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THE ROUNDUP- PLAYOFF EDITION- APR 18/19

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The Leafs let up on the Bruins and it cost them (deja vu), A big win in Big D for the Stars and the Flames lose a lead in the 3rd, lose to Avs in OT (also deja vu)...

Calgary Flames v Colorado Avalanche - Game Four Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Bruins came back and got big contributions from Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy as they pulled even in their series against the Leafs last night. Meanwhile, Dallas chased Pekka Rinne from the crease with a huge first period, and the Flames coughed up a 2-0 lead in the 3rd to lose in OT and are now facing an elimination game Friday night at home. Let’s get to the highlights!

BOSTON BRUINS 6 TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS 4- (Series tied 2-2)

The Leafs mounted a valiant comeback, but fell short as the Bruins notched an empty netter from Joakim Nordstrom with 2 seconds left to skate out of the Scotiabank Arena with a 6-4 win and move to Boston for Game 5 tied at 2 a piece. David Pastrnak led the way with 2 goals, Marchand had a goal and 2 assists, and they got an unassisted GWG from Zdeno Chara early in the 3rd. Auston Matthews scored twice for Toronto, who also got goals from Zach Hyman and Travis Dermott, made it close as time was winding down. Tuukka Rask stopped 38 of 42 Toronto shots for the win. The Leafs now find themselves in exactly the position they didn’t want to be in, having the series come down to a best of 3 with two of those games (if necessary) in Boston. If they have to play a Game 7, it’s not good. If they have to play it in Boston? Yeesh. But like I said, maybe this is the year they slay their dragon.

DALLAS STARS 5 NASHVILLE PREDATORS 1- (Series tied 2-2)

After Pekka Rinne stole a win for the Preds in Game 3 the big question was could he do it again, or would we see another collapse as we’ve seen in the past from Rinne. When Rinne was pulled at the 13:45 mark of the 1st, it was 4-0 Dallas. So yeah, I’d say that was a collapse. The PP came through big time for the Stars, who went 3 for 4 on their first period opportunites, finishing 3 for 7 on the night. Roope Hintz scored twice, and they got a 3 assist night from John Klingberg. Roman Josi broke Ben Bishop’s potential shutout in the 3rd, but Nashville never really had a sniff at winning this one. Bishop made 34 saves for the win, while Juuse Saros let in the 5th goal after replacing Rinne. Game 5 is in Nashville Saturday afternoon.

COLORADO AVALANCHE 3 CALGARY FLAMES 2 (OT)- (Colorado leads 3-1)

There’s two ways to look at this, really. On one hand, you can look at how Mike Smith has faced 108 shots in the two games in Colorado, and was pretty damn impressive. I completely get that, and it’s hard to argue. Yet, you can also argue that when they needed him to make the big stop, he didn’t. Playing your heart out and still losing doesn’t help you win a series. At some point you have to shut the door. And with Smith, no matter how many shots you’re firing at him that get turned away, some don’t and with the Flames struggling to score, it’s why they could be eliminated on Friday night.

It’s not all Smith’s fault, and honestly the way Calgary’s defence is playing right now is so very baffling. They’ve left their goalie hung out to dry. Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and James Neal have combined for 1 goal and 2 assists (with zeros from Neal) and they have gotten just 2 points from Mark Giordano, he of the 74 point regular season. The Flames had 5 players over 70 points this season, and they have combined for 3 goals and 6 assists in 4 games. It’s not good enough, and since the 4-0 win in Game 1, the Flames have scored 6 goals. The Avalanche have managed to shut down the Flames scoring threats, and had free will to roam through the offensive zone since Game 2. It’s just baffling, honestly.

There is one other reason that the Flames are losing, though it’s not being talked about. It’s Mike Smith’s mask.

While everyone is oohing and ahhing over the tribute to Mike Vernon’s helmet, they ignore something as plain as the nose on your face. Well, the ears, actually. Yes, his mask has ears on it, and as we all saw proved this year when Jacob Markstrom stopped wearing that monstrosity, he was a far better goaltender with it. Also, if you come across video Mike Smith’s mask going flying yet again, let me know. I did see that a certain former goalie we know weighed in on it this morning...

The replies to this are amazing, as you get a classic example of what’s bad about Twitter. People telling someone who literally knows what he’s talking about, that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Unbelievable.