After the unmitigated insanity of what has come to be known as Elimination Friday, Saturday yielded a more pedestrian day of NHL action. But even though the stakes weren’t quite as high, plenty was won and lost by teams fighting for seeding in the round robin.
The number one spots in both the Eastern, and Western conference were locked down, in what were two highly entertaining games, between four hungry teams.
- In one of the more exciting games of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs to date, the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche eliminated any doubt that they are the absolute best of the west. The teams traded shots all the way, with the Golden Knights holding three separate leads - of 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 - and Jonathan Marchessault leading the way, tallying two goals. J.T. Compher knotted it up for a final time, with the Colorado net empty and just 1:02 remaining on the clock, but it would be Vegas getting the last laugh. With 16 seconds left in overtime, Alex Tuch took a Mark Stone pass, skated over the Avs line, and ripped home the game-winner with 16 seconds left before the shootout began.
Who had “Philadelphia Flyers beating up on all the top teams in the East” on their 2020 Playoff Bingo Card? Not I. But, embracing the anarchy that these COVID playoffs have created, the Philadelphia Flyers locked down first place in the Eastern Conference, with an eye-popping 4-1 win over the high-powered Tampa Bay Lightning. The Flyers rode their depth, and rock-solid goaltending to their third consecutive win, with Nicolas Aube-Kubel powering the offence on the back of his first two playoff goals.
Joel Farabee and Tyler Pitlick also lit the lamp, with Tyler Johnson breaking the goose egg for the Bolts. The Flyers earn the right to face the Montreal Canadiens in Round 1, while Tampa Bay awaits the winner of Toronto/Columbus.
Overshadowing the final score, however, was Lightning star Victor Hedman going down in the first period, with an apparent lower body (ankle?) injury.
Hedman was clearly in some serious pain, and his frustration was visible as he headed to the room.