After a tepid first period, the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild traded blows like, well, the two best teams in the Western Conference right now. There were plenty of exciting moments in the last two periods and overtime, but the Blackhawks prevailed 4-3 in the shootout thanks to this mind-blowing shootout goal. (Which came against a should-be All-Star goalie, by the way.)This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
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• Format not to blame for wild Round 1 upsets. (Sportsnet)
• The cascade of issues that not having a Canadian team in the playoffs creates. (Angus Reid Institute)
• Perhaps your favorite team is out and you’re looking to cheat on them with a new team. Here’s a bandwagon guide. (CBC)
• The regular season means nothing. (FiveThirtyEight)
• Mike Modano getting himself into eSports. (TSN)
• A timeline of the recently-ended Calgary Flames season. (Calgary Sun)
• The tragic consequences of the NHL’s science denial. (The Atlantic)
• The seve…. eight deadly sins of Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. (Deadspin)
• The Washington Capitals’ Russian contingent heading to the World’s after their shocking playoff exit. (TSN)
• Game 7 controversy could have a ripple effect in the college game. (Jamestown Sun)
• Dubas not playing games after Maple Leafs tossed. (The Score)
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski is unlikely to play Game 1 in the second round of the playoffs against Colorado after being knocked out and bloodied in the first-round clincher.
Coach Peter DeBoer said Thursday that Pavelski is officially day to day but is not expected to be cleared for Game 1 against the Avalanche on Friday night.
Pavelski got hurt Tuesday in a Game 7 victory over Vegas when he was cross-checked by Cody Eakin after a faceoff and fell awkwardly, with his helmet slamming on the ice. He was knocked out and bleeding on the ice before being helped to the locker room. The Sharks scored four goals on the ensuing power play and eventually won 5-4 in overtime.
Pavelski was at the practice facility Thursday but didn’t take part in practice. DeBoer says he is still feeling the effects of the injury.
- The Boston Bruins brushed off a 13-second disaster in the third period as Charlie Coyle scored the game-tying goal and then the game-winner in OT against the Blue Jackets
- Blues picked up right where they left off in Round 1 thanks to Vladimir Tarasenko, Jordan Binnington and others.
Boston 3, Blue Jackets 2 [OT] (BOS leads 1-0)
Everything looked breezy for Boston before Brandon Dubinsky and Pierre-Luc Dubois scored 13 seconds apart in the third period to turn the tide of the game. That was until the Charlie Coyle Show made its second-round debut. In the first episode, Coyle played hero, scoring the game-tying goal and then the winner in the ensuing overtime frame. The Bruins deserved it based on metrics and they ended up winning it on merit.
Blues 3, Stars 2 (STL leads 1-0)
The Blues needed Tarasenko to get going and they needed to rally around the same defensive structure that helped them see off the Winnipeg Jets. Job done in Game 1. Tarasenko had scored a brace. The Blues held the line and Binnington took care of the rest. The Blues were also able to penetrate a penalty kill that had gone 15-for-15 in Round 1, so there’s more joy to be had in Joyland for St. Louis.
1. Charlie Coyle, Boston Bruins
Depth. It matters.
Coyle scored his fourth and fifth goals of the postseason, a game-tying goal late in the third period to force overtime and the game-winner off a slick feed from Marcus Johansson in the extra frame.
Boston was dangerous with their two top lines. If they’re getting continued scoring their bottom six, watch out everyone.
2. Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues
The Blues needed more from Tarasenko if they were going to taste success in their Round 2 series against the Dallas Stars.
Tarasenko had two power-play goals in Round 1 but didn’t get much-done five-on-five. Tarasenko scored once again on the power play in Game 1 against the Stars and then extended a third-period lead to 3-1 with his first five-on-five goal of the playoffs.
This is a good start.
3. Jordan Binnington, St. Louis Blues
This guy. On Jan. 6 he didn’t have a win in the NHL, now he has five playoff wins under his belt spread across two rounds.
Binnington couldn’t care less about his likely snub in the rookie of the year race. He’s got a much bigger trophy on his mind. Binnington made 27 saves in the game, including 16-of-17 in the third period as the Stars searched for a tying goal. Something about Binnington’s calmness…
Highlights of the night
OT winners are always better:
Don’t give this man this kind of space:
If you needed a star player to score a big goal in a playoff game, who would you pick?
Most hockey fans would tab Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, and other players who’ve already won at least a Stanley Cup. Maybe you’d lean toward Patrik Laine, Auston Matthews, or Nikita Kucherov, if you wanted to mix things up.
St. Louis Blues fans would insist that Vladimir Tarasenko should be on the tip of your tongue, and in a tight 3-2 Game 1 win (and 1-0 series lead) for the Blues against the Dallas Stars, he added to his robust big-game resume.
(Game 2 airs on NBC at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday; stream here.)
While Ben Bishop will be haunted by allowing the Blues 1-0 goal early in Game 1 via Robby Fabbri, you wonder if there’s only so much anyone could do to stop Tarasenko on both of his goals. In particular, Tarasenko showed why his nickname is “Tank” on his second goal, as he absolutely powered his way past Miro Heiskanen and roofed a fantastic goal by Bishop. Tarasenko simply would not be denied:
At the time, Tarasenko’s second goal of Game 1 made it 3-1, but with Jamie Benn scoring a strange 3-2 goal that survived a goal review after an ill-timed whistle, the Blues needed every one of those Tarasenko tallies. Tarasenko’s nicest goal of the evening ended up counting as the game-winner.
With this result, Tarasenko now has an outstanding 26 goals in his last 50 playoff games. That ties Tarasenko with Sidney Crosby for the fourth-most postseason goals since 2013-14, and Crosby hit that mark in 82 playoff contests. None of that is meant to insult Crosby; instead, the point is that Tarasenko’s been an absolute superstar in the postseason.
Interestingly, Tarasenko was pretty quiet in Round 1, only managing two goals in six games against the Winnipeg Jets. The Blues were carried by other players like Jaden Schwartz with Winnipeg’s top line carrying the way, but on Thursday, it was the Tarasenko show.
While it was a tough night at times for Bishop (who took a scary puck to the head), Jordan Binnington was a mix of brilliant and a touch scrambly. Binnington also felt some content during Game 1, as this scuffle began when the rookie goalie was bumped by Blake Comeau:
Binnington gave up a juicy rebound or three in Game 1, yet he really locked it down when Dallas tried to wage a comeback; Binnington stopped 16 out of 17 shots in the third period alone.
This loss stings, but the Stars can feel comfortable that they weren’t merely facing a struggling Predators team. Dallas was absolutely able to hang with a St. Louis squad that was a buzzsaw at times down the stretch this season, and honestly, the Stars sometimes looked flat-out better.
The Blues found a way to win Game 1, which in this case, meant riding Tarasenko’s dominant scoring and Binnington’s brilliant netminding. If this one was any indication, more wins against Dallas won’t come easy, so the Blues might need more of that from their biggest star, and their rising star in net.
The Stars will try to even up the series against the Blues as Game 2 takes place at the Enterprise Center on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET (NBC; stream here).