NHL Playoff Buzzer: Canadiens crush Jets; Golden Knights blast Avs

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  • The Canadian government granted NHL travel exemption for Stanley Cup Playoffs. (Read more)
  • David Krejci received a $5K fine for slashing Mathew Barzal.
  • The Canadiens put the Jets on the verge of a sweep by running away with Game 3.
  • That wasn’t the only 5-1 game in the NHL on Sunday. The Golden Knights did it too, absolutely dismantling the Avalanche in Game 4.
  • Game 3: Canadiens 5, Jets 1 (MTL leads series 3-0) — series livestream

    Thanks to a Corey Perry goal less than five minutes into Game 3, the Canadiens took a 1-0 lead over the Jets. While that didn’t serve as the game-winner, it rarely felt like Winnipeg had much of a chance. Really, Montreal dominated the second period even more. Can the Jets avoid a sweep vs. the Canadiens? At this point, it’s tempting to ask if Winnipeg will even make Montreal break much of a sweat.

    Game 4: Golden Knights 5, Avalanche 1 (Series tied 2-2) — series livestream

    Well, wow. The Avalanche actually took an early 1-0 lead in Game 4, and then the Golden Knights never looked back. Jonathan Marchessault ended up being the biggest star of that contest, and of Sunday in the NHL. But this was a total team effort. The Avalanche looked lost against an overwhelming Golden Knights attack, with Nathan MacKinnon & Co. getting little traction in Game 4. The Avs face some real adversity as the series shifts to Colorado for Game 5 on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN).

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

    Three Stars for NHL playoff action on Sunday

    1. Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson, Vegas Golden Knights

    No doubt, Marchessault gains the headlines for Sunday in the NHL. For the first time in his impressive career, Marchessault collected a playoff hat trick.

    As is his style, Marchessault peppered the net to get that hat trick. He ended up firing seven shots on goal in Game 4. With this hat trick, Marchessault has four goals in his last two playoff games after being limited to a single tally through his first nine playoff games of this run.

    Don’t forget William Karlsson in this equation, though.

    “Wild Bill” generated three assists in Game 4, gaining a helper on all three of Marchessault’s hat trick of goals. At their best, the Golden Knights feel like they have “two first lines.” Marchessault and Karlsson created that feeling on Sunday in the NHL.

    2. Joel Armia, Montreal Canadiens

    Like the Golden Knights over the Avalanche in their Game 4, the Canadiens enjoyed a total team effort in smothering the Jets in Game 3.

    Joel Armia played a big role in that win, though. Armia scored two goals (one a shorthanded tally, the other a nice empty-netter) while adding an assist in Game 3.

    If Armia can carry over from Game 3, they’d be even more thrilled than they already are. Armia ended a four-game scoring drought with this three-point night. He was productive early vs. the Maple Leafs, generating four points (2G, 2A) through the first five games of that series. With how tight the Habs are playing defensively, Armia could be a very nice asset.

    3. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

    Look, it must be said that the Canadiens are playing great defensive hockey.

    Think back to how lost the Maple Leafs looked in trying to create offense, especially late in that stunning series. The Jets might be even more clueless about how to break through against the Habs, and it showed as the Canadiens put on a clinic in Game 3.

    But, no doubt about it, Carey Price’s sharp play is crucial. It’s a symbiotic relationship, as perhaps Jets scorers feel like they need to hold onto that puck for an extra moment (or make one pass too many?) to beat Price.

    Price and the Canadiens have now won six playoff games in a row. He’s only allowed one goal in his last two contests, making 26 of 27 saves in Game 3. With a sparkling .938 save percentage during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, “Playoff Carey Price” sure feels like a genuine thing.

    [NBC 2021 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

    Marchessault hat trick

    Check out Marchessault’s hat trick in the clip below:

    Stat of the night: Canadiens defensive dominance continues in Game 3

    Could things be a little different if the Canadiens fail to get a 1-0 lead?

    MONDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

    Game 5: Bruins at Islanders, 6:30 p.m. ET (Series tied 2-2) – NBCSN (livestream)
    Game 4:
    Jets at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (MTL leads 3-0) – NHL Network (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.

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.

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

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
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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.