Welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz, a daily in-depth look at the 2021 NHL postseason. There was one game on the schedule Wednesday and there is one Thursday:
There is one game on the Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule for Thursday:
Colorado Avalanche at Vegas Golden Knights (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS): The Golden Knights can become the final team to advance to the Stanley Cup Semifinals with a win against the Avalanche in Game 6 of the second round at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. They've won the past three games after losing the first two in the best-of-7 series. Forward Mark Stone scored 50 seconds into overtime to give the Golden Knights a 3-2 come-from-behind win in Game 5 at Ball Arena in Denver on Tuesday. Vegas forward Jonathan Marchessault has scored five goals in the past three games, including a hat trick in Game 4, a 5-1 win. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has allowed five goals on 68 shots (1.66 goals-against average, .926 save percentage) during the three-game winning streak. The Avalanche are hoping to get more out of center Nathan MacKinnon, who has no points in his past three games and one assist in his past four after scoring two goals and an assist in Game 1, a 7-1 Colorado win. The winner will face the Montreal Canadiens in the semifinals.
What we learned
Here are some takeaways from Day 25 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:
The Islanders depth prevailed
The New York Islanders pride themselves on being a four-line team that gets contributions from players throughout the lineup and that proved to be the difference in the Stanley Cup Second Round against the Boston Bruins. The Islanders had 10 forwards and 12 players overall score goals in the best-of-7 series, including five in their series-clinching 6-2 win in Game 6 on Wednesday. Six forwards scored multiple goals in the series: Kyle Palmieri (four), Mathew Barzal (three), Brock Nelson (three), Jean-Gabriel Pageau (two), Casey Cizikas (two) and Josh Bailey (two). In contrast, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak carried much of the offensive load for Boston, scoring five goals each. David Krejci, who scored twice, was the only other Bruins player with more than one goal in the series. Patrice Bergeron, Charlie Coyle, Craig Smith, Charlie McAvoy and Taylor Hall (empty net) each scored one. -- Tom Gulitti, staff writer
The defense got them in the end
The question all season about the Bruins was whether their defense would hold up. In the end, it didn't. But it wasn't all about personnel, even in a season when the Bruins lost defensemen Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara to free agency and went with some new blood. By Game 6 against the Islanders, the Bruins had lost Brandon Carlo and Kevan Miller to injury. That put the burden on McAvoy, who missed time after a hit by Palmieri, and Matt Grzelcyk, who was not at his best. "Our back end got thin and it was a challenge for them," Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. "Specifically, tonight and I think parts of Game 5. … Tonight, didn't manage the puck very well. Some of that was by guys that play a lot for us. It caught up to us." -- Amalie Benjamin, staff writer
About last night
There was one playoff game Wednesday:
New York Islanders 6, Boston Bruins 2:The Islanders clinched the series and will play the Tampa Bay Lightning in the semifinals. Nelson scored two goals 7:19 apart in the second period to help the Islanders build a lead they never gave up. It was 1-1 after the first period, but New York scored three goals in the second (Nelson at 5:20 and 12:39, Palmieri at 16:07) to go up 4-1. Marchand scored his second power-play goal of the game at 5:38 of the third period to make it 4-2, but the Islanders closed it down from there and scored two empty-net goals. Semyon Varlamov made 23 saves to help the Islanders advance into the third round of the playoffs for the second straight season.