Dates and TV Schedule for Entire 2021 NHL Semifinal Playoff Round
Chris O’Meara/Associated Press
After falling to the New York Islanders 2-1 on Sunday, the Tampa Bay Lightning came into Tuesday night’s game looking to even their semifinal series. They did exactly that, nothing a 4-2 victory and setting up a pivotal Game 3 on Thursday.
The Islanders-Lightning series is a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals series. Tampa Bay jumped out to a 2-0 series lead in that one, ultimately winning in six. Due to this year’s divisional realignment, however, the NHL will have no Conference Champions.
“There are going to be things we always will remember about this season, and one of them is that we never handed the [conference] trophies out,” NHL chief content officer Steve Mayer said, per ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski.
While New York is off to a better start this time around, it still isn’t thrilled with how Tuesday night’s loss unfolded. Islanders coach Barry Trotz criticized officials for missing too many Lightning players on the ice during a second-period goal.
“Obviously you guys know there was too many men on the ice there,” Trotz said, per Wyshynski. “They had seven guys. Disappointed in that. But we tried to battle through.”
Trotz was correct that the officials missed the call, and it’s fair to assume that officiating will be heavily scrutinized in Game 3.
Tampa and New York will regroup and prepare for Thursday’s contest. The Montreal Canadiens and Vegas Golden Knights will play the second game of their series on Wednesday. Here’s a look at the remaining semifinals schedule.
2021 NHL Semifinal Round Schedule
No. 2 Vegas Golden Knights vs. No. 4 Montreal Canadiens
Game 2: Wednesday, June 16 at 9 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 3: Friday, June 18 at 8 p.m. ET, USA Network
Game 4: Sunday, June 20 at 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 5 (if necessary): Tuesday, June 22 at 9 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 6 (if necessary): Thursday, June 24 at 8 p.m. ET, USA Network
Game 7 (if necessary): Saturday, June 26 at 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
No. 3 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. No. 4 New York Islanders
Game 3: Thursday, June 17 at 8 p.m. ET, USA Network
Game 4: Saturday, June 19 at 8 p.m. ET, USA Network
Game 5 (if necessary): Monday, June 21 at 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 6 (if necessary): Wednesday, June 23 at 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Game 7 (if necessary): Friday, June 25 at 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
John Locher/Associated Press
The Lightning are the defending Stanley Cup champions, but they’re not simply going to waltz into the final round. Sunday’s loss proved that they’re fairly evenly matched with the Islanders, and if Tuesday’s blown call wasn’t missed, Game 2 might have had a completely different dynamic.
Regardless of how things unfolded, the series is tied, and New York anticipated a bounce-back game from Tampa on Tuesday.
“We knew they were going to come with a good response,” Islanders center Brock Nelson said, per Larry Brooks of the New York Post.
The Montreal Canadiens will look to respond after falling 4-1 to Vegas on Monday. Evening the series won’t be easy, though, and the Golden Knights are overwhelming 1-10 favorites to advance, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
While Vegas may indeed be the better overall squad, this is playoff hockey, and anything can happen from game to game.
“It’s exciting,” Montreal goalie Carey Price said, per Mike Zeisberger of NHL.com. “This time of year, obviously, is the most fun time to play, it’s the most challenging, it’s the most difficult mentally. That’s what makes it so exciting.”
The Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup 23 times but haven’t been to the finals since the 1992-93 season. Vegas, meanwhile, went to the Stanley Cup Finals in its inaugural season of 2017-18—but hasn’t been back since.
The Lightning are the defending champs, while the Islanders last appeared in the Finals in 1994. The odds to win the Stanley Cup Finals—per DraftKings Sportsbook—are as follows
Tampa Bay +200
New York _650
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