Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz, a daily in-depth look at the 2021 NHL postseason. There is one playoff game scheduled for Thursday and there was one Wednesday.
There is one game on the Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule for Thursday:
Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Islanders (8 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, SN, TVAS): The Stanley Cup Semifinals shift to Nassau Coliseum for Game 3 with the Lightning and Islanders tied in the best-of-7 series. The team that scored first won Games 1 and 2. The Lightning evened the series with a 4-2 victory Tuesday, when Brayden Point scored for the fifth straight game and Nikita Kucherov had three assists. Point leads the playoffs with 10 goals and Kucherov has scored a postseason-high 22 points (five goals, 17 assists). The Islanders never trailed Game 1, a 2-1 win, never led Game 2 and are tied after the first two games of the series on the road, the same position they were in after two games of the first two rounds against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins. They went on to win each of those series in six games despite losing Game 3 at home.
What we learned
Here are some takeaways from Day 32 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:
Golden Knights need more from their forwards
The good news for the Vegas Golden Knights is that their defensemen are generating offense against the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Semifinals. The bad news? Their forwards aren’t. They have scored one of their six goals (Mattias Janmark) and taken 26 of their 61 shots in the best-of-7 series, which is tied after Montreal’s 3-2 win in Game 2 on Wednesday. It didn’t help that center Chandler Stephenson missed Game 2 with an upper-body injury, but the top two lines have not generated a goal. The power play is 0-for-6. The Canadiens have been taking away the middle of the ice and goalie Carey Price has been excellent. — Nicholas J. Cotsonika, columnist
Canadiens PK continues to set tone
Montreal’s penalty kill has been second to none in the 2021 playoffs and the backbone of the team’s success. The Golden Knights power play went 0-for-2 in Game 2 and is 0-for-6 in the series. This comes after the Canadiens’ four-game sweep of the Winnipeg Jets in the second round, when they did not allow a power-play goal. In 13 postseason games, the Canadiens have scored more goals (four) than they’ve allowed (three) while shorthanded. Montreal ranks first in the playoffs in penalty kill percentage (91.9) against top end offensive threats like Auston Matthews, Kyle Connor, Blake Wheeler and Mark Stone. Impressive. — Mike Zeisberger, staff writer
About last night
There was one playoff game Wednesday:
Montreal Canadiens 3, Vegas Golden Knights 2: The Canadiens scored the first three goals and held on to even the best-of-7 series. Montreal is 9-1 in the playoffs when scoring first and 0-3 when allowing the first goal. Joel Armia scored at 6:12 and Tyler Toffoli at 16:30 of the first period, then Paul Byron made it 3-0 on a breakaway at 17:45 of the second. The Golden Knights responded with two goals from Alex Pietrangelo and outshot the Canadiens 17-7 in the third. Price made 29 saves. Montreal killed two power plays and 21 consecutive chances in its past nine games.