NHL Playoff Buzzer: Goalies make difference in Game 2 action

NHL Playoff Buzzer: Goalies make difference in Game 2 action
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  • The Penguins protected their Game 2 lead vs. the Islanders to tie the series 1-1.
  • In another nasty game, the Lightning beat the Panthers once again, taking a 2-0 series lead.
  • The Golden Knights looked like they were in trouble, but they won Game 2 vs. the Wild to tie the series 1-1.
  • There’s even more 2021 Stanley Cup Playoff action on Wednesday: four postseason games.

Game 2: Penguins 2, Islanders 1 (series tied 1-1)

Last time, Pittsburgh couldn’t make a 2-1 lead against the Islanders last through the third period. In Game 2, the Penguins locked down the Islanders to tie up the series. Semyon Varlamov shook off a bad 1-0 goal allowed to Bryan Rust; then the Penguins shook off a very bad Rust penalty late in the third. As tight-checking as this one was, there were plenty of hits and shots. It’s now a “best-of-five” series between the Islanders and Penguins.

Game 2: Lightning 3, Panthers 1 (TBL leads series 2-0)

On one hand, Florida’s frequently looked capable of hanging with Tampa Bay. On the other hand, the Lightning slowed down the often-frenzied Panthers attack more often in Game 2, and now the defending champs have a 2-0 series lead. That mixture of skill and hard feelings has made the first-ever Florida playoff series a blast, but Joel Quenneville needs to find answers or it will be short-but-citrusy-sweet.

Game 2: Golden Knights 3, Wild 1 (series tied 1-1)

The Wild dominated the first period of Game 2 against the Golden Knights, but couldn’t beat Marc-Andre Fleury. They ended up scoring their only goal of the contest in the second period, and that lead only lasted 18 seconds. Jonathan Marchessault tied it up, and Alex Tuch collected two goals to gain a huge win for Vegas.

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2021 First Round schedule, TV info]

Three Stars for Game 2 action from Tuesday in the NHL

1. Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights

Really, you could make an argument for any of the three Game 2-winning goals in the NHL on Tuesday. Jarry actually ended up with slightly more saves, and if you want to count non-playoff games, Thatcher Demko was excellent in a contest that will be quickly forgotten.

But, really, it’s got to be Marc-Andre Fleury.

MAF ended up with 34 saves in driving the Golden Knights’ Game 2 win over the Wild. After only allowing a single goal but losing, it had to be satisfying to win here.

Kind of, well, wild that there was some thought to starting Robin Lehner, eh?

2. Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins

On a Tuesday of Game 2 NHL playoff action, there were some interesting goalie debates. Should the Panthers have gone with Chris Driedger instead of Sergei Bobrovsky, as they did? After winning, were the Islanders wise to shift from Ilya Sorokin to Semyon Varlamov?

Call it proactive or reactive, but the Islanders and Panthers both lost after making changes. The Penguins stuck with Tristan Jarry, and he delivered in a Game 2 where the Islanders didn’t leave him with much margin for error.

Beating up Jarry too much for Josh Bailey‘s beauty of backhander seems a little silly. Either way, that was the only goal he allowed, and the Penguins can probably chill about their goalie situation.

At least until their next loss.

3. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning

By Natural Stat Trick’s count, the Panthers generated 13 high-danger chances at 5-on-5, while the Lightning generated five in Game 2. Four of the Lightning’s five high-danger chances happened in the first period.

For much of Game 2, the Lightning decided to lean on their defense — and very much Vasilevskiy — to protect their lead over the Panthers. It worked, as Vasilevskiy stopped 32 shots, only yielding a nice Mason Marchment one-timer goal.

If you’re sick of all of the Game 2 goalie talk regarding the three stars for Tuesday in the NHL, well … sorry? Ondrej Palat could be a solid alternate choice, though. He generated an assist and the game-winning goal.

[NBC 2021 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Stats of the night for Tuesday in the NHL

  • Mason Marchment and Bryan Marchment continue the father connection.

WEDNESDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 3: Capitals at Bruins (Series tied 1-1), 6:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream)
Game 2: Predators at Hurricanes (CAR leads 1-0), 8 p.m. ET – CNBC (livestream)
Game 1: Jets at Oilers, 9 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream)
Game 2: Blues at Avalanche (COL leads 1-0), 10:30 p.m. ET – CNBC (livestream)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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