The Sharks hope to fatten up their slim Pacific Division lead tonight, so the return of No. 44 should help matters. San Jose lost to Ottawa last week despite piling up a significant shot advantage.
- Auston Matthews and Kasperi Kapanen scored 2:12 apart in the third to push the Bruins to the brink
- Avalanche trample Flames, sending Calgary crashing out of the playoffs
Maple Leafs 2, Bruins 1 (TOR leads 3-2)
A game where neither team gave the other much time through two periods ended in a bit of a flurry as Toronto, led by Auston Matthews, (controversially) found two goals in 2:12 in the third. It would prove to be enough, with the Bruins scoring with less than a minute left and their net empty. Toronto has a chance now to finally oust the Bruins on Sunday.
Avalanche 5, Flames 1 (COL wins 4-1)
Colorado fanned the Flames right out of the playoffs with an impressive, and surprisingly easy Game 5 win. Calgary didn’t provide much resistance facing elimination and are now the second top-seed team in the playoffs to be sent packing. Mike Smith could only do so much with the lack of scoring he received. And Calgary could only watch as Colorado’s top line of Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog trampled all over them.
1. Colin Wilson, Colorado Avalanche
Two goals, one assist and a second-period effort that put the Flames down 4-1. Wilson first two goals of the series helps the Avs put their foot on the throats of the Flames. Wilson also assisted on Mikko Rantanen’s first of the night, a goal that stood as the game-winner.
2. Kasperi Kapanen, Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews’ goal may be tainted by a controversial non-call on a goaltender interference challenge. There was no doubt about Kapanen’s goal, however, and it proved to be the deciding marker in a close game. Kapanen had a great game and nearly scored shorthanded earlier in the game on a breakaway. He’ll sleep soundly knowing his first of the playoffs was a crucial one. Kapanen added an assist on Matthews’ goal and had three shots on goal.
3. Frederik Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs
After allowing five goals on 30 shots in Game 4, Andersen surrendered just one in Game 5 to put the Boston Bruins on the brink of elimination.
Highlight of the night
Controversy of the night
- Never before had both top seeds from their respective conferences been eliminated in the first round. (Frank Seravalli)
- The Maple Leafs are 19-5 when leading a best-of-seven series 3-2. (NHL PR)
Game 5: Stars at Predators (Series tied 2-2), 3 p.m. ET, NBC (Live Stream)
Game 6: Jets at Blues (STL leads 3-2) 7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, (Live stream)
Game 5: Hurricanes at Capitals (Series tied 2-2), 8 p.m. ET, NBC (Live Stream)
It’s taken just nine games for both No. 1 seeds from their respective conferences to be ousted from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Nine. And the team that tied an NHL record for wins in a regular season went out in four. The 107-point Calgary Flames resisted for an addition game as the eighth-place Colorado Avalanche dispatched them in five games after a 5-1 win on Friday.
In the NHL’s storied history, over 100 years of existence, never have the top seeds from each conference from the regular season been put out in the first round.
After the Columbus Blue Jackets shocked the hockey world earlier this week, the Avalanche sent similar tremors when they fanned the Flames, Colorado’s first series win in 11 years
It’s hard to imagine.
Maybe Colorado was burned out a bit after clinching the final playoff spot just a few days earlier. Maybe it was Smith’s solid outing after he was given the vote of confidence heading in as the starter despite his struggles down the stretch
Maybe it was all a facade.
Game 1 seemed more like what many thought this series would resemble as Mike Smith and the Flames shutout the Avs 4-0.
Colorado made a third-period comeback in Game 2 and then won the game in overtime. The momentum carried into Game 3, where Colorado scored six to take the series lead. Finding themselves down once again in the third, the Avs erased a 2-0 deficit to tie the game and then one once again, emphatically, in overtime.
Game 5 was just a continuation of Colorado playing better and finding a way.
