If anything else, last night proved that even in a light night of action that anything can happen. Four more games hit the schedule tonight so let’s just hope that if anyone is hitting someone else that it all happens on the ice so we can avoid anything more unseemly to discuss further. As always, all times listed are Eastern because we’re trying to not even go near the same time zone Rick Rypien is in.
Buffalo @ Atlanta
The Sabres are trying to shake the dust off of their miserable start to the season and facing Atlanta won’t make things any easier. The Thrashers are doing well to start the year and goalie Chris Mason gets the start once again. Evander Kane and Anthony Stewart are leading the way right now. Stewart has four goals while Kane is rocking it with three goals so far this year. Fun fact: Neither has an assist yet. Fill the net, guys.
Buffalo will look to try and keep Atlanta off the board as the Sabres, even with Ryan Miller doing well, are still having a hard time keeping opponents off the board as they’re in the bottom third in the NHL in goals against.
Anaheim @ Columbus
The Jackets are in a bit of a tough way, but if they’ve got reason to perk up, having Anaheim come to town should help them out. While the Ducks have done well of late, those wins have come at home. On the road, they’ve played miserable thus far. This game could shape up into a war of attrition. Well, one with a lot of goals anyhow.
Vancouver @ Chicago
Say, perhaps you heard about this Vancouver team here today. After getting trashed by Minnesota on and off the ice last night, the Canucks try to improve on things. Roberto Luongo gets to start once again and because he’s not facing Minnesota he should do better right? Hopefully no one tells him that it’s a playoff game against Chicago or else things might get really ugly. Chicago, meanwhile, is playing some pretty good hockey as Marian Hossa is on fire of late.
Carolina @ Los Angeles
Speaking of teams on fire, the Carolina Hurricanes bring their traveling road show to L.A. to face Jon Quick Jonathan Bernier and the Kings. While the Canes are playing inspired hockey, the Kings are no slouches themselves off to a 3-1-0 start thanks to the play of Quick, Ryan Smyth, and Dustin Brown. How Jonathan Bernier bounces back after his rocky first start will be interesting. Carolina, meanwhile, kicked the Sharks around to the tune of 5-2 last night getting a stellar star from Cam Ward making 41 saves. Justin Peters gets the call in goal tonight in his first action of the season.
What a start.
This series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals might be headlined by Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, but as many have said in the lead-up to tonight’s opener, there is so much more to this second round matchup than that. Washington’s 4-3 overtime victory in Game 1 tonight could be offered up as Exhibit A.
This game had everything except big offensive showings from Crosby and Ovechkin. They had their moments, but in the end combined for just one assist.
What we got instead was a hat trick by T.J. Oshie that was completed with a game-winning goal that made it past the line by such a narrow margin that it warranted a video review:
This game also featured a sequence of three goals in 90 seconds and yet also some great saves by goaltenders Braden Holtby and Matt Murray. At the other end of the spectrum, there was a controversial hit by Tom Wilson that might lead to a suspension.
There was even some odd stuff. Like how Jay Beagle got a stick stuck in his equipment.
If this game sets the tone for the rest of the series, then we should be in for a closely contested, highlight filled affair.
— Nick Bonino had a goal and an assist for the Penguins. Evgeni Malkin and Ben Lovejoy accounted for the Penguins’ other markers.
— Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky scored the game’s opening goal. It was his first marker of the 2016 playoffs.
— Washington outshot Pittsburgh 15-9 in the first period, but Pittsburgh ended up with a 45-35 edge.
— This is the first time in the 2016 playoffs that Braden Holtby has allowed more than two goals. He surrendered just five goals in six games to Philadelphia.
— Matt Murray suffered his first career postseason loss after winning three straight contests against the New York Rangers.
Tom Wilson has already found himself in a controversy for delivering a late, knee-on-knee hit to Penguins forward Conor Sheary in the third period of Game 1 Thursday night.
You can see that incident below:
Wilson spent two minutes in the sin bin earlier in the contest for crosschecking Evgeni Malkin, but there was no penalty on this play.
Fortunately Conor Sheary was able to stay in the game. The question now is if Wilson’s actions will lead to him being suspended prior to Game 2.
This isn’t Wilson’s first brush with controversy. He delivered a big hit to Brayden Schenn in 2013, but Wilson wasn’t suspended for that incident. Lubomir Visnovsky’s final campaign was cut short due to a check by Wilson that angered the New York Islanders. More recently, Nikita Zadorov was concussed by a crushing blow from the Capitals forward.
In 231 career regular season games, Wilson has 50 points and 486 penalty minutes.
Related: Wilson says ‘I’ve never been a dirty hitter’ after teams voice complaints
For the first 30 minutes of Game 1 between Pittsburgh and Washington it looked like goaltenders Matt Murray and Braden Holtby might outshine these star-studded offenses. Then the floodgates opened up, if only for a moment.
Washington already had a 1-0 lead going into the second frame courtesy of Andre Burakovsky‘s first marker of the 2016 playoffs, but Ben Lovejoy and Evgeni Malkin scored back-to-back goals within the span of 57 seconds midway through the second period to tilt the scale in Pittsburgh’s favor. That lead didn’t last for long though as Capitals forward T.J. Oshie got a breakaway opportunity and took full advantage of it.
In total, there were three goals scored in the span of just 90 seconds and you can see all of them below:
After that sequence, the 2-2 tie held for the remainder of the frame. However, Oshie was able to reassert Washington’s edge just 3:23 minutes into the third period.
Through 40 minutes of action in Game 1 of the second round series between Pittsburgh and Washington and we’ve already seen some big moments, along with a pretty unusual one.
Beagle ended up with a stick lodged into his visor towards the end of the second frame. He tried to get it out himself, but ended up having to go to the bench for assistance. You can see that below: