Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz, a daily in-depth look at the 2021 NHL postseason. There are two playoff games scheduled for Wednesday and there was one Tuesday.
There are two games on the Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule Wednesday:
Montreal Canadiens at Winnipeg Jets (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS): The Canadiens and Jets open the Stanley Cup Second Round two days after the Canadiens defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the first round. It’s the first postseason series between Montreal and Winnipeg, and 500 fully vaccinated healthcare workers will attend Game 1. The Jets swept the Edmonton Oilers in the first round. Goalies Connor Hellebuyck (1.60 goals-against average, .950 save percentage) and Carey Price (2.24 GAA, .932 save percentage) have been strong for the Jets and Canadiens, respectively.
Vegas Golden Knights at Colorado Avalanche (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS): The Avalanche have won 10 consecutive games and 13 of 14 since April 30 and will look to take a 2-0 lead against the Golden Knights in the best-of-7 series. They defeated the Golden Knights 7-1 in Game 1 on Sunday. If the Avalanche win, they will be the third Presidents’ Trophy winner since 1985-86 to win at least six games to start the playoffs (New York Rangers, seven in 1994; Dallas Stars, six in 1999). Colorado center Nathan MacKinnon is tied for the NHL lead with Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning with 12 points (eight goals, four assists) in the postseason.
What we learned
Here are some takeaways from Day 17 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:
Lightning’s Killorn, Cirelli built for tight series
It’s not surprising that the Lightning’s two goal scorers in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Second Round on Tuesday were Alex Killorn and Anthony Cirelli. The forwards provided enough offense for a second straight 2-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes that put the Lightning ahead 2-0 in the best-of-7 series. It’s also not surprising that Tampa Bay’s lone 5-on-5 goal in Game 1 came from forward Barclay Goodrow. This series is tight with limited space for the forwards to operate and even less time to make anything happen and that style of play fits players like Cirelli, Killorn and Goodrow perfectly. They’re straight-line, attacking, grinding players that aren’t fancy but have enough skill to score when the chances are there. With the Lightning 1-for-5 on the power play in the series, it’s going to take the 5-on-5 play of forwards like Cirelli, Killorn, Goodrow, Blake Coleman, Yanni Gourde, Tyler Johnson, Ross Colton and Pat Maroon to make things happen. So far, the Lightning have gotten enough to win two games. — Dan Rosen, senior writer
Hurricanes could be missing another forward
The Carolina Hurricanes have struggled for offense in the first two games against the Lightning and now they could be without another productive forward. Vincent Trocheck is being evaluated for an unspecified injury sustained when he collided with teammate Warren Foegele late in the second period. He came back for one shift early in the third before leaving for good in Carolina’s 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay in Game 2. The Hurricanes already are without forward Nino Niederreiter (upper body) and he could be done for the series. Trocheck scored 17 goals in 47 regular-season games and has three points (two goals, one assist) in eight playoff games. The Hurricanes have talked about dealing with adversity throughout the playoffs. That’s really getting tested now. — Tracey Myers, staff writer
About last night
There was one playoff game Tuesday:
Tampa Bay Lightning 2, Carolina Hurricanes 1: Andrei Vasilevskiy made 31 saves and the Lightning took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 second round. The Lightning led 2-0 on goals by Killorn at 7:09 of the second period and Cirelli at 8:06 of the third. Killorn’s fifth goal of the playoffs is tied for second with four other players behind MacKinnon (eight). Andrei Svechnikov scored with 1:30 remaining in the third period and the goalie pulled. Alex Nedeljkovic made 13 saves for the Hurricanes. The Lightning won the first two games of the series on the road despite being outshot 70-45. Game 3 is at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Thursday.