The Pittsburgh Penguins experienced bad luck when it came to the health of their goalies heading into Game 1. The New York Rangers felt a bit of their own in the first period.
On the bright side, it seems like Henrik Lundqvist is OK after Marc Staal‘s errant stick caught his face. He needed a little touch-up on the bench before heading back, which drew boos from fans.
Penguins fans should have been happy about that, though, as the Penguins scored the 1-0 goal soon after that moment.
Does that have anything to do with Lundqvist possibly being thrown off or would it have happened anyway? That’s really just a debate to pass the time, as the two teams entered the first intermission with the Penguins up 1-0 regardless.
Update: Maybe Lundqvist isn’t quite OK, after all. Click here for more.
Detroit Red Wings – Tampa Bay Lightning likely ranks as the series that would be least likely to draw big-time fireworks as far as physicality goes.
The playoffs bring out the competitive sides – and sometimes the dark sides – of players more than regular season games, so sometimes even less fight-friendly teams get angry when they start fighting over territory.
That happened during the second period of the Red Wings – Lightning game, as Alex Killorn‘s hit on Dylan Larkin set off a series of squabbles between the two teams. You can watch the sometimes chaotic, sometimes amusing anger in the video above.
No power plays surfaced from those scuffles.
But plenty of penalties.
If you judge matchups by reputation or experience, then the Pittsburgh Penguins will need to overcome the New York Rangers’ huge advantage in net in Game 1.
Marc-Andre Fleury isn’t dressing for the Penguins on Wednesday. With that in mind, the Penguins go to third place on their organizational depth chart as Jeff Zatkoff will start in net. (Tristan Jarry serves as his backup.)
On the other end of the ice? Only Henrik Lundqvist, maybe the most reliably excellent goalie in the NHL.
Another lineup note:
The Tampa Bay Lightning are showing a nice burst early on against the Detroit Red Wings, even if each team is showing signs of serious skill.
It’s one thing to look good but come up empty-handed. It’s another to produce some offense.
Less than seven minutes into Game 1, Nikita Kucherov scored the first goal of the playoffs by finishing a nice Tyler Johnson feed with a howling shot. It’s a high-skill way of kicking off the best time of the year for hockey fans.
The Lightning can’t get too comfortable, naturally … the Red Wings are about to start the playoffs’ first power play.
The Tampa Bay Lightning aren’t heading into the playoffs at 100 percent … but they’re about as close to 100 percent as they could hope for in Game 1.
Some toss-ups are going the Bolts way, as Tyler Johnson, Victor Hedman, Ryan Callahan and Nikita Kucherov can go against the Detroit Red Wings.
(Johnson seemed like a wild card, in particular.)
Now, playing isn’t always the same as playing at your full capacity, so we’ll see how things shake out when the playoffs kick into action.
Now get ready for the fun.