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THE ROUNDUP- PLAYOFF EDITION- APR 24/19

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In a playoff round that has seen our jaws drop almost nightly, last night might have been the craziest yet. Oh, and the Leafs blew it again.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Vegas Golden Knights at San Jose Sharks Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

BOSTON BRUINS 4 TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS 1- (Boston wins 4-1)

This should have been the time for the Leafs. It felt like they could do it. And yet, they stumbled again. For the 3rd time in 6 years the Leafs are out of the playoffs at the hands of the Boston Bruins. There’s a ton of reasons why, but the thing that stood out for me was the way Mike Babcock was running his bench. It was like watching vintage Willie Desjardins, ice time given to guys who aren’t your best players when you need a goal in the worst way. Jason Botchford brought up a huge point and quite frankly it’s shocking to see. Auston Matthews had under 19 minutes of ice time last night. In the biggest game of the year, the guy who went in as your hottest player didn’t get the most ice time. But the really shocking part:

How on earth could none of these guys be asking this? Crazy. Anyway, the Leafs will need to make changes over the summer. The defence wasn’t as shored up as it should have been, and honestly I think a coaching change might be what they need. Time will tell, I guess. Meanwhile, the Bruins move on to play Columbus, and if there was a team that makes John Tortorella into a sympathetic character in the great drama that is the 2019 Playoffs, it’s Boston. Gotta hand it to the Bruins, though. They came up big, especially Tuukka Rask, when it mattered most. Now, to go shower because it feels gross to compliment them.

SAN JOSE SHARKS 5 VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4 (OT)- (San Jose wins series 4-3)

As many of you know, I live in Ontario now and so it’s not always easy to stay up and watch the late games. I had been watching most of the late ones so far in the playoffs because the hockey’s been just so damn enthralling. Last night, I was tired as hell and decided at the end of the 2nd period that I would call it a night. The Sharks looked like they were done, and Vegas would be moving on.

Yup.

Nothing like missing one of the best comebacks in NHL history. The Sharks were down 3-0 when Cody Eakin crosschecked Joe Pavelski on a faceoff in the Vegas zone. He gets 5 and a game for the hit. But let’s back up to the 2nd period. Here’s the Cody Eakin goal that was deemed to be a legal deflection.

Even if those lines aren’t perfect, it’s pretty clear the NHL is still just utterly clueless when it comes to these calls. Now, onto the penalty.

Okay forget the commentary from the person making the tweet here, because this is absolutely a penalty. The problem is, the NHL’s officials haven’t called similar plays over the years. I am not 100% convinced it should have been a major, but because of the injury on the play I am sure that it had a factor in the decision. And anyone suggesting he flopped or faked injury is an idiot and should be shunned. Players don’t sit out the rest of games faking injuries. So now you’re San Jose, you’re down 3-0 with around half a period left in a Game 7. I guess you better come up with one of the best power play performances of all time.

6 seconds. That’s all it took to to get the first one. 49 seconds later, they strike again, this time it’s Game 6 OT hero Tomas Hertl.

2:44 later, and they tie it up with the 2nd goal from Couture.

28 seconds later, Kevin LeBanc, who had already assisted on all 3 goals, fires one home to give the Sharks the lead.

So this is crazy. But we’re not done, because with 47 seconds left and Marc Andre Fleury on the bench for the extra attacker, Jonathan Marchessault ties it up.

There’s tons of chances for both teams in OT, and it starts to look like they’re going to go to another double OT, when the guy with the fake name ends one of the greatest games in NHL playoff history.

Insanity. Look, I get if you think that the Golden Knights got jobbed here. The NHL heel turn on a team they’ve done more for than any expansion team in history was something even Vince McMahon wouldn’t have dreamed up. At the end of the day, they already got a goal that shouldn’t have counted, and the call happened, so if you can’t kill off a penalty without giving up 4 goals, you have no one to blame but yourselves. Great series from Hertl and Couture, both scoring 6 times for the Sharks. And let’s not overlook Erik Karlsson, who got better as the series went along and ended up with 9 assists in the series, which has him tied for 3rd in playoff scoring, and tied for 1st of players active in the 2nd round. They move on to face the Colorado Avalanche in the 2nd round. One more game to go as tonight the Washington Capitals try to keep from going out in round 1 at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes. Our open thread will go live at 6PM Eastern/3PM Pacific. See you there!