Thursday, April 12, 2018
Morning Playoff Notes (Apr 12)
Last night, I had an unexpected guest come around for the hockey games last night, so I will be playing catch-up with all the submitted teams this year. Fortunately, there are not as many as previous years, so there isn't nearly as much stress.
We're through night number one, so let's see how it all shook out.
The whiteout in Winnipeg has returned and boy, did that MTS Centre look like a rocking place for Game 1! The Wild and the Jets treated us all to some pretty good playoff hockey to open up the tournament, as the game was back-and-forth, the checking was tight and extra-curricular activities around the goalies was in full fashion. The Jets were able to sneak out a 3-2 victory, after giving up a 1-0 lead early in the 3rd period, Patrik Laine leveled up the game, less than a minute after going down 2-1, and then non-pool defenseman Joe Morrow snuck a point shot past Devan Dubnyk midway through the final frame and the Jets never looked back.
So, Morrow snaked the first bonus point from the pool, but Connor Hellebuyck got the first win here on the blog and he was the only multi-point player in the game.
As expected, Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele and Josh Morrissey all returned to active play for the Jets in Game 1, while Zach Parise and Jared Spurgeon were in the lineup for the Wild. Box 7 forward for the Jets, Mathieu Perreault, left the game early with an upper-body injury, believed to be a shoulder problem and didn't return. There was no word on his status after the game.
In Pittsburgh, it was all Penguins, all night long. Bryan Rust opened the scoring before the 3-minute mark and by the midway point of the 3rd period, they had kicked the extra point to go up 7-0 and that's where that stayed. A dominant performance, from start to finish, Matt Murray making 24 saves for the shutout, Jake Guentzel posting a goal and 3 assists and Sidney Crosby registering a natural hat-trick to round out the pool scoring for the night.
Derick Brassard returned to the Penguins lineup and he was the only player on the news page, coming back from a lower-body injury.
Finally, the Vegas Golden Knights opened up their first playoff series at home to a raucous crowd and quite a bit of fan fare. The Los Angeles Kings walked into a pretty excellent atmosphere and they were ready to play. These two teams put on a great Pacific Division, Western Conference battle, not giving an inch either way. There was only one break in the intensity and it was on the visitor's side, only four minutes into the game, where Shea Theodore scored from the point and that was the goal that stood up as the only one, giving Vegas their first home victory in their first home game.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves for the shutout, giving him a 4-point game as well. It was a good night for goalies, by the look of things, and once we have all the teams in, we'll have a good idea about who did well and who did not.
Let me get on top of that.