With week 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the books, Vegas Knights of The Roundtable is pleased to bring you a week ending recap of all the action that took place in the opening round of the NHL’s second season.

(Logo courtesy of the National Hockey League)

Eastern Conference

Washington Capitals vs. Toronto Maple Leafs: Series Tied 1-1

The two Eastern Conference based entered into the Stanley Cup Playoffs having never faced each other in their respected club history. This highly anticipated matchup has been lead by the buzz between Alexander Ovechkin and Austin Matthews.

For the Washington Capitals they decided that this year was the season to go all in with their quest at the Stanley Cup when they traded for former defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.

Game 1: The opening game of the series we saw the much younger Toronto Maple Leafs squad take it to the veteran Washington Capitals team when Mitch Marner scored the series opening goal within the first two minutes of the game.

Later on in the period the Maple Leafs struck again this time by Jake Gardiner. Their 2 goal lead surprised the Capitals but that did not phase Mr. Game 7 Justin Williams. Williams cut Washington’s lead by half when he connected on the power play.

In the games middle frame Mr. Game 7 stepped up once again and knotted the game up a 2-2. This brought the Verizon Center crowd their feet. Williams became Mr. Game 1 for his Capitals teammates.

Between the game tying goal both teams played a pretty tight game with no scoring in the 3rd period.

In the overtime frame Washington Tom Wilson was the eventual hero for the Capitals when he fired the puck on net past Andersen to take the 1-0 series lead over the up and coming Maple Leafs.

Game 2: In the games opening period we saw once again the Toronto Maple Leafs open the scoring when former Philadelphia Flyers draft pick Justin van Reimsdyk shot a high wrister past Anderson to record his first goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Capitals answered the call in the middle stanza where we saw Alexander Ovechkin and John Carlson register their first goals of the playoffs within the first five minutes of the 2nd and past the second half of the period.

For Toronto they went to work when Kasperi Kapanen scored his first and tied it up a 2-2. In the late stages of the second Morgan Rielly of the Maple Leafs took back the lead and brought the score to 3-2.

Washington’s veteran forward Nicklas Backstrom answered the call for this team at the 12:39 of the 3rd period that brought the game tied once again at 3-3. For the second time of the series both teams would see the overtime period.

In the series second overtime game both teams traded some amazing scoring chances but Holtby and Andersen were both cool headed and answered the call for their teams. Both had their chances of the man advantage but neither club failed the convert.

The result of that lead to this years first ever double overtime affair in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  It wasn’t until the 11:53 mark of the fifth period when Maple Leafs forward Kasperi Kapanen scored his second goal of the game and series to tie the series up a 1 game apiece.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets: Series 2-0 Penguins Lead

Entering into this series the experts had picked the heavily favored and defending Stanley Cup Champions to win this series. Both clubs last met in a prior meeting where we saw Pittsburgh defeat the Blue Jackets in a hard fought 6 game series affair.

Game 1: For Pittsburgh they continued where they left out in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the San Jose Sharks and opened the scoring in the games 2nd period where Bryan Rust and Phil Kessel each scored in a span of 5 minutes.

In the late stages of the middle frame Nick Bonino added to Pittsburgh’s lead to make it 3-0. It took until the 3rd period for Columbus to get on the board when Matt Calvert scored his first of the series. Calvert’s goal would be the only one for the Blue Jackets as the Penguins defeated their division rival 3-1.

Game 2: Much like the opening game of the series, Pittsburgh went after Columbus again this time by a goal from Penguins Captain Sydney Crosby. In the middle stanza the Blue Jackets saw their only tie of the series when Brandon Saad knotted the game up at 1-1.

That tie was short lived when Pittsburgh retook the lead by Jake Guentzel and made a 2-1 game. From there on the Penguins would never look back as they added two more goals in the final period by Evegni Malkin and Patrice Hornqvist. Pittsburgh ended up with a very convincing 4-1 victory over the Blue Jackets to take a 2-0 series lead into Columbus.  

