According to a report from NHL insider John Shannon, round 3 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will not begin until this Sunday with the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders scheduled for Sunday and the Montreal Canadiens and Vegas Golden Knights or Colorado Avalanche scheduled for Monday.
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I've got to say that if that's really the way that things shake down, it'll be a real disappointment. I mean, the sun is out, people are looking to get together once again and there's no game on Saturday night. What a let down. The NHL could hit us with some appointment viewing on Saturday night but instead they'll take the night off because... well, frankly I don't know why.
I understand that it's not realistic for the Golden Knights or the Avalanche to begin round 3 on Saturday, especially since the two teams are scheduled to play their Game 7 on Saturday night if the Avs can extend the series with a win this evening. But to me there's no good reason for the Lightning/Islanders series to be delayed. Drop the puck already and give me something to do with my Saturday night! As it stands I'll be cheering for the Knights to win this evening so that I can watch a Game 7 on Saturday night. It's also worth noting that tomorrow evening there are no games on the NHL schedule for the first time in weeks.
Knowing the NHL though, the Lightning and the Isles will play a Sunday afternoon game that everyone misses because they're out actually enjoying their life on the weekend. And then we get a Monday night game between the Habs and Knights/Avs. I know that sometimes these things are out of the NHL's hands, but a Friday/Saturday start to round 3 is so much more compelling than a Sunday/Monday start.
Like Shannon states though, this is all subject to change and there are likely difficult travel logistics for the Canadiens in particular given that they'll be travelling outside of Canada for the first time in over a calendar year. At least the Canadian and American governments have come together to waive quarantining rules for the team once they cross the border.