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2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 5/18: Start times, how to watch & open thread

North Division Regular Season

1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET — Calgary Flames at Vancouver Canucks

It’s the final series of the regular season, as the Calgary Flames visit the Vancouver Canucks, to close out on a back-to-back. Just one more win, or two points across both games, will bump the Canucks ahead of the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings in the standings.

When these teams faced off on Sunday, each team scored five goals in regulation. The Flames went up 5-1, when consecutive power play goals allowed the Canucks to fight back. Elias Lindholm netted the overtime winner for the Flames.

East Division First Round

4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET — New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins
Game 2, New York leads 1-0

Kicking off the NBCSN slate is Game 2 between the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins. The Islanders are riding rookie goaltender Ilya Sorokin, who became just the second-ever rookie goaltender in Islanders history to win his debut playoff game. Just four rookie goaltenders in Islanders history have posted a playoff win. Sorokin also matched the team record for most saves in a playoff game with 39 saves on 42 shots.

Kyle Palmieri scored the overtime winner for the Islanders.

Central Division First Round

5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET — Tampa Bay Lightning at Florida Panthers
Game 2, Tampa Bay leads 1-0

Once again, NBC is passing on the more interesting series, as Game 1 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers was an exciting, high-scoring affair. The teams traded goals, but a two-goal night for both Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point tipped the Bolts over the edge in for a 5-4 win.

This series is shaping up to be a real fight to stay in the postseason, with the reigning Cup Champions and the best team the Panthers have seen in several seasons.

West Division First Round

7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET — Minnesota Wild at Vegas Golden Knights
Game 2, Minnesota leads 1-0

If you’re looking for a playoff team from the West Division, you could do worse than becoming a temporary Minnesota Wild fan. The displaced Wild are living their best lives in the West Division, taking Game 1 from the team that just barely missed out on the President’s Trophy. It wasn’t easy — neither team was able to score in regulation, but Joel Eriksson Ek eked out an overtime winner.

Goaltending is going to come up huge in this series. Cam Talbot made 42 stops for the Wild, while Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves on 30 shots.