Teams get creative crossing U.S.-Canada border in NHL playoffs

nhl playoffs
Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images

NHL teams are taking different approaches to crossing the U.S.-Canada border during the first round of the playoffs with the U.S. still requiring a negative COVID-19 test for all passengers arriving on international flights.

The Edmonton Oilers flew to Vancouver and took buses into Washington state before flying to Los Angeles to avoid U.S. virus testing requirements, and the Toronto Maple Leafs took buses to Buffalo, New York, before flying to Florida for the same reason. The Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames all opted to test and fly direct when their respective series shifted from Canada to the U.S. late this week.

Choose your own travel adventure has become the latest pandemic wrinkle to the fight for the Stanley Cup. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the NHL did not make any particular recommendations but has no problem with the creative arrangements.

“We have no objection or issue with them utilizing the rules and policies that have been put in place by the applicable health authorities to their maximum advantage,” Daly said in an email Friday.

The situation is nothing like the past two years when cross-border travel was a major headache for the NHL. In 2020, the league held a 24-team postseason in Toronto and Edmonton with strict quarantines in place and no fans. Last year, facing uncertainty over border restrictions, the league temporarily realigned its divisions for a shortened season, with all seven Canadian teams playing only each other through the first two rounds of the playoffs.

Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said players were involved in choosing the itinerary for what amounted to a longer trip. The Oilers spent a night in a Vancouver hotel before crossing the border and flying from Bellingham, Washington, to California on Thursday ahead of Game 3 against the Kings on Friday night.

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

“I think what you want to do is you want to make the best decision possible for your group and was one that we gave a lot of thought to,” Woodcroft said. “The players are energized by how we traveled and being in the California sunshine.”

The Oilers have the only unvaccinated player in the NHL playoffs: Josh Archibald, whose cardiologist was able to secure a medical exemption for the 29-year-old forward because of a heart condition known as myocarditis. Archibald played in only eight games during the regular season but is available in the playoffs on either side of the border and was in the lineup for Game 2 when Edmonton evened its series against the Kings.

The Maple Leafs’ trip to Buffalo took only a couple of hours before flying to Florida. It’s the same path the NBA’s Toronto Raptors took during their first-round series against Philadelphia.

The Lightning, Kings, Stars, and Flames all chose COVID-19 testing and a direct flight to enter the U.S.

“We didn’t cross the border by bus,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said Friday before Game 3 against Toronto. “Everybody passed the tests.”

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    Pro Hockey Talk Year In Review: Top hockey stories of 2021

    hockey stories 2021
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    Pro Hockey Talk is taking a look back at the year in hockey. We’ll be presenting you with the best NHL goals, saves, stories, players and more as we remember 2021.

    Kyle Beach reveals himself as ‘John Doe’

    During an interview with TSN in October, Beach, the No. 11 overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft,  identified himself as one of Brad Aldrich’s alleged sexual assault victims, one day after the Blackhawks’ internal investigation was released.

    The Jenner & Block report led to the resignations of Stan Bowman as Blackhawks general manager and Joel Quenneville as Panthers head coach.

    Earlier this month, the team and Beach reached a confidential settlement after meeting with a mediator.

    COVID-19 continues to affect NHL

    This year began with the 2020-21 NHL season dropping the puck in mid-January for a 56-game sprint to the Stanley Cup Playoffs featuring interdivisional play (plus a small realignment with an all-Canadian division). There were a number of postponed games, including an outbreak taking the Canucks off the ice for nearly a month.

    But the league made it through, crowning a champion in early July.

    As the NHL tried to get back on a normal October-June schedule, the 2021-22 season begin in mid-October with plans to end the regular season in late April. But the omicron COVID-19 variant has caused disruption to the schedule. Eighty games have been postponed this season alone, and while the league plans to make those games up in February, there’s no guarantee that number won’t continue rise.

    Those dates in February are free because the NHL will not be sending players to participate in the Beijing Olympics. As part of the 2020 CBA, the league promised the NHLPA that it would attempt to work out a deal with the IOC and IIHF. An agreement was made, but the disruption of the regular season with the large number of postponed made it clear to all that gold medal dreams would have to wait for at least another four years.

    The tragic deaths of Matīss Kivlenieks, Jimmy Hayes

    Kivlenieks, 24, was coming into his own as a goaltender when a July 4 fireworks accident at the home of Blue Jackets goaltending coach Manny Legace ended in tragedy.

    An autopsy said that Kivlenieks died of chest trauma from an errant fireworks mortar blast while sitting in a hot tub. Fellow Columbus goaltender and countryman Elvis Merzlikins revealed that Kivlenieks saved his then-pregnant wife, Aleksandra, by taking the brunt of the blast. Merzlikins has since honored his “little brother” with a special mask for this season and by naming his newborn son Knox Matīss Merzlikins.

    The hockey world suffered another tragedy in August when former NHLer Jimmy Hayes was found dead in his Massachusetts home. A toxicology report on the 31-year-old revealed that fentanyl and cocaine were found in his system.

    Lightning make it back-to-back Stanley Cups

    For the second time since the 1997-98 Red Wings, an NHL team won back-to-back Stanley Cup titles. Four years after the Penguins won two in a row, the Lightning solidified their place in hockey history by topping the Canadiens in five games.

    The celebrations began on the AMALIE Arena ice and continued into the press conferences — thank you, Nikita Kucherov — and through the Stanley Cup boat parade.

    Jack Eichel saga ends with trade to Golden Knights

    It took a while, and after a dispute over how to treat his neck injury, the Sabres finally dealt Jack Eichel. Buffalo was unwilling to allow Eichel to undergo his preferred artificial disk replacement surgery, and after an agreement could not be made it was clear his time with the franchise was over.

    Days after the trade, Eichel had surgery and could be ready to return to the ice for the Golden Knights at some point in the second half of the season.

    Boston Pride win 2021 NWHL Isobel Cup

    The six-team NWHL attempted to pull off a season over a two-week period with all games played in Lake Placid, New York. Two teams were forced to withdraw and league paused its season in early February over COVID-19 issues.

    Play resumed weeks later with the four-team Isobel Cup playoffs with the Pride coming out on top over the Minnesota Whitecaps.

    The win meant the Pride became the first NWHL team to ever with the Isobel Cup twice.

    NWHL rebrands to Premier Hockey Federation

    As the NWHL entered its seventh season, changes were in order. The league rebranded to the Premier Hockey Federation, welcomed private ownership, and removed gender from its title.

    “We felt it’s time for our players to be defined by their talent and skill,” PHF Commissioner Tyler Tumminia told the Associated Press. “It’s not like they’re female phenomenal. You’re just phenomenal.”

    Seattle Kraken becomes NHL’s 32nd team

    The NHL welcomed its 32nd team at the start of the 2021-22 season when the Kraken arrived on the scene. After an Expansion Draft that featured flying fish, the team finally debuted in October with a 4-3 loss to the NHL’s last expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights.

    Two weeks later the Kraken opened Climate Pledge Arena with a 4-2 defeat to the Vancouver Canucks, and while they’ve struggled in their inaugural year, it’s clear how much the market missed NHL hockey.

    NHL Outdoors At Lake Tahoe - Vegas Golden Knights v Colorado Avalanche
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Event-filled outdoor hockey at Lake Tahoe

    It was one of the most picturesque settings in NHL outdoor game history. The 18th fairway of the golf course of the Edgewood Tahoe Resort featured Lake Tahoe and the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains in the background. 

    The hockey was, well, obstacle-filled. The Avalanche and Golden Knights played the first game, which had to be delayed after the opening period until midnight eastern time due to ice issues. Sunday’s Boston Bruins-Philadelphia Flyers game went a little smoother after the start time was pushed back. David Pastrnak’s hat trick helped the Bruins close out an interesting weekend for the league in Lake Tahoe.

    Henrik Lundqvist retires

    The future Hall of Famer was forced to sit out the 2020 NHL season due to a heart condition. Lundqvist never got to play for the Capitals, but was set on returning for 2021-22 and playing again. Unfortunately, that never happened as he announced his retirement in August, ending a 15-year NHL career. He finished his career with a 459-310-96 regular season record along with a .918 save percentage and 64 shutouts.

    Next stop: Hockey Hall of Fame?

    Canadiens use first-round pick on Logan Mailloux

    After telling NHL teams to not select him in the 2021 NHL Draft following news that he was convicted a year earlier in Sweden for taking and circulating a photo of a woman performing a sex act without her consent, the Canadiens used their first round pick to select Logan Mailloux. That led to an immediate backlash. The team defended the pick, releasing the statement the night of the draft that they were “making a commitment to accompany Logan on his journey by providing him with the tools to mature and the necessary support to guide him in his development.”

    The Canadiens announced that Mailloux would not attend rookie camp or their main training camp and he was later suspended by the Ontario Hockey League, where played two seasons with the London Knights. He’s eligible to apply for reinstatement  into the OHL beginning on Jan. 1, 2022.

    Mario Lemieux, Ron Burkle sell majority shares of Penguins

    Fenway Sports Sports completed the reported $900 million sale in December, adding another high-profile sports property. FSG can now tout the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool FC, and the Penguins in its portfolio.

    Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle will still hold small ownership stakes, but their full control of the franchise is over after a 22-year run that saw three Stanley Cups and construction of PPG Paints Arena in 2010.

    Ovechkin reaches 750 goals: Updated chase for Gretzky's 894
    John McCreary/NHLI via Getty Images

    Alex Ovechkin continues chasing Wayne Gretzky

    As of Wednesday, Ovechkin is 142 goals away from Wayne Gretzky’s NHL record of 894. Through 31 games this season the Capitals captain is second in the league with 22 goals and is showing no signs of slowing down. 

    Islanders say goodbye to Nassau Coliseum, open UBS Arena

    After calling Nassau Coliseum home for most of the last 40-plus years, the Islanders finally said goodbye to their old barn and moved into the $1.1 billion UBS Arena in November. Their final game at the Coliseum was Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final, which ended with Anthony Beauvillier’s overtime goal. They opened the new barn with a seven-game home losing streak, which they finally snapped on Dec. 11 with a win over New Jersey.

    Sabres’ winless streak lasts 18 games

    It was brutal. They fired a coach in between, but the winless streak finally ended on March 3 1 with a 6-1 win over the Flyers. Buffalo went 0-15-3 and avoided becoming just the second team in NHL history to ever play 16 games in one month without winning any of them. The win over Philadelphia was their first over a team that wasn’t New Jersey since Jan. 26.

    NHL moves on from Tim Peel after hot mic incident

    After being caught on a hot mic saying he “wanted to get a f—— penalty against Nashville early,” referee Tim Peel was pulled off games and did not work another NHL game. He was set to retire in April after officiating over 1,000 games.

    Patrick Marleau sets NHL games played record

    On April 19, the Sharks forward played in his 1,768th NHL game, passing Gordie Howe for the NHL record in regular-season games played. Howe had held the record since Nov. 1961.

    While he was chasing Mr. Hockey, Marleau was also on another impressive run. Between April 2009 and May 2021 he played 910 consecutive NHL games. That streak is currently the fifth-longest in league history, 54 games away from Doug Jarvis, the all-time leader.

    The then-41-year-old Marleau has played for three teams — San Jose, Toronto, Pittsburgh — during his NHL career. He currently remains unsigned and has not announced his retirement from hockey.

    ————

    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

    Roundtable: Jack Eichel situation; bold predictions for 2021-22 season

    roundtable
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    Which playoff team will not be back in the postseason in 2022?

    James O’Brien, NHL writer: Make no mistake about it: Juuse Saros dragged the Predators kicking and screaming to the playoffs. That already-fading team lost Ryan Ellis and Viktor Arvidsson for precious little in return, yet didn’t have the courage to go full-fledged with a rebuild. (A four-year, $20 million contract for 29-year-old Mikael Granlund? On this team? OK then.) Honestly, repeating last season feels like their ceiling, and that would be close to a worst-case scenario. You’d have to be naive (or on the payroll?) to believe in the John Hynes – David Poile combination right now.

    Adam Gretz, NHL writer: Montreal and Nashville are the easy picks here. The Canadiens will not have the luxury of playing in the North Division where four teams were guaranteed to go, and will instead be back with at least four legitimate contenders (Tampa Bay, Boston, Florida, Toronto) ahead of them. There are a lot of reasons to like the Canadiens and some of their young talent, but they are still a step behind those other teams and I am not sure Carey Price can play a full 82-game season at the level he played at in the playoffs a year ago to lead them to the Stanley Cup Final.

    Nashville, meanwhile, just has a lot of problems that were masked by Juuse Saros. They looked like a team that was ready to get torn apart halfway through the 2020-21 season until Saros went into superman mode in goal and carried them to a playoff spot. Now they do not have Ryan Ellis or Viktor Arvidsson on the roster and this just looks like a team that is trending toward a full scale rebuild. Competitive rebuilds never work. Eventually teams have to completely rebuild. Nashville is going that direction.

    Sean Leahy, NHL writer: It’s fun to think about the alternate ending of the Predators’ season if Juuse Saros doesn’t post a .939 even strength save percentage over the final 24 games of their season and offense doesn’t post top-10 numbers. Would David Poile still be general manager? How much longer would John Hynes have lasted? As we go back to a normal divisional alignment, save for the Coyotes moving to the Central, Nashville will have a very tough time in possibly the NHL’s toughest division. 

    Every Central team is improved in some way, whereas the Predators added Cody Glass, Phil Myers, and David Rittich, while losing pieces like Ryan Ellis, Pekka Rinne, Viktor Arvidsson, Calle Jarnkrok and Erik Haula. The team needs an overhaul, but Poile won’t get much assistance from his friends around the league with some anchor-like contracts on his books. Maybe a down year will begin a needed re-tooling.

    Jake Abrahams, Managing Editor, NHL content: Montreal. The division re-alignment really favored the Habs last season, and they got into the playoffs despite winning fewer than half of their games. It would be unfair to call their Cup run a fluke, but their roster just does not make them competitive enough this season to get back to the playoffs.

    Michael Finewax, NBC Sports Edge Senior Hockey Writer/Editor: The Canadiens have been fortunate the last two seasons to make the playoffs. They were 12 th overall in 2019-20 and snuck into the playoffs, while upsetting Pittsburgh, when the NHL decided to expand the playoff structure when COVID-19 forced the premature end of the regular season. They also snuck into the playoffs last season when the NHL realigned the divisions to allow all the Canadian teams to play each other and not have to cross the border. This season they are in the tough Atlantic and there are four better teams by far in Florida, Tampa Bay, Toronto and Boston. I also think that Ottawa will be better this season.

    Eichel
    Sara Schmidle/NHLI via Getty Images

    How does the Jack Eichel situation end?

    James O’Brien, NHL writer: In tears? Poorly? The NHL and NHLPA have already reportedly gotten involved; at this point, I wouldn’t be shocked if lawyers did, too. As this drags on, a potential Eichel trade partner is more about what he could bring in the future, rather than next season. When you consider that, and that a no-movement clause begins in 2022-23, I continue to believe that Eichel will one day be a Bruin. Even by Sabres standards, I must admit I thought this would’ve been resolved by now, so don’t be surprised if this zaps his value (one way or another) for this season. What a bummer.

    Adam Gretz, NHL writer: It will end poorly for everybody. By the time Jack Eichel gets traded and gets to have the medical procedure he wants he will miss time this season, probably miss the Olympics, and the Sabres will have almost certainly traded their franchise player and core building block from this most recent failed rebuild for pennies on the dollar. Then next season a healthy Eichel comes back for his new team, plays like the superstar that he is, and takes that team to the playoffs while the Sabres’ streak of non-playoff seasons goes to an 11th season.

    Jake Abrahams, Managing Editor, NHL content: I don’t know. It’s hard to believe how things have unfolded to this point, and we appear to be in stalemate as far as next steps for Eichel’s career. Assuming neither Eichel nor the Sabres change their opinion on what the proper path forward is medically, then it’s up to Kevyn Adams and the other 31 GMs to strike a deal. The best reason I could give for saying this will be resolved at some point this season is that Eichel’s no-move clause kicks in next offseason, so Adams will want to pull the trigger before he loses a significant amount of leverage.

    Sean Leahy, NHL writer: Anaheim has been sneaky quiet this off-season and have the pieces to make an Eichel trade work. Eichel will eventually get the surgery he wants because the Sabres will want to be done with the issue — and not have to cut checks for someone not playing for them.

    Michael Finewax, NBC Sports Edge Senior Hockey Writer/Editor: Eichel will have his surgery and then get dealt to the West Coast, either Los Angeles or Anaheim. The Sabres will not trade him to an Eastern based team and face him on numerous occasions, as they would rather see him twice a year. They will get three good prospects for him and perhaps a draft choice or two, but the Sabres need for Eichel to have the surgery and be ready to play before any team should consider trading for him.

    Laine
    Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images

    Give us one bold prediction for the NHL season

    Sean Leahy, NHL writer: Tomas Hertl, not Jack Eichel, is a Ranger at some point this season. The Sharks are going in a different direction and the soon-to-be 28-year-old will want to have a chance to win elsewhere.

    James O’Brien, NHL writer: Patrik Laine has a huge rebound year — from a sniping standpoint. On a Blue Jackets largely bereft of scoring talent, Jakub Voracek sets up Laine for a ton of goals. Sure, the underlying numbers tell the same story of a flawed all-around player, but the world is a slightly better place with Laine bombing away, and he’ll shockingly reach 40 goals. (Just ignore the mere 15 assists and uhh all the goals other teams score while he’s on the ice.)

    Adam Gretz, NHL writer: The Kings make the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Pacific Division with Cal Petersen leading the way as their primary goalie. The center depth, the addition of Arvidsson, and a couple of other young players from their farm system will get them into a top-three spot in that weak division.

    Jake Abrahams, Managing Editor, NHL content: The league has so much success with its upcoming All-Star Weekend that Las Vegas becomes the permanent home for the event.

    Michael Finewax, NBC Sports Edge Senior Hockey Writer/Editor: Pittsburgh will not make the playoffs this season despite having Sidney Crosby. Usually, Crosby is good enough to carry the Penguins, but he will miss the start of the season, along with Evgeni Malkin and the team is aging.

    Kaprizov brings ‘it’ factor, fresh leader to recharged Wild

    wild
    Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Wild get to play a full schedule again, in front of a full house.

    The crowds coming back after the pandemic-altered, empty-arena season will this time have a main attraction: Kirill Kaprizov.

    “He’s kind of got that ‘it’ factor, and it’s not something that you can just teach or learn,” said Wild general manager Bill Guerin, who finished a five-year, $45 million contract last week for the Russian left wing. “Big personality. Always smiling. Always working hard. He’s brought guys together, and then he goes out on the ice and he performs at such a high level. That’s leadership.”

    Kaprizov had 27 goals and 24 assists in 55 games as a rookie last season to win the Calder Memorial Trophy in a landslide. Now he’ll be even more of a marked man by opponents, asked to carry the scoring load with major contributions from Joel Eriksson Ek and Kevin Fiala.

    “Very much looking forward to having fans in the building and the excitement that they bring,” Kaprizov said through his translator. “Last year with the half season, it just wasn’t the same.”

    After losing in the first round of the playoffs to Vegas, an intense matchup that went the distance but still went down as a sixth straight year for Minnesota without winning a postseason series, the Wild have returned largely the same roster. Frederick Gaudreau is the only new forward, with only a couple of spots open for competition in training camp.

    There’s been a big change in vibe, though, after the buyouts of left wing Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter.

    “I think we’re in a really good place right now. We’ve got a lot of new faces. Players want to be here,” Guerin said. “They love playing here. It’s a great market.”

    STAYING CENTERED

    The Wild locked up Eriksson Ek for the long term, too, with an eight-year, $42 million deal. The 2015 first-round draft pick started the preseason centering the first line with Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello. Already an ace defender, Eriksson Ek made a significant stride on offense in 2021 and is aiming to replace some of the gritty goals that Parise frequently produced.

    “Just trying to bring a little bit of that to my game, and just being around the net and getting those rebounds,” Eriksson Ek said. “I hopefully can get to those areas this year too.”

    NEW LETTERMEN

    The departure of Parise and Suter meant that two new alternate captains needed to be appointed. Defenseman Matt Dumba and right wing Marcus Foligno were bestowed the honor by captain and defenseman Jared Spurgeon in a brief ceremony in the locker room after practice on Saturday.

    “We want everyone to have a voice. That’s the way we want the culture to be in this room, starting now,” Foligno told the team.

    Dumba has begun his ninth NHL season, after being drafted seventh overall by the Wild in 2012. He won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2020, given annually to a player in the league who best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice. Foligno has entered his 11th season in the NHL, his fifth with Minnesota after arriving in a trade with Buffalo.

    “I don’t think we’ve ever had such a close-knit crew,” Dumba said. “I think it’s just very exciting to see what we can do this year.”

    NEW LOOK

    Ian Cole and Carson Soucy are gone from the blue line, too, leaving Jonas Brodin and Dumba as the only intact pair from last season. Alex Goligoski has joined Spurgeon in a lead duo with a combined 25 years of experience in the league. Free agent additions Jordie Benn, Dimitry Kulikov and Jon Merrill will vie for a spot in the third pair, with prospect Calen Addison also under consideration.

    OPENING UP

    The Wild have returned to the Central Division after the NHL’s temporary realignment to ease COVID-19 complications, putting Chicago, Dallas Nashville and Winnipeg back in heavy rotation on their schedule after not playing them — or any other team outside of their eight-team group — at all last season. Arizona is now a permanent division opponent, having been replaced by expansion team Seattle in the Pacific Division.

    The Wild play nine of their first 14 games on the road, including two visits to face the Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena. The home highlight is the Winter Classic against St. Louis at Target Field on Jan. 1, the first time the league’s annual outdoor showcase will be played at night. The Wild also play five of their last six games in Minnesota at Xcel Energy Center.

    NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2021 schedule, TV info

    NBC Sports will feature roughly 20 game and studio commentators throughout the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. NHL Live will feature hosts Liam McHugh and Kathryn Tappen and analysts Eddie Olczyk, Keith Jones, Anson Carter, Patrick Sharp, Dominic Moore and Mike Babcock.

    For this season only, the NHL realigned with four divisions. Teams played only against opponents from their division during the 56-game regular season. The playoff format is simple: The top seed in each division faced the fourth seed, while the second faced the third in the First Round. The winners met in the Second Round.

    When the playoffs reached the Stanley Cup Semifinals, the four remaining playoff teams were re-seeded based on their regular season point totals.

    2021 NHL playoff schedule: Stanley Cup Final – (TB wins series 4-1)

    Game 1: Lightning 5, Canadiens 1
    Game 2: Lightning 3, Canadiens 1
    Game 3: Lightning 6, Canadiens 3
    Game 4: Canadiens 3, Lightning 2 (OT)
    Game 5: Lightning 1, Canadiens 0

    2021 NHL playoff schedule: Stanley Cup Semifinals

    ISLANDERS VS. LIGHTNING (TB wins series 4-3)

    Game 1: Islanders 2, Lightning 1
    Game 2: Lightning 4, Islanders 2
    Game 3: Lightning 2, Islanders 1
    Game 4: Islanders 3, Lightning 2
    Game 5: Lightning 8, Islanders 0
    Game 6: Islanders 3, Lightning 2 (OT)
    Game 7: Lightning 1, Islanders 0

    CANADIENS VS. GOLDEN KNIGHTS (MTL wins series 4-2)

    Game 1: Golden Knights 4, Canadiens 1
    Game 2: Canadiens 3, Golden Knights 2
    Game 3: Canadiens 3, Golden Knights 2 (OT)
    Game 4: Golden Knights 2, Canadiens 1 (OT)

    Game 5: Canadiens 4, Golden Knights 1
    Game 6: Canadiens 3, Golden Knights 2 (OT)

    2021 NHL playoff schedule: Second Round

    AVALANCHE VS. GOLDEN KNIGHTS (VGK wins series 4-2)

    Game 1: Avalanche 7, Golden Knights 1
    Game 2: Avalanche 3, Golden Knights 2 (OT)
    Game 3: Golden Knights 3, Avalanche 2
    Game 4: Golden Knights 5, Avalanche 1
    Game 5: Golden Knights 3, Avalanche 2 (OT)
    Game 6: Golden Knights 6, Avalanche 3

    BRUINS VS. ISLANDERS (NYI wins series 4-2)

    Game 1: Bruins 5, Islanders 2
    Game 2: Islanders 4, Bruins 3 (OT)
    Game 3: Bruins 2, Islanders 1 (OT)
    Game 4: Islanders 4, Bruins 1
    Game 5: Islanders 5, Bruins 4
    Game 6: Islanders 6, Bruins 2

    LIGHTNING VS. HURRICANES (TB wins series 4-1)

    Game 1: Lightning 2, Hurricanes 1
    Game 2: Lightning 2, Hurricanes 1
    Game 3: Hurricanes 3, Lightning 2 (OT)
    Game 4: Lightning 6, Hurricanes 4
    Game 5: Lightning 2, Hurricanes 0

    JETS VS. CANADIENS (MTL wins series 4-0)

    Game 1: Canadiens 5, Jets 3
    Game 2: Canadiens 1, Jets 0
    Game 3: Canadiens 5, Jets 1
    Game 4: Canadiens 3, Jets 2 (OT)

    2021 NHL playoff schedule: First Round

    MAPLE LEAFS VS. CANADIENS (MTL wins series 4-3)

    Game 1: Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 1
    Game 2: Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 1
    Game 3: Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 1
    Game 4: Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 0
    Game 5: Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 3 (OT)
    Game 6: Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 2 (OT)
    Game 7: Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 1

    PENGUINS VS. ISLANDERS  (NYI wins series 4-2)

    Game 1: Islanders 4, Penguins 3 (OT)
    Game 2: Penguins 2, Islanders 1
    Game 3: Penguins 5, Islanders 4
    Game 4: Islanders 4, Penguins 1
    Game 5: Islanders 3, Penguins 2 (2OT)
    Game 6: Islanders 5, Penguins 3

    CAPITALS VS. BRUINS (BOS wins series 4-1)

    Game 1: Capitals 3, Bruins 2 (OT)
    Game 2: Bruins 4, Capitals 3 (OT)
    Game 3: Bruins 3, Capitals 2 (2OT)
    Game 4: Bruins 4, Capitals 1
    Game 5: Bruins 3, Capitals 1

    PANTHERS VS. LIGHTNING (TB wins series 4-2)

    Game 1: Lightning 5, Panthers 4
    Game 2: Lightning 3, Panthers 1
    Game 3: Panthers 6, Lightning 5 (OT)
    Game 4: Lightning 6, Panthers 2
    Game 5: Panthers 4, Lightning 1
    Game 6: Lightning 4, Panthers 0

    HURRICANES VS. PREDATORS (CAR wins series 4-2)

    Game 1: Hurricanes 5, Predators 2
    Game 2: Hurricanes 3, Predators 0
    Game 3: Predators 5, Hurricanes 4 (2OT)
    Game 4: Predators 4, Hurricanes 3 (2OT)
    Game 5: Hurricanes 3, Predators 2 (OT)
    Game 6: Hurricanes 4, Predators 3 (OT)

    AVALANCHE VS. BLUES (COL wins series 4-0)

    Game 1: Avalanche 4, Blues 1
    Game 2: Avalanche 6, Blues 3
    Game 3: Avalanche 5, Blues 1
    Game 4: Avalanche 5, Blues 2

    GOLDEN KNIGHTS VS. WILD (VGK wins series 4-3)

    Game 1: Wild 1, Golden Knights 0 (OT)
    Game 2: Golden Knights 3, Wild 1
    Game 3: Golden Knights 5, Wild 2
    Game 4: Golden Knights 4, Wild 0
    Game 5: Wild 4, Golden Knights 2
    Game 6: Wild 3, Golden Knights 0
    Game 7: Golden Knights 6, Wild 2

    OILERS VS. JETS (WPG wins series 4-0)

    Game 1: Jets 4, Oilers 1
    Game 2: Jets 1, Oilers 0 (OT)
    Game 3: Jets 5, Oilers 4 (OT)
    Game 4: Jets 4, Oilers 3 (3OT)