New York Rangers vs. Montréal Canadiens: Series Tied 1-1

These two original six franchises have a storied filled history of facing each other in Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Rangers and Canadiéns have squared off prior to this years matchup 15 times where we saw Montréal win 8 series to New York’s 7.

Their most recent matchup came three seasons ago in the Eastern Conference Final where the Rangers defeated the Canadiêns to advance to the Stanley Cup Final against LA. For Los Angeles they became the second California base hockey team to defeat their opponent in the SCF in five games.

Game 1: The opener saw a very poised Henrik Lundqvist of New York vs the highly raved and favored Canadiéns netminder Carey Price. Opening the scoring for the Rangers was Tanner Glass at the series 9:50 mark to give New York a 1 goal lead. In the middle frame neither team failed to make contributions on the scoresheet.

In the games final period New York added to their lead when Michael Grabner connected on a Jesper Fast pass to put it home with an empty netter.

The veteran backstopper made 31 saves for the Rangers and came away with his first shutout of this years playoffs and his 10th of his postseason career. Price wasn’t too bad himself as he made 31 saves.

Game 2: The second game of the series we saw much more motivated and different Canadiéns team. In the opening frame of the game Montréal’s Jeff Petry put his club ahead at the 4:05 mark of the period.

However later in the period it was Michael Grabner of New York who recorded his second in the series unassisted to tie it up at 1-1. The 1-1 deadlock was briefly lived when Montréal retook the lead by Paul Byron to make it a 2-1 game.

In the middle frame it was all Rangers where Rick Nash and Matts Zuccarello each registered their first’s of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. giving New York a 3-2 lead. Nash’s goal would be his 13 postseason career tally.

The action picked up in the 3rd period where the Canadiéns stepped up their attack on the Rangers. With Price pulled late in the 3rd, their attack strategy paid off when Thomas Plekanec knotted the game up at 3-3 with 18 seconds left in the period. 

For the Canadiéns their hero of the night came with less two minutes in the overtime period when Alexander Radulov pumped it pass Lundqvist via the 5 hole to knot the series up at one game apiece.

Ottawa Senators vs. Boston Bruins: Series Tied 1-1

In both of their franchises history these two Eastern Conference teams have never faced one another in the Stanley Cup Playoffs until now.

Game 1: This game didn’t see it’s first of the series until the second period when Senators forward Bobby Ryan broke the 0-0 deadlock and opened the scoring to give Ottawa a one goal lead. Senators goaltender Craig Anderson kept Boston off the scoresheet for two straight periods.

For Anderson he saw his shutout bid wiped out when Bruins Frank Vatrano tied it up in the early stages of the final period. Later in the 3rd with less then 3 minutes to go veteran forward Brad Marchand gave Boston the 2-1 lead and the game winning goal to take the first game of the series.

Game 2: Following their game one victory to the Senators the Bruins were on the opening end of the scoring when Drew Stafford gave Boston the lead at the 9:47 mark of the second period. 70 seconds later it was Clarke MacArthur from Ottawa who tied the game up at 1-1 on the power play.

Also in the second period the Senators became the second team in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs to give up a shorthanded goal while on the man advantage courtesy of Bruins forward Tim Schaller.

At the 16:01 mark of the middle frame Boston struck once more when Patrice Bergeron recorded his first of the series and gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead going into the third.

In the third period it was all Ottawa when Chris Wideman and Derick Brassard each scored a goal in a span of just under 3 minutes. Both would record their first of the playoffs. Their goals led to the game being tied up before the 10 minute mark. The game would however require some much needed overtime to settle the score.

With less than 2 minutes left on the clock it was Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf who blasted a bomb of a shot from the point to beat Tukka Rask and knotted the series up at 1-1.

(Logo courtesy of the National Hockey League)

Western Conference

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville Predators: Series 2-0 Predators Lead

Going into this series the experts unanimously picked the Chicago Blackhawks to be the odd on favorite to not only win this series but the 2017 Stanley Cup.

