Sunday's NHL playoffs: Islanders push Capitals to the brink; Blackhawks stay alive

Associated Press

Toronto — Mathew Barzal slipped behind the defense, swooped in front of the net and beat Braden Holtby with a backhand that put the 2018 Stanley Cup champions on the brink of another early exit.

Barzal scored 4:28 into overtime shortly after Semyon Varlamov made two saves on a breakaway, lifting the New York Islanders to a 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Sunday and a 3-0 advantage in their Eastern Conference first-round series.

Islanders center Mathew Barzal scores the overtime winner past Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby.

“Mat wants to be that difference-maker and he got an opportunity and he capitalized,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said.

The sixth-seeded Islanders have put Washington within a loss of being eliminated in the first round for the second straight year after hoisting the Cup.

“Obviously, for us right now it’s nothing to lose, right? So we just have to go out there and play,” Washington star Alex Ovechkin said. “Don’t think about the score in the series.”

Holtby had 32 saves for the third-seeded Capitals, who have to win Game 4 on Tuesday night to extend the best-of-seven series.

“I know it’s a hard situation, but it’s not over yet,” said Ovechkin, who had one assist and one shot Sunday. “We won the Cup when we were down 2-0 against Columbus, coming back, and we’re going to try.”

New York’s Anders Lee broke a scoreless tie late in the first period. Evgeny Kuznetsov pulled the Capitals into a tie with a power-play goal early in the second.

Varlamov stopped 22 shots, including two in overtime when Jakub Vrana had a breakaway shortly before Barzal scored the winner off Jordan Eberle’s pass that took advantage of poor defensive positioning.

“I just should have been sagged off a little bit more to give myself a better chance at the puck,” Capitals defenseman John Carlson said.

The 23-year-old Barzal was thankful the play wasn’t called offside.

“We knew it was tight,” he acknowledged. “I run that play a little bit in practice and even in games, try to sneak behind the D, and time it perfectly on the blue line. Great heads-up play by Ebs, great touch on the pass.”

For the first score, Lee skated into an opening on the right side of the net and tapped his stick to get the puck.

Adam Pelech perfectly placed a diagonal pass on Lee’s stick and he pushed it in to put New York ahead 1-0 with 5:10 left in the opening period.

“He put himself in a great spot,” Pelech said.

More NHL playoffs 

Chicago 3, Vegas 1: Corey Crawford made 48 saves in a stellar performance, and Chicago avoided a sweep in the first-round playoff series.

Drake Caggiula and Matthew Highmore scored first-period goals for the Blackhawks, and Alex DeBrincat added an empty-netter with 10 seconds left. Chicago handed Robin Lehner his first loss in a Golden Knights uniform since the goaltender was acquired in a trade with the Blackhawks in February.

Vegas suffered its first loss since arriving in Edmonton for the NHL restart. The Golden Knights will have another chance to close out the Blackhawks in Game 5 on Tuesday.

Dallas 5, Calgary 4 (OT): Dallas scored 16:05 into overtime after Joe Pavelski forced the extra period by completing a hat trick in the final seconds of regulation and the Stars evened their Western Conference series.

John Klingberg’s hard shot appeared to be tipped by Alexander Radulov before getting past Cam Talbot on the 62nd shot for the Stars, their most since 63 in a five-overtime loss in the 2003 playoffs.

The series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 on Tuesday.

St. Louis 3, Vancouver 2 (OT): Brayden Schenn scored 15:06 into overtime to lift St. Louis.

Schenn, circling in the neutral zone, took a stretch pass, raced in and fired a shot high past Vancouver goalie Jacob Markstrom for the defending champion Blues' first win this postseason.

David Perron and Justin Faulk also scored, and Jake Allen stopped 39 shots as St. Louis pulled to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller scored for the Canucks, and Markstrom finished with 46 saves.

Philadelphia 1, Montreal 0: Jake Voracek scored and Carter Hart stopped 23 shots to help Philadelphia grab a 2-1 lead.

The top-seeded Flyers got another sensational performance from the 22-year-old Hart, who made a slew of big saves and benefited from Montreal shots that clanged off the post.

Hart was stout in the final minute when the Canadiens pulled the goalie and became the youngest Flyers goalie to ever record a shutout at 22 years, 3 days. He had been pulled late in the second period of a Game 2 loss.

