NHL Rink Wrap: Tying playoff series up in 2-2 knots

NHL Rink Wrap: Tying playoff series up in 2-2 knots
Andrew Bershaw /Icon_Sportswire

• The Bruins tied their series against the Hurricanes despite Charlie McAvoy missing Game 4.

• After turning to Jordan Binnington in Game 4, the Blues tied their series against the Wild at 2-2.

• Right off the bat, the Lightning took it to the Maple Leafs in Game 4, tying their series at 2-2 with gusto.

• Wrapping up a Sunday of tied NHL series in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Kings smothered the Oilers in Game 4.

Game 4: Boston Bruins 5, Carolina Hurricanes 2 (Series tied 2-2)

The Bruins began a trend across the NHL playoffs on Sunday, tying their series 2-2 with the Hurricanes. Unlike some of the other teams, the Bruins didn’t ride a red-hot start, though. Instead, the Bruins fought back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to win.

It’s dangerous to say “No Charlie McAvoy, no problem.” Instead, it may be wiser to say that Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and other top Bruins stars often find ways to solve Boston’s problems.

Game 4: St. Louis Blues 5, Minnesota Wild 2 (Series tied 2-2)

Now, we move to teams tying series 2-2 in part because of strong Game 4 starts.

Granted, in Game 4 of Wild – Blues, the first period ended 1-1. Still, the Blues opened the scoring, and dominated shots on goal (18-5) early on. While the Wild flipped the SOG battle in the second period (13-7), the Blues scored the frame’s two goals, including a tremendous Jordan Kyrou tally.

Late Blues goals inflated the lead, but the bottom line is that Kyrou, Ryan O'Reilly, and David Perron put together a strong effort to tie their series 2-2 with the Wild.

Game 4: Tampa Bay Lightning 7, Toronto Maple Leafs 3 (Series tied 2-2)

It’s never great when a 7-3 score can be misleadingly positive, but that might be the case for the Maple Leafs. Or, at least, it inflates Toronto’s offensive efforts. Steven Stamkos had home fans buzzing by scoring just one minute in. Within the first eight minutes of Game 4, the Lightning were up 3-0 over the Maple Leafs, and the second and third goals came from depth players. Less than six minutes into the second period, it was already 5-0 Lightning.

The Maple Leafs only really got anything done against the Lightning once it was garbage time. Some really had huge reactions to this Leafs loss; some spun it positively as Toronto managing a 2-2 series split, with two of the three remaining games at home. The truth is somewhere in between. There’s a “burn the tape” element to this loss for the Maple Leafs, yet the bottom line is that they need to play much, much, MUCH better against the Lightning.

Game 4: Los Angeles Kings 4, Edmonton Oilers 0 (Series tied 2-2)

Connor McDavid and the Oilers won’t get that shot at a rest advantage. Instead, Phillip Danault beautifully set up Trevor Moore for the opening goal, and then Troy Stecher made it 2-0 with a bit less than six minutes left in the first period.

On one hand, an early 2-0 lead gave the Kings a golden opportunity to lock down the Oilers in Game 4. On the other hand, containing the Oilers isn’t really easy for anyone, especially a Kings team that’s as much about structure than outright star power. To their considerable credit, Los Angeles masterfully slowed McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, making sure that early lead stood.

Any chance the Oilers had really dissolved after a 3-0 goal withstood a goal review process, although the way the Kings were playing in Game 4, maybe that really just removed any drama?

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 First Round schedule, TV info]

Three Stars in NHL on Sunday (Seventh day of playoffs)

1. Brad Marchand, Bruins

While Brad Marchand barking at Tony DeAngelo captivated Twitter, the Bruins star walked the walk.

After being limited to zero goals and an assist in two Hurricanes wins, Marchand’s been delivering for the Bruins in Game 3 and 4 in Boston. As strong as Marchand was in Game 3 (1G, 2A), the pesky winger brought it up a notch during Sunday’s NHL playoff action. Marchand scored five points on two goals and three assists. That puts Marchand at nine points in four games so far in the Bruins – Hurricanes series.

