NHL Rink Wrap: Star power saves Leafs, but Kings overcome McDavid
• The Montreal Canadiens won the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery, and thus the right to the No. 1 overall pick. While they didn’t get the top spot, the Devils’ run of luck continued by jumping from the fifth-best odds to No. 2.
• Igor Shesterkin, Juuse Saros, and Jacob Markstrom were announced as the 2022 Vezina Trophy finalists.
• Just another fine for Jamie Benn, while T.J. Oshie avoided a suspension for that hit on Sam Bennett.
• A surprising return to action by Charlie McAvoy didn’t make much of a difference for the Bruins against the Hurricanes in Game 5.
• Kirill Kaprizov, Connor McDavid, and Leon Draisaitl delivered like the stars that they are on Tuesday. It didn’t matter for their teams. It did matter for Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and the Maple Leafs, though.
Game 5: Carolina Hurricanes 5, Boston Bruins 1 (CAR leads 3-2)
When it comes to games in Carolina, the Hurricanes have been all over the Bruins. Game 5 was no different. The Hurricanes beat the Bruins by a score of 5-1 in Game 5, the third contest in Carolina where they won and scored five goals (5-1 in Game 1; 5-2 in Game 2).
Even on the road, the Hurricanes have found a way to score first against the Bruins. Still, in Boston, the B’s were able to strike on special teams and grind out wins. Can the Hurricanes bottle up some of that home-ice advantage and bring it on the road? It would certainly make things easier for a team with great ambitions.
Game 5: Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 3 (TOR leads 3-2)
Down 2-0 in Game 5, the Maple Leafs drew plenty of critiques for how poorly they started against the Lightning. Maybe it’s best not to panic after two goals, when a series is still tied 2-2?
Either way, this was a wild ride. Read up on it here, as there’s just a lot to take in.
Game 5: St. Louis Blues 5, Minnesota Wild 2 (STL leads 3-2)
With power plays ruling the first period, Kirill Kaprizov scored twice to give the Wild a 2-1 lead. That would be the last of the Wild’s goals as the Blues eventually wrestled away Game 5.
In the second, Brandon Saad scored a key goal to tie things up 2-2. Then Vladimir Tarasenko took over the third.
Just 2:31 into that final frame, Vladimir Tarasenko scored two nice goals. The go-ahead goal featured a brilliant pass by Pavel Buchnevich:
By notching an empty-netter, Vladimir Tarasenko collected a hat trick (and a natural one at that). The Blues’ scoring variety keeps paying off against a Wild team that was also deeper than usual ... during the season, at least.
Game 5: Los Angeles Kings 5, Edmonton Oilers 4 [OT] (LAK leads 3-2)
For much of Game 5, the Kings absolutely dominated the Oilers. This series hasn’t always been about “star power vs. structure,” yet that was very much the case in Game 5.
Entering the third period, the Kings were dominating the Oilers in every metric that counted. That included the 3-1 score. However, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl put on the sort of show even superstar players rarely pull off in the modern NHL. McDavid scored a goal and two assists, while Draisaitl also had three points (2G, 1A). Putting those two titans together unleashed them. It also helped the Oilers overcome a distinct shot share advantage overall (and a Phillip Danault 4-2 goal didn’t stop them).
[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 First Round schedule, TV info]
Yet ... the young Kings shrugged off that Draisaitl/McDavid-powered comeback, dominated the Oilers in OT, and quickly won it. You’re really not supposed to get the sort of room Adrian Kempe created in that situation in the playoffs, but he seized it, and scored a pretty OT-winner:
Many will point to the way McDavid and Draisaitl took over Game 5, and question how anyone would doubt those two. Plenty agree that the Oilers’ problems revolve around other flaws. But doubters can then latch onto the Kings winning it in OT.
Either way, the Kings increasingly look a lot better at 5-on-5, and that might be enough to overcome McDavid and Draisaitl.
Three Stars in NHL Playoffs on Tuesday
1. Adrian Kempe, Kings over Draisaitl - McDavid, Oilers
So, Kempe got the last laugh (and the last taunt). He also generated comparable offense to McDavid and Draisaitl. Kempe scored a 2-1 goal, assisted on a 4-2 tally, and then ended Game 5 with that tremendous OT-winner.
Like McDavid and Draisaitl, Kempe collected three points. He got the win, too.
This continues quite the breakthrough season for Adrian Kempe. On his way to an All-Star appearance, Kempe collected 35 goals and 54 points in 78 games. Before this season, Kempe never scored more than 16 goals or 37 points in a season.
On a Kings team hoping to outwork and out-think a star-studded Oilers team, Kempe boasts the kind of speed that can give L.A. the occasional “game-breaking” presence.
2. Vladimir Tarasenko, Blues
Heading into Game 5 of Blues - Wild, Vladimir Tarasenko’s numbers were modest (but respectable). The resurgent winger had a goal and an assist in four playoff contests, firing nine shots on goal.
Tarasenko really made the difference for the Blues in Game 5, stunning the Wild in the process. You can ding him a bit for completing his hat trick with an empty-netter, but those first two Tarasenko goals were essential.
This marks the second playoff hat trick for Tarasenko, who generated five in regular-season action. Tarasenko last generated a hat trick recently: on April 14.
3. William Nylander, Maple Leafs
Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews connected for a picture-perfect game-winning goal. In a way, it had to be those two making the big difference for the Maple Leafs over the Lightning.
But other star Maple Leafs players really rose to the occasion. That’s especially true with much-maligned, quite-underrated winger William Nylander.
First, Nylander assisted on a crucial power-play goal from John Tavares to cut the Lightning lead to 2-1. Then, Nylander and Tavares assisted on a nice 4-on-4 goal by Morgan Rielly. While an emphatic 3-2 goal didn’t end up being a game-winner for Nylander, it was a big one for the Maple Leafs.
WEDNESDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Game 5: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers, 7 p.m. ET -- ESPN (PIT leads 3-1)
Game 5: Washington Capitals at Florida Panthers, 7:30 p.m. ET -- ESPN2 (Series tied 2-2)
Game 5: Dallas Stars at Calgary Flames, 9:30 p.m. ET -- ESPN (Series tied 2-2)
PHT’s 2022 Stanley Cup previews
• 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