Mathew Barzal can appreciate how the New York Islanders' identity is built around being defensively sound. In centering New York's top line, Barzal also knows it's his role to contribute on offense, too. Acknowledging it took him a few games to find a groove following the NHL's 4 1/2 month coronavirus-forced pause, Barzal was pleased to finally contribute at both ends in a 5-1 preliminary round series-clinching win over the Florida Panthers on Friday.
There were five teams eliminated, three overtime games, and one massive comeback on a wild day of NHL action on Friday.
This first postseason experience for the young core of the Vancouver Canucks has already been quite a trip. Christopher Tanev's wrist shot just 11 seconds into overtime gave the Canucks a 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night to win the best-of-five Western Conference qualifying round series in four games. Tanev's snipe from just in front of the blue line zipped through traffic and beat Wild goalie Alex Stalock stick side to give the Canucks their first postseason series win since 2013.