Tuesday’s playoff games
Jets 7, Predators 4 (Jets lead series 2-1)
At first, it looked like Nashville was going to spoil Winnipeg’s street party, silencing the home crowd by taking a 3-0 lead through the first period. By digging themselves such a hole, the Jets justified the hype that comes with sporting a deadly arsenal of offensive weapons. They absolutely took over the second period, and while Filip Forsberg made it 4-4 in the third, Winnipeg would not be denied. For even more on that game, click here.
Capitals 4, Penguins 3 (Capitals lead series 2-1)
After a slow first period, the scoring and hostility skyrocketed. Tom Wilson‘s hit on Zach Aston-Reese stole headlines while Alex Ovechkin grabbed a series lead for Washington with a goal very late in the final frame. Both teams built and lost leads in this one, each goalie had moments of triumph and goals they’d like to forget, but the Capitals stood tall in the end.
1. Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets: OK, one of his goals was an empty-netter, so maybe you can quibble with Wheeler being the first star. Still, his other goal was the game-winner, and his assist was a primary one. It’s the peripheral stats that make the standout of Tuesday.
Wheeler had been threatening to score during much of Winnipeg’s rally, firing eight shots on goal in total during Game 3. He also delivered two hits and had a +1 rating. These are the types of performances that can make an underrated player like Wheeler become … properly rated?
2. Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin gets the glory as the guy who scored the game-winning goal for the Caps, but Backstrom is the player who set up that decisive tally. Overall, the Selke-quality Swede generated three assists.
It’s been quite the run so far for Backstrom. He has nine assists in as many playoff games while also generating three goals, giving him 12 points.
3. Dustin Byfuglien, Jets: Winnipeg has plenty of potential three stars candidates. Byfuglien makes the cut because of his Byfuglien-sized efforts. He scored two goals and one assist, tormenting the Predators even beyond showing off his dance moves.
Byfuglien did a little of everything in Game 3. He fired four shots on goal, three hits, two blocked shots, and a +3 rating over 27:12 TOI. It’s not easy to stand out on a strong defense corps in Winnipeg, yet Byfuglien does just that.
- Tuesday was tough on goalies, with all four being well under a .900 save percentage. It’s not a great sign when Connor Hellebuyck‘s .867 mark leads the pack. That said, it wasn’t all on them. While each goalie probably wanted at least one goal back, all of them made some big stops as well. Honestly, when strong teams go toe to toe, sometimes netminders will see their numbers suffer.
- Mark Scheifele might not sneak under casual fans’ radars much longer.
- Your latest reminder that Alex Ovechkin is clutch.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins, Game 3, 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN
Vegas Golden Knights at San Jose Sharks, Game 4, 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN