• The Boston Bruins have no answer for the Carolina Hurricanes again.
• Tampa Bay, Minnesota, and Edmonton all get even in their first-round series with wins on Wednesday night.
• Another major goalie injury in the NHL as Antti Raanta leaves Game 2 for the Hurricanes.
Another one-sided game in this season series. The Hurricanes dominated the Boston Bruins (again) on Wednesday night, jumping out to a 2-0 series lead with a 5-2 Game 2 win. Carolina is now 5-0 against the Bruins this season (including playoffs), outscoring them by aa 26-4 margin. Wednesday’s game was intense and extremely physical, with scrums and altercations after almost every whistle and some extremely big hits and collisions that resulted in multiple injuries. Carolina lost another goalie as Antti Raanta had to leave the game after he was hit by David Pastrnak, while the Bruins lost defenseman Hampus Lindholm to a crushing (but legal) hit from Andrei Svechnikov.
Game 2: Tampa Bay Lightning 5, Toronto Maple Leafs 3 (Series tied 1-1)
Tampa Bay’s stars were shining on Wednesday night after a sluggish start to the series on Monday. Victor Hedman had four points, Andrei Vasilevskiy was outstanding in goal, and Nikita Kucherov had three points for the defending back-to-back Stanley Cup champions. Special teams were the big difference in this game asa Tampa Bay’s power play feasted on its opportunities, taking advantage of a lot of poorly timed penalties by an overly aggressive Maple Leafs team.
Game 2: Minnesota Wild 6, St. Louis Blues 2 (Series tied 1-1)
Huge bounce back win for the Wild that featured a quick start and the first career postseason hat trick for Kirill Kaprizov. Joel Eriksson Ek also scored a pair of goals for the Wild who jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first period thanks to a pair of power play goals. Marc-Andre Fleury got the Game 2 start (head coach Dean Evason said it was an easy call) and he bounced back with a 32-save on 34-shot performance.
Game 2: Edmonton Oilers 6, Los Angeles Kings 0 (Series tied 1-1)
Speaking of big bounce back games, Mike Smith shook off a tough Game 1 that included a late, game-deciding turnover by recording a shutout for the Oilers as they evened their series with the Los Angeles Kings in a 6-0 win. This felt like a near must-win game for the Oilers as they were facing the prospect of dropping the first two games of the series on home ice, something that would have almost certainly upped the already intense pressure on them. But they scored two power play goals and a shorthanded goal on their way to a convincing win. Evander Kane had two goals and an assist in the win, while Connor McDavid had a pair of assists.
Three Stars in NHL for Wednesday (third day of playoffs)
1. Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota Wild
Kaprizov was one of the biggest offensive stars for the Wild in their 6-2 win over the Blues, scoring three goals, including two in less than two minutes in third period to help put the game away. Kaprizov is coming off a magnificent sophomore season that saw him score 47 goals and 108 points, making him the first 100-point player in Wild franchise history. He has been a franchise-altering player from the moment he arrived and has helped transform the team into one of the most exciting offensive teams in the league. He was one of the best players on the ice on Wednesday, scoring three goals on five shots for the Wild.
2. Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
Hedman has always been one of the most important players on the Lightning and one of the driving forces behind their success, and he was brilliant on Wednesday when the Lightning needed him to be. He had a goal, three assists, and blocked four shots in nearly 24 minutes of ice-time to help the Lightning even their series with the Maple Leafs. His goal was a beautiful display of patience as he scored with just over a second remaining in the first period to break a scoreless tie and steal all momentum away from Toronto, quieting a raucous Maple Leafs crowd.
3.Pyotr Kochetkov, Carolina Hurricanes
With Frederik Andersen already out of the lineup and Antti Raanta leaving early in the first period, the Hurricanes had to turn to Kochetkov in Game 2 of their series against the Bruins. He was outstanding, stopping 30 out of 32 shots to help lead Carolina to another dominant win over Boston. He was 3-0 in his three appearances during the regular season, and is the second third string goalie to help lead a team to victory in the first three days of the playoffs. There is no timetable on when Andersen will be ready to return, and no update on Raanta’s status for Game 3, so it remains possible that Carolina could have to turn to Kochetkov again on Friday when the series shifts to Boston.
Thursday’s NHL Playoff Schedule
Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers (PIT leads 1-0), 7 p.m. ET — TNT
Game 2: Washington Capitals at Florida Panthers (WSH leads 1-0), 7:30 p.m. ET — TBS
Game 2: Nashville Predators at Colorado Avalanche (COL leads 1-0), 9:30 p.m ET — TNT
Game 2: Dallas Stars at Calgary Flames (CGY leads 1-0), 10 p.m, ET — TBS
• NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info
• First Round, Stanley Cup predictions
• NHL Draft Lottery set: Canadiens have best odds for top pick
• Why your team will (and will not) win the Stanley Cup