NHL Playoff Recaps: Leafs stay alive, and Oilers even up series

NHL Playoff Recaps:  May 10, 2023

The Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule for Wednesday featured the first elimination game of round two.

Toronto staved off elimination on the clutch goaltending of rookie Joseph Woll and avoided a sweep. Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers evened their series up with a big offensive performance.

NHL Playoff Recaps: Leafs still alive

Rookie goalie Joseph Woll, making his career first playoff start, stopped 24 shots as the Toronto Maple Leafs stayed alive in their Eastern Conference semifinal series with a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night in Sunrise, Fla.

Eighth-seeded Florida, which had its franchise-record, six-game playoff winning streak snapped, leads the series 3-1. Game 5 is set for Friday in Toronto.

William Nylander and Mitch Marner scored for Toronto. Both players entered Wednesday’s game with no goals in the series. In the regular season, they combined to score 70 goals.

Woll replaced No. 1 starter Ilya Samsonov, who was injured in Game 3. Woll has 11 career regular-season starts, going 9-2 with a 2.38 goals-against average.

Toronto — with some luck — opened the scoring with 3:29 expired in the second period. Toronto’s Michael Bunting dumped the puck in, but it hit the knee of an official and bounced right in front of the net, where Nylander lifted a backhander over Bobrovsky. Nylander’s shot hit the crossbar and caromed in off the goaltender’s back.

But the Panthers, who are one win away from advancing to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1996, could not get enough offense. Only Sam Reinhart scored for Florida.

Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 23 saves.

NHL Playoff Recaps: Oilers even it up

May 10, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers celebrate a goal scored by forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) during the first period against the Vegas Golden Knights in game four of the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Bjugstad, Evan Bouchard and Mattias Ekholm scored first-period goals and the host Edmonton Oilers claimed a 4-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday to even their Western Conference semifinal series at two wins apiece.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and an assist, Connor McDavid collected two assists and goaltender Stuart Skinner made 25 saves for the Oilers.

Nicolas Roy had the lone goal for the Golden Knights. Adin Hill, who took over in the net in place of injured Laurent Brossoit, stopped 29 shots in his first career playoff start.

With the game well out of reach in the final minutes, the bad blood evident throughout this series came to the forefront. The animosity intensified after Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo delivered a two-handed slash on Leon Draisaitl’s hand, for which he was given a major penalty and game misconduct.

Seconds later, Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse fought Nicolas Hague. Nurse was assessed an instigator penalty, which could mean a suspension.

Oilers forward Mattias Janmark returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games due to an injury sustained in the series opener.

Game 5 in the best-of-seven series will be played Friday in Las Vegas.

–Field Level Media