The Wraparound: Flyers, Canucks facing elimination again
The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down all of Thursday’s NHL playoff games with the all-important television and live streaming information included.
• Check out the NHL Bubble Wrap for details on Wednesday’s playoff games.
• The Blues shed some cap space by sending Jake Allen to the Canadiens.
THURSDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF GAMES
Game 6: Flyers vs. Islanders (NYI leads 3-2) - 7 p.m. ET, NBCSN (livestream): Facing elimination, the Flyers blew a 3-1 lead late in the third period, but kept their season alive thanks to Scott Laughton’s first career playoff OT goal. Laughton, who had been a healthy scratch in Game 2, snapped a 10-game goal drought.
Prior to Game 5, Alain Vigneault made headlines with his comments about struggling veterans Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk as they faced elimination, saying: "...now it’s their turn to put the big-boy pants on ... I believe our guys have more to give and more to do...” The message was certainly received. The three Flyers goal scorers in regulation (Giroux, van Riemsdyk, Matt Niskanen) all scored their first goal of the postseason, while regular season leading scorer Travis Konecny added two assists.
Neither team’s No. 1 center finished Game 5, with Sean Couturier leaving in the second period and Mathew Barzal in the third. On Wednesday, Trotz said about Barzal, “I think everything is trending in the right direction right now,” while Vigneault did not have an update on Couturier.
The Islanders have not lost back-to-back games this postseason, and remain on the verge of their first trip to the Conference Finals since 1993.
Game 6: Golden Knights vs. Canucks (VGK leads 3-2) - 9:45 p.m. ET, NBCSN (livestream): After blowing a third period lead in the previous game, Vancouver held on to a one-goal lead in the final frame of Game 5 to defeat Vegas 2-1 and extend their Second Round series to a sixth game. Elias Pettersson tallied the game-winning goal early in the third period and rookie netminder Thatcher Demko made 42 saves in his first career playoff start to help the Canucks stave off elimination.
With a win, Vegas would become the first team in NHL history to reach the Conference Final twice in their first three seasons.
Thatcher Demko became the 15th different goalie, and second goalie in as many nights (Colorado’s Michael Hutchinson), to win his first career playoff start with his team facing elimination. Jacob Markstrom started the first 14 postseason games for Vancouver but was deemed unfit to play in Game 5. There was no update on Wednesday as to who would start Game 6.
If there is a Game 7, it would occur on Friday, meaning Games 6 and 7 would be played back-to- back. The last time this happened was in 2014, in the Rangers-Flyers First Round series. The last time Vancouver played in a Game 7 was their loss to Boston in the 2011 Cup Final. Vegas’ only Game 7 appearance came in their historic collapse against San Jose last year.
FRIDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Game 7: Stars vs. Avalanche (Series tied 3-3) - TBD
Game 7: Golden Knights vs. Canucks (VGK leads 3-2) - TBD - NBCSN (*if necessary)
PHT’s 2020 Second Round previews
Flyers vs. Islanders
Stars vs. Avalanche
Golden Knights vs. Canucks