Tying playoff series up in 2-2 knots

Tying playoff series up in 2-2 knots

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• The Bruins tied their series against the Hurricanes despite Charlie McAvoy missing Game 4.

• After turning to Jordan Binnington in Game 4, the Blues tied their series against the Wild at 2-2.

• Right off the bat, the Lightning took it to the Maple Leafs in Game 4, tying their series at 2-2 with gusto.

• Wrapping up a Sunday of tied NHL series in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Kings smothered the Oilers in Game 4.

Game 4: Boston Bruins 5, Carolina Hurricanes 2 (Series tied 2-2)

The Bruins began a trend across the NHL playoffs on Sunday, tying their series 2-2 with the Hurricanes. Unlike some of the other teams, the Bruins didn’t ride a red-hot start, though. Instead, the Bruins fought back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to win.

It’s dangerous to say “No Charlie McAvoy, no problem.” Instead, it may be wiser to say that Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and other top Bruins stars often find ways to solve Boston’s problems.

Game 4: St. Louis Blues 5, Minnesota Wild 2 (Series tied 2-2)

Now, we move to teams tying series 2-2 in part because of strong Game 4 starts.

Granted, in Game 4 of Wild – Blues, the first period ended 1-1. Still, the Blues opened the scoring, and dominated shots on goal (18-5) early on. While the Wild flipped the SOG battle in the second period (13-7), the Blues scored the frame’s two goals, including a tremendous Jordan Kyrou tally.

Late Blues goals inflated the lead, but the bottom line is that Kyrou, Ryan O’Reilly, and David Perron put together a strong effort to tie their series 2-2 with the Wild.

Game 4: Tampa Bay Lightning 7, Toronto Maple Leafs 3 (Series tied 2-2)

It’s never great when a 7-3 score can be misleadingly positive, but that might be the case for the Maple Leafs. Or, at least, it inflates Toronto’s offensive efforts. Steven Stamkos had home fans buzzing by scoring just one minute in. Within the first eight minutes of Game 4, the Lightning were up 3-0 over the Maple Leafs, and the second and third goals came from depth players. Less than six minutes into the second period, it was already 5-0 Lightning.

The Maple Leafs only really got anything done against the Lightning once it was garbage time. Some really had huge reactions to this Leafs loss; some spun it positively as Toronto managing a 2-2 series split, with two of the three remaining games at home. The truth is somewhere in between. There’s a “burn the tape” element to this loss for the Maple Leafs, yet the bottom line is that they need to play much, much, MUCH better against the Lightning.

Game 4: Los Angeles Kings 4, Edmonton Oilers 0 (Series tied 2-2)

Connor McDavid and the Oilers won’t get that shot at a rest advantage. Instead, Phillip Danault beautifully set up Trevor Moore for the opening goal, and then Troy Stecher made it 2-0 with a bit less than six minutes left in the first period.

On one hand, an early 2-0 lead gave the Kings a golden opportunity to lock down the Oilers in Game 4. On the other hand, containing the Oilers isn’t really easy for anyone, especially a Kings team that’s as much about structure than outright star power. To their considerable credit, Los Angeles masterfully slowed McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, making sure that early lead stood.

Any chance the Oilers had really dissolved after a 3-0 goal withstood a goal review process, although the way the Kings were playing in Game 4, maybe that really just removed any drama?

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 First Round schedule, TV info]

Three Stars in NHL on Sunday (Seventh day of playoffs)

1. Brad Marchand, Bruins

While Brad Marchand barking at Tony DeAngelo captivated Twitter, the Bruins star walked the walk.

After being limited to zero goals and an assist in two Hurricanes wins, Marchand’s been delivering for the Bruins in Game 3 and 4 in Boston. As strong as Marchand was in Game 3 (1G, 2A), the pesky winger brought it up a notch during Sunday’s NHL playoff action. Marchand scored five points on two goals and three assists. That puts Marchand at nine points in four games so far in the Bruins – Hurricanes series.

Other Bruins got in on the fun, too. Patrice Bergeron generated three points (1G, 2A), while both David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk managed one-goal, one-assist outputs. Marchand was on another level, though.

2. Jonathan Quick, Kings

After two lopsided losses, it would’ve been reasonable if the Kings started Cal Petersen against the Oilers in Game 4. Instead, the Kings rolled with veteran goalie Jonathan Quick instead, and it paid off.

To an extent, the Kings played well against the Oilers in Game 4, setting Quick up to succeed. There were other times when Jonathan Quick nullified the Oilers (cough) bare-handed.

Jonathan Quick ended up pitching a 29-save shutout, his 10th career playoff goose egg.

3. Top Blues like Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, Jordan Kyrou … Jordan Binnington?

How much does Binnington being named the No. 1 star of Blues – Wild Game 4 come down to the occasional homer three stars picker? How dare you for asking a question like that?

Binnington got the job done with 28 saves in a game where the Wild created more high-danger chances than the Blues. David Perron had the most points (2G, 1A), though one goal was an empty-netter. You may instead prefer Ryan O’Reilly, who impressed on his way to a goal and two assists. Then again, style points may drive Jordan Kyrou and his two goals to the top, considering this:

So let’s give those top Blues a collective star for that Game 4 win over the Wild.

MONDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 4: Florida Panthers at Washington Capitals, 7 p.m. ET — TBS (WSH leads 2-1)
Game 4: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers, 7 p.m. ET — ESPN (PIT leads 2-1)
Game 4: Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators, 9:30 p.m. ET — ESPN (COL leads 3-0)
Game 4: Calgary Flames at Dallas Stars, 9:30 p.m. ET — TBS (DAL leads 2-1)

PHT’s 2022 Stanley Cup previews

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning
Hurricanes vs. Bruins
Blues vs. Wild
Avalanche vs. Predators
• Oilers vs. Kings

Flames vs. Stars

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info
First Round, Stanley Cup predictions
NHL Draft Lottery set: Canadiens have best odds for top pick
Why your team will (and will not) win the Stanley Cup

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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

NHL Rink Wrap: Tying playoff series up in 2-2 knots originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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