In the prior two meetings between these two Central Division teams we saw Chicago come out on top both in 2010 and 2015 in which the Blackhawks captured the Stanley Cup in both years they defeated the Predators in the playoffs.

Game 1: In the series opening period it was Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson who opened the scoring and game winning goal of game one for Nashville.

Pekka Rinne for the Predators made 20 saves for the first shutout of this years playoffs. For Chicago’s Corey Crawford made 29 saves on 30 shots on goal.

Game 2: For Nashville they went back to work against the Blackhawks when Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis continued where his team left off in the previous game to open the scoring within games two first 4 minutes.

In second frame the Predators went hunting again and continued their attack on Chicago when Harry Zolnierczyk and Colton Sissons extended Nashville’s lead to 3-0.

For Nashville they weren’t done with their offensive onslaught against the Blackhawks. In the last 10 minutes of the final period the Predators added two more goals from Ryan Johansen and Kevin Fiala to cap off the night with a decisive 5-0 victory and Rinne’s second SO of the series.

Between games 1 and 2 Rinne stopped all 59 shots he faced and became the first goaltender in the playoffs to have back-2-back shutouts to his credit.

Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues: Series 2-0 Blues Lead

Prior to these two Central Division meeting in this years Stanley Cup Playoffs Minnesota Wild’s General Manager Chuck Fletcher decided that the time to win was now. So in doing so he went all in on trade deal with the Arizona Coyotes and acquired forwards Martin Hanzel and Ryan White.

The last time Minnesota and St. Louis met in the playoffs was in the 2014-2015 season in the first round. That series featured a 6 game affair where the Wild came out on top and advanced to the next round.

Game 1: The series first goal did not come until the 6:21 mark of the second period when Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka broke the 0-0 deadlock to take that one goal lead. St. Louis’s Jake Allen kept Minnesota off the scoresheet until the 19:37 mark of the 3rd period when Zach Parise redeemed himself from a sloppy play that happened earlier in the game.

Parise’s game tying goal in the late stages of the 3rd sent the sellout crowd at XL Energy Center into a frenzy to force overtime. Unfortunately for Parise’s game tying marker the Blues ended up beating the Wild 2-1 due to a defensive breakdown near Minnesota’s net as defenseman Joel Edmundson cashed in with an exposed 4×6 caused by Devin Dubnyk to give his team a 2-1 victory

For St. Louis Jake Allen he made 51 saves on 52 shots he face from the Wild. His outstanding game 1 performance would set a career record for him in saves in either a regular season matchup or a Stanley Cup Playoff game.

Game 2: In the second game of the young series we saw a similar storyline this time it was Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson who started off the scoring to record his 2nd goal of the playoffs in the middle frame.

Later in the second it was Zach Parise of the Wild who tied it up on the power play at 1-1. This would be the second time in the series that Parise knotted the game up. However the Wild would come up on the wrong end once again when Blues winger Jaden Schwartz gave his team the late lead and game winner to give St. Louis a 2-0 series lead.

This game was a much lighter one on Jake Allen as he only needed to stop 23 of 24 shots on net.

Anaheim Ducks vs. Calgary Flames: Series 2-0 Anaheim Lead

Probably one of the series to watch out for in the Western Conference in this years Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Ducks and Flames.

Their most recent bout in 2015 playoffs the Ducks easy handled Calgary in 5 games. The Ducks are coming off of their 5 straight Pacific Division Title while the Flames who in recent weeks look primed and ready to go.

Game 1: The Ducks got off to quick start when Anaheim’s Captain Ryan Getzlaf made the Flames pay on the power play at 52 second mark of the opening period. Later on in the period Calgary returned the favor with a power play goal of their own when Sean Monahan scored on the man advantage to tie it up at 1.

