Stanley Cup Playoffs results: Maple Leafs push Bruins to brink; Avalanche eliminate Flames with big win
Everything you need to know for this weekend's Stanley Cup Playoff action
The Stanley Cup playoffs were back in action Friday night with two games on the slate. One resulted in a team being pushed to the edge, and the other featured a team being pushed over it.
The rival Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs played first, with the series tied at two games apiece. In a game that got exciting late, Toronto scored twice in the third and held on for a win, putting Boston's season on life support.
The nightcap featured the Colorado Avalanche absolutely taking it to the Calgary Flames for a series-clinching 5-1 win north of the border. The Western Conference's No. 1 seed now joins the East's top seed in an early playoff exit while the Avs move on to face either the San Jose Sharks or Vegas Golden Knights.
Below is a recap of Friday's action, as well as a look at what's slated for Saturday.
NHL playoff schedule for Friday, April 19
- Game 5: Maple Leafs 2, Bruins 1 (TOR leads 3-2) [Box score]
- Game 5: Avalanche 5, Flames 1 (COL wins series 4-1) [Box score]
NHL playoff schedule for Saturday, April 20
- Game 5: Stars at Predators (Series tied 2-2), 3 p.m. ET, NBC -- Preview
- Game 6: Jets at Blues (STL leads 3-2), 7 p.m. ET, NBCSN -- Preview
- Game 5: Hurricanes at Capitals (Series tied 2-2), 8 p.m. ET, NBC -- Preview
Flames ... extinguished
That's all she wrote for Calgary. Mikko Rantanen added a goal in the third period and the Avalanche defeated the Flames 5-1 in Game 5, putting a bow on the series with a gentleman's sweep.
With the Flames now eliminated, the NHL's top two teams during the regular season -- the Lightning and Flames -- both did not make it out of the first round, and they won a grand total of one game between them. Yikes.
As for the Avalanche, it's their first playoff series win since 2008.
Time running out for Calgary
So, yeah, about that momentum that the Flames seized at the end of the first period. Things did not go well for Calgary in the middle frame. The Avalanche doubled their lead when some brutal giveaways from the Flames allowed Colorado to storm into the zone. Colin Wilson put a one-timer past Mike Smith for the 3-1 lead.
Calgary started to push and it looked like they had gotten one back when Johnny Gaudreau finally broke his cold spell and tucked one past Philipp Grubauer, but it was called of due to goaltender interference on the ice. The Flames challenged the ruling. Upon further review, the contact didn't look like much and Grubauer may have helped to sell it, but the officials upheld the original call and kept the goal off the board.
It's certainly an interesting call -- especially given what happened in Boston earlier in the night -- and it was a devastating blow for Gaudreau and the Flames.
Even more devastating is that Wilson managed to add another goal to the Avs' total later in the period when he deflected a Nathan MacKinnon pass on the power play. This one is heading to the third period with the Avalanche leading 4-1, and the Flames officially have 20 minutes to save their season.
Avs come out strong, but Flames catch a spark
With a chance to clinch a series win in Calgary on Friday night, the Avs got off to a quick start and, once again, it came courtesy of their top line. Colorado's initial goal was a Gabriel Landeskog re-direct off of a Tyson Barrie shot. Then, Mikko Rantanen made it 2-0 when he banked a shot off Flames goalie Mike Smith immediately following a missed breakaway opportunity from Johnny Gaudreau. (Gaudreau also missed a penalty shot in the opening period.)
The game looked to be fully in the Avs' control heading towards first intermission, but the Flames got a massive shot in the arm when T.J. Brodie found the back of the net with five seconds remaining in the period.
That goal cut the lead in half and should give Calgary a little bit of momentum heading into the second period.
Leafs' late surge pushes Bruins to brink
That goal didn't come without a little bit of controversy though, as the Bruins challenged for goaltender interference. Toronto's Zach Hyman bumped Tuukka Rask just before the goal being scored, but officials ruled it a good goal.
The Leafs doubled their lead a few minutes later when Kasperi Kapanen picked up his first goal of the series. Toronto held onto that 2-0 lead until the final minute of play, when David Krejci gave Boston a glimmer of hope by finally getting the Bruins on the board with 44 seconds remaining.
But there would be no dramatic comeback, as it proved to be too little too late for the Bruins, who now head back to Toronto trailing 3-2 in the series. The Maple Leafs have been the better team at 5-on-5 for much of the past few games, and they'll have a chance to finally exorcise their first-round demons with a win at home on Sunday.
Leafs-Bruins locked through two
Through 40 minutes in Boston, the Bruins and Leafs have ... not done much. It's been a pretty sloppy game so far and there have been no goals. Both goalies have been on top of their game, but they've also gotten some help.
That opportunity was the best the Bruins have had thus far, while the Leafs' best chance came when Kasperi Kapanen airmailed a shot over the crossbar on a shorthanded breakaway in the second. In any case, a big 20 minutes ahead ... possibly more.
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