Not one team who was leading their series won last night. At least it keeps things interesting, eh?
Montreal Canadiens 1 – 2 New York Rangers (Series tied 2 – 2)
Rick Nash’s second-period goal was enough to separate a tight, edgy affair in MSG, and guarantee this series comes back for a game six.
Jesper Fast gave the Rangers the lead in the 12th minute, completely against the run of play after the Habs had controlled the game up to that point. Torrey Mitchell scored the equaliser shortly before the end of the first, an odd goal considering both teams ended up having six players on the ice.
Nash scored the winner at 24:28, and that was that. Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves, with Carey Price making 30.
Pittsburgh Penguins 4 – 5 Columbus Blue Jackets (PIT leads 3 – 1)
The Jackets managed to avoid a clean sweep, edging a nine-goal thriller in Ohio to extend the series until at least Thursday.
First period goals from Jack Johnson and Josh Anderson, plus an early second period tally from Markus Nutivaari gave the Jackets a three-goal lead, but it looked like they’d let it slip when Patric Hornqvist and Ron Hainsey pulled the Pens back to within one.
William Karlsson scored 27 seconds into the third to extend the lead, but they were pulled back less than two minutes later by Tom Kuhnhackl. Fortunately for them, Boone Jenner scored two and a half minutes later, a goal which proved to be the game winner as Jake Guentzel’s fifth of the post-season in the last minute wasn’t enough.
Edmonton Oilers 0 – San Jose Sharks 7 (Series tied 2 – 2)
Well, the Sharks finally arrived.
A 23-save shutout from Martin Jones, three points for Joe Pavelski, and Leon Draisaitl possibly facing further discipline after a Brad Marchand-like spear saw him ejected from the game.
By that point, the Sharks already led 5-0. Pavelski opened the scoring just fifteen seconds in, then Logan Couture scored on the power play at 11:02. Second period goals from Patrick Marleau (PPG), Marcus Sorensen and a second from Couture saw the Sharks five up 33 minutes in.
Then, came the moment of madness from Draisaitl. With no reason or provocation, he speared Chris Tierney plum in the groin. He received a 5+game, and can probably expect a call from DoPS.
Pavelski scored his second of the night on the resulting power play, and a further PPG from David Schlemko in the third rounded off a good night for the Sharks, and a very rough one for the Oilers
Four games tonight, with two potential sweeps in play.
Capitals @ Leafs (TOR leads 2 – 1)
Faceoff: 7e/4p/Midnight BST
TV: NBCSN, CBC, TVAS2, CSN-DC, Premier Sports
Well this is an unexpected situation isn’t it? This was supposed to be an avoiding-the-sweep game, yet the Leafs find themselves up in the series and could conceivably head into the last three games needing just one win.
Ovi’s never going to get that cup is he?
Karl Alzner misses out tonight. The Leafs have nothing new, with Roman Polak done for the year.
What the Caps need to do: Force the issue. They’re letting the Leafs play.
What the Leafs need to do: Just keep winning. Shock the world, kids.
Reason to watch: This has been an outstanding series so far.
Senators @ Bruins (OTT leads 2 – 1)
TV: USA Network, Sportsnet, TVAS, NESN
The series where leads don’t matter. You are best going behind, apparently. They ought to give this series to the team that manages to maintain a lead until the final buzzer, to be honest. It wouldn’t be so bad if the games were good but, alas.
You should see the same lineup for the Sens, while Colin Miller returns for the Bruins in place of Tommy Cross.
What the Sens need to do: Hold on to a lead
What the Bruins need to do: Hold on to a lead
Reason to watch: You’re a fan of either team. Otherwise watch the Leafs.
Wild @ Blues (STL leads 3 – 0)
TV: NBCSN, SN360, TVAS, FS-MW, FS-N
This series seems to be making journalists froth at the mouth at the death of advanced stats. The truth? The Wild have had all of the puck and Jake Allen has been lights out for the Blues. You can have all the puck you want, if you come up against a red-hot goalie, you don’t stand much of a chance.
Erik Haula could miss out for the Wild through injury, and Joel Eriksson Ek could take his place. Paul Stastny is almost ready for a comeback for the Blues, but will likely not be risked tonight.
What the Wild need to do: Find a way to solve Allen, quickly.
What the Blues need to do: Making the most of their opportunities. The goal aggregate over three games is 7-3. They’re not sneaking a lot, but they’re sneaking enough.
Reason to watch: Elimination potential, and an education in goaltending.
Ducks @ Flames (ANA leads 3 – 0)
TV: USA Network, CBC, TVAS, Prime, Premier Sports
After a refereeing fiasco and a collapse, the Flames find themselves on the brink of elimination against their bogey team. How could it possibly go wrong?
It’s not all on the refs. The Flames have truly conspired to shoot themselves in the foot this series, and while their top end is good, their bottom end isn’t, and it’s showed.
Sami Vatanen is in Calgary and could play for the Ducks. Cam Fowler is skating again but isn’t ready yet.
Glen Gulutzan spoke of potential changes to the Flames for game four. Potentially, one or more of Chad Johnson, Jon Gillies, Dennis Wideman, Curtis Lazar or Freddie Hamilton could come in. Take your pick for who drops out. Lance Bouma is probably a prime candidate.
What the Ducks need to do: It doesn’t matter, the refs will help them (I’m still bitter)
What the Flames need to do: Rack up a 14-goal lead that can’t be done away by poor refereeing decisions (shut up).
Reason to watch: Elimination potential, I suppose.