest in this series is at an all-time low in the absence of Brady’s brother. Much like the Flyers, I never would have believed you five years ago if you told me the Stars could win a playoff game without scoring five or six goals. Goaltending has that effect I guess (and Ben Bishop didn’t even start this game!). Dallas survived some penalty trouble early on and managed to stifle the likes of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, and Elias Lindholm en route to a pretty cut-and-dry victory. The Stars’ leaders made the difference on the score-sheet as Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and John Klingberg all added to their totals. While the scores have remained close, the Stars have really run away with this series in terms of shot volume and quality and if Dallas can stay out of the penalty box they’ll wrap this series up without too much trouble.
Not wanting to let the Hurricanes have all the fun of building leads and watching them crumble all around, the Islanders, on the verge of sweeping the Capitals, established a 2-0 advantage in the first period only bury themselves with penalty trouble as they watched Washington tie the game in the second frame and eventually take the lead 3-2 in the third. Our long-lost son, Jean-Gabriel Pageau opened up the scoring with a nice deflection and who else but Mathew Barzal doubled down on the Islanders’ lead before the Capitals’ biggest threats, Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov flipped the script. All things considered, it was naive on my part to expect the Caps to simply roll over just two years after winning it all.
Knights 4, Chicago 3, VGK wins series 4-1
Chicago put up some resistance as captain Johnathan Toews got his team on the board first with Alex DeBrincat building a 2-0 lead in the first period. Max Pacioretty cut that lead in half heading into the first intermission and Chicago left the wrong player alone out front early in the second as Mark Stone redirected a puck over Corey Crawford’s shoulder to tie the game. The two teams traded leads again before the first fourty minutes had expired, setting up a dramatic third period with Chicago’s season in the balance. Alex Tuch got Vegas their first lead of the game early in the third and the Knights never looked back.