We’re rapidly approaching the end of the first round! Last night saw one team get eliminated and another one narrowly avoid it, and tonight we have our first game 7.
Montreal Canadiens 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 3 - Toronto Leads 3-2
Things were looking pretty bleak for Montreal going into game 5. To put it simply, they looked bad, and it seemed pretty clear that the Leafs were getting ready to absolutely steamroll them in five games. However, if there’s one thing we know about the Toronto Maple Leafs, it’s that you should never underestimate their ability to lose. Montreal was by far the better team in the first period of the game, and took an early 2-0 lead with a pair of goals that Jack Campbell would probably like to have back. They scored again in the second, but Toronto struck back. The Leafs then scored two more in the third period to even the game. Toronto? Being the team to mount a comeback instead of the one to blow a huge lead? Man, if there’s one thing more reliable than the Leafs finding a way to lose, it’s the Habs finding a way to ruin things for everyone.
The game ended up going to overtime, but the overtime didn’t last long, as Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki, the only good Habs, took advantage of an absolutely egregious mistake by Alex Galchenyuk to score a beautiful overtime winner and extend the series.
There’s hope after all.
Carolina Hurricanes 4, Nashville Predators 3 - Carolina Wins 4-2.
A lot was riding on this game. Not only was Nashville trying to avoid elimination; they were also trying to impress Dave Portnoy, who chickened out of attending the game but bet $25k on the Predators to win. It ended up being a pretty rough night for the biggest villain of the sports world.
Nashville took a 3-1 lead in the second period, but apparently the theme of this year’s playoffs is blowing 3-1 leads. Carolina scored one in the second and another in the third to mount a comeback, then won the game and the series only a minute into overtime. It was very considerate of all these teams to get things over with so early on in overtime so we could all go to sleep!
And here we have it: our first game 7 of 2021! Not many people predicted that this series would go seven games, but Minnesota has managed to come back from a 3-1 series deficit, with two decisive shutout victories against the Knights. Vegas is the favourite to win the series, but Minnesota has all the momentum right now. The winner faces the Colorado Avalanche, who will be very well-rested after sweeping their series.