NHL Three Stars: Predators, Canucks live to play another game

No. 1 Star: Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning looked like they were headed straight for a 3-1 series deficit when their offense finally kicked in. Johnson got the rally going with 5:26 to go, and Ondrej Palat scored the tying goal just 1:17 later. Having played a mere 2:25 in OT, Johnson was the hero sending the winner past Petr Mrazek. The series shifts back to Tampa tied 2-2. 

No. 2 Star: Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators

No nomination for the Calder? No problem. Forsberg scored goals when the Predators needed them the most – in an elimination game. The rookie forward picked up a hat-trick in Nashville’s 5-2 win over the Blackhawks. The Preds will be playing for their playoff lives again on Saturday in Chicago.

No. 3 Star: Ryan Miller, Vancouver Canucks

Miller was given the honor of saving the Canucks (Canadian) bacon as they went into an elimination game against the Calgary Flames. Playing on home-turf, the goalie made 20 saves in the 2-1 win. It doesn’t seem like much, but the Flames game plan was pretty clear – get Miller moving side-to-side to test that bad knee. He held up and the Canucks are headed to Calgary for Game 5.

Honorable Mention: Gustav Nyquist set up his own goal by getting the puck to the offensive zone. Justin Abdelkader grabbed the puck and fired a pass over to Henrik Zetterberg who in turn sent the puck to Nyquist for the goal. Too beautiful of a play to put into words:

… Dennis Wideman and T.J. Brodie played over 27-minutes on the ice against Vancouver … Capitals youngster Evgeny Kuznetsov notched his first and second ever playoff goals in Washington’s 5-2 victory against the Islanders. With the win, the Caps pull ahead in the series 3-2. The Isles could find themselves playing their last game at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday … Unfortunately for other playoff teams, it appears that Patrick Kane is back to his inhuman hockey self. Check out this tremendous pass to Kris Versteeg:

Not to be out done, James Neal had some showing off to do on his own:

Did You Know? Forsberg’s hatty is the first in Predators playoff history.

Dishonorable Mention: Not the best moment for Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop as he bats the puck off the cross bar and into his own net. Luckily his team would bail him out later. Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm were on the ice for all Tampa Bay goals … Lubomir Visnovsky did not play in Game 5 after a vicious check from Tom Wilson in Game 4. After giving up 5 goals, Jaroslav Halak was pulled in favor of Michael Neuvirth for the final 11-minutes of the game … Andrew Shaw received a double minor for roughing Paul Gaustad and an unsuspecting Seth Jones, plus a game misconduct. Given the way discipline is being handled right now, it’s highly unlikely anything will come of it.