After having their game rescheduled to Wednesday due to Columbus Blue Jackets and the Tampa Bay Lightning hogging the ice and going into a fifth overtime on Tuesday, the Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins decided it was their turn to not give up the ice. Boston finally got the 4-3 win in the second overtime period thanks to a fantastic team goal finished by Patrice Bergeron, but Carolina pushed the Bruins all the way in game one of the series. There was also some controversy surrounding the Bruins’ second goal which Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour challenged on the basis of a hand pass in the buildup. The referees upheld the goal determining that goaltender Petr Mrazek controlled the puck prior to the goal. Problem is, if Mrazek had control of the puck why was the play not called dead before it was bundled out of his mitt by a number of Boston sticks!?! This sent Carolina on a forced penalty kill due to losing the challenge which they scored on when Brock McGinn intercepted a pass and outsmarted Tuukka Rask in the Boston net. Despite this and an audacious attempt at a lacrosse style goal from Andrei Svechnikov, the Hurricanes couldn’t get that all-important winning goal before Boston’s top line of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron combined with 1:13 played in 2OT to take the 1-0 series lead. Game two is today at 8 pm ET.
The Washington Capitals and New York Islanders were slightly delayed due to the overtime in the previous game in the Toronto bubble and it seemed to affect both teams as they registered only 9 shots on goal between them during the first period. Luckily the second period was much more entertaining as TJ Oshie scored two Power-Play goals and also cleared a chance off the line to keep his team’s two-goal advantage. It wasn’t to be though as Jordan Eberle finally beat Brayden Holtby with just over a minute left in period two. From there on it was all New York and the pressure put on during the third period paid off with three more goals to take game one of the series 4-2. Brayden Holtby will want New York’s third goal back having tried to play the puck during a Washington power-play only to send it right to Brock Nelson who squared for Josh Bailey to give the Islanders their first lead of the game. Alex Ovechkin also continued to struggle despite both Washington goals coming on power-plays and the Russian sniper has yet to register a point since the return to play. Game two will be Friday at 8 pm ET.
It took the Colorado Avalanche over 53 minutes to break down Darcy Kuemper in the Arizona net but once they did it came down heavy on the Coyotes goaltender as they registered three goals in one minute twenty-three seconds. Nazem Kadri got the first with 13:05 gone in the third period while ten seconds later JT Compher got a second. Mikko Rantanen finished the scoring with 14:28 gone in the third to make the scoreline reflect the game as the Avalanche dominated the Coyotes without being able to beat Kuemper. Speaking during the first intermission Kadri expressed a desire to get more traffic to the net and put pressure on the big goaltender which is exactly how goals one and two came about. Kadri’s goal came on the Avalanche’s second power-play of the day as Cale Makar’s shot was rebounded to the former Toronto Maple Leaf to bundle home. Compher’s goal ten seconds later to double the lead came again from a rebound as Eric Johnson’s shot was stopped by Kuemper but rebounded in front of his net and ultimately found JT who fired home. Mikko’s third goal was the icing on the cake for the Av’s who restricted the Coyotes to 14 total shots. Game two will be Friday at 2 pm ET.
Philadelphia got their expected win over the Montreal Canadiens but it was anything but easy as the Flyers found out first hand just what their state rivals the Pittsburgh Penguins faced and lost to in the Qualifiers. After finishing first in the Eastern Conference Round Robin Tournament the Philadelphia Flyers were ‘rewarded’ with the so-called ‘weakest’ team left, which happened to be the Canadiens. Unfortunately for the Flyers the old saying “there are no easy games” couldn’t be more true, especially when you are facing Carey Price. If you don’t believe me just have a look at this save:
The Flyers did manage to get past the goaltender twice which was all they needed as Jakub Voracek deflected an Ivan Provorov shot past him in the first period on a Power-Play to register Philadelphia’s first man-advantage goal since the restart after going 0 for 11 during the Round Robin. Joel Farabee got the second after Price could only rebound the original effort into his path and the young winger slotted home, 16 seconds after Shea Weber had tied the game up for the Canadiens on a power-play. Game two will be Friday at 3 pm ET.
In the last game of the day, the St Louis Blues continue to struggle after failing to win any of their round-robin games, losing to the Canucks 5-2 in game one of the series. They twice came from behind to give themselves a chance going into the third period but when your goaltender is struggling with a .773 SV% there’s only so much you can do and the Vancouver Canucks took control of the game with three goals in the final period. Canucks Captain Bo Horvat led the way with two goals while Troy Stecher was the story of the game scoring his first-ever NHL playoff goal. Stecher lost his dad on Father’s Day due to complications with diabetes and after scoring what would become the game-winning goal could be seen pointing to the sky in what could only be in memory of his dad. Game two will be Friday at 6:30 pm ET.