Boston 3 – Washington 1
The Bruins and Tim Thomas continue to stay hot after taking out Washington at Verizon Center in D.C. 3-1. Milan Lucic became the NHL’s second player to record a Gordie Howe hat trick, getting a goal, an assist and a fight with John Erskine. Tim Thomas made 35 saves in the win, meanwhile the Caps saw starting goalie Michal Neuvirth leave the game in the first period after feeling ill. Giving up two goals on seven shots couldn’t have helped. Semyon Varlamov replaced him to see his first action of the year, stopping 13 of 14.
Calgary 1 – Nashville 0 (F/OT)
It was one heck of a return to action for Rene Bourque of the Flames as he scored in overtime to give Calgary the win. Bourque had missed the Flames’ previous two games with a concussion. Meanwhile, it appears that early reports of the demise of the Flames were not only incorrect but also hilariously dumb for being written just a few games into the season. Miikka Kiprusoff stopped all 34 shots he saw, earning him his first shutout of the season. Pekka Rinne also made his return to the Preds lineup tonight and saved 34 shots in the hard-luck loss.
Minnesota 6 – Vancouver 2
While this game will get talked about more for Canucks forward Rick Rypien going after a fan, lost in all of it is the Wild continuing their dominance over Roberto Luongo in Minnesota. Six different goal scorers got on the board for the Wild, meanwhile Daniel Sedin had both goals for the Canucks. Marek Zidlicky had a goal and two assists for Minnesota while goalie Niklas Backstrom stopped 25 shots in the win. Luongo, meanwhile, gave up all six goals in just two periods of work while saving just 12 shots. That’s good for a .667 save percentage. Yuck. Cory Schneider stopped six shots in the third period in relief.
Carolina 5 – San Jose 2
While some Carolina players aren’t too happy with their never-ending road trip to start the season, their play on the ice seems to say they’re OK with it. Five different Hurricanes potted goals while Cam Ward was his ho-hum self stopping 41 shots in earning the Canes the win. Antti Niemi looked a bit flustered in stopping just 26 shots in the loss. Chad LaRose had a goal and two assists for Carolina, meanwhile Patrick Marleau scored both goals for San Jose.
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: