The Winnipeg Jets and Colorado Avalanche both lost 5-1 Sunday night, and their respective opponents, the Montreal Canadiens and Vegas Golden Knights, are showing all of the momentum in their second-round series.
“Once they get one chance, they swarm with two or three other chances,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said of the Golden Knights, who have won two in a row to tie the series at two games.
The Central Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes, meanwhile, are facing elimination when they play at home against the third-ranked and defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.
Where the three teams stand going into their next games:
Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele said he had faith that he would be able to play another playoff game after he received a four-game suspension for a Game 1 hit on Montreal’s Jake Evans.
But the Jets, who beat the high-powered Edmonton Oilers in four games in the first round, are in danger of being swept themselves during Monday night’s Game 4 at Montreal.
The Jets (0-3) are victims of a red-hot Canadiens team that has won six in a row since trailing the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 and has never trailed in any of those games. Goalie Carey Price has allowed four goals on 87 shots (.954 save percentage) against the Jets.
But the lack of Scheifele, their regular-season leading scorer, also has hurt. Trade acquisition Pierre-Luc Dubois didn’t work out on the top line and Paul Stastny was tried there in Game 3 during his return from an injury. The Jets’ only goal in the last two games came from the third line.
The Jets don’t have a power-play goal in the series and Montreal has scored three short-handed goals.
Only four NHL teams have overcome a 3-0 series deficit.
“You can’t reinvent the wheel,” Jets captain Blake Wheeler told reporters after Game 3. “You can’t start over and try to do something completely different. I think there’s some things in our game that we really like, some things we can clean up certainly, and hopefully we get a bounce to go our way.”
The home team has held serve in this series, and the Avalanche (2-2) will be at home on Tuesday night.
But the Golden Knights have outplayed Colorado the last three games and the Avalanche’s 7-1 win in Game 1 might have been an outlier because Vezina Trophy finalist Marc-Andre Fleury was being rested.
The Avalanche took a quick lead Sunday night, but gave up the tying goal on a bad turnover.
Colorado is missing suspended second-line center Nazem Kadri, and the Golden Knights are getting production from their top lines, including a Jonathan Marchessault hat trick in Game 4.
Meanwhile, the Nathan MacKinnon line, after a big performance in Game 1, has been slowed down. MacKinnon has one assist in the past three games.
“They’re frustrated, for sure,” Bednar said. “It’s tight checking, especially for those guys.”
Bednar called out his team’s effort after a Game 3 loss, but didn’t do that after Game 4. He says the Avalanche have a good chance to prevail with two of the next three at home.
“We couldn’t seem to find a rhythm tonight, but it wasn’t because of lack of work or effort,” he said.
The series has been tight, and the Hurricanes held two leads in Game 4 before falling 6-4 on Saturday.
The big difference is the Hurricanes have been short-handed 14 times in the series and have given up six power-play goals, including three in Game 4.
“Can’t take six penalties,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said after that game.
Monday’s playoff games
N.Y. Islanders at Boston, 6:30, NBCSN. Series tied 2-2
Winnipeg at Montreal, 8, NHL Network. Canadiens lead 3-0