Cam Tucker

Jake Allen was spectacular in Blues OT win over Wild

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Joel Edmundson played the unlikely overtime hero for the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.

But make no mistake, the only reason Game 1 of this series between the Blues and Minnesota Wild even went to extra time was because of the play of Jake Allen.

The Wild dominated in every aspect of this game.

Blues vs. Wild: Stream on NBC Sports

Shots? Check.

Puck possession? Check.

Scoring chances? Check.

But they couldn’t outscore the Blues — at least not tonight — and that was because of Allen. Remember all the issues in net he was having earlier in the season? That seems so, so long ago now.

Allen was brilliant, backing St. Louis to a 2-1 victory and a 1-0 series lead on the road.

The Blues were badly outshot 52-26 but their netminder stopped all but one shot he faced and, at times, did so in spectacular fashion — like the second-period stop he made on Charlie Coyle, throwing out the glove and stacking the pads on a prime scoring chance in front.

There was an overtime scramble in which Allen somehow kept the puck out of the net.

There was also an insane scramble around his crease in the third period. After he made the initial save, it appeared Zach Parise inadvertently curled the puck off the goal line and back out toward the slot, as St. Louis escaped another scare in the defensive end.

Parise redeemed himself by scoring the tying goal with 22 seconds left, finally solving Allen and sending this game to OT. But Edmundson won it and Allen was rewarded for a 51-save effort. ‘Effort’ is a bit of an understatement.

Back from the KHL, having signed a three-year deal in St. Louis last week, Vladimir Sobotka scored the opening goal.

Sharks complete the comeback with OT win over Oilers

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Talk about the perfect start for the home team.

But it didn’t end the way the Oilers and their fans wanted in the highly anticipated return of Stanley Cup playoff hockey to Edmonton.

Playing in the franchise’s first playoff game since 2006, the Oilers came flying out of the gate in Game 1 against the San Jose Sharks, opening up a two-goal lead on goals from Oscar Klefbom and Milan Lucic against the defending Western Conference champs.

Watch Sharks vs. Oilers on NBC Sports

The Oilers played fast. They played physical. They looked in complete control. Well, for 20 minutes, anyway.

But the game swung in the Sharks favor in the second period, before they eventually completed the comeback and won 3-2 in overtime.

The Sharks, without Joe Thornton for this one, completely took over, holding the Oilers to just nine shots through the second and third periods, and in a brief overtime session. Joel Ward started the comeback early in the second period and Paul Martin scored the equalizer early in the third.

The Sharks were all over the Oilers in the final period of regulation. They peppered Talbot with 18 shots, while the Oilers managed only three on Martin Jones.

After dominating the majority of this game, the Sharks won it on a goal from Melker Karlsson, as he beat Talbot on San Jose’s 44 shot of the night.

 

With bad blood boiling, Ducks and Flames preach discipline before series

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) The Calgary Flames and the Anaheim Ducks were the NHL’s two most-penalized teams this season. A week ago, the Flames’ captain seriously injured the Ducks’ best defenseman, leading to a third period featuring 106 combined penalty minutes.

So when these clubs meet in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs Thursday night, their leaders realize nobody will be lacking for motivational fire.

They’re more concerned about making sure their physical play is channeled in a productive direction.

Watch Ducks vs. Flames on NBC Sports

“We know the emotions are always going to be ramped up in a playoff series,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said Wednesday. “But if we can stay within the rules and play the right way, we’re going to give ourselves a much better chance, as opposed to the penalty parade that we’ve made with Calgary a few times during the season.”

Related: Ducks-Flames series heats up as Treliving rips Murray’s ‘asinine remarks

Those emotions still might be a bit raw when the Flames hit the ice at Honda Center, where their franchise hasn’t won in nearly 11 years.

The Ducks must begin the postseason without All-Star defenseman Cam Fowler because Calgary captain Mark Giordano delivered a knee-on-knee hit during the Flames’ visit to Anaheim last week .

“It was not intentional on my part,” Giordano said Wednesday before his first playoff appearance in 10 years. “Hopefully, Cam is OK, but I’m looking forward to this series and moving on. … We don’t want anything to slow us or our game down, so we’ve got to stay away from it. We’ve got to be emotional, but there’s a fine line in the playoffs.”

