Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz, a daily in-depth look at the 2021 NHL postseason. There is one playoff game scheduled for Sunday and there was one Saturday.
There is one game on the Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule for Sunday:
Vegas Golden Knights at Montreal Canadiens (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS): The Canadiens lead 2-1 in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Semifinals after their 3-2 overtime victory in Game 3 on Friday. Montreal, which did not have a lead until Josh Anderson scored his second goal of the game at 12:53 of overtime, has won eight of its past nine and two straight in the series. Anderson also scored at 18:05 of the third period after going 12 games without a goal. The Canadiens bring a streak of 25 consecutive penalty kills over the past 10 games to Game 4, after nullifying four power plays by the Golden Knights in Game 3. They lead the playoffs in penalty killing at 92.7 percent. Vegas is 0-for-10 on the power play in the series and, at 10.5 percent, has the worst power play of any of the 16 teams that qualified for the playoffs. The Golden Knights have outshot the Canadiens in each game but have goals from only two forwards in the series, from Mattias Janmark in Game 1 and Nicolas Roy in Game 3. Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury looks to bounce back after his misplay behind the net led to the tying goal in Game 3
What We Learned
Here are some takeaways from Day 35 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:
The Islanders love the second period
The New York Islanders have been slow starters in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They haven’t led after the first period in any of their 16 postseason games so far. But look out when they get to the second period. New York scored each of its goals during the second period of a 3-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals on Saturday and has outscored opponents 23-10 in the second period in the playoffs. The Islanders escaped the first period tied 0-0 Saturday despite being limited to four shots on goal and 11 shot attempts. The Islanders turned up the pressure on the Lightning in the second period, though, using their forecheck to create sustained pressure in the offensive zone and trap the defenders on the ice for long shifts. New York outshot Tampa Bay 16-9 in the period and had a 27-16 advantage in shot attempts. Most importantly, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal and Matt Martin scored goals and New York built a 3-0 lead after two periods before hanging on in the third to even the best-of-7 series. — Tom Gulitti, staff writer
Brayden Point just keeps producing
Brayden Point didn’t have his best game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday, but the Tampa Bay Lightning forward nevertheless scored another goal. Point extended his goal streak to seven games (seven goals) to cut the New York Islanders’ lead to 3-1 in the third period of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals. It didn’t spark the Lightning to a comeback victory; the Islanders held on to win 3-2 and tie the best-of-7 series. But it was another example of Point being one of the best goal scorers in the NHL. He is the ninth different player in the League to score a goal in seven consecutive playoff games, and the first to do it since Claude Lemieux for the Colorado Avalanche in 1997. Point leads all players in the postseason with 12 goals and has scored 16 points in 15 games, second in the NHL to teammate Nikita Kucherov, who has scored 24 points (five goals, 19 assists). Point just keeps producing. — Tracey Myers, staff writer
About Last Night
There was one playoff game Saturday:
New York Islanders 3, Tampa Bay Lightning 2: The Islanders got second-period goals from Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal and Matt Martin to take a 3-0 lead and held on to even the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Semifinals with their win in Game 4. Defenseman Ryan Pulock helped preserve the victory by stopping a shot from Tampa Bay defenseman Ryan McDonagh in the crease with less than three seconds left in the third period, after New York goalie Semyon Varlamov was caught out of position. The Lightning made it a tight finish with goals from Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson in the third period. The Islanders have won Game 4 to even each of their three playoff series this season. Game 5 is at Tampa Bay on Monday, where the Lightning are 4-3 in the playoffs. The Islanders are 5-3 on the road.