Stanley Cup playoffs action continued on Sunday with three games on the schedule. The Tampa Bay Lightning opened the day taking care of business with a dominating 5-1 win over the Florida Panthers. The Lighting needs just one more victory to complete the sweep, and move on to the Eastern Conference finals.
The Carolina Hurricanes once again struggled on the road. The New York Rangers got their first win of the series in Madison Square Garden with a 3-1 result. Carolina still leads 2-1.
Sunday's action wrapped up with the Battle of Alberta. Evander Kane lifting the Edmonton Oilers to a 4-1 victory by picking up a hat trick in the second period. Kane now leads the playoffs with 10 goals. The Calgary Flames showed a decent effort in the last period, but couldn't quite make a comeback.
Game 3: Lightning 5, Panthers 1
The Lighting are hungry for a three-peat as Stanley Cup champions and they are certainly playing like it. They took a 3-0 lead in their second round series and just need to win one more home game on Monday for the sweep against the Panthers.
The game was even after the first period as each team found a goal in the first frame. Corey Perry scored first for the Lightning at the 13:21 mark when Ryan McDonagh sent a shot straight down the middle and Perry deflected the puck into the net. That lead lasted less than three minutes with Florida center Sam Reinhart taking advantage on the power play. Before Reinhart's goal, the Panthers had not scored on the power play in the entire postseason (0-for-25).
Tampa Bay took control early in the second period when defenseman Erik Cernak picked up a pass from Ondrej Palat that was originally intended for Ross Colton but went under his stick. Cernak corralled the puck and sent it to the top right corner of the net. That pass did not play out as intended but still had a good result, to put the Lightning up 2-1 -- a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Right wing Nikita Kucherov sent an incredibly smooth pass to Steven Stamos, who went on to bury the puck with a slap shot for the third Tampa Bay goal.
Florida goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled out of the net with under five minutes remaining in the third period and the Lightning added a couple of empty netters to pad the margin late in the game. Tampa Bay will now look to sweep their in-state rivals on short rest -- Game 4 is Monday night at Amalie Arena.
Game 3: Rangers 3, Hurricanes 1
New York has its first win of the series after a solid performance at home. Rangers center Mika Zibanejad only had four shots and no points in the first two games of the series. However, he played a key role for his team's offense on Sunday, starting with the first goal of the game. Left wing Artemi Panarin sent a cross-ice pass to Zibanejad, who then proceeded to send the puck inside the left side of the net to get New York ahead early.
The Rangers extended their lead just under six minutes into the second period as Zibanejad helped Chris Kreider keep control of the puck behind the net. It was a frantic moment for the Hurricanes as defenseman Tony DeAngelo lost his stick but still attempted to block the wrist shot Kreider took it to the bottom of the circle.
Less than three minutes later, Nino Niederreiter got Carolina on the board. New York was looking to score but a failed pass resulted in a turnover. Jordan Staal picked up the loose change and then sent it to Niederreiter to take it the rest of the way.
The Rangers entered the third with a 2-1 lead, but both teams were more or less even in the first two periods with 13 scoring chances each, and New York was able to ice the game with an empty-net goal from Tyler Motte. Game 4 is set for Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Game 3: Oilers 4, Flames 1
Edmonton started the evening strong and didn't look back en route to a 2-1 lead over Calgary. The Oilers had a 21-7 shot on goal advantage after the first period, but no goals. That changed in the second as they showed off in dominating fashion with four goals in those 20 minutes. Zach Hyman got the ice breaker with a wrist shot just 52 seconds in. Five minutes later, the Evander Kane show got started.
Kane picked grabbed a Flames turnover and took it down the ice. The left wing sent it to his right side toward Learn Draisaitl and continue skating toward the net. Draisaitl then returned the puck and Kane was able to score backhanded at the 6:58 mark. He was back at it a minute later. Connor McDavid showed off some footwork by moving the puck between his skates to gain control after receiving a pass from Draisaitl. He then sent the puck to Kane who once again found himself in perfect position in front of the net.
Hats started raining on to the ice inside Rogers Place just a few moments later. Kane registered his second hat trick of this postseason after beating Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom. McDavid and Draisaitl were once again credited with the assist.
Calgary took out Markstrom at the beginning of the third period and replaced him with Dan Vladar. Overall this was a better period for the Flames as they had a 14-7 shot on goal edge and managed to avoid a shutout. Oliver Kylington got the lone goal for them at the 15:09 mark assisted by Calle Jarnkrok and Dillon Dube.
The Oilers now lead the series 2-1, with Game 4 set for Tuesday night at 9:30 p.m. ET.