Three Stars: Sharks' Burns in beast mode; Neuvirth, Coyle shine
On the eighth night, the action continued.
With a slate chock full of Game 4s, the Flyers kicked off the action by edging the Capitals to stay alive, the Panthers evened things up with a win over the Islanders in Brooklyn, the Stars pushed the Wild to the brink with a 3–2 victory, and the Sharks rode their power play past the Kings to take a 3-1 series lead.
Here's who stood out to us on Wednesday:
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
So many men in teal answered the call tonight—Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Martin Jones, Patrick Marleau—but let's give the nod to Beast-mode Burnzie. The fashion-forward defender put on a show for the home crowd, opening the scoring with a one-timer from his knees and later assisting on Marleau's game winner. He attempted a team-high nine shots, landing five on a beleaguered Jonathan Quick, and was a force in the defensive zone. If Team Canada was watching, this might be the game that earns Burns a World Cup roster spot.
Michal Neuvirth, Philadelphia Flyers
It had been five years between playoff starts for Neuvirth, but he looked like he'd never been away. With the Flyers needing a win to stave off elimination, he delivered 31 saves to lead Philadelphia to a 2–1 win over the Capitals.
He was at his best during a 12-save third period, skating out to the bottom of the right circle to deny Andrei Burakovksy midway through the frame and then robbed Tom Wilson from in tight just two minutes later.
“The guys did such a good job in front of me,” Neuvirth said. “I was just finding my rhythm. From the second period I was feeling really good. I'm really happy with the effort tonight.”
Charlie Coyle, Minnesota Wild
Not often do we recognize a player from the losing squad at this time of year, but Coyle turned in a monster for the Wild. He was a constant presence around the Dallas net, finishing with four shots, and used his size and speed to cut through the Stars' defense at will. He also created the highlight of the night with a maximum effort goal that gave the Wild a 2–1 lead. Coyle stole the puck from Alex Goligoski at his own blue line and drove down the ice with the defender draped on his back before completing a give-and-go with Jason Zucker. The strength it took, along with the eye-hand coordination, was something to see.