- While a variety of sports leagues canceled games in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, all three NHL playoff games went on.
- The NHL did, however, hold a “moment of reflection” before Game 3 of Bruins – Lightning, but not Avalanche – Stars. Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, and Kevin Shattenkirk ranked among those explaining the choice to play.
- Defenseman Mike Green retired after a 15-year NHL career.
Scores for Wednesday NHL playoff games
Flyers 4, Islanders 3 [OT] (Series tied 1-1)
With two goals by Kevin Hayes, and a beauty by Sean Couturier, the Flyers looked in charge with a 3-0 lead after the first period. Anders Lee started chipping away in the second, followed by third-period goals from Anthony Beauvillier and Jean-Gabriel Pageau to send Game 2 to OT. Instead of collapsing, the Flyers scored in overtime via Philippe Myers, and tied this series.
Lightning 7, Bruins 1 (TBL leads series 2-1)
While the other two games ended up being pretty unpredictable, the Lightning rolled through this one like thunder. After firing off to a 2-0 lead in the first period, the Lightning made it 6-1 by the end of the second, adding one more in the third. Those worries about the Tampa Bay power play should be gone after three PPG. Boston would probably be better off just forgetting about this one, but either way, the Lightning now lead 2-1 in the Second Round.
Avalanche 6, Stars 4 (DAL leads series 2-1)
More than once, it looked like the Avs might leave Wednesday on the brink of elimination. Things didn’t look great when they fell behind 1-0 in the first. After an impressive second period where the Avalanche went up 3-1, the Stars stunningly tied Game 3 by a score of 3-3, and even made it 4-3. If that wasn’t enough, the Avalanche answered with two goals, plus an empty-netter to win 6-4.
[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]
NHL Three Stars: Wednesday’s 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs games
1. Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
Earlier in this series, the Bruins’ “Perfection Line” made the difference. Many, many Lightning players contributed in Game 3 — that usually happens in a blowout — and Nikita Kucherov was especially explosive. The 2018-19 scoring leader produced one goal and three assists in this big win. In general, Kucherov’s been heating up, scoring two goals and six assists for eight points during his last four games.
2. Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche
Throughout the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Cale Makar has been productive. Game 3 might have been his best contest — and it literally was his best output. Makar generated three assists in the Avalanche’s back-and-forth win, including two primary helpers. As this series heats up, the Avs are going to need Makar and others to maintain a high level of play. He delivered in a big way in Game 3.
3. Alex Killorn, Tampa Bay Lightning
Both in Bruins – Lightning, and Wednesday’s other two NHL playoff games, there are plenty of good choices. Killorn stands out because, while others enjoyed three-point games, Killorn scored two goals to go with his assist. In close series like Bruins – Lightning is expected to be, players like Killorn often make the big difference.
Highlights from Wednesday’s 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs games
Game 3 of Islanders and Flyers brought some surprises. Also, Kevin Hayes broke through with two goals:
Avert your eyes, Bruins fans:
Finally, marvel at the highlights from that back-and-forth Stars – Avalanche thriller:
THURSDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Game 3: Islanders vs. Flyers, 7 p.m. ET – NBCSN (Series tied 1-1)
Game 3: Golden Knights vs. Canucks, 9:45 p.m. ET – NBCSN (Series tied 1-1)
PHT’s 2020 Second Round previews
Bruins vs. Lightning
Flyers vs. Islanders
Stars vs. Avalanche
Golden Knights vs. Canucks
• Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round schedule
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.