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Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz: Maple Leafs eye Game 7 payback against Bruins

Sharks try for third straight win to complete series comeback against Golden Knights

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Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz, a daily in-depth look at the 2019 NHL postseason. 

 
On Tap

There are two Game 7s on Tuesday, including a rematch from last season:  

Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC. SN, TVAS, NESN): Here we go again. The Bruins and Maple Leafs play Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round for the second straight season. The Bruins won 7-4 last season, scoring four times in the third period to do so. The Maple Leafs hope having John Tavares in the lineup this season will make a difference. 

Vegas Golden Knights at San Jose Sharks (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, SN360, TVAS, NBCSCA, ATTSN-RM): The Golden Knights eliminated the Sharks in the Western Conference Second Round last season, and San Jose, which has won the past two games in this series, has the chance to repay Vegas this time around. It's the first Game 7 in the Golden Knights' history while the Sharks are playing in their 11th do-or-die game.

 

 

About last night

Here is what happened on Day 13 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs: 

Carolina Hurricanes 5, Washington Capitals 2: Jordan Staal scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period and the Carolina Hurricanes avoided elimination with the Game 6 win. The best-of-7 series is tied 3-3, with the home team winning each game. Game 7 is at Washington on Wednesday. Staal and Dougie Hamilton each had a goal and an assist, and Petr Mrazek made 23 saves for the Hurricanes. Braden Holtby made 31 saves, and Brett Connolly and Alex Ovechkin scored for the Capitals.

Dallas Stars 2, Nashville Predators 1: John Klingberg scored with 2:58 left in overtime and the Dallas Stars advanced with the Game 6 win. Klingberg took a pass from Alexander Radulov and scored with a wrist shot from the left face-off circle. Ben Bishop made 47 saves for the Stars, who will play the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Second Round.

Video: Stars finish off Predators in six games to advance

 

What we learned

Here are some takeaways from Day 13 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

 

Hurricanes don't give up

Trailing 3-2 in the best-of-7 series and falling behind 1-0 and 2-1 against Washington in Game 6 on Monday, Carolina never blinked and battled back to force a Game 7 on Wednesday. By now, no one should be surprised by that. The Hurricanes have responded well to adversity all season. They needed to go 31-12-2 from Dec. 31 on to earn the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference and end their nine-season postseason drought. Then they lost the first two games to the Capitals and answered with home wins in Games 3 and 4. After losing 6-0 in Game 5 at Washington, it appeared the Hurricanes might be out of gas. But they dug down and fought their way to a Game 7, leaving them one win away from knocking off the defending Stanley Cup champions.

 

Capitals found adversity again

Washington probably didn't need a reminder that the road to the Stanley Cup is rarely a smooth one. The Capitals trailed in all four of their postseason series before winning the Cup last season, so they understand that adversity is often part of the ride. But it's difficult not to feel like this adversity is at least partially self-inflicted. After being inconsistent in their play in splitting the first four games against the Hurricanes, the Capitals appeared to rediscover their best game in a 6-0 win in Game 5. All they needed to do was repeat that effort in Game 6 to move on and face the New York Islanders in the second round. But they fell well short of doing that and now their repeat hopes will hang in the balance in Game 7.

Video: Hurricanes stay alive, force Game 7 with 5-2 win

 

Stars get answers from top players

The Stars got contributions across the board but especially from their best players. The top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov was outstanding, combining for 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in the series. Radulov and Seguin assisted on defenseman John Klingberg's series-winning goal in overtime. Ben Bishop had another great game, saving 47 of 48 shots he faced. To win in the playoffs, you need your best players to perform accordingly. The Stars got that.

 

Predators power play fizzles

The Predators did a lot right in Game 6, generating some tremendous scoring chances. But their power play was once again a source of much frustration and no production. The Predators went 0-for-4 on the power play. They squandered their best opportunity when Stars forward Blake Comeau was called for tripping with 1:53 remaining in the third period. The Predators didn't get a shot on goal during that power play. Yes, the Stars penalty kill was great in the series. But with the talent the Predators have, it's hard to believe they couldn't get one power-play goal, going 0-for-15 in the series.

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