NHL Playoff Buzzer: Plenty of drama, OT in Game 1 action on Sunday

  • The Islanders continue to have the Penguins’ number, as the Isles pulled off a 4-3 overtime win.
  • Both goalies were brilliant as the Golden Knights and Wild also went to OT in their Game 1. The Wild ended up coming out on top.
  • The Lightning outlasted the Panthers in an absolute thriller of a Game 1.
  • Three playoff games take place on Monday: two on NBCSN, one on CNBC.
  • Game 1: Islanders 4, Penguins 3 (OT); NYI leads series 1-0

    After a tepid run post-trade-deadline, some wondered if Lou Lamoriello regretted investing in Kyle Palmieri. After he played a big role in the Islanders beating the Penguins 4-3 in OT of Game 1, the Palmieri pickup looks like another shrewd move by Lou. (At least for now.)

    This was a game with multiple lead changes, as these two teams look tightly matched. But once again, the Islanders took a playoff game over the Penguins.

    Check out highlights for Islanders – Penguins Game 1:

    Game 1: Wild 1, Golden Knights 0 (OT); MIN leads series 1-0

    Before the regular season started, if someone told you the Wild won Game 1 over the Golden Knights, you’d assume it was a low-scoring contest. (You’d probably also be … pretty surprised.)

    Yet, this more-exciting Wild team seemed more equipped to trade punches with the Golden Knights, but Cam Talbot had them covered in a Game 1 with just a single knockout punch.

    Talbot and Marc-Andre Fleury put on a show in Wild – Golden Knights Game 1:

    Game 1: Lightning 5, Panthers 4; TBL leads series 1-0

    Game 1 of Lightning – Panthers is the sort of game that can create new hockey fans. There was plenty of nastiness and “playoff intensity.” But sometimes that translates into sluggish, low-scoring hockey. Not Game 1 of Lightning – Panthers. There was as much end-to-end action as there were hard (maybe dirty?) hits, and Tampa Bay ended up being the last team standing. It’s fair to call that an “instant classic.”

    [NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2021 First Round schedule, TV info]

    Three Stars for Game 1 action from Sunday in the NHL

    1. Cam Talbot, Minnesota Wild

    When it comes to picking the three stars for Sunday’s Game 1 action in the NHL, there are a lot of options.

    Take the goalies in Game 1 of Golden Knights – Wild, for instance. That game went to overtime tied 0-0 thanks to brilliant work from Cam Talbot, and also Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury, in particular, had a flair for the dramatic with his glove saves.

    But Talbot ended up pitching a remarkable 42-save shutout, as the Wild only needed a Joel Eriksson Ek goal to win Game 1 vs. the Golden Knights.

    While this marked merely the 26th playoff game of Talbot’s career, he now owns five playoff shutouts. Considering his previous four were split between the Flames and Oilers … not bad.

    2. Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning

    Really, you can lean on multiple options for Game 1 of Lightning – Panthers alone. Yes, the Panthers lost, but Jonathan Huberdeau was brilliant. He generated a goal and two assists, with one of those helpers being all-Huberdeau. It seemed like his outburst would be the story of Lightning – Panthers Game 1 … until it was not.

    You could also lean on Brayden Point. While he “only” scored two goals, Point tied things up 4-4, and then scored the 5-4 game-winner with precious little time remaining.

    But Kucherov gets the nod, and not just because it’s a great story. During the second period, Kucherov might have given Florida some pause in trading power plays, as he collected two PPG. Kucherov also faked out Sergei Bobrovsky for a beautiful assist on Point’s first goal. (Point had it pretty easy there.)

    Maybe there are refinements to make, but Kucherov erased most doubts about whether or not he could be a difference-maker during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

    3. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, New York Islanders

    If you feel the need, consider this a shared third start between Pageau and Kyle Palmieri. After all, Palmieri scored twice, with his second goal being a stunning overtime-winner. (The placement on that OTGWG? Ridiculous.)

    Pageau gains the edge by producing a three-point night: one goal and two assists (both primary). He made quite the overall impact. Pageau scored those three points, generated a +2 rating, fired five shots on goal, and delivered five hits.

    So, basically, make your pick. Did the big Islanders 2021 NHL Trade Deadline addition (Palmieri) deserve it, or was it Pageau from the previous year? (Sorry, you’re cool too, Andy Greene.)


    Stats of the night for Sunday in the NHL

    • Sidney Crosby collected his 190th career playoff point, tying Brett Hull for seventh all-time. Even more impressively, it only took Crosby 169 games to get to 190 playoff points, while Hull played 202 during his outstanding career.
    • Here’s a stat to back up that feeling that Panthers – Lightning Game 1 was a back-and-forth thriller.


    Game 2: Bruins at Capitals, 7:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream)

    Game 1: Predators at Hurricanes, 8 p.m. ET – CNBC (livestream)

    Game 1: Blues at Avalanche, 10 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream)

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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