Winners and losers from a crazy night of high-stakes playoff hockey
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Are you not entertained?

On Monday, the final multi-game night of the NHL season, the hockey world was gifted a pair of captivating Game 6s - the Boston Bruins' series-clinching 3-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Colorado Avalanche's 4-3 overtime victory over the San Jose Sharks to force Game 7.

Based on the final scores, those teams are Monday's winners and losers. At a personal level, though, who won and lost? Let's take a look.

Winner: David Backes

Backes is 36 years old. He'll make $6 million per season through 2020-21.

Usually, this is a problem for the Bruins. Despite being paid like a first-liner, Backes is a non-factor on most nights. The big winger is typically unable to keep up with the league's abundance of speed and skill, or he's dealing with an injury, or both.

But none of that mattered Monday, because Backes - who cracked coach Bruce Cassidy's lineup for only the third time in six games against Columbus - scored Boston's third goal in front of 19,219 rivals fans at Nationwide Arena. And while the veteran skated for fewer than nine minutes in the contest, he managed to make his presence felt on virtually every shift.

Everybody loves a redemption story - in this case, a previously solid player finding solid footing again. Even if it's just for one night.

Winner AND loser: Charlie McAvoy

McAvoy delivered a high hit on Jackets forward Josh Anderson at the end of the second period, but was sentenced to just two minutes in the box for an illegal check to the head. The on-ice officials chose to not hand out a match penalty and didn’t have the authority to issue a five-minute major or a game misconduct, according to Rule 48 guidelines.

Kirk Irwin / Getty Images

Columbus didn't score on the ensuing power play, and Boston advanced to the third round. So, for the moment, McAvoy's a winner.

In a day or two, though? He'll probably be on the losing end of the incident.

The NHL's Department of Player Safety has already set up a hearing with McAvoy to discuss the hit, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie. Seeing as the main point of contact was Anderson's head, the Bruins defenseman could very well be suspended for Game 1 (and perhaps beyond) against the Carolina Hurricanes.

(Speaking of Bruins stars behaving badly, what was that Marshawn Lynch impression from Brad Marchand all about?)

Winner: Jarmo Kekalainen

OK, this one requires a nuanced explanation.

Kekalainen is obviously unhappy with Monday’s result. The Blue Jackets GM wanted nothing less than a Stanley Cup, and his team is no longer in contention. He's not a winner in that sense.

However, he's absolutely a winner given the team's unlikely trip to Game 6 of the second round. The final contest will be a mere footnote in the grand scheme of things.

Jamie Sabau / Getty Images

After all, Kekalainen essentially put his job on the line by holding onto Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky - pending free agents who'd stated their intentions to test the market this coming summer - and acquiring assets ahead of the trade deadline.

Columbus wasn't guaranteed a playoff spot then, and didn’t punch its postseason ticket until the second-last day of the regular season. The Jackets could have easily missed it altogether, but instead they swept juggernaut Tampa Bay to mark the franchise's first-ever series win before pushing Boston to six games.

The trades for Ryan Dzingel, Adam McQuaid, and Keith Kinkaid didn’t work out, but the Matt Duchene swap certainly paid off. You can live with the whiffs when Duchene puts up 10 points in 10 postseason games.

Kekalainen energized the Central Ohio market with five playoff home dates. Even in defeat, he's been vindicated and - quite ironically, given the thin ice he stood on a few months ago - might be due for a promotion.

Loser: Sharks' 3rd line

San Jose's forward line of veteran Joe Thornton between Marcus Sorensen and Kevin Labanc had performed admirably this postseason, putting up a combined 17 points in 12 games coming into Game 6.

The trio's been coach Pete DeBoer's under-the-radar weapon for a few months and offers the bench boss another look on offense. Despite being 39 years old, Thornton drives a sneakily efficient unit.

Unfortunately for San Jose, Game 6 produced a whole lot of nothing for the line. In 10 minutes of five-on-five play, the group scored no goals and allowed one. Meanwhile, Labanc recorded the lone shot among the three skaters. It was arguably their worst showing of the playoffs.

That's what you call getting neutralized by the opposition.

Winner: J.T. Compher

Aside from Tuukka Rask's fine work in the Bruins' crease, Compher was the MVP of Monday's doubleheader. Quite simply, the dude came to play.

Michael Martin / Getty Images

In 15 minutes of ice time, the 2013 second-rounder exploded, doubling his playoff point total overnight. Compher set up Tyson Jost for the opening goal and then sniped the Avalanche's second and third tallies. It was his second career three-point game. What's more, the right-handed center paced the club in five-on-five shot attempts differential, at a sleek 56 percent.

Coach Jared Bednar needs Compher and the rest of the Avalanche's bottom-nine forward group to chip in here and there. As always, Nathan MacKinnon was buzzing in Game 6, but his line can't carry the team every step of the way. The puck won't always go in for Colorado's big guns.

Wednesday's Game 7 is going to be an outright battle. The Avs, a young outfit, will need their secondary scorers to contribute. Compher included.

Loser: NHL officiating

It's going to happen ... isn't it?

The Stanley Cup Final is going to be decided on a dramatic call made by either the on-ice officials or the NHL's Situation Room.

That's a guess, of course. Yet, at this point, it feels like a perfectly fair prediction.

There have been reviews galore through nearly two rounds (and hey, better to get the call right slowly than wrong quickly, right?), which seem to be turning off a portion of the league's fan base.

Plus, we had the Cody-Eakin-on-Joe-Pavelski blunder in Game 7 of the Vegas-San Jose first-round series, and now the McAvoy-on-Anderson miscall in Game 6 of the Boston-Columbus matchup.

While the refs are human and make mistakes, the outside world is pretty cruel. And to be honest, can you blame it?

Golden Knights fans don't care that the NHL apologized for giving Eakin a five-minute major. Their team is out.

Jackets fans don't care that McAvoy might get suspended. Their team is out.

What will happen next? Hopefully nothing. Then again, based on how things are trending, don't bet on it.

John Matisz is theScore's national hockey writer.

Winners and losers from a crazy night of high-stakes playoff hockey
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