The App is Back! Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news, mobile alerts and track your favorite players. Plus, now you can check out articles and player cards. Get it here!
Just one week ago the Montreal Canadiens were playing in a Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. All other series were already in the second round with the Boston-Islanders series tied at one game apiece.
And yet, it is Montreal who is the first team to get into the Stanley Cup semi-finals after eliminating Winnipeg in four straight games.
It was good news, bad news as far as predicting the Montreal-Winnipeg series was for me.
I was correct in guessing the series would go only four games. Unfortunately for my predicting, Winnipeg was the team I thought would do it. I thought the Canadiens were gassed after beating the Maple Leafs as their top-four on the blueline had played so much. But it was the Habs who never took their foot off the gas, never playing from behind, and beating the Jets in four straight.
Montreal will now get some time off and await the winner of the Colorado-Vegas series.
Well done Montreal in winning the North. It was well deserved!
NEW YORK ISLANDERS 5 BOSTON 4 (Islanders lead the best-of-seven series 3-2)
What a night for Semyon Varlamov. Usually when you give up four goals, your evening is meh, at best, but that was not the case on Monday night as Varlamov was outstanding in leading the Islanders to a 5-4 win and a 3-2 series lead with Game 6 in Long Island on Wednesday.
While Varlamov sparkled in the Islanders cage, it was not exactly a similar result for Tuukka Rask. The Boston goaltender gave up four goals on 16 shots before he was replaced by rookie Jeremy Swayman after two periods of play. Swayman gave up a goal on only three shots in the third period and was saddled with the loss when Boston came back to score a pair of goals in the third.
David Pastrnak was the offensive star of the game for Boston with a pair of goals and an assist. The Bruins swarmed the Islanders early in the first period, forcing Varlamov to come up big time-after-time. They also dominated in the third period as the Bruins outshot New York 18-3 and 44-19 in the game.
Varlamov is 3-3 in the playoffs, winning all three of his games against the Bruins. He has a 2.72 GAA and a .925 save percentage.
Rask remained at 6-3 but saw his GAA rise to 2.20 and had his save percentage lowered to .925.
Scott Mayfield had five blocked shots.
After some poor games (especially for him) Patrice Bergeron was 13-of-22 at the faceoff dot.
Curtis Lazar suffered a lower-body injury in the opening minute of the second period and did not return. There was no update available after the game.
MONTREAL 3 WINNIPEG 2 (OT) (Montreal wins the best-of-seven series 4-0)
The Jets fought back in the second as defenseman scored both goals to even the game at 2. The rookie had scored only once in 37 regular season games and not at all in the seven previous playoff games before his unlikely two-goal game on Monday.
Carey Price did not have to be great on Monday as he managed to make only 14 saves but it was enough to give him an 8-3 record in the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs. He has a 1.97 GAA and a .935 save percentage and if he plays like he has in the first two rounds, the Canadiens will always have a chance to win a series.
Connor Hellebuyck was strong in Game 4 but it was not enough yet again. He stopped 39-of-42 shots. After winning all four games in the opening round sweep of the Oilers, Hellebuyck picked up all four losses in the North Division final. He had a 2.23 GAA and a .931 save percentage in the playoffs.
Kyle Connor had a pair of assists for the Jets.
Derek Forbort had six blocked shots.
Jeff Petry was unable to go after injuring his finger in Game 5. He will have plenty of time to rest it while Montreal awaits their opponent in the semi-finals.
Logan Stanley – 2
David Pastrnak – 2
Charlie McAvoy – 3
Kyle Connor – 2
Noah Dobson – 2
Shots on Goal
Phillip Danault – 7
Corey Perry – 6
Patrice Bergeron – 5
David Pastrnak – 5
Taylor Hall – 5
Charlie McAvoy – 5
Cal Clutterbuck – 8
Matt Martin – 7
Tucker Poolman – 6
Adam Lowry – 6
Blake Wheeler – 6
Nikolaj Ehlers – 6
2 by many