Game on! The NHL playoffs continue onward as every series game three now commences. Four teams can be put in an almost insurmountable place at 3-0 down in a series. The rest will be looking to take the lead in their series as we get closer to the point where teams will start to get eliminated.
Game three between the Dallas Stars and Calgary Flames had a few roster changes before the beginning of the game. For the Stars Anton Khudobin would get the start, and for the Flames Matthew Tkachuk would be unavailable. There’d be no scoring until the second period where Mikael Backlund would tally a shorthanded goal to make it 1-0 Flames after two.
The score would remain as such until half way through the third period where Calgary would add to their lead. This time it was off the stick of T.J. Brodie who beat Khudobin before his mask came off to make it 2-0 Calgary. That’s where it would finish as Cam Talbot would pick up the shutout and the Flames would go up 2-1 in the series.
Speaking of games with roster changes here was another one. Petr Mrazek would get the start for the Hurricanes, and Tuukka Rask will opt out of the playoffs making the Bruins Jaroslav Halak’s team now. Like the last game the first goal didn’t come until the second period. Charlie Coyle would score on the powerplay just 14 seconds into the period to make it 1-0 Boston. This is the only goal scored in the period meaning Carolina had some catching up to do for the third.
Boston’s special teams would start the third much like the second only this time shorthanded. Sean Kuraly would score a shorthanded marker to put the Bruins up 2-0. Carolina would respond though on the powerplay as Nino Niederreiter would cut the lead in half to 2-1. It wouldn’t be enough though as Brad Marchand would put the game away with under a minute left to make it a 3-1 Bruins win. This gives them a 2-1 series lead, and added confidence in their new starting goaltender.
Now we go to the first game that could put a team on the elimination bubble. This is basically a must-win game for the Arizona Coyotes as they try to make up ground on the Colorado Avalanche. They got off to a good start as Derek Stepan would give Arizona their first lead of the series with a 1-0 tally. The teams would trade goals in the second as Andre Burakovsky would tie the game at 1-1 midway through the frame. Then with just 35 seconds to go in the period Brad Richardson would re-take the Coyotes lead for a 2-1 score going into the third.
The rest of the goals would come fast and furious in the final two minutes of the game. First off would be a goal by Taylor Hall who’d beat Pavel Francouz to make it 3-1 Arizona. Colorado would storm back though and Mikko Rantanen would cut the deficit to 3-2. That’s as far as they’d come though as Lawson Crouse would end the game on an empty net goal making the final 4-2 Arizona. Darcy Kuemper picked up the win and now his team is just a win away from tying the series being down just 2-1 now.
One of the most exciting series these playoffs have been the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Columbus Blue Jackets. All games have come down to the wire and this one was no different. The first goal on the board came from Alex Killorn as he put his Bolts up 1-0 after one.
Riley Nash would tie the game early in the second to make it a 1-1 game. The Bolts responded though midway through the frame as Brayden Point would score his fourth goal of the playoffs to give Tampa a 2-1 lead. Then right before the period ended Victor Hedman would beat Joonis Korpisalo to make it a 3-1 game with a period to go. Columbus would cut into the lead as Eric Robinson would score less than two minutes into the period to make it 3-2. That was all they could get on Andrei Vasilevskiy though as the Lightning would take the game and go up 2-1 in the series.
Another game that would feature a major roster change was the Vegas Golden Knights against the Chicago Blackhawks. The undefeated Knights had decided to go to Marc Andre Fleury between the pipes, and the wily veteran didn’t seem rusty at all. The knights special teams got them on the board first as William Karlsson would score an early shorthanded goal making it 1-0 Vegas after one.
Vegas would add to the lead in the second period where Patrick Brown would score on Corey Crawford to make it a 2-0 game after two. Chicago finally beat Fleury in the third period where Olli Maatta would cut the lead in half at 2-1 Vegas. That was as far as they’d get though as the Knights would hold on for the win and take a 3-0 series stranglehold with it.
This has certainly been one of the shocking series of this years playoffs. The New York Islanders can put the Washington Capitals on the elimination bubble with a win in game three. They’d get off to a good start as the captain Anders Lee would continue his goal per game streak making it 1-0 Isles after the first.
Washington would tie the game in the second as Evgeny Kuznetsov would score a powerplay tally making it 1-1. This game would need overtime to decide a winner, and it didn’t take long for one to be crowned. Impending restricted free agent Mathew Barzal would beat Brayden Holtby for the game winner and put New York up 3-0 in the series with Semyon Varlamov getting the win.
Mentor verses up-comer. That’s been the story between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Montreal Canadiens. It’s Carter Hart taking on his idol Carey Price. Last game Price recorded the shutout and sent the Flyers home with their first loss of the post season. This time though, the new guy was looking to make a statement.
There was only a single goal scored in the game, and it came early in the first period. The game winner came off the stick of Jakub Voracek who beat Price to make it a 1-0 eventual win for Philly. With that win the Flyers go up 2-1 in the series and rookie goaltender Carter Hard records hos first career playoff shutout.
This one’s certainly been a shocker. The defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues are on their heel against the young gun Vancouver Canucks. After a scoreless first this game didn’t start to great for the Blues either. The Vancouver powerplay would draw first blood as J.T Miller meat Jordan Binnington for a 1-0 Canucks lead. St. Louis would tie it up though as Justin Faulk was now on the ice for a friendly goal as he beat Jacob Markstrom making it 1-1. The Blues then took the lead off the stick of David Perron to make it 2-1 Blues. The period would end in a tie as Elias Pettersson would tie the game just 30 seconds later to make it 2-2 after two.
There would be no goals in the third period so just like game two, this one needed overtime. St. Louis got the breakaway they needed as just like Bo Horvat did last game, Brayden Schenn would capitalise on the chance and get the game winner. The 3-2 win means now the Blues only trail 2-1 in the series and still have a realistic chance instead of near insurmountable odds.
That concludes another game for each series in the NHL playoffs. Who surprised you the most? Can Washington or Chicago come back from 3-0 down? Let us know in the comments below.