Ducks general manager Bob Murray was steamed when the NHL declined to discipline Giordano further, complaining that Giordano “has done this before.” Calgary GM Brad Treliving fired back shortly afterward, calling Murray’s comments “asinine.”

“Turn the page,” Carlyle said. “It’s over. Can’t change what happened. It’s done. Move on. There’s more important things on our plate than to worry about something that we have no control over at this point.”

Here are other things to watch when the Pacific Division rivals hit the ice for Game 1:

THE STREAK

As everybody in both dressing rooms knows by now, Calgary has lost 25 consecutive regular-season games at Honda Center in Anaheim since Jan. 19, 2004. It’s the longest losing streak in one building against one opponent in NHL history.

Yet the streak is slightly less dire from a postseason perspective: The Flames won a playoff game in Anaheim on April 25, 2006, beating Carlyle’s first Anaheim team – although the Ducks still won the next two home games and the series.

When the clubs met in the playoffs two years ago, the Ducks won three more home games. The numbers are stark for the Flames in Orange County, but Carlyle sees a clear downside to that dominance.

“To me, it’s a new slate,” Carlyle said. “This winning streak, it’s a good one for us. It’s a bad one for them. We understand that. But the bottom line is, streaks are going to get broken at some point. That’s the dangerous part for us.”

RANDY’S RETURN

Carlyle is back in the postseason with the Ducks on the 10th anniversary of leading them to their only Stanley Cup championship. He got the job back last spring after Bruce Boudreau’s Ducks flopped in the first round against Nashville, losing the first two games at home and then blowing a 3-2 series lead.

Anaheim lost Game 7 on home ice for the fourth consecutive season under Boudreau. Carlyle claims no magic formula for coaxing postseason poise out of largely the same core Ducks, but he’s hoping for a renewed sense of excitement after years of playoff disappointment.

“Enjoy the experience,” Carlyle told his players. “It’s going to be fun. These are exciting times. Don’t get caught up in the emotions. Just go out and play your game.”

FAMILIAR FOES

Anaheim routed Calgary in five second-round games in 2015 to earn a spot in the conference finals, but these Flames are bigger, tougher and more prepared for the experience under new coach Glen Gulutzan.

“We know what we’re in for, and we’re excited for the challenge,” said Johnny Gaudreau, the Flames’ leading scorer.

The Flames know all about Ryan Kesler, the Ducks’ agitating All-Star center of the shutdown defensive line likely to be deployed against Gaudreau.

The Ducks also know plenty about Matthew Tkachuk, the rampaging teenager whose physical game seems ideal for the postseason. Carlyle even played alongside Tkachuk’s father, Keith, for two seasons in Winnipeg in the early 1990s.

“I played with his dad, coached his dad, so I’ll ask (Keith Tkachuk) to discipline him,” Carlyle said with a laugh. “Well, if he’s as thick-headed as his dad, I don’t think it will work.”

Video: Blues’ goalie Jake Allen stacks the pads and steals the show

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Jake Allen has been the story so far, as the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild open their first-round series.

He faced 26 shots through two periods, stopping everything so far fired his way, keeping up his end of the bargain as his teammates went into the intermission with a 1-0 lead on the road.

Vladimir Sobotka has the St. Louis goal.

Blues vs. Wild: Stream on NBC Sports

But Allen has the biggest save of this series so far, stacking the pads and throwing out the glove to deny Charlie Coyle on a great chance right in front. That maintained the Blues’ lead, at least through two periods.

Video: Klefbom scores first Oilers playoff goal — since 2006

It had been a while.

Oscar Klefbom opened the scoring for Edmonton in Game 1 versus the San Jose Sharks, giving the Oilers — and their fans — their first playoff goal since 2006.

The last Oilers player to score a post-season goal? That would be Fernando Pisani in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, which the Oilers lost to the Hurricanes 3-1.

Watch Sharks vs. Oilers on NBC Sports

Klefbom changed that, as his pass in front deflected in off a San Jose defender and through the legs of Martin Jones.

The Oilers went into the intermission with a 2-0 lead after a power play goal from Milan Lucic.