Other Bruins got in on the fun, too. Patrice Bergeron generated three points (1G, 2A), while both David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk managed one-goal, one-assist outputs. Marchand was on another level, though.

2. Jonathan Quick, Kings

After two lopsided losses, it would’ve been reasonable if the Kings started Cal Petersen against the Oilers in Game 4. Instead, the Kings rolled with veteran goalie Jonathan Quick instead, and it paid off.

To an extent, the Kings played well against the Oilers in Game 4, setting Quick up to succeed. There were other times when Jonathan Quick nullified the Oilers (cough) bare-handed.

Jonathan Quick ended up pitching a 29-save shutout, his 10th career playoff goose egg.

3. Top Blues like Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, Jordan Kyrou … Jordan Binnington?

How much does Binnington being named the No. 1 star of Blues – Wild Game 4 come down to the occasional homer three stars picker? How dare you for asking a question like that?

Binnington got the job done with 28 saves in a game where the Wild created more high-danger chances than the Blues. David Perron had the most points (2G, 1A), though one goal was an empty-netter. You may instead prefer Ryan O’Reilly, who impressed on his way to a goal and two assists. Then again, style points may drive Jordan Kyrou and his two goals to the top, considering this:

So let’s give those top Blues a collective star for that Game 4 win over the Wild.


Game 4: Florida Panthers at Washington Capitals, 7 p.m. ET — TBS (WSH leads 2-1)
Game 4: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers, 7 p.m. ET — ESPN (PIT leads 2-1)
Game 4: Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators, 9:30 p.m. ET — ESPN (COL leads 3-0)
Game 4: Calgary Flames at Dallas Stars, 9:30 p.m. ET — TBS (DAL leads 2-1)

PHT’s 2022 Stanley Cup previews

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning
Hurricanes vs. Bruins
Blues vs. Wild
• Avalanche vs. Predators
Oilers vs. Kings

Flames vs. Stars

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info
First Round, Stanley Cup predictions
• NHL Draft Lottery set: Canadiens have best odds for top pick
Why your team will (and will not) win the Stanley Cup

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    Stars sign 41-goal scorer Jason Robertson to 4-year, $31M deal

    Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

    FRISCO, Texas — Jason Robertson signed a four-year, $31 million contract with the Dallas Stars after the young 40-goal scorer missed the first two weeks of training camp.

    The Stars announced the deal after their exhibition game in Denver, only a week before the regular season opener Oct. 13 at Nashville.

    Robertson turned 23 soon after the end of last season, when the left wing had 41 goals and 38 assists for 79 points in his 74 games. His 13 power-play goals led the team. Robertson joined Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Modano, Jamie Benn, and Tyler Seguin as the only 40-goal scorers since the franchise moved to Dallas in 1993.

    “Jason is an integral part of the present and future of our team and we’re thrilled to have him for the next four years,” general manager Jim Nill said.

    A second-round draft pick (39th overall) by the Stars in 2017, Robertson has 125 points (58 goals, 67 assists) in his 128 NHL games. The 6-foot-3 California native had one goal and three assists in his first postseason action last season, when Dallas lost its first-round playoff series in seven games against Calgary.

    “Since he was drafted by our organization, he has worked tirelessly to become a better player every day. His knack for scoring goals and seeing plays develop on the ice are just some of the tremendous assets that he brings to our team,” Nill said. “He is one of the best young players in the NHL, and we look forward to seeing him continue to progress.”

    Robertson had the second-highest point total for a Stars rookie in 2020-21, when he had 45 points (17 goals, 28 assists) in his 51 games.

    Before the start of this season’s camp, new coach Pete DeBoer said he looked forward to coaching Robertson.

    “Listen, I laid awake at night with the excitement of coaching Jason Robertson, 40-plus goals, but he’s not here,” DeBoer said then. “So, you know, until he gets here, I can’t spend any energy on that.”

    Robertson will finally be there now.

    Coaching carousel leaves 10 NHL teams with new face on bench

    Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

    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.


    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.”


    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.”


    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.”


    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

    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

    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.