The Avs built a 2-0 lead, allowed a goal with six seconds left in the first, and then took over in the second and third.
Perhaps there’s something to be said for teams playing meaningful games down the stretch. The Avalanche did so every night until Game 82. An off-night could have spelled disaster, so there was that heightened sense of urgency and ability to play at a high level right out of the gate, even if Game 1 didn’t suggest that.
Calgary, better rested, took advantage in Game 1, but Colorado’s pace was just too much after that.
Smith, who had all sorts of question marks dragging in the tin cans behind him. But he put a lot of that to rest in Game 1, and then was solid the rest of the series. His problem was lack of run support.
Johnny Gaudreau? One assist.
Sean Monahan? One goal, one assist.
Elias Lindholm? One goal, one assist.
Matthew Tkachuk? Two goals, one assist
The Flames found just seven goals in the final four games. That won’t do it in the playoffs, even with Smith playing well. .
Calgary led the lead with a league-low 28.1 shots allowed per game in the regular season. They entered Friday’s game allowing a league-high 43.3, over 15 more per game (and eight more than the next most-peppered team in the playoffs this year.
And, most importantly, they couldn’t stop Mikko Rantanen (five goals, four assists) or Nathan MacKinnon (three goals, five assists.
Colorado’s top line came as advertised. In fact, they combined (along with Gabriel Landeskog) for 21 points in the series, more than all of the Flames’ 12 forward combine.
Calgary’s regular-season offense proved more false advertising.
“Calgary didn’t _____” will be a popular fill-in-the-blank question in southern Alberta for the days and weeks to come as try to figure out what went wrong in the postseason.
Aside from Tampa’s epic exit, Calgary’s is not far behind in terms of unlikelihood. If nothing else, both series show that all a team needs to do is get into the playoffs. From there, the sky’s the limit.
Heading into Friday’s Game 5 between the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs, it was the latter that needed to make a few tweaks to their game after a 6-4 loss a game earlier that evened the best-of-seven series.
Stopping the Bruins from scoring six goals would be a good start, of course. Quelling their solid power play would also prove wise.
A 2-1 win where Boston’s only goal came with an empty net with 43 seconds left in the third? I’d say the tweaks worked.
More proof needed? How about a renewed penalty kill? The Bruins came into the game 5-for-11 (45.5 percent) but was held at bay in each of their three man-advantage opportunities in the game, one that was so tightly contested that a goal allowed could have changed the outcome entirely.
The first two periods of the game resembled hockey that’s played in overtime. It was hesitant, a byproduct of two teams knowing what was at stake. Nearly 80 percent of the teams that take Game 5 in a series that is tied 2-2 go on to progress to the next round. A tight game was expected, and it delivered.
Both teams seemed reluctant to take any risks, and it wasn’t until Auston Matthews broke the ice at 11:33 of the final frame that some urgency seemed to set in. Kasperi Kapanen took advantage of a Bruins team now in chase mode, giving the Leafs a 2-0 lead 2:12 later.
The NHL Situation Room said the play wasn’t conclusive in terms of overturning the call of a good goal on the ice.
“After reviewing all available replays and consulting with the Referees, the Situation Room confirmed the Referee’s call on the ice,” an email from the league said. “The decision was made in accordance to Rule 78.7 that states in part, ‘If a review is not conclusive and/or there is any doubt whatsoever as to whether the call on the ice was correct, the original call on the ice will be confirmed.’ “
Bruins fans aren’t going to like that one, and they certainly have an argument. Rask was clearly impeded on the play.
Frederik Andersen was solid in the game, stopping 28 shots in a bounce-back effort after allowing five on 30 in Game 4.
Toronto can now take the series at home on Sunday, which would exorcize their demons against the Bruins, who beat them in Game 7 of Round 1 last year (and in 2013).
Game 6 of this series goes on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on NBC
NHL Live, hosted by Mike Tirico, Jeremy Roenick and Keith Jones begins at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.