Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz: Canadiens try to sweep Jets, reach Semifinals


Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz, a daily in-depth look at the 2021 NHL postseason. There were two games on the schedule Sunday and there are two games Monday.

On Tap

There are two games on the Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule for Monday:

New York Islanders at Boston Bruins, 6:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN, SN1, TVAS): The Islanders and Bruins return to Boston tied 2-2 in their best-of-7 series. The Islanders came back from down 1-0 to defeat the Bruins 4-1 at home Saturday. Forward David Krejci, who scored the only goal for Boston, on the power play, tied Ray Bourque and Ken Hodge for the fifth-most power-play goals in Bruins history (12). Islanders coach Barry Trotz said he expects to use the same 18 skaters from Game 4. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Sunday there could be changes to his third forward line of Nick Ritchie, Charlie Coyle and Jake DeBrusk, which he said “didn’t generate anything” in Game 4. Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller, who’s been out with an undisclosed injury, skated Sunday. Cassidy wasn’t sure of Miller’s status for Game 5 nor that of defenseman Brandon Carlo, who missed the previous game with an undisclosed injury. 

Winnipeg Jets at Montreal Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (NHLN, NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS): The Canadiens will go for the sweep against the Jets after Carey Price made 25 saves and forward Joel Armia scored twice in their 5-1 win in Game 3 on Sunday. Montreal is 33-0 with a 3-0 lead in a best-of-7 series. Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry left in the second period with an upper-body injury and coach Dominique Ducharme said there would be an update Monday. After outscoring the Edmonton Oilers 14-8 in their sweep in the Stanley Cup First Round, the Jets are being outscored by the Canadiens 11-4 in the first three games of this series. The Jets are 0-2 when facing a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-7 series. They will be without center Mark Scheifele, who will serve the third of a four-game suspension he received for charging Canadiens forward Jake Evans in Game 1. 

What we learned

Here are some takeaways from Day 22 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

Canadiens penalty kill continues to dominate 

The Montreal Canadiens are 7-3 in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the team’s penalty kill, which is No. 1 in the NHL in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (90.0 percent), continues to be a reason why. Its ability to help determine the outcome of games at both ends of the ice once again was on display in Montreal’s 5-1 victory against the Winnipeg Jets in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Second Round. Forward Joel Armia led the way, scoring a pair of shorthanded goals to help the Canadiens take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. Armia is part of a penalty killing crew that has scored more goals (4) than its allowed (3) during shorthanded situations through 10 games of the playoffs. The success of the Canadiens penalty kill has been a common theme in this series and its effort Sunday may have been its best of the playoffs. — Mike Zeisberger, staff writer

Jets seek another abrupt change

The Winnipeg Jets may be shocked at how quickly their fortunes have changed in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After sweeping the Edmonton Oilers in the first round, the Jets are down 3-0 against the Montreal Canadiens and on the verge of being swept themselves in the second round. Game 4 is Monday, a second straight best-of-7 series with a back-to-back. The Jets will be examining all the areas that could help them turn the tide. Coach Paul Maurice hinted at a few after the 5-1 loss in Game 3, that the small-area stick fights for loose pucks weren’t producing enough wins for his team, more speed and quickness is needed and that the 1-on-1 battles weren’t adding enough momentum. The little things are the ones that can swing the outcome of most playoff games. A big thing or two, like scoring more than the one goal they had in Game 3 or a stolen game by goalie Connor Hellebuyck, wouldn’t hurt either, but it’s more likely to be the details that could keep Winnipeg alive and battling in the series. — Tim Campbell, staff writer

Vegas has true home-ice advantage

The Vegas Golden Knights drew a sellout crowd of 18,081 at T-Mobile Arena for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Second Round on Sunday, and it wasn’t just a welcome sight as life inches back to normal amid the coronavirus pandemic. It directly affected the game and gave Vegas an advantage. When forward Reilly Smith hit the crossbar in the first period, the crowd reaction made Colorado goalie Philipp Grubauer think the puck was in. Before he realized what happened, Jonathan Marchessault had put the puck in for real to tie the game 1-1. Throughout Vegas’ 5-1 win, the noise was a factor. Colorado coach Jared Bednar said that he was losing his voice calling out lines on the bench and that being unable to hear hurt communication and playing fast. — Nicholas J. Cotsonika, columnist

Nemeth turnover leads to Colorado lineup question

Defenseman Patrik Nemeth wasn’t the only member of the Colorado Avalanche to blame in their 5-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 4 on Sunday, but he took a holding penalty and then committed a terrible turnover that led to the tying goal. Instead of taking the puck behind the Colorado net or sending it the other way, he sent it back out front and right onto the stick of an opponent. “We found a way to get on the board first, but that turnover hurt,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “It’s not the only one we made; it’s the one they capitalized on.” The question now is whether the Avalanche should put Bowen Byram in the lineup. The 19-year-old defenseman has only 19 games of NHL experience, all in the regular season, but he was the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and might have the puck-moving ability to counter Vegas’ pressure. — Nicholas J. Cotsonika, columnist

About last night

There were two playoff games Sunday:

Montreal Canadiens 5, Winnipeg Jets 1: Joel Armia scored two goals, both short-handed, and the Canadiens took a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. Corey Perry and Artturi Lehkonen also scored for Montreal. Carey Price made 25 saves, becoming the first Canadiens goalie since Patrick Roy in 1993 to win six consecutive games in the playoffs. Adam Lowry scored for the Jets, who have not had a lead at any point during this series. 

Vegas Golden Knights 5, Colorado Avalanche 1: Jonathan Marchessault scored his first career Stanley Cup Playoffs hat trick and the Golden Knights defeated the Avalanche to even the best-of-7 series 2-2. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 17 saves for his 87th playoff win, one shy of Ed Belfour and Billy Smith (88 each) for fourth all-time in the NHL. Brandon Saad scored and Philipp Grubauer made 30 saves for the Avalanche. 

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