- The Tampa Bay Lightning power play is the difference again as they move one win closer to advancing.
- Mathew Barzal starts to heat up for the New York Islanders.
- The Lady Byng finalists are announced on Saturday.
Tampa Bay Lightning 6, Carolina Hurricanes 4 (Lightning lead series 3-1)
The Tampa Bay Lightning are one win away from reaching the NHL’s semifinals for the fifth time in the past seven years. Their 6-4 win on Saturday afternoon, which was highlighted by a wild second period that saw the two teams combine for eight goals in 20 minutes, gives them a 3-1 series lead over the Carolina Hurricanes. They can win the series on Tuesday night in Carolina. Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos both had three points (including two goals each) in the win to help carry the offense. It was also another dominant day for Tampa Bay’s power play is it went 3-for-6 in the game and is now scoring on 41.2 percent of its opportunities this postseason. Colorado (44 percent) and Boston 31 percent) are the only two other teams better than 28 percent right now.
New York Islanders 4, Boston Bruins 1 (Series tied 2-2)
It is now a best-of-three series. Thanks to a big game from Mathew Barzal and another strong defensive effort, the New York Islanders were able to even their Second Round series with the Boston Bruins at two games apiece. It was a tough, physical game and the Islanders were able to score four consecutive goals (including two empty net goals) to get the win. They are now just two wins away from reaching the NHL’s semifinals for the second year in a row.
1. Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning. Just a dominant performance right now. He had two goals, an assist, and six shots on goal in Saturday’s win and is starting to run away with the points lead (17) this postseason. He now has a four-point lead over every other player in the playoffs. Not bad for having played zero games during the regular season.
2. Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders. It was only a matter of time until he started to get rolling again offensively. He now has points in four consecutive games and goals in each of his past two games. He assisted on the game-tying goal on Saturday, and then scored the game-winner late in the third period by knocking the puck in out of mid-air by Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask.
3. Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning. Injuries and all of the time he has missed over the years have made it easy to take for granted how great Stamkos is. He is the second best goal scorer of his era (behind only Alex Ovechkin) and is still an impact player offensively. He had two goals and an assist on Saturday. After appearing in just one game during the Lightning’s Stanley Cup run a year ago he is playing a significant role in their title defense this season, already recording 13 points in their first 10 games this postseason.
Highlights Of The Night
Here is something you do not see every day: A game starting four-on-four because each team gets penalized before the opening faceoff.
Mathew Barzal scores the game-winning goal by knocking the puck in out of mid-air.
The first period of the Bruins-Islanders game had some chaos to it, including two rights. The Taylor Hall–Scott Mayfield bout is probably not one anybody expected.
SUNDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Game 3: Jets at Canadiens, 6 p.m. ET (MTL leads 2-0) – NBCSN (livestream)
Game 4: Avalanche at Golden Knights, 8:30 p.m. ET (COL leads 2-1) – NBCSN (livestream)
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.