As expected, the Stanley Cup 2021 playoffs were highly competitive and featured several exciting storylines, including the defending champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning, attempting to win back-to-back championships. Several underdog teams, like the Montreal Canadiens, made surprising runs through the tournament. The team was not expected to make a deep playoff run but played with tremendous heart and fire.
The Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Islanders were the other underdogs that played with a lot of heart until the end.
Day 3 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs had two of the first real blowouts of the playoffs, but we’re going to start with the fourth overtime game of the postseason.
Bruins vs Capitals
The Boston Bruins tied their series against the Washington Capitals with a 4-3 overtime win In D.C. Boston played with purpose in game 2, recording 48 shots on goaltender Craig Anderson. Bruins netminder Tuuka Rask looked solid in his team’s win as he stopped 36 of 39 shots.
The game was 2-2 after the first period, where the game took a defensive shift until Garnet Hathaway scored his second goal of the game about seven minutes into the third period. Eventually Taylor Hall responded with just under three minutes left to go in regulation after finding the puck during a netmouth scramble.
Overtime only lasted for 39 seconds before Brad Marchand ended the game. Boston escapes Washington with a 1-1 series split. Game 3 is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday night in Boston.
The series’ first two games were held at Capital One Arena, while the next two were held at TD Garden. It was an exciting series that went to Game 5, where the Bruins won 3-1 to advance to the second round of the playoffs.
The Bruins fought hard and finished third in the East Division during the regular season with a record of 33-16-7. This earned them a spot in the playoffs. They wouldn’t have been eliminated if they hadn’t struggled to generate offense in their second-round series against the New York Islanders.
Hurricanes vs Predators
The Carolina Hurricanes jump out to a 1-0 series lead over the Nashville Predators after a 5-2 win, the first game of this postseason that wasn’t separated by one goal.
Carolina outshot Nashville 38-24 in the game. The game was 2-2 going into the third period mostly due to the play of Predators goaltender Juuse Saros, stopping 23 of 25 shots through the first two periods. The Hurricanes then exploded for three goals in the third including goals from Nino Niederreiter, captain Jordan Staal’s second goal of the game and an empty netter from Andrei Svechnikov.
Nashville looks to respond in game 2 to bring the series back to Nashville tied 1-1. Nashville has talent on their roster with players like Filip Forsberg, Matt Duchene and captain Roman Josi, but the Predators have been decimated by injuries all season long. No players on their roster played the full 56 games during the regular season and due to that, their leading scorer is Josi, a defenseman, with 33 points. Nashville needs somebody to step up offensively or this will be a short series.
The Hurricanes won the season series against Nashville with a 6-2 record. Game 2 will be Wednesday night at 8 p.m. in Raleigh.
Avalanche vs Blues
The final game of the night featured the President’s Trophy winning Colorado Avalanche smothering the St. Louis Blues in a 4-1 win.
The Avalanche manhandled the Blues in this game, outshooting them 50-23 in this game. Cale Makar scored the opener for Colorado on the powerplay in the first period. St. Louis would respond in the second period with a goal by Jordan Kyrou.
The third period was all Avalanche. Nathan McKinnon had three points in the period, including the game winner 30 seconds into the period. Avalanche captain had a Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal, an assist and a fight in the first period against Brayden Schenn.
The only saving grace for St. Louis in this game was goaltender Jordan Binnington. He made 46 saves, including stopping 31 of 32 shots through the first two periods. Binnington was the Blues’ starter in 2019 as a rookie when they won the Stanley Cup.
If St. Louis wants to get back into this series, they need to reduce Binnington’s workload with more offensive pressure. Ryan O’Reilly, Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn Vladimir Tarasenko, Mike Hoffman and Torey Krug are all quality players on St. Louis that were quiet in this game. The Blues were also missing top scorer David Perron due to Covid protocol. These players need to step up in order to reduce puck possession time of the NHL’s best team.
Colorado had a 5-3 record against the Blues during the regular season. Game 2 is scheduled for Wednesday night at 10:30 p.m. in Denver.
The top 16 teams from the NHL’s regular season played mighty well to win that year’s coveted cup. There were so many memorable moments. But the Tampa Bay Lightning emerging as the worthy champions after a hard-fought and entertaining tournament concluded the challenging time for sports that year.