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Philadelphia leads No. 8 Montreal, 2-1

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Philadelphia 2, Montreal 1

Friday, Aug. 14: Montreal 5, Philadelphia 0

Sunday, Aug. 16: Philadelphia 1, Montreal 0

Tuesday, Aug. 18: Philadelphia vs. Montreal, 3 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 19: Montreal vs. Philadelphia, TBD

x-Friday, Aug. 21: Philadelphia vs. Montreal, TBD

x-Sunday, Aug. 23: Montreal vs. Philadelphia, TBD

No. 2 Tampa Bay leads vs. No. 7 Columbus, 2-1

Tuesday, Aug. 11: Tampa Bay 3, Columbus 2, 5OT

Thursday, Aug. 13: Columbus 3, Tampa Bay 1

Saturday, Aug. 15: Tampa Bay 3, Columbus 2

Monday, Aug. 17: Columbus vs. Tampa Bay, 3 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 19: Columbus vs. Tampa Bay, TBD

x-Friday, Aug. 21: Tampa Bay vs. Columbus, TBD

x-Saturday, Aug. 22: Columbus vs. Tampa Bay, TBD

No. 6 N.Y. Islanders lead vs. No. 3 Washington, 3-0

Wednesday, Aug. 12: N.Y. Islanders 4, Washington 2

Friday, Aug. 14: N.Y. Islanders 5, Washington 2

Sunday, Aug. 16: N.Y. Islanders 2, Washington 1 (OT)

Tuesday, Aug. 18: Washington vs. N.Y. Islanders, 8 p.m.

x-Thursday, Aug. 20: N.Y. Islanders vs. Washington, TBD

x-Saturday, Aug. 22: Washington vs. N.Y. Islanders, TBD

x-Sunday, Aug. 23: N.Y. Islanders vs. Washington, TBD

No. 4 Boston leads vs. No. 5 Carolina, 2-1

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Boston 4, Carolina 3, 2OT

Thursday, Aug. 13: Carolina 3, Boston 2

Saturday, Aug. 15: Boston 3, Carolina 1

Monday, Aug. 17: Boston vs. Carolina, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 19: Carolina vs. Boston, TBD

x-Thursday, Aug. 20: Boston vs. Carolina, TBD

x-Sunday, Aug. 23: Carolina vs. Boston, TBD

Western Conference

No. 1 Las Vegas leads vs. No. 8 Chicago, 3-1

Tuesday, Aug. 11: Las Vegas 4 Chicago 1

Thursday, Aug. 13: Las Vegas 4, Chicago 3, OT

Saturday, Aug. 15: Las Vegas 2, Chicago 1

Sunday, Aug. 16: Chicago 3, Las Vegas 1

Tuesday, Aug. 18: Chicago vs. Las Vegas, TBD

x-Thursday, Aug. 20: Las Vegas vs. Chicago, TBD

x-Saturday, Aug. 22: Chicago vs. Las Vegas, TBD

No. 2 Colorado leads vs. No. 7 Arizona, 2-1

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Colorado 3, Arizona 0

Friday, Aug. 14: Colorado 3, Arizona 2

Saturday, Aug. 15: Arizona 4, Colorado 2

Monday, Aug. 17: Colorado vs. Arizona, 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 19: Arizona vs. Colorado, TBD

x-Friday, Aug. 21: Colorado vs. Arizona, TBD

x-Sunday, Aug. 23: Arizona vs. Colorado, TBD

No. 3 Dallas tied with No. 6 Calgary, 2-2

Tuesday, Aug. 11: Calgary 3, Dallas 2

Thursday, Aug. 13: Dallas 5, Calgary 4

Friday, Aug. 14: Calgary 2, Dallas 0

Sunday, Aug. 16: Dallas 5, Calgary 4 (OT)

Tuesday, Aug. 18: Calgary vs. Dallas, TBD

Thursday, Aug. 20: Dallas vs. Calgary, TBD

x-Saturday, Aug. 22: Calgary vs. Dallas, TBD

No. 5 Vancouver leads vs. No. 4 St. Louis, 2-1

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Vancouver 5, St. Louis 2

Friday, Aug. 14: Vancouver 4, St. Louis 3, OT

Sunday, Aug. 16: St. Louis 3, Vancouver 2 (OT)

Monday, Aug. 17: St. Louis vs. Vancouver, 10:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 19: Vancouver vs. St. Louis, TBD

x-Friday, Aug. 21: St. Louis vs. Vancouver, TBD

x-Sunday, Aug. 23: Vancouver vs. St. Louis, TBD