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Wild cut Jets’ series lead to 2-1; Tyler Myers injured

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The Minnesota Wild are running away with Game 3, with much of the damage coming in the second period, including what must have been a dizzying sequence of events for the Winnipeg Jets.

14:40 into the second period: Eric Staal scored his first goal of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Just 20 seconds later (15 minutes into the second period): Jordan Greenway made it 5-2 for Minnesota, scoring his first career NHL goal.

About one minute after Staal’s 4-2 goal: Tyler Myers took an awkward fall into the boards thanks to a collision with Marcus Foligno. PHT will keep an eye out for updates on Myers’ condition beyond missing the remainder of Game 3; it looked scary at first, although Myers looked a bit better as he was leaving the ice.

Here’s video of Myers’ injury:

Myers scored his second goal of the series earlier in the second period, seemingly giving the Jets a real shot at tying things up. Instead, the game’s gotten away from Winnipeg being that Foligno scored a late goal in the middle frame to expand the lead to 6-2.

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

Post-game update:

The third period was quiet, as Minnesota ended up winning by that 6-2 score to reduce Winnipeg’s series lead to 2-1.

Much was made about how the Wild play better hockey at home in Minnesota, and tonight’s performance validated that notion. It has to be heartening to Bruce Boudreau’s crew that Devan Dubnyk allowed a goal or two that he’d like to have back – including to Winnipeg’s deadly power play – and yet the Wild took control of the game and won.

The Wild hope to tie the series (while Winnipeg aims for a 3-1 lead) in Game 4, which takes place on Tuesday. You can catch the contest on CNBC beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

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.

The Buzzer: Vegas never sleeps, even in double OT

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Friday’s games

Flyers 5, Penguins 1 (Series tied 1-1)

What a difference a game makes. After getting throttled 7-0 in Game 1, the Flyers responded, tying the series via an impressive 5-1 effort. Philly’s top line responded, and Brian Elliott went from goat to great. The best news for the Penguins might be that Kris Letang‘s potential injury might not be as bad as it looked.

Jets 4, Wild 1 (Jets lead series 2-0)

For a while, it seemed like Game 2 would be a carbon copy of Game 1: Devan Dubnyk almost steals it, but Winnipeg wills its way to a close win. Instead, the Jets flew by in the third period. They dominated the game by just about every measure, leaving Minnesota despondent.

Golden Knights 2, Kings 1 [double OT] (Golden Knights lead series 2-0)

It really looked like Jonathan Quick would drag Los Angeles into triple-overtime against Vegas. The Golden Knights dominated play, generating a gaudy 56-30 shots on goal advantage (and it only gets more disproportionate as you dig deeper), yet Quick was incredibly sharp. Erik Haula finally scored the overtime game-winner with less than five minutes remaining in the second OT.

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

Three Stars

1. Jonathan Quick, Kings: This wasn’t just the longest game in Golden Knights history (duh), it was also the longest for the Kings. Quick was ridiculous, making 54 out of 56 saves, a mix of quality chances and volume shots. He was incredible, and was on task in Game 1, carrying over one of his best-ever regular season runs to the playoffs. Unfortunately, the Kings have scored a solitary goal in two games (and, the real-time equivalent of almost three), so Quick remains winless so far during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

2. Sean Couturier, Flyers: Elliott deserves all of that praise, but the Flyers’ breakthrough forward was excellent in Game 2. He scored a goal and two assists, with his helper on Nolan Patrick‘s first-career postseason goal standing out as borderline obscene:

Game 2 ended in regulation, yet Couturier – a forward – logged a ridiculous 27:15 of ice time on Friday, including a bit more than five minutes shorthanded.

3. Brian Elliott, Flyers: It’s not like the Penguins took it easy in Game 2 because of their Game 1 output. And it’s not just that the Penguins warped the stats when the score was getting out of hand. Pittsburgh generated 11 shots on goal in the first period and then 12 in each of the second and third, yet only Patric Hornqvist scored against Elliott, who ultimately made 34 out of 35 saves.

There were some really tough ones, including stopping Crosby on about as clean a breakaway as you’ll enjoy in a playoff game:

Quite a rebound game, indeed.

MISC.

Some comic relief from Connor Hellebuyck:

Marc-Andre Fleury‘s had it easy compared to Jonathan Quick, but this has been quite the start to the postseason for a goalie piling up accolades:

People said it was “only a game,” but you really do need to give the Flyers credit for bouncing back from such a beating.

Patrik Laine is a treat … unless he’s beating you.

Take a look at that Haula game-winner for Vegas, a nice reminder of how impressive the Golden Knights were in transition essentially all night long.

Factoid of the Night

Matt Murray‘s shutout streak ended with less than a minute remaining in the first period, and then things really began to crumble for the goalie and the Penguins. Still, what a run it was …

Saturday’s schedule

New Jersey Devils at Tampa Bay Lightning, 3 p.m. ET (CNBC/NBC)
Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators, 3 p.m. ET (CNBC/NBC)
Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins, 8 p.m. ET (NBC)
San Jose Sharks at Anaheim Ducks, 10:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)

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.

Golden Knights overwhelm Kings in double OT

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Welcome to the dance, Golden Knights.

Vegas made history in Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, nabbing their first postseason goal, win, and shutout. The Los Angeles Kings present them with the purest, most terrifying playoff experience in Game 2, however, as this 1-1 contest is headed to double overtime.

Update: Now another first: they won their first overtime game, edging the Kings 2-1 in double OT. James Neal set the table for Erik Haula, who followed up a 29-goal campaign with this enormous tally:

***

The Golden Knights are also getting a taste of a cruel postseason experience: dominating long stretches of play but failing to beat a keyed-in goaltender. In this case, Jonathan Quick is showing why he’s one of the NHL’s most accomplished playoff netminders, nullifying a Vegas attack that’s occasionally racking up twice as many chances.

You might as well get your favorite nervous GIFs and emoticons ready.

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.

Jets throw weight around against Wild

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It’s early, but so far the Winnipeg Jets look like a juggernaut in going up 2-0 in their first-round series against the Minnesota Wild.

While the Wild can take some solace in the idea that the series switches to Minnesota for Games 3 and 4, falling 4-1 has to be disheartening because of the way this latest contest played out. For the second straight game, Devan Dubnyk kept them in the contest for quite some time; Winnipeg only held a 1-0 lead heading into the third period despite what was a 27-14 edge in shots on goal.

None of that really mattered as Winnipeg just wouldn’t be denied. Again.

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

After Game 1, it was noted that the Wild don’t seem suited to trade blows with the Jets, and that story carried over to Friday. Some might even say that Dustin Byfuglien‘s monstrous hit on Mikko Koivu is a quicky synopsis of this one-sided start to the series.

Again, the Wild shouldn’t just roll over here. After all, they went 27-6-8 at home during the regular season. They can look to the Flyers’ turnaround from Game 1 to Game 2 against the Penguins to note how quickly things can turn in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Still, the Jets are a different animal than the Penguins, and some would argue that they are a more balanced, rugged, and frightening team. They’ve given Minnesota very little room to breath in this series, and it shows in the lopsided numbers.

Things got nasty late in Game 2. It’s evident that the Jets have no issue mixing it up, either.

Heading into the postseason, the Jets were still trying to earn their first playoff win since the dawning of the Jets-Thrashers rendition of this franchise. It’s already fair to wonder how many teams will be able to take them down in a best-of-seven series.

Game 3 takes place in Minnesota on Sunday. It airs on USA Network starting at 7 p.m. ET.

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.

Flyers tie series; Penguins might dodge bullet with Letang

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Update: Kris Letang returned to Game 2 and played quite a bit in the third period. We’ll see if anything changes, but his return to action is the best news of the night so far for Pittsburgh.

That’s because the Flyers bounced back from a 7-0 loss in Game 1 in a big way. Brian Elliott and Sean Couturier enjoyed big bounce-back nights in Game 2, powering Philly to a 5-1 win. Now the first-round series is tied 1-1 as it shifts to Philadelphia.

Stay tuned for more on that contest.

Here’s the potential Letang injury:

Sidney Crosby wasn’t happy about the hit.

***

One big selling point for the Pittsburgh Penguins as they aim for a “threepeat” is that they’ve had a healthy Kris Letang in the lineup. That might not last through Game 2 of the first round.

In a truly strange collision, Letang collided hard with Claude Giroux. Giroux seemed to check on Letang immediately afterward, Letang exited the ice right away. It’s a bit puzzling that Letang seemed to be focused on his hand after the hit, but that’s at least how things looked after initial replays.

Video of the collision is coming soon. In the meantime, observe it in GIF form:

So far, Letang has not returned to Game 2 for the Penguins as they try to fight back from a 2-0 lead for Philly.

One of the plays of the game happened in the second period, as Brian Elliott stopped Sidney Crosby on a breakaway. It’s early, but Elliott’s currently authoring a remarkable rebound.

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.