Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz: Flames must contain Oilers, McDavid in Game 4

Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz, a daily in-depth look at the 2022 NHL postseason. There are two playoff games scheduled for Tuesday, the 23rd day of the postseason.

On Tap

There are two games on the Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule for Tuesday:

Carolina Hurricanes at New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS)

The Rangers will try to win their second straight at Madison Square Garden and even the best-of-7 series in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round. The Hurricanes (2.44 goals per game) and Rangers (2.49) were the stingiest defensive teams in the NHL in the regular season, so it should be no surprise that goals have been at a premium in this series. After Carolina won 2-1 in Game 1 and 2-0 in Game 2 at home, New York responded with a 3-1 win in Game 3 at home. Games 2 and 3 ended with empty-net goals, so each game in the series essentially has been decided by one goal. Carolina will try to win its first road game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (0-4).

Calgary Flames at Edmonton Oilers (9:30 p.m. ET; ESPN, CBC, SN, TVAS)

The Flames hope to contain Connor McDavid as they try to even the series in Game 4 of the Western Conference Second Round. The Oilers center leads the playoffs with 23 points (six goals, 17 assists) in 10 games, including nine points (two goals, seven assists) against the Flames. He has been at his best, racing up the ice on the rush, protecting the puck in the offensive zone and dogged around the net. That has helped Edmonton score 15 goals against a Calgary team that was third in the NHL in goals against (2.51 per game) in the regular season. McDavid has had multiple points in each playoff game but one.

What We Learned

Lightning find a way again

The Tampa Bay Lightning demonstrated again how they find ways to win in their 2-0 victory against the Florida Panthers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round on Monday. Three of the four games in the best-of-7 series were tied entering the third period and the Lightning won them all. Of course, Andrei Vasilevskiy making 49 saves for his NHL-record sixth series-clinching shutout was a big part of the win Monday. But Tampa Bay also had to shake off two apparent goals being disallowed after video review in the second period before Pat Maroon batted one in that counted 6:16 into the third for the game’s first goal. Ondrej Palat scored an empty-net goal with 23 seconds left to seal the Lightning’s third consecutive trip to the third round and 10th straight series win in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With eight more wins this postseason, they will become the first team to win the Stanley Cup in three straight seasons since the New York Islanders’ run of four consecutive championships from 1980-83. — Tom Gulitti, staff writer

Thornton might have played final NHL game

Joe Thornton might have played his final NHL game in the Panthers’ 2-0 loss Monday. Looking for a spark facing elimination, Panthers coach Andrew Brunette used the 42-year-old for the first time in the playoffs. Thornton was minus-1 in 6:18 of ice time. He is on an expiring contract, and it’s uncertain whether he will get another shot at the Stanley Cup that has eluded him during his 19 seasons in the NHL with the Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Panthers. Thornton is sixth in NHL history in games played (1,714), seventh in assists (1,109) and 12th in points (1,539) in the regular season and seems certain to make the Hockey Hall of Fame. — Nicholas J. Cotsonika, columnist

Avalanche one win from advancing

The Colorado Avalanche are one win from advancing to the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2001-02, following a 6-3 victory against the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 at Enterprise Center on Monday. The Avalanche dominated at 5-on-5 against the Blues and received a hat trick from Nazem Kadri. “I loved our game 5-on-5,” coach Jared Bednar said. “Right from the drop of the puck, we had a great first period, great second period. They scored a couple of goals on the power play and things got tight, but we came out right away in the third and started playing the same way. It was a great team game from our guys.” The Avalanche, who held a 37-20 advantage in shots on goal, remain the only unbeaten team on the road (4-0) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. — Mike G. Morreale, staff writer

Blues goalie dilemma

Ville Husso allowed five goals on 36 shots in a 6-3 loss in his first start since being replaced by Jordan Binnington for Game 4 of the first round against the Minnesota Wild. Binnington, who sustained a lower-body injury in the first period of a 5-2 loss in Game 3 on Saturday, is out for the remainder of the best-of-7 series, which the Blues trail 3-1. Husso looked confident with 15 saves on 15 shots in the first period Monday, but he allowed four goals on 13 shots in the second. He’s 1-4 with a 3.76 goals-against average and .884 save percentage in five playoff games (four starts). St. Louis could consider starting goalie Charlie Lindgren, recalled from Springfield of the American Hockey League on Sunday, in Game 5. The 28-year-old, who was 5-0-0 with a 1.22 GAA and .958 save percentage in five games during the regular season, never has played a game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. — Morreale

About Last Night

Tampa Bay Lightning 2, Florida Panthers 0

The two-time defending Stanley Cup champions swept the Presidents’ Trophy winners and won their 10th straight series, joining the New York Islanders (19, 1980-84) and Montreal Canadiens (13, 1975-80; 10, 1955-1960) as the only teams to win 10 or more consecutive postseason series. Vasilevskiy made 49 saves for his sixth shutout in a series-clinching win, the most in NHL history, and Maroon and Palat scored for Tampa Bay. Florida was shut out for the first time this season. After scoring 337 goals in the regular season, the most since the Pittsburgh Penguins scored 362 in 1995-96, the Panthers scored three goals in four games against the Lightning.

Colorado Avalanche 6, St. Louis Blues 3

Kadri had a hat trick and an assist for the Avalanche, who took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. Kadri said he wanted to put his mark on Game 4 after receiving taunts and threats from fans following Game 3, when he and Blues defenseman Calle Rosen collided Binnington, who sustained a lower-body injury that will keep him out for the rest of the series. Kadri made it 4-1 with a 5-on-3 power-play goal in the second period after Pavel Buchnevich (roughing) and David Perron (cross-checking) each took a penalty for going after Kadri on the same play. Erik Johnson, Devon Toews and Mikko Rantanen also scored for Colorado, and Darcy Kuemper made 17 saves. Perron scored twice, Buchnevich had a goal, and Husso made 31 saves for St. Louis.

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