NHL Playoff Buzzer: Oilers eliminated in triple OT; Also double OT on Monday

NHL Playoff Buzzer: Oilers eliminated in triple OT; Also double OT on Monday
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  • The Islanders and Penguins gave NHL playoff fans another double OT finish, with the Isles coming out on top.
  • Speaking of double OT, why not do one better? The Oilers suffered a sweep after the Jets eliminated them in triple OT.
  • In another tight game, the Maple Leafs beat the Canadiens to take a 2-1 series lead.
  • The Panthers avoided elimination against the Lightning, and Spencer Knight looked brilliant.
  • While the Wild only managed 14 shots on goal, they stayed alive vs. the Golden Knights by winning Game 5.
  • After Monday’s frenzy of five playoff games, soak in two on Tuesday. Maybe throw in some tacos to hammer home the alliteration.
  • Game 5: Islanders 3, Penguins 2 [double OT] (NYI leads series 3-2)

    Barry Trotz probably doesn’t need to agonize about his playoff goalie decisions for a while. Ilya Sorokin was absolutely tremendous in Islanders – Penguins Game 5, particularly during a one-sided second period. Between Sorokin’s splendid play and Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry‘s occasional brain cramps, the Islanders were able to take a 3-2 series lead by winning Game 5 in double OT.

    Game 3: Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 1 (TOR leads series 2-1)

    Apparently the Maple Leafs can win these tight “playoff-type” games, as they showed vs. the Canadiens in Game 3. Neither team could score during the first period. William Nylander scored his third goal of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, then Nick Suzuki tied it up. Morgan Rielly found the net for the 2-1 goal, capping the scoring in both that second period and the game. Toronto leaned on Jack Campbell to make 15 saves during the third period, and he delivered.

    Game 5: Panthers 4, Lightning 1 (TBL leads series 3-2)

    In his first playoff game, Spencer Knight allowed a goal on the first shot he faced.

    For a lesser goalie, that might have been the first line of a horror story — even though that goal wasn’t Knight’s fault. For Knight, it was merely the beginning of an inspiring performance. When the Lightning went up 1-0 so early, they pressed against the Panthers early on, but Knight was outstanding. Eventually, the potent Panthers took over Game 5 to avoid elimination, making this series a lot more interesting against the Lightning.

    Game 5: Wild 4, Golden Knights 2 (VGK leads series 3-2)

    Early on, the Wild played with the sort of urgency you’d expect facing elimination vs. the Golden Knights. While Mark Stone scored the first goal, the Wild then went on fire, ending the first period up 3-1. It’s unclear if it was a matter of sitting on a lead or the Golden Knights just turning up the heat, but the Wild didn’t do much during the second period. Well, everyone not named Cam Talbot sat back. The Golden Knights generated an absurd 22-1 shots on goal advantage during the second period, but only reduced the Wild’s Game 5 lead to 3-2. That lead ended up standing, as Minnesota tacked on an empty-netter to win 4-2. It wasn’t pretty. but the Wild avoided elimination.

    Game 4 Jets 4, Oilers 3 [triple OT] (WIN wins series 4-0)

    How can you not feel a little bad for the Oilers after this heartbreaking sweep at the hands of the Jets? The two teams played three OT games in four days. Game 4 was essentially two games in one, as the Jets eliminated the Oilers in triple OT. At least the last goal of the series was beautiful by hey-it’s-in-triple-OT standards; Kyle Connor got loose and burned Edmonton for the clincher. Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and the Oilers probably deserved better than a sweep, but hockey can be cruel, especially in the playoffs; the Jets made sure of that.

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

    Three Stars for NHL playoff action on Monday

    1. Ilya Sorokin, New York Islanders

    Ilya Sorokin’s night played into the themes of Monday’s NHL playoff action.

    For one thing, Sorokin stood tall in double OT. Beyond that, he also helped his team win despite getting dominated for a large chunk of that contest. In Sorokin’s case, he only allowed a single goal when the Penguins generated a 20-4 shots on goal advantage during the second period.

    Overall, Sorokin made 48 out of 50 saves for a big Islanders win. Tristan Jarry made some mistakes, but Sorokin kept the door open for the that by being so razor-sharp in that double OT win for the Islanders.

