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Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz: Blues hope to remain perfect on road

St. Louis enters Game 3 at Stars 3-0 away from home

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Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz, a daily in-depth look at the 2019 NHL playoffs. There is one Game 3 on the schedule Monday:

On Tap

St. Louis Blues at Dallas Stars (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS): The Blues look to stay perfect on the road in the playoffs when the best-of-7 series, which is tied 1-1, shifts to American Airlines Center. The Blues went 3-0 in Winnipeg en route to a six-game win in the first round, and look to keep that up against a Stars team that went 2-1 at home against the Nashville Predators.

 

About last night

Here is what happened on Day 19 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

Carolina Hurricanes 2, New York Islanders 1: The Hurricanes scored twice in 48 seconds early in the third period, and Curtis McElhinney made 17 saves in relief of injured starter Petr Mrazek to give Carolina a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. Warren Foegele scored his Hurricanes-leading fifth goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a wrist shot from the right face-off circle 17 seconds into the third. Nino Niederreiter scored his first on a deflection from the slot at 1:05 to give Carolina a 2-1 lead. Mrazek, who made 31 saves in a Game 1 shutout, left the game with a lower-body injury 6:27 into the second period. Game 3 is at PNC Arena on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Colorado Avalanche 4, San Jose Sharks 3: Tyson Barrie had a goal and two assists, and the Avalanche evened the best-of-7 series 1-1 with the win in Game 2. Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon each had a goal and an assist, and Philipp Grubauer made 31 saves for the Avalanche. Brent Burns had two goals and an assist, Evander Kane had a goal and an assist, and Martin Jones made 28 saves for the Sharks, who had won four straight games dating to Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round. Game 3 is at Pepsi Center on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Video: Avalanche tie their series, Hurricanes go up 2-0

 

What we learned

Here are some takeaways from Day 19 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

 

Hurricanes overcome injuries

The Hurricanes continue to show tremendous resiliency despite an injury-depleted lineup. Carolina was forced to play with five defensemen for most of Game 2 after Trevor van Riemsdyk sustained an upper-body injury on a hit by Cal Clutterbuck 32 seconds into the game, but Jaccob Slavin (27:21 in ice time) and Justin Faulk (26:30) were stalwarts on defense. When goalie Petr Mrazek sustained a lower-body injury 6:27 into the second period, Curtis McElhinney came in and made 17 saves in relief to pick up his first win since April 6. Forward Saku Maenalanen was injured in the third period. And then there are forwards Andrei Svechnikov (concussion protocol), Jordan Martinook (lower body) and Micheal Ferland (upper body) who did not play again in Game 2. Yet the Hurricanes found a way to win their fourth straight postseason game. Svechnikov and Martinook could return for Game 3 on Wednesday at PNC Arena, where the Hurricanes are 3-0 in the playoffs.

 

Islanders also lose key player

Islanders coach Barry Trotz calls his fourth line of Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin the "identity line" as an example for how he wants New York to play. Clutterbuck set the tone early in Game 2 with a ferocious check that knocked Carolina defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk out of the game. But Clutterbuck needed help getting off the ice himself at the end of Game 2 and Trotz did not have an update on his condition afterward. Should Clutterbuck be unable to play Game 3, it would be a major blow for the Islanders. They would likely would replace him with Michael Dal Colle, who has not played since April 4.

Video: Canes beat Isles in Game 2 and take a 2-0 series lead

 

Avalanche found their jam

It took them more than four periods into the series but the Avalanche started dictating good chunks of play as the second period wore on in Game 2. Colorado had a strong start to Game 1 and had the lead early in the second period of the opener, but they were not dominating the Sharks, only matching them as the feeling-out process of the series began. Once the Avalanche got on the board with Gabriel Landeskog's goal to make it 1-1 in the second period in Game 2, they began to tilt the ice and their top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen forced the Sharks into stretches of scrambling on defense. It was the kind of push the Calgary Flames weren't able to handle in the first round, five-game loss to the Avalanche.

 

Sharks were off, but only a little

San Jose got off to a smart start in Game 2 but couldn't extinguish Colorado's best push of the series in the second period. Once the Sharks fell behind, they had attack time but had trouble getting the puck to the net. They had 19 shots blocked during the final 40 minutes of the game. Still they didn't go away, making it a tight finish with two goals from defenseman Brent Burns in the final five minutes of the third period. The Sharks did almost everything right in the first period of Game 2, winning the majority of puck battles, and certainly it's video they will watch to reinforce what does and can work against the Avalanche.

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