NHL Playoff Buzzer: Islanders, Lightning advance; Wild still in it

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  • The New York Islanders continued to feast on Tristan Jarry to advance to the Second Round.
  • The Tampa Bay Lightning star players were great in Game 6 to beat their interstate rivals.
  • We will have at least one Game 7 in the First Round thanks to the Minnesota Wild.
  • New York Islanders 5, Pittsburgh Penguins 3 (Islanders win series 4-2)

    Goaltending is the great equalizer in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The New York Islanders have it. The Pittsburgh Penguins do not. That is why the Islanders are moving on to the Second Round where they will face the Boston Bruins and why the Penguins are going home without winning a round for the third consecutive season. Brock Nelson scored two goals and helped the Islanders erupt for three goals in three minutes to take control of Game 6 and clinch the series.

    Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Florida Panthers 0 (Lightning win series 4-2)

    The Florida Panthers did everything they could in this series, and it was a great effort, but the Tampa Bay Lightning are just too much. Thanks to a 29-save shutout from Andrei Vasilevskiy, two points each from Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos, and another goal from Brayden Point the Lightning are advancing to the Second Round where they will await the winner of the Carolina Hurricanes-Nashville Predators series.

    Minnesota Wild 3, Vegas Golden Knights 0 (Series tied 3-3)

    Thanks to Cam Talbot‘s second shutout of the series, a two-point night from Kevin Fiala, and a goalie interference call the Minnesota Wild were able to force a Game 7 in Vegas on Friday night. The Wild have won back-to-back games while facing elimination and refuse to go away. It was a clinical defensive performance on Wednesday and it has them in a winner-take-all game with a trip to the Second Round on the line.

    Three Stars

    1. Brock Nelson, New York Islanders. Nelson scored two goals for the Islanders as part of a second period offensive outburst that helped lead them to a 5-3 win over the Penguins, punching their ticket to the Second Round. He finished the First Round series with three goals and two assists in the six games.

    2. Kevin Fiala, Minnesota Wild. Entering play on Wednesday Fiala had zero points in the first five games of their series with Vegas. That changed in a big way on Wednesday as he set up Ryan Hartman‘s game-winning goal in the third period with a great pass, and then scored a huge insurance marker on the power play.

    3. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning. He is the best goalie in the league and he played like it on Wednesday, shutting out the Florida Panthers in an elimination game. The Panthers had Vasilevskiy’s number a little bit during the regular season, but he came through in the playoffs to help be a difference-maker. While he was his usual solid self the Panthers went through a revolving door of three goalies in six games.

    Highlights of the Night

    The New York Islanders scored three goals in three minutes to take control.

    The Lightning advance thanks to a vintage Steven Stamkos one-timer, two assists from Nikita Kucherov, and a highlight reel goal from Brayden Point. Watch them all here.

    The Minnesota Wild score three third period goals to force a Game 7 against the Vegas Golden Knights.

    Thursday’s NHL Playoff schedule

    Game 5: Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs (TOR leads 3-1), 7 p.m. ET — NBCSN (livestream)
    Game 6: Carolina Hurricanes at Nashville Predators (CAR leads 3-1), 9:30 p.m. ET — NBCSN (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.


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

    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    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.


    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).


    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

    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

    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.

    Toronto’s Morgan Rielly placed on long-term injured reserve

    Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

    TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury.

    Rielly was hurt in a collision with with New York forward Kyle Palmieri early in the third period of Toronto’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders at home.

    Rielly has no goals and 16 assists in 20 games this season and is averaging 23 minutes of ice time.

    Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said following practice that the 28-year-old Rielly doesn’t need surgery, adding there’s no firm timeline for his return beyond the minimum 24 days and 10 games required for going on long-term injured reserve.

    Toronto’s defense is also missing Jake Muzzin with a neck injury and T.J. Brodie with an injured oblique.