Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Morning Playoff Notes (Apr 17)

The trick for the Maple Leafs in Game 3 against the Bruins was to contain Boston's top line and at the same time, find the back of the net. It's easier said that done, many would agree, but the Leafs were able to do just that, finding some of their regular season moxie, quieting down Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak and they came away with a 4-2 win to climb back into this series, now only down 2-1.

The Leafs got a timely goal from Auston Matthews, which turned out to be the winner in 2nd period, while Patrick Marleau, Mitch Marner and Morgan Reilly each had 2 points on the scoreboard and Frederik Andersen was exceptional on the night, making 40 saves, including the top contender for save of the playoffs, for the win.

Non-pool forward Riley Nash returned to the lineup, meaning that Ryan Donato came out as a healthy scratch and then Nick Holden went back into the lineup after an injury to non-pool defenseman Matt Grzelcyk.

We all knew that the New Jersey Devils were in tough against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but we also had a faint idea that they may have enough talent to pull something out of their hats and surprise us all. Thanks to a huge effort by their team MVP, Taylor Hall, and gutsy effort from returning goalie Cory Schneider, the Devils were able to hang on to a 3-2 lead in the later stages in the game, plus adding a couple of empty-netters to win the game, 5-2.

Hall had a goal and a pair of assists in the victory and Schneider made 34 saves for the victory and were the only two notable players on the Devils in this game.  Both Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn each had a goal and an assist and Nikita Kucherov had a pair of assists in the loss.

There was one thing that the Colorado Avalanche had no problem doing in the first two games in Nashville and that was scoring the first goal. They just couldn't hold onto a lead to save their results. So, Game 3 at home, they did better. Not only did they score the first goal, they scored the first four goals and really poured on the offense, something they could really grab onto and keep for themselves.  The Avalanche did make it interesting, allowing the Predators to claw back a few, but in the end, their initial rush of scoring was enough, as they were able to win, 5-3.

The Avalanche needed Nathan MacKinnon to be dominant and he was, scoring a pair, including the eventual winner for a 3-point night, while Gabriel Landeskog got 3 points the old fashioned way, a goal and 2 assists and then Mikko Rantanen added a pair of assists of his own.  Ryan Ellis chimed in with a pair of assists in a losing cause on the other side.

The San Jose Sharks made it a complete 4-for-4 sweep of home teams winning on Monday night, as they decimated the Anaheim Ducks, 8-1, to take a choke hold on the series, 3-0, leaving very little hope for the Ducks.

After what was a competitive 1st period, the two teams even at 1-1, the Sharks poured it on in the middle frame and the Ducks had absolutely no answer and the rout was on and completed.  Somehow, the Ducks still poured on 46 shots, which meant Martin Jones made 45 saves for the win, while Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Evander Kane all contributed multi-point games for the Sharks and the pool.

The Ducks now face elimination on Wednesday night.

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