    2. Spencer Knight, Florida Panthers

    Seriously, what a way for Knight to make his playoff debut.

    Again, allowing a goal on the first shot he ever faced already added some drama — particularly since you couldn’t really blame Knight for it. From there, he made 36 consecutive saves, helping the Panthers stave off elimination in the process.

    As Brian Boucher noted during the telecast, Knight showed plenty of confidence. Some big saves came with Knight being shockingly aggressive. Cameras even caught the 20-year-old laughing during that do-or-die situation.

    Following suit with other top goalies from Monday in the NHL, Knight didn’t cave in to big pressure. The Lightning generated 22 SOG in the first period, but Knight only let one goal in.

    Now the Panthers are only down 3-2 in the series … and maybe they found their answer in net?

    3. Cam Talbot, Minnesota Wild

    The Wild avoided elimination because of a hot stretch in the first period, and Cam Talbot during the second. Among many one-sided periods in Monday’s NHL action, the Golden Knights generated the most lopsided one in the second vs. the Wild. Vegas generated a silly 22-1 SOG advantage, but only Alec Martinez could break through on the power play. Talbot ended up with 38 saves and Minny lives to see another day.

    3b. The Oilers and Jets, really.

    It’s hard to place Connor Hellebuyck or Mike Smith ahead of the goalies above. While Connor McDavid, Mark Scheifele, and Leon Draisaitl contributed a lot in that triple OT loss, they aren’t quite in that top three range. But you have to tip your cap to both teams for playing so hard into triple OT, especially since that closed a rare back-to-back set of playoff games.

    [NBC 2021 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

    Stats of the Night: Triple OT tidbits

    • Some perspective on the Jets sweeping an opponent who deployed the reigning Art Ross winner.

    • Darnell Nurse logged 62:07 TOI in that triple OT win, including more than eight minutes on the PK. Being that Nurse logged 31:18 in Game 3, he logged almost 100 minutes of ice time in a back-to-back set. Seems difficult!

    TUESDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

    Game 3: Maple Leafs at Canadiens (TOR leads series 2-1), 7:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN) (livestream)
    Game 5
    : Predators at Hurricanes (Series tied 2-2), 8 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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    Coaching carousel leaves 10 NHL teams with new face on bench

    Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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    The coaching carousel spun a little faster than usual across the NHL, meaning nearly a third of the league will have someone new behind the bench this season. And not just bottom-feeders making changes.

    Ten teams go into the season next month with a new coach, from Presidents’ Trophy-winning Florida and perennial playoff-contending Boston to rebuilding Chicago and San Jose.

    John Tortorella will try to whip Philadelphia into shape, Bruce Cassidy is tasked with getting Vegas back to the playoffs and Derek Lalonde takes his two Stanley Cup rings as a Tampa Bay assistant to his new challenge with the Detroit Red Wings.

    TORTS REFORM

    Philadelphia players knew they were in for some changes when Tortorella was hired, so they asked Cam Atkinson, who spent six years playing for the no-nonsense coach in Columbus.

    “I keep telling them like he’s a guy that’s going to change the whole dynamic of this organization,” Atkinson said.

    Tortorella has not shied away from saying a culture change is needed after a last-place finish and a decade with one playoff series win. There is likely not much he and players can do this year about a Cup drought that dates to 1975, but they can start with maddeningly inconsistent stretches of games that have plagued the Flyers for years, no matter the roster.

    BIG MO

    The Panthers were the league’s best team in the regular season last year but struggled in the playoffs before losing in the second round to cross-state rival Tampa Bay in five games. That was enough for general manager Bill Zito to decide to move on from interim coach Andrew Brunette and hired seasoned veteran Paul Maurice.

    The expectation is to get back to the playoffs and compete for the Cup, and having Maurice at the helm was one of the factors that made power forward Matthew Tkachuk pick Florida as his trade-and-sign destination.

    “He’s got high hopes for our team,” Tkachuk said. “He sees us playing in a certain way that’s going to make us successful. And he’s done it. He’s been around the NHL a long time, been a very successful head coach and somebody that I’m really looking forward to working with.”

    PLAYOFF ROTATION

    Bruins GM Don Sweeney fired Cassidy after a seven-game loss to Carolina in the first round despite Boston’s sixth consecutive playoff appearance.

