Last night's opening of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs had everything: shutouts, unlikely heroes, OT games, and a fan base being milked by their team like we've never seen before... 3 games tonight including the Leafs and Capitals.
Well, if you were a fan of the Canadian teams playing last night, it wasn't exactly a great start to the playoffs for you. The road teams won 4 of 5 last night, including a pair of OT thrillers in Minnesota and Edmonton, and whether your team won or not, it was a pretty decent start to the 2017 Playoffs. The remaining 3 series start tonight, including the Toronto Maple Leafs taking on the Washington Capitals, and we'll preview those after a look at what went down last night:
RANGERS 2 CANADIENS 0 (Rangers lead 1-0)
On the strength of goals from Tanner Glass and Michael Grabner, the
Vancouver Canucks New York Rangers silenced the raucous crowd in the Bell Centre last night, especially through the efforts of Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped 31 shots, including 16 in the first period alone en route to a 2-0 Game 1 victory. While it's early to panic in Montreal, familiar ghosts threaten as once again, this team finds itself struggling to score goals against the Rangers in the post-season. I just want to post this video because someday people will try to deny that Tanner Glass ever scored a playoff goal. Yeah, I hear you sighing heavily...
While we expected solid goaltending at both ends of the ice, what we weren't counting on was the volume of hits we saw between these teams last night, combining for 98 hits, the Habs leading that stat 53-45.
BRUINS 2 SENATORS 1 (Bruins lead 1-0)
While it wasn't a huge lead, the Senators seemed pretty confident heading into the 3rd, up 1-0 and having held the Bruins shotless in the 2nd frame, leading to this tweet from the Sens twitter account:
The Bruins failed to record a shot on goal in the second period.— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) April 13, 2017
Can someone in the advanced stat community tell us if that is good?
You would think that being the fatalistic types athletes are, someone would have stopped them from tweeting this, because of course the Bruins came back, tying it on a goal from 1940's mobster Frank Vatrano, and the dagger from who else: Brad Marchand.
PENGUINS 3 BLUE JACKETS 1 (Penguins lead 1-0)
No Matt Murray? No problem. Goals from Bryan Rust, Stanley Cup Winner Phil Kessel and Nick Bonino (ouch...) led the way, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 31 of 32 Columbus shots to be the only home team to notch a win last night. After the 1st period, it looked like the Pens might be in some trouble, being outshot 16-3, and they can thank Fleury for giving them the opportunity to win as they returned serve in the 2nd, outshooting Columbus 16-4 and scoring 3 times. Evgeni Malkin notched 2 assists including one on Kessel's PP goal.
BLUES 2 WILD 1 OT (Blues lead 1-0)
One of the big question marks for the Blues heading into this one was could Jake Allen match up against Devan Dubnyk? Allen answered his critics in a huge way last night, making 51 saves, his only blemish coming on a Zack Parise goal with less than 30 seconds remaining to send it to OT. Joel Edmundson was the hero for St Louis in the extra frame, firing one past Dubnyk to give the Blues the victory.
SHARKS 3 OILERS 2 OT (Sharks lead 1-0)
The crowd was fired up for the return of playoff hockey in Edmonton after a decade long drought, and goals by Oscar Klefbom and Milan Lucic in the 1st had them going wild. And while that high-energy start, punctuated by a ton of big hits was entirely predictable, so was the let down. San Jose did some serious rope-a-dope last night, riding out the storm in the first and slowly taking the game over, forcing the Oilers out of their comfort zone. A penalty late in the 1st by Drake Caggiula came back to bite them as Joel Ward scored on the PP early in the 2nd.
The Sharks continued to dominate the play, killing off penalties and doing a good job of handling Connor McDavid's efforts to try and swing the momentum. Paul Martin tied it up at 5:22 of the 3rd and it didn't take long in OT for some heroics from Melker Karlsson.
Such a nice pass from Patrick Marleau there. Also, this guy...
I wonder if he got this mad about the great idea that the Oilers had. They introduced a new ticket for this game, allowing fans access to the arena concourse, with no access to view the ice other than on tv screens for just $80. So, a full house, add in over a thousand more and the result? LONG lines for concessions and bathrooms. Seriously, why not just do a viewing party outside instead of turning it into a massive cash grab? It will be interesting to see if they continue this much further, but 20+ minutes for a bathroom line is pretty crazy.
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