Montreal Canadiens 3 - Toronto Maple Leafs 2 (OT) Series tied 3-3
Woof. I can just see the Jets shaking in their boots watching this series unfold. Period one had everything you’ve come to expect with Montreal generating lots of shots while not actually looking threatening and the Leafs [sic] kinda just stood around and made lots of money. Rinse and repeat in period two as the Habs to this point outshot Toronto 21-15 while somehow still failing to get one past Jack Campbell (brb gonna look that name up and see if it’s a real person or a bot). For real though they could have spared us the first forty minutes and just cut to the chase.
To the surprise of everyone* (*no one) Toronto’s powerplay that looked so effective during the regular season couldn’t solve biomechanically-reconstructed Cary Price. In a surprise turn of events though, the Montreal powerplay that looked so listless during the regular season converted on its second attempt of the night courtesy of known still-good-at-hockey personality Corey Perry —but was there goaltender interference on the play? Spoiler alert: there was not. The Leafs, perhaps feeling drunk with power, opted to challenge said goal for interference and got a bench minor to show for their hubris. Putting Montreal’s now somehow competent powerplay unit on the ice back on the ice. To add insult to injury Mitchell Marner immediately handed them with a two-skater advantage with a foolish puck over the glass penalty and the porous Campbell couldn’t buy a save as the Canadiens established a 2-0 lead.
Stupid sexy Jason Spezza got Toronto back in it with less than ten minutes to go in the game, making Jeff Petry look like Sheldon Souray. Needing to protect a one-goal lead for less than five minutes to keep their season alive, Montreal folded like soggy cardboard in the rain and all told Toronto outshot Montreal 15-8 in the third as TJ Brodie (whomst?) tied the game and the Leafs naturally celebrated like a team that hasn’t won a meaningful game in over a decade. In overtime, you’d again be surprised to know which of these two teams had to play to keep their season in the balance as the Habs sleepwalked about getting outshot to an absurd degree if only to make the outcome that much more comical.
As it turns out, Montreal did in fact make the correct choice with the third overall pick in the 2018 draft (I have no vested interest in this) as Jesperi Kotkaniemi fulfilled the prophecy, received a perfect pass from Travis Dermott (fake-ass name), and lobbed one over Campbell (account suspended for suspicious activity). For those of us who live to spite, this game had it all. We can only hope game seven goes even more painfully for both teams. Stats here.
Boston Bruins 5 - New York Islanders 2 BOS leads 1-0
And now time to check in on our favourite ex-Senator, Mike Reilly! I jest, it’s courteous Curtis Lazar. Okay for real though if you don’t want to see playoff Pageau defeat Boston then you don’t have a soul. In game one of the battle of Hall and Eberle, the Isles opened the scoring on the powerplay with the aforementioned JG Pageau and Jordan Eberle on unit one. Very late in the frame, however, Boston tied the game on a on a powerplay of their own. From that point on this game basically morphed into Ilya Sorokin versus the Bs. Boston made it 2-1 midway through through the second and while the Isles were quick to tie it 2-2 midway thought the game, the Bruins just totally took over the game from there. David Pastrnak ended up with a hat trick (Boston’s big line combined for six points) and Tuuka Rask only had to make 20 saves to keep his team in it. Despite giving up four goals, rookie Sorokin deserves some credit as he faced 39 shots on the night. Also, how weird does it feel to watch Taylor Hall on a team with real playoff ambitions? We’ll see how Barry Trotz adjusts for game two on Monday. Stats here.
Tampa Bay Lightning @ Carolina Hurricanes 5PM EST
Vegas Golden Knights @ Colorado Avalanche 8PM EST