    Vegas had already fired Peter DeBoer, making him the scapegoat for an injury-riddled fall from the top of the Western Conference that ended with the team’s first playoff miss in five years of existence. The Golden Knights quickly turned to Cassidy, who like Maurice brings experience and gravitas to a franchise with championship aspirations.

    “I think we’re very fortunate as an organization to have him as our coach,” center Jack Eichel said. “Every single person I’ve spoke to about them, they said the same thing: that he’s got a really, really great knack for the game and to able to make adjustments and he understands things. Very, very competitive — wants to win, has won a lot of hockey games over the last few years.”

    The Bruins replaced Cassidy with Jim Montgomery, a hockey lifer getting a second chance after being fired by Dallas in December 2019 for inappropriate conduct. Montgomery sought and received help at a rehab facility and got a big endorsement from the staff with St. Louis, the team he was working for as an assistant.

    “He’s a winner,” Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman said. “I think guys are going to thrive on that energy.”

    The Stars completed the circle by hiring DeBoer, who has coached two teams (New Jersey in 2012 and San Jose in 2016) to the final and is on his fifth stop around the league.

    “This is a tough league and it’s a tough one to coach in and you have to be able to handle situations,” GM Jim Nill said. “I know Pete can do it.”

    LAMBERT ISLAND

    Lane Lambert served as an assistant under Barry Trotz with Nashville, Washington – where they won the Cup together – and the Islanders. When Trotz was abruptly fired after New York missed the playoffs for the first time in his four seasons on the job, his right-hand man got the gig with his endorsement.

    Longtime executive Lou Lamoriello thought his team needed a new voice. But Lambert isn’t that new, and his familiarity with the Islanders keeps some continuity.

    “Barry was great for our team, and having Lane as an assistant, he had lots of say, as well,” forward Mathew Barzal said. “As a group, we all have a good relationship with him, so I think it’ll be an easy transition for our team.”

    MORE NEW VOICES

    The final coaching change of the offseason came in San Jose, with ownership and interim management firing Bob Boughner and his assistants before Mike Grier took over as GM. Grier hired David Quinn, who most recently coached the U.S. at the Beijing Olympics after spending three years with the Rangers.

    Rick Bowness, the Stars’ interim coach when Montgomery was fired who helped them reach the final in 2020 and was not brought back, joined Winnipeg. He immediately made an impact by stripping Blake Wheeler of the Jets captaincy.

    The other new coaches – Lalonde in Detroit and Luke Richardson in Chicago – are not expected to make such big waves.

    Richardson, who briefly was acting coach for Montreal during the 2021 final when Dominique Ducharme tested positive for the coronavirus, is overseeing the start of a long-term rebuild by the Blackhawks. Lalonde was Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman’s pick to help end the storied franchise’s playoff drought.

    “He believes in what he’s preaching, which I think is great walking into a new locker room,” captain Dylan Larkin said. “He’s made a great impression on the guys.”

    Islanders agree to terms with Mathew Barzal on 8-year extension

    Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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    Mathew Barzal has agreed to terms with the New York Islanders on an eight-year extension, a move that keeps the franchise’s top forward under contract for the balance of his prime.

    The deal is worth $73.2 million with an annual salary cap hit of $9.15 million, according to a person with knowledge of the contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce terms.

    Barzal has led the team in scoring, or been tied for the lead, every season since he became a full-time NHL player in 2017-18. He has 349 points in 411 regular-season and playoff games for the defensively stingy Islanders, who qualified for the postseason three consecutive times before an injury- and virus-altered last year.

    “We feel recharged,” Barzal said recently. “We feel like everybody had good summers and worked hard, and we got that excitement back.”

    Barzal, now 25, is coming off putting up 59 points in 75 games. The offensive star will now be asked to round out his game.

    “I’m a fan because Mat has the ability to raise his game and to be a special player,” general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters at the team’s practice facility on Long Island. “And now, with this contract and our faith in him, (it) puts that responsibility on him. We’re trusting that. It’s up to him to respond to that.”

    Senators goaltender Cam Talbot out 5-7 weeks with injury

    Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
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    OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.

    The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.

    Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.

    The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.

    Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.

    Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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    CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

    The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

    The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

    The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.