The Carolina Hurricanes are one win away from advancing to the Eastern Conference Final after defeating the New York Islanders 5-2 at PNC Arena on Wednesday in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round.
It's the second time in Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers history they've won the first three games in a best-of-7 series. Carolina also started 3-0 against the New Jersey Devils in the 2006 Eastern Conference Semifinals and won the series in five games en route to winning the Stanley Cup.
The Hurricanes have won five consecutive games in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs beginning with Game 6 against the Washington Capitals in the first round. Their only longer streak also came in 2006, when they won seven in a row. Carolina is also 4-0 at home in the 2019 playoffs; the only other time they started 4-0 in the postseason was 2002.
Carolina is one win away from reaching the conference final for the fourth time in as many postseason appearances (2002, 2006, 2009) and can sweep the series by winning Game 4 at PNC Arena on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS). The Hurricanes can become the second wild card team to qualify for the conference finals since the current division-focused playoff format was introduced in 2014. They would join the Nashville Predators, who did it in 2017 after finishing as the second wild card from the Western Conference.
Justin Williams scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period. It was the 37-year-old forward's 38th playoff goal that moved him within one of 100 postseason points. Seventeen of those 38 goals (44.7 percent) have given his team the lead, including four of his nine goals with the Hurricanes.
Video: NYI@CAR, Gm3: Williams pots Aho's feed for lead
At 35 years, 343 days, Curtis McElhinney became the oldest goalie in NHL history to make his first NHL playoff start. He passed Les Binkley of the Pittsburgh Penguins (35 years, 306 days) in Game 1 of the 1970 Quarterfinals, a 2-1 victory against the Oakland Seals.
McElhinney, who was claimed on waivers by Carolina from the Toronto Maple Leafs two days before its 2018-19 season opener, became the third goalie in Hurricanes/Whalers history to win his first postseason start in the NHL, joining Kevin Weekes in Game 5 of the 2002 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals and Cam Ward in Game 3 of the same round in 2006.
Shuffled lines help Stars even series against Blues
Dallas Stars coach Jim Montgomery's line-shuffling paid off with a 4-2 victory against the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of the Western Conference Second Round at American Airlines Center. Forwards Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov and Mats Zuccarello each had two assists during a run of four unanswered goals by the Stars, who evened the best-of-7 series 2-2. Game 5 is at Enterprise Center on Friday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, SN360, TVAS).
Dallas has split the first four games in a best-of-7 series for the 24th time in Stars/Minnesota North Stars history. The Stars are 10-1 when winning Game 5 in those scenarios (90.9 percent), including a series victory against Nashville in the first round this season. Their only series loss when winning Game 5 after splitting Games 1-4 came against the Blues in the 1972 Stanley Cup Quarterfinals.
John Klingberg scored his second game-winning goal in the 2019 playoffs. The only other defenseman in Stars/North Stars history to score multiple winning goals in one playoff season is Lou Nanne, who did it with the North Stars in 1971.
Roope Hintz scored his fifth goal of the playoffs for the Stars, tying him for the NHL lead among rookies with Hurricanes forward Warren Foegele. Hintz's five goals are the most in a postseason by a Stars/North Stars rookie since Minnesota's Brian Bellows scored five in 1983. Hintz is also the fourth Finland-born rookie in NHL history to score at least five goals in one playoff season.
Dallas goalie Ben Bishop rebounded from a 4-3 loss in Game 3 by making 27 saves. He's 11-2 in 13 playoff games after allowing at least three goals in the previous game.
Video: Roope Hintz shines in Stars' Game 4 win against Blues
Bruins, Avalanche look to tie series
The Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche will try to even their respective second-round series with victories Thursday. The Bruins play Game 4 in the Eastern Conference against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS). The Avalanche host the San Jose Sharks in Game 4 in the Western Conference (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).
The stakes are high. Teams that take a 3-1 lead in a best-of-7 series are 277-29 (90.5 percent), including 1-1 in 2019. Columbus has never led a series 3-1. San Jose is 10-1 when leading 3-1, including 6-1 as the higher seed.
Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has made 208 saves on 222 shots in the playoffs, including 99 of 105 against the Bruins, to push the Blue Jackets to within two victories of their first trip to the Eastern Conference Final since entering the NHL in 2000.
Boston has won after trailing 2-1 in a best-of-7 series on nine occasions (9-25), including twice on its way to winning the Stanley Cup in 2011. However, the Bruins are 0-24 in series when they lose three of the first four games.
San Jose is 10-4 when leading 2-1 in a best-of-7 series, including 4-1 when starting at home. The Avalanche are 6-7 when losing two of the first three games, including a win against the Sharks in the 2002 Western Conference Semifinals. However, the Avalanche are 0-4 in series when trailing 3-1.
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