We haven’t even entered the first round, but Edmonton and Pittsburgh are on the verge of being eliminated. Welcome to the special 2020 playoffs.
The Oilers and Penguins were both clear favorites against the Blackhawks and Canadiens respectively, but in both series the 12th seed now has a 2-1 series lead against the 5th seed in the best-of-five series. In the case of the Penguins-Canadiens series, the X-Factor going into it was Montreal goaltender Carey Price. When he’s at his best, Price is one of the best goaltenders in the league and capable of stealing a series. He hasn’t been the only factor – he certainly didn’t single-handily carry Montreal Wednesday night – but he has been superb with a 2.19 GAA and .937 save percentage against the high-powered Penguins in this series. If Montreal is able to pull off the upset, Price will deserve a significant chunk of the credit.
The Blackhawks certainly aren’t led by their goaltender. Edmonton hasn’t had issues getting past Chicago netminder Corey Crawford. Connor McDavid has five goals and seven points in three games while Leon Draisaitl has three goals and six points. So they’ve more than done their fair share. The problem – and this is a too common problem for the Oilers – is that they can’t do it all. The Oilers have struggled defensively and neither Mike Smith nor Mikko Koskinen has held their own in goal. That’s contributed to Edmonton’s deficit, but this series isn’t lost yet.
Both Edmonton and Pittsburgh are perfectly capable of bouncing back, but they’ve put themselves in very difficult positions.
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FLORIDA 3 NY ISLANDERS 2 (Islanders lead series 2-1)
Semyon Varlamov stopped 19 of 22 Panthers shots. While this wasn’t an ideal showing, he still has a 2.03 GAA and .923 save percentage in three playoff starts this year.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau found the back of the net for the Islanders. He’s scored 14 goals in 38 career playoff games.
Mike Hoffman scored a goal and registered an assist. The Panthers forward is up to two goals and four points in three postseason games this year.
Brian Boyle netted the game-winning goal. It was his first goal and point of the 2019-20 campaign.
Sergei Bobrovsky saved 20 of 22 shots on Wednesday. He has a 2.73 GAA and .905 save percentage in three playoff starts.
ARIZONA 4 NASHVILLE 1 (Coyotes lead series 2-1)
Viktor Arvidsson accounted for the Predators’ lone goal. It was his second marker and point in three playoff games.
Juuse Saros kicked out 24 of 27 Predators shots. The decision was made to have him start for the second time in as many days, so fatigue was likely a factor.
At the other end of the ice, Darcy Kuemper saved 39 of 40 shots. He has a 2-1 record, 2.70 GAA, and .928 save percentage in three postseason games.
Conor Garland contributed the game-winning goal. That was his first goal and point of the 2020 playoffs.
Taylor Hall scored a goal and registered an assist for the Coyotes. He’s up to a goal and four point in three postseason games.
TAMPA BAY 3 BOSTON 2
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 25 of 27 Bruins shots. He’s allowed just two goals in each of his first two round robin games.
Tyler Johnson scored the game-winning goal and registered an assist. He had 14 goals and 31 points in 65 regular season contests.
Alex Killorn also had a goal and an assist for the Lightning. During the regular season, he scored 26 goals and 49 points in 68 games.
Chris Wagner scored a goal in the third period. He’s found the back of the net in each of the Bruins’ two round robin contests.
Tuukka Rask turned aside 32 of 35 shots on Wednesday. This was his first start of the 2020 playoffs.
COLORADO 4 DALLAS 0
Anton Khudobin surrendered four goals on 40 shots. He allowed at least one goal in each period.
Tyler Seguin tied for the Stars’ team-high with five shots. He also had a minus-three rating in 17:00 minutes of ice time.
Joonas Donskoi scored a goal and registered an assist. Those were his first two points in two round robin games.
Andre Burakovsky also had a goal and an assist for Colorado. He had nine goals and 18 points in 57 regular season contests.
Pavel Francouz saved 27 shots in the shutout. He had a 21-7-4 record, 2.41 GAA, and .923 save percentage in 34 contests.
MONTREAL 4 PITTSBURGH 3 (Canadiens series lead 2-1)
Shea Weber played a big role in the Canadiens’ victory, scoring a goal and registering two assists. He was held off the scoresheet in the first two games of the series, but the defenseman has logged major minutes in each contest.
Paul Byron contributed a goal and an assist for Montreal. That gives him a goal and three points in three playoff games.
Teddy Blueger scored his first goal of the series. At the time, his goal extended Pittsburgh’s lead to 3-1, but things fell apart for the Penguins after that.
Matt Murray stopped 27 of 31 Canadiens shots. He’s 1-2 with a 2.50 GAA and .914 save percentage in three starts.
At the other end of the ice, Carey Price turned aside 30 of 33 shots. He has a 2-1 record, 2.19 GAA, and .937 save percentage in three starts in the 2020 playoffs.
CHICAGO 4 EDMONTON 3 (Blackhawks lead series 2-1)
For the first time in the series, Mikko Koskinen started for the Oilers. It didn’t save them though. He stopped 23 of 26 shots with two of the three goals coming in the first period.
Leon Draisaitl scored two goals and registered an assist with Edmonton. He has three goals and six points in three playoff contests this year.
Jonathan Toews netted two goals for Chicago, including the game winner. He has four goals and five points in three games.
Corey Crawford saved 25 of 28 shots on Wednesday. He allowed two goals on 11 shots in the second period, which resulted in Edmonton to enter the third with a 3-2 lead. Crawford did everything he needed to in the third though to allow the Blackhawks to pull off the comeback.
Olli Maatta scored a goal and registered an assist. He’s up to two goals and four points in three playoff contests in 2020.