Montreal won this playoff game for its absent coach.
Kirk Muller and the rest of the Canadiens just had to dedicate the Game 2 victory to Claude Julien.
“To Claude, I’m sure you’re listening, this win’s for you,” Muller said.
Tomas Tatar and Jesperi Kotkaniemi each scored twice, Carey Price stopped 30 shots and the Canadiens rebounded without Julien to rout the Philadelphia Flyers 5-0 on Friday in Toronto and tie their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series at a game apiece.
“We have a job and he would expect that as well,” forward Max Domi said. “So we were just trying to stay focused here and get ready to go. And I think we did a great job of that.”
Julien was home in Montreal a day after a stent was placed in a coronary artery. The team said doctors expect a full recovery.
Julien was rushed to St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto overnight Wednesday with chest pain. He had surgery Thursday. Because Julien left the NHL bubble in Toronto, he will have to follow quarantine protocol if he wishes to re-enter it. Muller will serve as interim head coach for the rest of the series.
“Claude steers the ship for us and he guides what we do out there,” defenseman Ben Chiarot said. “We’ll just play as hard as we can for him.”
Game 3 is Sunday night.
The Canadiens roughed up Flyers goalie Carter Hart, who turned 22 on Thursday, and scored four goals through two periods to send him to the bench.
The Canadiens continued their sensational surge through Toronto hockey and bounced back fine after a 2-1 Game 1 loss.
Tatar needed only 1:02 into the game to score, and Kotkaniemi connected later in the period. Tatar scored again just 1:30 into the second period. Joel Armia knocked out Hart with the Canadiens’ fourth goal.
"I think we really played the right way from the get-go. We jumped on them right out of the gate," Tatar said.
Hart allowed four goals on 26 shots. He allowed just two goals on 59 shots in the round-robin series that helped the Flyers go 3-0 and clinch the top seed in the East. His .914 save percentage was tied for eighth in the regular season.
Islanders 5, Capitals 2 — Brock Nelson scored the go-ahead goal on a second-period breakaway 15 seconds after Alex Ovechkin tied it, and New York beat Washington to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference series in Toronto.
Barry Trotz’s Islanders played his trademark structured, suffocating style against the team he coached to the Stanley Cup in 2018 and was unwilling to give him a raise.
Tensions calmed between the teams after a bevy of penalties in Game 1, but there's no love lost between the Metropolitan Division rivals, especially since it became Trotz against former assistant-turned Capitals coach Todd Reirden.
The Capitals started fast, as Ovechkin scored 56 seconds in. It was his first point in five games since the NHL resumed.
Out to avenge Islanders captain Anders Lee's Game 1 hit that injured center Nicklas Backstrom, the Capitals came with the physicality in the first period. Tom Wilson was credited with eight of their 17 hits.
A lack of discipline hurt Washington early in the second when New York's Nick Leddy tied it on a power play. The Capitals penalty kill was 14-for-14 to that point.
The Islanders went up 2-1 after Scott Mayfield forced a turnover and fed Matt Martin in front. Ovechkin scored his second to tie it a minute and a half later, before another Capitals mistake wound up in their net.
Jakub Vrana coughed up the puck at the offensive blue line, springing Nelson for his breakaway goal the shift after Ovechkin tied it. Goaltender Braden Holtby was again hung out to dry by Washington teammates, and Vrana was benched for the final 13 minutes of the period.
It looked as if Ovechkin had his second career playoff hat trick when he got the puck with half an empty net on a power play in the third period. He hit the side of the net.
New York dominated on a shift late in the third, which ended with a goal by Cal Clutterbuck to make it 4-2. Lee sealed it with an empty-netter.
Avalanche 3, Coyotes 2 — Andre Burakovsky scored late in the third period, Philipp Grubauer stopped 30 shots and Colorado beat Arizona in Edmonton to take a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference quarterfinals series.
The Coyotes were far more aggressive after being tentative against Colorado's offensive firepower to in the opener.
The Avalanche still found ways to score early in the opening two periods on goals by Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Jost.
Arizona responded each time, tying it on a goal by Clayton Keller in the first and Michael Grabner in the second.
Burakovsky scored with 2:53 left in regulation when a shot by Nazem Kadri hit Arizona defenseman Jakob Chychrun’s shin pad and left goalie Darcy Kuemper out of position.
Game 3 in the best-of-seven series is Saturday in the Edmonton bubble.
Kuemper stopped 25 shots.
Canucks 4, Blues 3 — Bo Horvat scored on a breakaway at 5:55 of overtime to give Vancouver the victory over defending champion St. Louis and a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference series.
Horvat took a stretch pass from Quinn Hughes and chipped the puck through Jordan Binnington's legs.
Game 3 of the best-of seven series is Sunday.
St. Louis overcame a 3-1 deficit in the third period to tie it, with David Perron redirecting in the tying goal with eight seconds left.
With Binnington pulled for the extra attacker, Alex Pietrangelo shot from the point, and Perron redirected it past Jacob Markstrom. It was initially waved off as a high stick, but ruled a goal on review.
Horvat opened the scoring in the first with an end-to-end, short-handed rush. Wheeling and picking up speed in his own faceoff circle, Horvat hit high gear through the neutral zone, blew past Brayden Schenn, turned Jaden Schwartz inside out and fired a wrist shot low past Binnington's blocker.
Horvat also scored twice in the opener and has six goals in the postseason.
Elias Pettersson and Tanner Pearson also scored for Vancouver, and Markstrom made 34 stops. Ryan O’Reilly and Sammy Blais added goals for the Blues, and Binnington turned back 21 shots.