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Mark Giordano signed a two-year contract extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday for $800,000 per season. On Monday it was reported that the Maple Leafs offered the hometown defenseman $1 million per season but he asked for less to give the Leafs additional money for their salary cap.
The 39-year-old defenseman wants to win a Stanley Cup and figures Toronto gives him an outstanding chance to do so in the next two years. Of course, it would help if they ever made it out of the first round.
TAMPA BAY 2 FLORIDA 0 (Tampa Bay wins the best-of-seven series 4-0)
The Florida Panthers came out like they had nothing to lose as they trailed the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-0 and dominated the play all game but were unable to beat Andrei Vasilevskiy in the Tampa Bay net, dropping a 2-0 decision. That gave the Bolts a four-game sweep over their cross-state rivals and moved them into the Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Finals where they will meet the winner of the Carolina-New York Rangers series.
The Panthers were all over the Lightning in the first period as they outshot Tampa Bay 18-3 but were denied time-after-time by Vasilevskiy.
It was more of the same in the second period as Florida continued it siege on Tampa Bay as they piled on another 16 shots to the Lightning’s 12. The Lightning actually scored a pair of goals but both were overturned upon review as Alex Killorn’s goal was called back when it was determined the puck hit the netting and therefore was out of play seconds before Killorn’s goal and then Nikita Kucherov’s goal was called back as Anthony Cirelli used his hands to get the puck back to Kucherov before his goal. Had the hand pass been seen by the referees on the ice, he would have received a penalty but it could not be called on a review.
The second period also ended scoreless and it took fourth liner Pat Maroon to break the tie as he tipped a Zach Bogosian shot. The puck hit Sergei Bobrovsky in the back and trickled over the goal line and into the net.
The Panthers continued to press but still were unable to beat Vasilevskiy. They made a final stab with 2:30 left as Ondrej Palat took a penalty but even pulling the goalie made no difference as they could not put the puck in the back of the net.
Palat came out of the penalty box and Anthony Cirelli’s shot from his own faceoff circle, bounced off the backboards and into the empty Florida crease where Palat easily put the puck into the net.
Vasilevskiy was perfect as he stopped all 49 shots for the win. He is 8-3 with a 2.22 GAA and a .932 save percentage. He was particularly amazing against the Panthers as he gave up only three goals in the four-game sweep, on 154 shots for a 0.75 GAA and a .981 save percentage.
He outplayed fellow Russian Bobrovsky all series as Bobrovsky went 0-4, giving up 10 goals on 123 shots. Not bad but certainly not even close to the netminding ability of Vasilevskiy.
Claude Giroux had nine shots on goal.
Erik Cernak had seven hits.
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COLORADO 6 ST. LOUIS 3 (Colorado leads the best-of-seven series 3-1)
Nazem Kadri put aside all the racial taunts and death threats over the past two days and had the hat trick Monday to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a 6-3 win over the St. Louis Blues and give Colorado a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
It was a tremendous effort for Kadri who has five goals and 10 points in eight playoff games this season as he also assisted on Mikko Rantanen’s empty net goal. The former Leaf has come to the forefront this season with a career year in the regular season (87 points in just 71 games, smashing his career high of 61 points set in the 2016-17 season) and has continued his outstanding play in the playoffs.
Ville Husso got the start for St. Louis in place of the injured Jordan Binnington and was outstanding in the opening period as he stopped all 15 shots as Colorado dominated the Blues everywhere but the scoresheet.
The Blues led 1-0 on David Perron’s first of the game and eighth of the playoffs, establishing a career-high as he had seven goals in 2019 when the Blues won the Stanley Cup.
But the second period was different as Colorado scored early and often, finding the back of the net three times in 102 seconds early on. Erik Johnson’s seeing eye wrister from the point evened the score at 1 while Kadri scored his first of three with a shot that beat Husso on the short side. Devon Toews gave Colorado a two-goal lead with another shot from the point that beat a screened Husso.
Kadri made it 4-1 as he scored from the circle. The Blues had just killed off a two-man disadvantage (caused by both Pavel Buchnevich and Perron going after Kadri in the neutral zone) but they could not get back in the play before Kadri lit the lamp.
The Blues scored a pair late in the second period with Perron scoring his second of the game and then Buchnevich punched home a goal, his first of the playoffs to make it 4-3 after two.
Kadri scored his third of the game in the third and then Rantanen completed the scoring with his first.
Kuemper made 17 saves for the win as he is 5-1 with a 2.14 GAA and a .917 save percentage.
Husso made 31 saves and while he kept the Blues in the contest in the opening stanza, he had trouble in the final two periods. After an opening game 37-save shutout against Minnesota in the opening round of the playoffs, Husso has lost four straight games. The Blues will need him to play a lot better in Game 5 if they hope to extend the series.
Perron took a pair of minors.
Kadri was a plus-four.
Nazem Kadri – 3
David Perron – 2
Erik Johnson – 1
Devon Toews – 1
Pat Maroon – 1
Pavel Buchnevich - 1
Ondrej Palat - 1
Bowen Byram – 2
Shots on Goal
Claude Giroux – 9
Sam Bennett - 6
Radko Gudas – 9
Erik Cernak - 7
David Perron - 4