Follow along here as Yahoo Sports NHL editors Arun Srinivasan and Kyle Cantlon keep you posted on the key storylines, highlights, major injuries and everything else you need to know from Wednesday’s Stanley Cup playoffs slate.
Canadiens avoid elimination with victory over Flyers
Elimination Wednesday took down three teams before the Montreal Canadiens rallied to fight another day, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3 in Wednesday’s Game 5.
Joel Armia scored two goals for the Canadiens, while Jakub Voracek added a pair of his own for the Flyers before Brendan Gallagher notched his first goal of the series, giving the Canadiens a 3-2 lead entering the third period.
Joel Farabee tied the game up at 3-3, but 22 seconds later Montreal’s Nick Suzuki notched the game-winning goal.
Carter Hart — who had a rough outing after posting two consecutive shutouts — dropped to the ice early, giving Suzuki ample space to navigate around him for an easy goal.
Suzuki joined some select company with his goal, as the Canadiens look to continue their season on Friday.
21-year-old Nick Suzuki is the youngest #GoHabsGo player to score a Game-Winning Goal when facing elimination since Shayne Corson in Game 7 of the 1987 Adams Div. Final vs the Nordiques— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) August 20, 2020
Kotkaniemi ejected from Game 5 vs. Flyers
In what’s proving to be a controversial decision, Montreal Canadiens forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi was ejected from Game 5 against the Philadelphia Flyers for boarding Travis Sanheim.
The 2018 third-overall pick was tossed after the referees reviewed the play.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi assessed a major penalty and game misconduct after a review by the referees.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) August 20, 2020
Pivotal moment in Game 5.
Kotkaniemi appeared to leave his feet, hitting Sanheim after he released the puck.
Here is the play in question:
Kotkaniemi gets a major penalty and game misconduct for boarding Sanheim pic.twitter.com/Tjg4m73cOL— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) August 20, 2020
While the merits of the hit itself are worthy of discussion, the application of the rule is what many journalists, neutrals and, of course, Canadiens fans, are incensed about.
Kadri, MacKinnon dominate as Avalanche extinguish Coyotes
This one was truly a gentleman’s sweep, as the Colorado Avalanche routed the Arizona Coyotes 7-1, a scoreline that accurately reflects how lopsided this series was.
All of the Avalanche’s lines were rolling but Nazem Kadri and Nathan MacKinnon put their stamps on this game and the Coyotes had no answer for either of them in Game 5.
Kadri continued his tear, opening the scoring on a power play goal where he parked in front of the Coyotes’ net and quickly tucked one in past Darcy Kuemper. Colorado ran this set during its power play throughout the series and Arizona never adjusted accordingly.
Naz is on some kind of heater rnpic.twitter.com/ZzRmeE70cE— Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) August 19, 2020
Samuel Girard added another power play marker before Kadri scored his second goal of the contest, bearing down on Kuemper uncontested. A picture is worth a thousand words:
this masterful telestrator work on the the Avs broadcast is killing me pic.twitter.com/HUdhD4AR3N— Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) August 19, 2020
We’ve used this blog before to state that MacKinnon is the best player remaining in the tournament and Wednesday’s Game 5 proved this notion to be true once again. MacKinnon got on the board with a one-timer that Kuemper was helpless against. A minute later, he struck again.
And while MacKinnon’s goal-scoring prowess has to be feared, he’s one hell of a playmaker, too.
I don't want to say the Colorado Avalanche are just messing around right now but Nathan MacKinnon just switched spots with Nikita Zadorov and hit him with a bullet pass for a tip-in pic.twitter.com/G22otwaYgv— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) August 19, 2020
Best of luck to the Avalanche’s next opponent.
Bruins oust Hurricanes for 2nd consecutive year
Unlike the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Carolina Hurricanes will not exact revenge this summer.
One year removed from being swept by the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final, the Hurricanes were eliminated from this year’s dance after a 2-1 defeat.
Haydn Fleury gave the Hurricanes an early 1-0 lead, but it was all for naught as David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron each scored in the second period to secure the win.
Bergeron’s winner wasn’t pretty, to say the least — but they all count the same.
Many thought the Bruins’ bid to return to the Final would be impacted by Tuukka Rask’s absence, after he left the bubble to spend time with his family after Game 2 of the series, but Jaroslav Halak has been one of the NHL’s best backups over the past two seasons, and is proving more than capable of filling in for the Vezina finalist.
Elimination Wednesday is proving to be unkind for some teams, while the Lightning, Bruins and the NHL’s elite are moving on to the second round.
Lightning eliminate Blue Jackets on Brayden Point’s OT winner
After five exceptionally hard-fought games, the Tampa Bay Lightning ousted the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 5-4 overtime win.
Brayden Point recorded the series winner after posting up in front of the net all alone, receiving a feed from Nikita Kucherov and tucked away the overtime marker.
BRAYDEN DOING WHAT HE DOES BEST 🔥 pic.twitter.com/fOGCu1nGtx— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) August 19, 2020
Columbus proved to be a very tough out, in large part due to its exceptional shot-blocking, a standout goaltending performance from Joonas Korpisalo and a relentless forecheck. Ultimately, the gulf in talent proved to be the difference, and history won’t repeat itself, as the Lightning avenged last year’s stunning upset and will now look ahead with their eyes fixated on lifting the Cup which has eluded the Stamkos-Hedman iteration.
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