NHL Playoff Buzzer: Price delivers for Canadiens; Jeff Carter keeps scoring goals

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  • John Tavares leaves Game 1 for the Toronto Maple Leafs on a stretcher after a scary collision.
  • Jeff Carter delivers again for the Pittsburgh Penguins with two more goals.
  • The Florida Panthers rally for an important win against the Tampa Bay Lightning to stay in the series.

Game 3: Florida Panthers 6, Tampa Bay Lightning 5 (Lightning lead series 2-1 )

The Panthers entered the third period of Game 3 trailing the series by two games and the game itself by two goals. They were 20 minutes away from facing what would have almost certainly been an insurmountable deficit in the series. Then they scored three consecutive goals, including an overtime game-winner from an unlikely source (Ryan Lomberg) to crawl back into the series.

Head coach Joel Quenneville seemed to suggest that he might go back to Sergei Bobrovsky for Game 4 of the series on Saturday. Bobrovsky replaced Chris Driedger at the start of the third period after the latter allowed five goals in the second period.

Game 1: Montreal Canadiens 2, Toronto Maple Leafs 1 (Canadiens lead series 1-0)

The outcome of this game is almost secondary to the well being of Maple Leafs captain John Tavares. Tavares had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher following a scary collision with Canadiens forward Corey Perry. Early indications from Toronto are that Tavares seems to be doing well, but it was still not a situation that anybody ever wants to see.

As for the game itself, the Canadiens were able to get the win in Game 1 thanks to a great performance from Carey Price (35 saves) and an incredible individual effort from Paul Byron to score the game-winning shorthanded goal late in the third period.

Game 3: Pittsburgh Penguins 5, New York Islanders 4 (Penguins lead series 2-1)

The Penguins third and fourth lines came through in a big way on Thursday night to help lead them to a 5-4 win over the New York Islanders in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead.

Jeff Carter scored two more goals, Brandon Tanev scored the game-winner, and the Penguins held off a wild Islanders rally in the third period to get the win. Sidney Crosby did not have a big impact offensively, but he did make another great defensive play to get his stick on a Brock Nelson shot to deflect away a potential game-tying goal late in the third period.

Game 3: Vegas Golden Knights 5, Minnesota Wild 2 (Golden Knights lead series 2-1)

This was about as dominant of a defensive effort as you will find a Stanley Cup Playoff game as the Golden Knights limited the Wild to just 16 shots for the game, and only nine over the second and third periods (while Vegas put 36 on net during that stretch).

Mark Stone scored two goals as part of a five-goal outburst that saw the Golden Knights finally solve Cam Talbot and storm back to erase an early two-goal deficit. An early offside challenge that took away what could have been the Wild’s third goal (and a 3-0 lead) was the big turning point in this game.

[NBC 2021 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Three Stars

1. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens. The best chance for the Canadiens in this series is for Price to channel the 2014-15 version of himself and put the team on his back. He did that on Thursday night in the Canadiens’ 2-1 win, turning aside 35 out of 36 shots including some big stops late in the third period. Goaltending has been a trouble spot for the Canadiens this season, and Price is not the player he was at his peak, but he is still capable of putting together some games where he can be a difference maker. He did that on Thursday.

2. Jeff Carter, Pittsburgh Penguins. Just an incredible trade addition for the Penguins. Carter scored two huge goals for the Penguins on Thursday night to give him three goals and four points in the first three games of the series, and 12 goals and 15 total points in his first 17 games with the Penguins (regular season and playoffs). His first goal on Thursday was a great shot off the rush that was perfectly placed on the far post.

3. Gustav Forsling, Florida Panthers. Could have gone in a couple of different directions for the Panthers. Jonathan Huberdeau had three assists, Ryan Lomberg scored the game-winning goal, Bobrovsky came off the bench to help shut things down in the third period. But Forsling played 24 minutes and had a goal and an assist in the win, and his goal was pretty important, tying the game late in the third period. When he was on the ice during 5-on-5 play the Panthers held a big edge in shot attempts and shots on goals and outscored Tampa Bay by a 4-1 margin.

Stats of the Night

  • Lomberg is just the third Panthers play to score an overtime postseason goal joining Mike Hough and Dave Lowry on the list.
  • Paul Byron’s shorthanded goal is Montreal’s first shorthanded goal against Toronto in a playoff game since the 1966 postseason.
  • The Lightning’s five second period goals were a franchise record for goals in a person.
  • Keith Yandle was a healthy scratch for Florida, a notable moment because he has a 922 consecutive game streak in the regular season (still going) and had a 56-game playoff streak. This is the first time he did not play in a game since the 2009 season.

(All stats via NHL PR)

FRIDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 4: Boston Bruins vs. Washington Capitals (Bruins lead series 2-1), 6:30 p.m. ET — NBCSN (livestream)
Game 3: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Nashville Predators (Hurricanes lead series 2-0), 7 p.m. ET — USA (livestream)
Game 2: Winnipeg Jets vs. Edmonton Oilers (Jets lead series 1-0), 9 p.m. ET — NBCSN (livestream
Game 3: Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues (Avalanche lead series 2-0), 9:30 p.m. ET — USA (livestream)

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.