On Tap For Today — NY Islanders at Boston; 6:30 pm EDT; NBCSN, TVAS, SN1 & Winnipeg at Montreal; 8:00 pm EDT; NBCSN, NHLN, CBC, TVAS, SN
KING ME: Kurtis Gabriel, Pekka Rinne, and P.K. Subban were announced as finalists for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, which recognizes humanitarian contributions made within the players’ respective communities.
TOUGH TOFFOLI: Tyler Toffoli’s shorthanded goal was all Montreal needed to take a 2-0 series lead on Friday, as Carey Price made 30 saves en route to his eighth career playoff shutout.
THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY: Vegas scored two third-period goals in 45 seconds to rally and beat Colorado 3-2, handing the Avalanche their first playoff loss in the process.
HOW NICE: Auston Matthews, Jaccob Slavin, and Jared Spurgeon were announced as finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy. The award is given to the player who is “voted best to combine sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct, and ability.”
EPIC STORM: Saturday’s Game 4 between Carolina and Tampa Bay featured eight goals in the second period alone! The Lightning ultimately won the epic battle, 6-4, to grab a commanding 3-1 series lead.
ISLE SEE YOU FOR GAME 5: Four unanswered goals propelled the Islanders to a 4-1 Game 4 win, setting up an important showdown in Boston on Monday night.
PERMISSION TO BOARD: The Canadian government officially granted the NHL travel exemption for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, allowing teams from both Canada and the US to enter Canada without having to quarantine.
GOLDEN: Team Canada rallied for gold at the IIHF Wold Championships, beating Finland 3-2 to earn its 27th gold medal at the World Championships. Team USA earned the bronze after a 6-1 win over Germany.
HAPPY (NON)-TRAILS: Montreal’s 5-1 win over Winnipeg not only gave it a commanding 3-0 lead against Winnipeg, but marked yet another game in which the Habs have not trailed. Figure this: The Canadiens have not trailed in 376:14, which is fifth-best in NHL playoff history.
HATS OFF: Jonathan Marchessault recorded a hat trick in the Golden Knights’ 5-1 win over the Avalanche last night, evening the series at two. Colorado will attempt to maintain home ice advantage in Tuesday’s pivotal Game 5.
Yes We Can(ada)
Canada won gold at the IIHF World Hockey Championships after Ottawa Senators’ Nick Paul scored the “golden goal” in overtime on Sunday.
In most years, a gold medal for Canada would hardly register as any kind of remarkable achievement. After all, the red and white have now claimed gold 27 times at the tournament, the most of any nation. This year, however, felt different. An underwhelming roster, an unprecedentedly bad start, and a preliminary round that verged on disaster established the Canadians as clear underdogs — making for a pretty remarkable redemption story.
Canada looked anything but golden to begin the preliminaries: getting shut out by the host Latvians 2-0, getting crushed 5-1 by their American rivals, and falling 3-1 to Germany to dig an early 0-3 hole. They would rebound, but would still need help just to advance to the quarterfinals. For a country accustomed to boasting star power and depth, it was a bit jarring to see the maple leaf adorning the jerseys of a lackluster group led by Connor Brown and Adam Henrique.
Then came the elimination round. In the quarters, they outlasted a ROC team featuring bona fide NHL stars like Vladimir Tarasenko, Ivan Provorov, Dmitry Orlov, and Sergei Bobrovsky — winning 2-1 thanks to overtime hero and late roster addition Andrew Mangiapane. In the semis, they gained a measure of revenge against the Americans with a 4-2 triumph as Mangiapane scored two goals.
Finally, facing a Finnish squad in the gold medal game that had lost only once in the tournament, Canada was able to put it all together. Having already rallied back from a one-goal deficit on two separate occasions, Paul provided the fireworks six minutes into OT by finishing out a 2-on-1 with Brown, his Senators teammate.
Typically, any international hockey tournament besides the Olympics or World Juniors warrants little more than a shrug from most Canadians. However, head coach Gerard Gallant’s group forced the nation to take notice by digging deep and embracing an underdog role that the country isn’t exactly accustomed to.
Hall or Palmieri — Who Was The Better Trade Deadline Acquisition?
Prior to the trade deadline, the New York Islanders received Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils. Five days later and about 186 miles further north, the Boston Bruins received Taylor Hall from the Buffalo Sabres. Now, in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, these two teams are battling each other to be the first to four wins. This raises the question — which acquisition has been better for his respective team?
There is no denying that Hall was the big name deal at the trade deadline. Boston gave up Anders Bjork and a 2021 second-round draft pick to receive Hall and Curtis Lazar. Since the beginning of the playoffs, Hall has three goals and two assists for a total of five points in nine games played. He is also averaging around 18:07 of time on ice (TOI) per game while playing on the second line with David Krejčí and Craig Smith.
Since the Devils shipped Palmieri and Zajac to the Islanders on April 7, Palmieri has adjusted to island life quite well — with fans already hoping to sign him to some kind of extension. He has five points in his last five games and has 7 points in the playoffs, including a game-winning overtime goal in Game 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 30-year-old forward averages 16:04 of TOI per game and has been making the most out of his role in New York.
Once upon a time Hall and Palmieri were teammates — and line mates — in New Jersey. Most notably, when Hall became the first Devils player to win the Hart Trophy in 2018, he finished the regular season with 93 points — more than twice as many points as Palmieri had. However, it was Palmieri who led the Devils as their top scoring leader over the following two seasons.
While the ultimate goal for both teams is the Stanley Cup, so far Palmieri has proven to be the better trade deadline pickup. He seems right at home with Islanders and has been thriving with his new team this postseason. New York will face Boston at TD Garden tonight in Game 5.