Five things to know about the NHL playoffs

The Toronto Maple Leafs fell behind in their first-round series again without star winger William Nylander on Wednesday, and Thursday's schedule presents two teams in need of a win.

Here are five things to know heading into Thursday’s post-season action:


Nylander missed a third straight game to open Toronto's first-round series with the Boston Bruins on Wednesday as he continues to work his way back from an undisclosed injury.

The 27-year-old took part in line rushes at Wednesday's morning skate after missing the first two contests of the series, but stayed out late on the ice at Scotiabank Arena with the projected scratches.

Toronto lost 4-2 to Boston on Wednesday night, falling behind 2-1 in the series. Whether Nylander will be available for Game 4 is unknown. However, Game 4 won't take place until Saturday night, buying Nylander additional rest time for a possible return.


Evan Bouchard has 30 points in 30 career post-season games, etching his name in a group of the best offensive starts by a defenceman in NHL history.

The 24-year-old Oilers blueliner didn't record a point in Edmonton's 5-4 overtime loss to Los Angeles Wednesday night, which evened the series at 1-1.

Despite that, only five defenceman have more points through their first 30 playoff games than Bouchard: Bobby Orr (36), Brian Leetch (36), Denis Potvin (33), Al MacInnis (31) and Adam Fox (31).


The Tampa Bay Lightning found themselves on the wrong end of things last season, losing in six games to the Leafs after an emphatic Game 1 victory. It was just two years ago that the Lightning went to their third consecutive Stanley Cup final, thanks to escaping a 2-0 Eastern Conference final deficit against the New York Rangers.

Tampa has come close but has not been able to defeat Florida. The Panthers have eked out consecutive 3-2 wins, the latter in overtime on Tuesday, to take a 2-0 series lead.

With Game 3 on Thursday in Tampa, the Lightning aim to avoid falling too far behind.


The New York Islanders face a tall task in stopping Carolina from taking a commanding 3-0 series lead on Thursday.

The Hurricanes have outscored the Islanders 8-4 in back-to-back wins on home ice.

Whether New York could at least make it a series will be something to watch.


The Vegas Golden Knights didn't have an ideal regular season, finishing eighth in the Western Conference. But with much of the team healthy, Vegas has shown why it is the defending Stanley Cup champion.

The Golden Knights ruined top-seeded Dallas' party, taking a 2-0 series lead as the series goes to Las Vegas for Games 3 and 4.

With a couple days between Wednesday's 3-1 win and Game 3 on Saturday, the Golden Knights may end the week on the verge of punching its ticket to the second round.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 25, 2024.

The Canadian Press