After a veritable smorgasbord of hockey for the first two weeks of the NHL’s Return to Play, there were only two games on Thursday. It felt a bit strange to not have anything to watch during the day, waiting for the evening to arrive. Is this what life was like before five games a day? How were we even living?!
- Despite the Caps welcoming Nicklas Backstrom back to their line-up, Washington once again failed to generate any substantial offense at 5v5 against a smothering defensive effort from the Islanders. Barry Trotz got his revenge in a way that might be familiar to those familiar with the hard-checking ways of his old Nashville Predators teams: by getting ahead early and then parking the bus fully and completely. In this case, the shot and shot attempts numbers really didn’t tell the whole story: the Caps out-attempted the Isles 52-23 at 5v5 but the scoring chances were only 13-12 in their favour and the Isles actually had more high-danger chances. The Isles don’t quite have the high-end talent of Boston or Tampa Bay, but they have a sneakily deep roster and a rock-solid defensive system. They were full marks for their series win and they won’t be an easy out for whoever they draw next.
- If you didn’t manage to stay up to watch this one you missed a real doozy. Calgary was up 3-0 before the game was even ten minutes old, and Dallas appeared to be totally over-matched. The Flames were attacking in waves, particularly off the rush, and it looked like it would take a minor miracle for them to even stay in the game. But Milan Lucic took a silly goalie interference penalty not long after the third goal and Miro Heiskanen notched a power-play tally to give the Stars a lifeline. Dallas would go on to score 5 (!) goals in the second period, including thee from Denis Gurianov. Gurianov added another one for good measure in the third to round out the scoring and in two hours the Flames went from looking like sure bets to force a Game 7 to readying themselves to depart the bubble. Priority number one for Calgary this off-season: find a goalie.
Matthew Tkachuk was having a bad time:
Matthew Tkachuk watching his team go up 3-0 only to see them allow six straight unanswered goals pic.twitter.com/iiORlVYchB— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) August 21, 2020
Tkachuk's reaction pic.twitter.com/kapUc02IbH— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) August 21, 2020