Five Thoughts: Blackhawks, Coyotes keep upset dreams rolling
Dylan Callaghan-Croley (@DylanCCNHL)
August 6, 2020
Wednesday’s action is NHL hockey didn’t see any teams clinch spots in the first round of the playoffs but did let us learn quite a bit. Here are five takeaways from Wednesday’s five games.
1. Colorado Avalanche 4 - Dallas Stars 0 | Avalanche dominate Stars
Entering the round-robin play in the Western Conference, the Dallas Stars were an interesting team based on their regular season performance as they didn’t possess a great offense but their goaltending was also tremendous. Through their first two games of the round-robin, both sides have been worrisome for the Stars to say the least. In their first game of the restart, the Stars lost 5-3 to the Vegas Golden Knights and then on Wednesday, they were dominated in all facets of the game by the Colorado Avalanche. So far through two games, the Stars have been outscored 9-3. They’ll need to find their rhythm both offensively and defensviely in their final round-robin game against St.Louis before heading into the first round or it could be an early exit for the Stars.
2. Florida Panthers 3 - New York Islanders 2 | Panthers won’t go down easily
It’s incredibly hard to sweep a team in hockey even when it’s a best-of-five series and the Islanders learned that on Wednesday. Give credit to Florida, the Panthers were able to take advantage of more Islanders mistakes than the vice versa. Sergei Bobrovsky had another solid performance in net and the Islanders were able to get two power-play goals while keeping the Islanders to an 0-for-3 day on the power play. All in all, the Panthers showed life in game three and now will look to force a do-or-die game five.
3. Arizona Coyotes 4 - Nashville Predators 1 | Coyotes retake series momentum
Arizona could have let Nashville take all the momentum following the Predators 4-2 victory on Tuesday night but the Coyotes did the exact opposite. After losing game two, the Coyotes were guided by a stellar Darcy Keumper in net with 36 saves on 37 shots while finding their offensive groove in the third period with three goals including a power-play goal from mid-season acquisition Taylor Hall. The Coyotes were the better team on paper coming into the series (in our opinion at least) and are now just win away from their first true playoff berth since 2011.
4. Tampa Bay Lightning 3 - Boston Bruins 2 | Bruins create unfortunate history
The Boston Bruins play through their first two games of the round-robin in the Eastern Conference have been quite baffling when considering where they were at the end of the regular season. The Bruins went from the without a doubt best team in hockey to either the No.3 or No.4 seed in the Eastern Conference. After falling 4-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, the Bruins went down 2-0 to the Lightning quickly on Wednesday before a late second period and early third-period push allowed them to tie the game.
The Lightning, however, would get the game-winner with under two minutes remaining. While the Bruins play in the last two periods should be encouraging to Boston fans, the Bruins run for a potential Stanley Cup will likely be a bit more difficult now that they won’t have the No.1 or even the No.2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Additionally, the Bruins are now the first team in NHL history that will not be a No.1 seed in the playoffs. Which is a completely bogus fact but will now be an unfortunate piece of NHL history.
5. Chicago Blackhawks 4 - Edmonton 3 | Ethan Bear’s own goal could spell doom for Edmonton
Oilers defenseman Ethan Bear probably did not sleep well on Wednesday night following the Oilers 4-3 defeat at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks. As it was his stick that was on the receiving end of a Jonathan Toews shot. The puck would deflect off Bear’s stick and past goaltender Mikko Koskinen to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 lead with 1:16 left in the third period.
For the Blackhawks, Bear’s own goal is a huge shift in momentum to their side. Now they need just one victory over games four and five to move onto the first round of the playoffs. For Edmonton, the own goal could spell doom as for a team that has struggled defensively all season and in this series will now need to play nearly mistake free hockey. While their offense can score a tremendous rates their average of 4.3 goals allowed per game in the series is simply unsustainable if they hope to win the series.