NEW YORK – Once again the competition was in the west as the eastern conference series continued to demonstrate a two-tiered level. The Ottawa-Montreal match was the closest of the eastern conference games thus far. As for the Capitals-Rangers it was a disappointment yet again for Rangers fans as the offense was non-existent and the goaltending was suspect in critical moments.
In Montreal, the conversation is about Lars Eller and the hit he received resulting in broken bones and teeth and facial lacerations. The Senators await suspension decisions form the league.
In Washington, the Caps continued their hot streak and New York continued their almost non-committal approach to hockey and the basic tenets of offense and playoff goaltending.
OTTAWA 4, MONTREAL 2; OTT leads series 1-0 The Senators scored three unanswered goals in the third period and Craig Anderson established a franchise record for most saves in a regulation-time playoff win (48).
WASHINGTON 3, NY RANGERS 1; WSH leads series 1-0 Braden Holtby made 35 saves and the Capitals netted a trio of goals in the second period to take an early series lead.
ST. LOUIS 2, LOS ANGELES 1; STL leads series 2-0 Barret Jackman scored the game-winning goal with 50.4 seconds remaining in regulation and Brian Elliott allowed only one goal for the fifth straight contest and eighth time in his last nine starts.
DETROIT 5, ANAHEIM 4 (OT); series tied 1-1 After blowing a three-goal lead in the third period, rookie Gustav Nyquist scored his first career playoff goal 1:21 into overtime to help the Red Wings even the series.
DOWN, BUT NOT OUT
The Senators, Blues and Capitals all overcame deficits to pick up wins Thursday.
Ottawa was down 2-1 heading into the third period, but scored three straight goals to take a 1-0 series lead. The Senators were 3-10-1 when trailing in that situation during the regular season, while the Canadiens were 17-2-2 when leading after 40 minutes.
St. Louis was behind 1-0 at the start of the third period, but scored twice in the final frame to claim Game 2. The Blues were 5-13-1 when trailing after two periods during the regular season, while the Kings were 19-1-2 when ahead going into the third.
Washington trailed 1-0 after the first period, but scored the game’s final three goals to pick up a series-opening victory. The Capitals were 9-9-2 when behind after 20 minutes during the regular season, while the Rangers were 13-0-1 when leading after one – their .929 winning percentage in that situation ranked second in the League.
Despite losing a tooth from a shot off his helmet, Ottawa’s Craig Anderson stopped 48 of the 50 shots he faced to lead the Senators to a 4-2 win. Anderson is the fourth goaltender in the last 30 years to win a non-overtime playoff game while facing 50 or more shots on goal. The others to do that were Winnipeg’s Nikolai Khabibulin in 1996 (52 shots in a 3-1 win at Detroit), Montreal’s Jaroslav Halak in 2010 (54 shots in a 4-1 win vs. Washington) and Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick in 2011 (52 shots in a 3-1 win at San Jose). (Elias Sports Bureau)
SCORING WHEN IT COUNTS
St. Louis defenseman Barret Jackman is the second player in Blues history to score a go-ahead goal in the final minute of the third period in a playoff game. The only other was Gino Cavallini, who scored at 19:51 of the third period to lead St. Louis to a 5-4 victory in Game 3 of its second-round series against Chicago in 1990. (Elias Sports Bureau)
Washington forward Alex Ovechkin scored his 31st career playoff goal to pass Peter Bondra for sole possession of first place on the Capitals’ all-time postseason scoring list. Ovechkin’s 60 playoff points are tied for second on Washington’s all-time list with Mike Ridley. The 27-year-old Moscow native has 24 goals in his last 24 games dating to March 14.
Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson, who missed only 10 weeks of action after suffering a lacerated Achilles tendon, scored the game-opening goal, assisted on the equalizer and had a +3 rating in the Senators’ Game 1 victory. The 22-year-old Landsbro, Sweden, native has 1-5—6 and a +5 rating in four games since returning from injury April 25.
The Kings fell to 0-2 on the road in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Los Angeles went 10-1 on the road in last year’s postseason, setting NHL playoff records for the longest road winning streak in one postseason (10 games) and over multiple seasons (12, dating to 2011).
ELIAS SAYS . . .
Detroit forward Gustav Nyquist is the third rookie in Red Wings history – and the first in 64 years – to score his first playoff goal in overtime. The other two were Max McNab against the Montreal Canadiens in 1949 and Mud Bruneteau against the Montreal Maroons in 1936.
Ryan Getzlaf, Kyle Palmieri and Bobby Ryan scored in the third period to help Anaheim erase a three-goal deficit . . . Ottawa defenseman Marc Methot ’s first career playoff goal held up as the game-winner . . . Montreal forward Rene Bourque roofed a backhander to even the score . . . The Canadiens set a franchise record with 27 shots on goal during the second period . . . Detroit forward Justin Abdelkader scored his first playoff goal since April 16, 2010, snapping a 27-game drought . . . Pittsburgh forward Pascal Dupuis was mic’d up for his two-goal performance in Wednesday’s Game 1 victory over the Islanders . . . The Department of Player Safety announced that Boston defenseman Andrew Ference has been suspended for one game for an illegal check to the head of Toronto forward Mikhail Grabovski . . . Ottawa forward Eric Gryba will have a hearing today with the Department of Player Safety for his hit on Montreal forward Lars Eller.
SNEAK PEEK AT FRIDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern NY Islanders @ Pittsburgh, Game 2, PIT leads 1-0, 7:00 p.m., NBCSN, TSN, MSG Plus, ROOT Ottawa @ Montreal, Game 2, OTT leads 1-0, 7:00 p.m., CNBC, CBC, RDS Minnesota @ Chicago, Game 2, CHI leads 1-0, 9:30 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, RDS2, FS-N, CSN-CH San Jose @ Vancouver, Game 2, SJ leads 1-0, 10:00 p.m., CNBC, TSN, RDS, CSN-CA
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