In the middle stanza Calgary’s Sam Bennett gave the Flames their only lead of game. Their lead did not last long when Ducks Rickard Rakell tied up at the 13:53 mark. His goal was followed up by Jakob Silfverberg in the late stages of the 2nd. Silverberg’s goal would the eventual game winner as Anaheim defeated the Flames by a 3-2 final.

This game featured a bloody and hard hitting hit feast with both teams registering a combined total of 63.

Game 2: Once again we saw the Ducks get off to early start this time with goals from Silfverberg and Rakell in the games first 7 minutes. These goals would be their second in the series respectively.

The Flames would answer late in the first with a goal of their own when Mikael Backlund cut Anaheim’s early lead to 2-1 with a shorthanded tally. Backlund became the third player in this years playoffs to score a shorty.

At the 7:01 mark of the middle period it was Sean Monahan who knotted the game up at 2-2 and the second goal of the playoffs.

His game tying goal would however be spoiled in late stages of the final period when Ducks Captain Ryan Getzlaf converted on the power play giving Anaheim a 3-2 lead and the game winner to go up 2-0 in the series.

This game also featured another round in the hit department with both teams as they upped the ante at 72 hits collectively.

Edmonton Oilers vs. San Jose Sharks: Series Tied 1-1

Having been out of the playoffs since the 2007 season the Oilers are ready to re-make a name for themselves in the NHL’s second season with Connor McDavid leading the charge.

This was the matchup that hockey world was waiting for to see McDavid make his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut since being drafted by the Oilers back in the 2015 NHL Draft at 1st overall.

As for the San Jose Sharks they looked a little fragile entering into the series with key injuries by Alternate Captains Joe Thornton and Logan Couture.

Game 1: The opening frame of this highly anticipated matchup between the 2016 Stanley Cup Finalists San Jose Sharks and the speedy Oilers did not disappoint. For Edmonton they opened the scoring at the 6:44 mark when Oscar Klefbom scored his first ever playoff goal of his NHL career.

His goal was then followed up by veteran forward and 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Milan Lucic to extend the Oilers lead to 2. San Jose in the first period struggled to find their legs.

In the second period it was Sharks Joel Ward that sparked his team when he scored on the power play thanks to sweet back door pass by Joonas Donskoi that cut into the Oilers lead 2 goal lead. This allowed San Jose to get their legs going in the second period of the game.

From the back half of the second period the Sharks speed game took over as their young stars outworked Edmonton’s young guns in all areas of the ice.

Going into the 3rd period the Oilers held a 1 goal lead until veteran defenseman Paul Martin connected on a rebound and tapped the puck into a wide open net to put it past Cam Talbot that tied the game up a 2 goals apiece.

60 minutes was not enough to settle the score as overtime was required. The hero in the games 4th period came from third line forward Melker Karlsson of San Jose when he fired a low level wrister far side that beat Talbot giving the Sharks a 1-0 series lead.

Game 2: Going into game of the series the Oilers knew that being down 0-2 was not an option for them and in doing so they went after San Jose early and often with the physicality.

This caught the Sharks off guard and they could not respond to the Oilers game plan. Edmonton was playing a much desperate game in the early stages of the series that prevented them from going down to the Bay Area with a 0-2 hole.

Leading that charge in the scoring department was veteran forward Zack Kassian as he connected on a breakaway goal while he’s team was killing off a penalty that was being served by Patrick Maroon’s cross checking minor from the opening period.

It wasn’t until the 10:31 of the final period where Connor McDavid would make his mark in his Stanley Cup Playoff carer.

McDavid would become the second Oilers player in the game and in this years playoffs to score a shorthanded against the opposing team.

This game featured a bloody and hard hitting hit feast courtesy of the Edmonton Oilers who out hit the San Jose Sharks 41-21 (EDM hit leaders: Kassian and Larsson at 6, Benning at 5, and McDavid with 4). Also highlighted in the game was Edmonton and San Jose going a combined 0-10 on the power play.

Week two of the Stanley Cup Playoffs kicks off on Sunday.

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