Does the NHL need to fix their playoff system? Yes. Will they? No.
The refs need to maintain the standard of calling penalties, from the regular season into the playoffs. They cannot suddenly let the clutching and grabbing go. And the corralling. The funneling of the opposition to the side. The sneaky little punches. Let all that go in the season and playoffs… or let none of it go in the season and playoffs. You can't do it one way and then switch to the other. It makes it useless building a skilled team that almost never loses in the regular season, because they just turn around and lose in the playoffs. It's one thing if it happens once in a while – topple the Leafs and the Penguins, sure. Upsets happen. But topple the Bruins and the Jets right after that? If the Lightning and Golden Knights fall, what will this tell the organizations? If Montreal and the Islanders face off in the Final what will GMs and coaches conclude? That toughness and defense – and only toughness and defense – win Cups. That won't be good for hockey (and certainly not for fantasy hockey). Coaches will do away with any semblance of a wide-open offensive style in the regular season in this copycat league. It just would have been nice to see the skilled regular season teams clash in the playoffs and may the best team win. Instead, we saw only Colorado – Vegas as wide-open, end-to-end excitement. I would love to see the same standards from October through June, so that the regular season has meaning. /rant
And yes, I know that the Islanders are second in goals per game in these playoffs. They also have four empty-net goals and another three in overtime (which speaks to keeping it tight and only scoring because somebody has to score or the game won't end). No team has more OT goals then the Isles, and only Colorado has more EN goals.
Interesting to note – the Islanders have only scored at a higher rate than this year on four occasions in the playoffs: all four of their Cup years.
The Isles were up 2-0 over Tampa Bay with a minute left before Brayden Point finally broke Semyon Varlamov's shutout.
If it's not one, it's the other…
Anthony Beauvillier: First 8 GP (4-5-9), Next 5 GP (0-2-2)
Matt Barzal: First 8 GP (0-4-4), Next 5 GP (4-3-7)
So which line do you cover?
Ryan Pulock has four goals in the playoffs – three are game winners. He had two goals all season.
I noticed Ondrej Palat's ice time has been rolled back by 1.5 minutes in the playoffs. Sunday he saw his second-lowest of the postseason at 12:47, and he was minus-2. This is the impact of Nikita Kucherov back in the lineup. Even though they're linemates, Palat if off the PP.
Oliver Wahlstrom, who has been out with an injury since Game 5 of the first round, was