Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz, a daily in-depth look at the 2021 NHL postseason. There is one playoff game scheduled for Tuesday and there was one Monday.
There is one game on the Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule Tuesday:
Montreal Canadiens at Vegas Golden Knights (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS): The Canadiens and Golden Knights return to Las Vegas for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals with the best-of-7 series tied. The Golden Knights evened the series with a 2-1 overtime win in Game 4 at Montreal on Sunday, coming back from behind 1-0 in the third period. Robin Lehner replaced Marc-Andre Fleury as the starting goalie for Vegas and made 27 saves. The Golden Knights are looking for more offense from their forwards, who have scored three goals in the series. The Canadiens want to continue playing well defensively in front of Carey Price and return home for Game 6 on Thursday with a chance to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Final.
What we learned
Here are some takeaways from Day 37 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:
Lightning carried momentum into Game 5
Oftentimes in the Stanley Cup Playoffs you’ll hear coaches and players say momentum doesn’t carry from game to game or series to series. The Tampa Bay Lightning will dispute that notion now. Their third-period comeback attempt in Game 4 on Saturday fell a goal short, but they are convinced it was good enough to spark them into arguably their best performance of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, an 8-0 win in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals against the New York Islanders at home Monday. The Lightning players and coaches were disgusted with how they played in the second period of Game 4, when they allowed three goals to fall behind 3-0. They gave the puck away. They weren’t hard to play against. “Probably one of the worst periods we’ve had in the playoffs,” forward Yanni Gourde said. They responded quickly with two goals in the third period, when they started to again play with speed and took care of the puck. It got them on the track they stayed on from the drop of the puck in Game 5. They were leading 3-0 and outshooting the Islanders 19-5 after 20 minutes. “The boys just built off the momentum,” coach Jon Cooper said. — Dan Rosen, senior writer
Islanders need a better start
The Islanders’ problems didn’t end after the first period in their 8-0 loss to the Lightning in Game 5. But if the Islanders are going to win Game 6 at home Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS) and force a Game 7 at Tampa Bay on Friday, they can’t afford another start like they had Monday. New York allowed a goal 45 seconds into the game and was outshot 19-5 in the first period on its way to falling behind 3-0 after 20 minutes. The Islanders have been outscored 17-8 in first periods in 17 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including 5-1 against the Lightning, and have been outshot 217-151 in first periods during the playoffs, including 69-40 in this series. The Islanders have yet to lead after the first period in the playoffs and have allowed the first goal in 11 of their 17 games. New York is 5-6 when giving up the first goal, but 0-3 against Tampa Bay, so scoring first or at least playing a strong first period will be imperative for the Islanders on Wednesday. — Tom Gulitti, staff writer
About last night
There was one playoff game Monday:
Tampa Bay Lightning 8, New York Islanders 0: Steven Stamkos scored 45 seconds into Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals at Amalie Arena in Tampa, and the Lightning never let up, taking the lead in the best-of-7 series and making a statement. Tampa Bay, which lost 3-2 in Game 4, has won 13 straight postseason games following a loss, the longest streak in NHL history. Stamkos and Alex Killorn each had two goals and an assist. Brayden Point had a goal and an assist. Gourde, Ondrej Palat and Luke Schenn also scored. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 21 saves for his third shutout of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Semyon Varlamov started for New York and allowed three goals on 16 shots. Ilya Sorokin allowed five goals on 26 shots.
Stanley Cup Semifinals news
The return to the Vegas lineup by injured center Chandler Stephenson is “on the horizon,” reports columnist Nicholas J. Cotsonika.
Dan Petry, former MLB pitcher and father of Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry, will see his son in person for the first time in six months after testing positive for COVID-19, when he attends Game 5 in Las Vegas on Tuesday. Staff writer Mike Zeisberger with the story.
Despite their overtime loss in Game 4 and having to play the crucial Game 5 on the road, the Canadiens are comfortable and confident ahead of facing the Golden Knights on Tuesday, reports Zeisberger.
Steven Stamkos sparked the Lightning by scoring two goals, including one 45 seconds into the first period, in their 8-0 win against the Islanders in Game 5. Senior writer Dan Rosen with the story.
The 8-0 loss in Game 5 against the Lightning was the most lopsided in Islanders’ playoff history. Now they must regroup at home in Game 6 on Wednesday, reports staff writer Tom Gulitti.
NHL.com Fantasy Hockey writers provide their fantasy pool rankings for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.