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.

Hughes has first NHL hat trick, Devils beat Capitals 5-1

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
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NEWARK, N.J. – Jack Hughes had his first career NHL hat trick, Vitek Vanecek made 38 saves against his former team and the New Jersey Devils beat the Washington Capitals 5-1 on Saturday for coach Lindy Ruff’s 800th victory.

“It’s exciting,” Hughes said. “Couple of two-goal games in my career, so nice to cap it off with the third one tonight.”

Ruff became the fifth NHL coach to reach the 800-victory mark. The former Buffalo player won 571 games with the Sabres from 1997-2011. He had 165 wins in five seasons with Dallas and has 64 in two-plus seasons with New Jersey.

“It means I’ve been around a long time,” Ruff cracked. “Great to win the game. Again, you got to do a lot of right things, have good teams, and the way our team is playing I have to give them a lot of credit for getting me there.”

The Atlantic Division-leading Devils have won two in a row after seeing their franchise-record 13-game winning streak snapped by Toronto.

Devils captain Nico Hischier and Fabian Zetterlund also scored.

John Carlson scored for Washington and Charlie Lindgren made 24 saves.

“Not scoring goals, not capitalizing on our chances,” Carlson said. “We’ve had our chances, especially today, but we only walked away with one goal. We could have had five or six. It’s just not going in right now.”

Vanecek, meanwhile, was hoping for the shutout against a familiar foe.

“That would have been nice, but that’s hockey,” Vanecek said, “For sure you’re trying, but not every time; the win is more important.”

Hischier opened up the scoring with his 10th goal of the season midway through the first period on a power play after Alexander Ovechkin was called for slashing.

Hughes wrapped the puck around goalie Lindgren’s right leg and the goal post to put the Devils up 2-0 5:59 into the second period. Hughes appeared to have lost his angle on the goal when he ripped a shot off Lindgren’s face mask and into the net midway through the period for his 10th goal of the season to give New Jersey a 3-0 lead.

The 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick added his third midway through the third period as hats rained down on the ice with New Jersey up 4-0.

“You want to continue to play the right way, but if an opportunity comes you want to definitely put it in the back of the net with authority,” Hughes said. “So tonight, I was able to cap it off and it was nice.”

Fabian Zetterlund capped the scoring for New Jersey late in the third period.

NOTES: The Devils improved to 16-0-0 this season when Hischier has a point. New Jersey’s Nathan Bastain (upper body) did not return after the first period. . Ovechkin is still nine goals away from 800 and 11 from passing Gordie Howe for second place on the NHL goals list.

UP NEXT

Capitals: At Vancouver on Tuesday night.

Devils: At the New York Rangers on Monday night.

Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

“That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

“It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

“It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

“We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

TAKE NOTE

The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

“We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.