Corey Perry knew it right away.
The Anaheim Ducks’ star winger gave his team the lead with less than seven minutes remaining in the third period on a beautiful second effort that was initially waved off, allowing play to continue. But Perry was sure the puck had crossed the goal line, despite it hitting the outstretched right pad of Ondrej Pavelec, and the video review confirmed it.
The Ducks then held on for the 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets to take a 1-0 series lead.
Perry, who recorded a four-point night, found the back of the net twice in the final period.
With Anaheim trailing after 40 minutes, Perry’s first goal tied the game, and his second off a power move to the net put the Ducks in front. He cut to the net off his wing and had his first backhand shot denied by the right pad of Pavelec. Perry jammed at the puck once again and was able to nudge it inches over the goal line.
Thursday marked the first time in 19 years an NHL team from Winnipeg competed in a Stanley Cup playoff game. The Jets didn’t get off to the best start, allowing a goal from Sami Vatanen less than two minutes in. But 49 seconds later, Adam Lowry responded, getting the Jets on the board.
The Jets will need a similar response in Game 2.
The St. Louis Blues made a game of it, but will lament a slow start in their loss to the Minnesota Wild in Game 1 of their first-round series on Thursday.
It wasn’t until the third period that the Blues finally made a substantial push. Twice in the final 20 minutes, they got to within a goal but couldn’t find the equalizer. Minnesota buried a pair of empty net goals, with Mikael Granlund scoring the winner with 1:13 remaining in regulation time, as the Wild came away with a 4-2 victory and 1-0 series lead.
Just 14 seconds after Granlund gave Minnesota a two-goal cushion, Alexander Steen provided the Blues a faint glimmer of hope, perhaps catching the Wild off guard and cutting its lead to one. It set up for an interesting finish when this game looked like it was over just before that.
Again, the Blues just couldn’t tie it. Jason Pominville cemented the win into the empty net with 20 seconds remaining.
Devan Dubnyk, making his first career playoff start after a remarkable regular season performance following his mid-season trade from Arizona to Minnesota, wasn’t overly busy until the third period, but he stopped 19 of 21 shots faced for the win.
It appeared for a while like Matt Dumba’s first career Stanley Cup playoff goal would turn out to be the winner. He gave the Wild a two-goal lead on a power play blast that beat Jake Allen glove side early in the second period.
It’s been 19 years since Winnipeg last had an NHL team in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The 2014-15 Jets didn’t get off to the greatest start Thursday, after giving up the first goal to the Anaheim Ducks at the 1:57 mark of the first period.
The Jets quickly came back with a goal from Adam Lowry just 49 seconds later. Talk about a good response. This series has been billed as one of the more physical showdowns in the opening round and it’s living up to that hype. The two teams combined for 39 hits in the first period, according to NHL.com.