- Nope, we didn’t get a First Round sweep … yet? The Blackhawks avoided that fate, but we’ll see if the Capitals can avert that against the Islanders.
- The Blues avoided going down 3-0 in their series during a Sunday with three OT games among five NHL scores.
- Stars – Flames might have stolen the show.
NHL Scores from Sunday in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Islanders 2, Capitals 1 [OT] (NYI leads series 3-0)
Being that the Blackhawks thwarted the Golden Knights, perhaps the Islanders will be the first team to sweep an opponent during the First Round? That would certainly be a bitter pill for the Capitals to swallow, but it’s the reality after Mathew Barzal scored the overtime game-winner. While Braden Holtby has struggled at times in this series, he gave the Capitals a chance to win with 32 saves, but it wasn’t enough.
Stars 5, Flames 4 [OT] (Series tied 2-2)
It’s fully justified that Joe Pavelski earned the headlines for Game 4 of Stars – Flames. After all, Pavelski didn’t just generate a hat trick; his third goal sent Game 4 to OT in the dying moments. We’ll get more to him in both the three stars and factoids sections, though. There were other noteworthy performances. Cam Talbot kept the Flames in the game again, facing 62 shots (though allowing five goals). Sam Bennett continues to elevate his game — or get bounces — during the postseason, generating two goals and one assist. It was also a big game for John Klingberg (three assists) and Tyler Seguin (two helpers). Maybe this series didn’t carry a bunch of buzz into the First Round, but it’s growing into something good.
Blackhawks 3, Golden Knights 1 (VGK leads series 3-1)
It feels like at least once per night we’re seeing a goalie steal a game. We’ve seen it from Darcy Kuemper recently, and Joonas Korpisalo nearly pulled it off during a five-OT marathon. Now add Corey Crawford to the mix (speaking of players who will be discussed in greater detail later on). The Golden Knights couldn’t sweep the Blackhawks and become the first team to reach the Second Round during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but not really for a lack of trying.
Flyers 1, Canadiens 0 (PHI leads series 2-1)
Maybe chalk this slow game to Sunday being Carey Price‘s birthday, and Carter Hart‘s birthday being recent. Or maybe the Flyers played the sort of defense that would make Oskar Lindblom proud? Either way, this was an ugly game, but the Flyers will take a dreary win after getting shellacked by the Canadiens in Game 3. Even so, both teams could stand to play a lot better in Game 4 and beyond.
Blues 3, Canucks 2 [OT] (VAN leads series 2-1)
The defending champs are increasingly looking like, well, the team that won the 2019 Stanley Cup. Even so, the Blues clearly didn’t have an easy time against the young Canucks. For the second game in a row, this series required overtime, but Brayden Schenn managed to win it for St. Louis this time around. The Blues and Canucks immediately turn around for Game 4 on Monday, so it will be interesting to see how the two teams handle that back-to-back challenge.
1. Joe Pavelski, Dallas Stars
As part of a defensive-minded team, we’ve seen plenty of Stars forwards land in the doghouse at times. For a while, things were so slow for Pavelski that it was fair to see him in that loud, green sweater and occasionally say “Oh yeah, Pavelski signed with the Stars.” Now that oh yeah is in a more Kool-Aid Man tone, as Pavelski’s hat trick helped the Stars win a thriller against the Flames. Maybe the pause allowed Pavelski time to find his game again?
2. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks
Depending upon your taste, you might believe that Crawford’s performance (48 saves, one goal allowed) was even more impressive than Joe Pavelski’s hat trick. One thing that’s not much of a debate is that Crawford bailed his Blackhawks out over and over in Game 4. Crawford + some bounces = Blackhawks not getting swept. Asking Crawford to pull off something similar again might be a good way for the Blackhawks to get eliminated soon, though.
3. John Klingberg, Dallas Stars
At first, it looked like Klingberg scored another big overtime playoff goal. As you may remember, the talented and underrated defenseman ended the Stars’ series against the Predators that way last year. Instead, that OT GWG was credited to Alexander Radulov. Even so, Klingberg grabbed the primary assist, his third assist of Game 3 (all primary ones, by the way). It makes sense to be in awe of Miro Heiskanen, yet Klingberg is a heck of a young (not as young, but still young!) defenseman in his own right.
Highlights of the Night
Mathew Barzal pulled off some slick moves to baffle the Capitals’ defenders and win it in OT for the Islanders:
Watch as Brayden Schenn scores his first playoff OT goal during his impressive NHL career:
- Pavelski scored his first career playoff hat trick and the first playoff hat trick in Stars history.
- Quinn Hughes pushed his playoff point streak to six consecutive games, tying Al MacInnis and Zarley Zalapski for the NHL record for rookie defensemen.
- Crawford joined Tony Esposito as the only Blackhawks goalies to make 40+ saves in at least three elimination game situations.
- With 68 playoff assists, Duncan Keith ranks fifth in Blackhawks franchise playoff history.
MONDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF GAMES SCHEDULE
Game 4: Lightning vs. Blue Jackets – 3 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Game 4: Avalanche vs. Coyotes – 5:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Game 4: Bruins vs. Hurricanes – 8 p.m ET – NBCSN
Game 4: Blues vs. Canucks – 10:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN