NHL roundup: Panthers avoid elimination with a 3-2 win over Islanders; Coyotes, Canadiens win
Mike Hoffman and Brian Boyle scored 2 minutes, 7 seconds apart in the opening minutes of the third period, and the Florida Panthers avoided elimination with a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders in Game 3 of their preliminary round Stanley Cup playoff series on Wednesday.
Erik Haula also scored and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 20 shots. The 10th-seeded Panthers trail the best-of-five series 2-1 with Game 4 at the NHL’s Eastern Conference hub city of Toronto on Friday.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Brock Nelson, with 1:27 remaining, scored for the Islanders, the East’s seventh seed. Semyon Varlamov stopped 19 shots and made a costly error leading to Hoffman’s go-ahead goal 41 seconds into the third period.
With Varlamov penalized for playing the puck inside the trapezoid 7 seconds into the frame, Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle faked a shot in the high slot, before feeding Hoffman, who blasted the puck in from the right circle.
Boyle made it 3-1 when he corralled a loose puck inside the Islanders zone and snapped a 40-footer inside the left post.
Minnesota’s Matt Dumba became the first NHL player to kneel during the U.S. national anthem when he did so before the Oilers-Blackhawks game in Edmonton.
The Panthers were the more disciplined team a day following a 4-2 loss, in which New York converted two of seven power-play opportunities.
Florida converted two of five power-play opportunities, and its penalty-killers finished 3 for 3, and snapped an 0-4-2 skid — including regular season — against the Islanders, which dated to a 4-2 win on Nov. 10, 2018.
The Panthers scored first for the second straight game, with Haula’s power-play goal 4:02 into the second period. Varlamov gave up a big rebound after stopping Hoffman’s shot from the right circle, and Evgenii Dadonov shoveled the puck through the crease to an open Haula, who fired it into the open left side.
It was Haula’s first goal with Florida since being acquired in a trade with Carolina in February.
The Islanders responded with Pageau scoring with 3:34 left in the second period.
Anthony Beauvillier out-raced Panthers defenseman Anton Stralman to a dump-in at the left boards and fed Pageau, who snapped a shot in from the right circle.
Coyotes 4, Predators 1
Conor Garland and Taylor Hall each scored in the third period and the Coyotes beat the Predators 4-1 Wednesday.
Now the Coyotes, seeded 11th in the West in the NHL’s restart, can eliminate the sixth-seeded Predators in Game 4 on Friday in this best-of-five qualifying series.
“We all understood the importance of it,” Hall said of the overturned goal. “To go up 2-1 in the series is the same as going up 3-2 in a best-of-seven. We wanted the last game just as much as today. Obviously, the next game is going to be huge.”
Christian Dvorak scored on Arizona’s first shot of the game, and Coyotes scored three in the third for the victory capped by Carl Soderberg’s empty-netter inside the final two minutes.
The Predators thought they had a 2-1 lead 1:13 into the third period on a goal by Kyle Turris, but the Coyotes won their challenge of offside with Nashville center Matt Duchene found over the blue line on review. Turris later hit the post with 6:19 left.
“We didn’t know about the offside until the last second,” Garland said. “We were just focused on getting the next one. Obviously, that was a big bounce for us. We just kept with it, and obviously got the next one.”
Garland put the Coyotes ahead to stay with his wrister from the slot at 7:08 of the third for the first playoff goal of his career. Hall padded the lead with 4:22 left with his first goal of the series on a snap shot from the left circle. The Coyotes had been 1-of-9 on the man advantage through the first two games.
Nashville coach John Hynes called the Duchene offside the kind of detail the Predators can’t have. Now they’re a game away from the season being over.
“We’re also 60 minutes from getting it to Game 5,” Hynes said.
Goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 39 saves for the victory in his third start in four games and second in as many days. Arizona coach Rick Tocchet called it a terrific performance.
“Kuemps has been like that for two years,” Tocchet said. “Nothing fazes him. throughout the years I played, you always have those goalies everyone wants to play for because he’s such a great guy, never blames his teammates. Those are the guys you want to block shots for and play for. Kuemps is that type of guy.”
Viktor Arvidsson scored Nashville’s lone goal.
Lightning 3, Bruins 2
Tyler Johnson scored the tiebreaking goal with 87 seconds left to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-2 victory over Boston on Wednesday and send the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Bruins to their second straight loss in the NHL’s playoff seeding round.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 25 shots for the Lightning, who improved to 2-0 in the three-game round-robin. Tampa Bay would earn the No. 1 seed in the East with a victory over Philadelphia on Saturday.
Tuukka Rask made 32 saves for the Bruins, who led the NHL with 100 points in the pandemic-shortened regular season but can now finish no higher than the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Charlie McAvoy and Chris Wagner scored to help Boston rally from a 2-0 deficit. But in the final minutes Yanni Gourde received a long pass at the blue line and shot it off Rask’s left skate.
The puck was sitting there for Johnson to flick it in.
The first period was all Tampa Bay.
Brayden Point backhanded a loose puck in front through Rask’s legs about 7 minutes into the game to make it 1-0. Then just 13 seconds into a Boston penalty for too many men on a defensive pairing change, Victor Hedman’s shot from the blue line went off Sean Kuraly’s stick and then Alex Killorn redirected it with his skate into the net to make it 2-0.
But the Bruins cut the deficit to one goal with three minutes left in the second when Bergeron won a faceoff, tapping it back to Torey Krug at the point. He slid it over to McAvoy, who slapped it past Vasilevskiy.
Wagner tied it early in the third when Zdeno Chara’s shot from the blue line got through Vasilevskiy but hit the post and sat there in the crease before Wagner reached in to tap it in.
Canadiens 4, Penguins 3
Jeff Petry scored 5:33 into the third period as the Montreal Canadiens rallied from two goals down and beat Pittsburgh 4-3 in Game 3 on Wednesday night, pushing the Penguins to the brink of elimination in the best-of-five series.
Shea Weber had a goal and two assists for Montreal, Paul Byron added a goal and an assist, and Jonathan Drouin also scored. Ben Chariot also had had assists.
Carey Price stopped 30 shots for the Canadiens — the 12th seed in the Eastern Conference as part of the NHL’s 24-team restart to its pandemic-delayed season. Montreal can advance to the normal first round with 16 teams with win in Game 4 on Friday.
Patric Hornqvist, Jason Zucker and Teddy Blueger scored for fifth-seeded Pittsburgh, which led 3-1 after Blueger’s goal 5:34 into the second. Matt Murray finished with 27 saves.
Avalanche 4, Stars 0
High-scoring 21-year-old rookie defenseman Cale Makar connected on an early power-play goal, 30-year-old Pavel Francouz recorded a shutout in his postseason debut and Colorado past Dallas in round-robin play.
Joonas Donskoi, Vladislav Namestnikov and Andre Burakovsky also scored as the Avalanche improved to 2-0 in the three-game round that will determine playoff seeding for the top four teams in the Western Conference. The Stars have lost both of their games and are likely to finish where they started as the fourth seed.
Donskoi scored 3 seconds after a power play ended in the first period, and Burakovsky connected early in the third period after Mattias Janmark was called for tripping late in the second.
Burakovsky’s shot hit the crossbar before deflecting off the back of Stars goalie Anton Khudobin into the net. Donskoi and Burakovsky had assists on the other’s goal.
Khudobin finished with 36 saves.
Blackhawks 4, Oilers 3
Matthew Highmore tied the score with 5:47 left in the third period, and Jonathan Toews got his second of the game 4 1/2 minutes later to give Chicago a win in Game 3 of the qualifying round series.
On the winner, Oilers defenseman Ethan Bear errantly tipped a Chicago point shot off Toews and past goalie Mikko Koskinen. It was Toews’ fourth goal of the series.
Olli Maatta also scored for the Blackhawks, and Corey Crawford finished with 25 saves.
Leon Draisaitl scored twice for Edmonton, and Connor McDavid got his fifth of the series to give the Oilers a 3-2 lead with 8 seconds left in the second period. Koskinen had 21 saves as Edmonton was pushed to the brink of elimination in the best-of-five series.
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