Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Morning Playoff Notes (May 2)

The return of Evgeni Malkin to the Penguins lineup and the scene shifting to Pittsburgh wasn't enough to stop Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night, but in true playoff fashion, this game was back and forth and was settled just before the final buzzer in regulation went off.  With the Capitals down 3-2 heading into the 3rd period, they leaned heavily on their best players and they certainly did not disappoint.  Matt Niskanen tied up the game, five minutes into the final frame and then Ovechkin batted his own rebound off the post, past a sprawled Matt Murray with a minute to go and that was enough to lift the Capitals to a 2-1 series lead.

With the bonus point, Ovechkin had a 3-point night, also having an assist, while Nicklas Backstrom registered 3 assists in the win.  Braden Holtby stopped 19 shots for the victory, rounding out the notable players for Washington.  Both Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel continued to roll, each posting a goal and an assist in the loss.

Normally, a 3-0 lead after the 1st period would be enough for the Nashville Predators to cruise to a victory, but this playoff series against the Jets wasn't going to allow anything like that to happen.  The Jets opened the 2nd period with three quick responses within three minutes of each other, before the 6-minute mark and all of a sudden it was a brand new game.  The Jets tallied once more before the end of the 2nd and all of a sudden the game was flipped on its head.  Nashville tied the game again, early in the 3rd period, but Blake Wheeler potted a power play goal with just under five to go to retake the lead and the Jets never looked back.  The Jets added a couple of empty netters and the game finished as a 7-4 final and a 2-1 series lead for Winnipeg.

Wheeler finished with a 4-point night, including the bonus point for the winner, while Dustin Byfuglien and Paul Stastny had 3-point nights and then Jacob Trouba, Mark Scheifele and Connor Hellebuyck all finished with 2 points in the win.  Lots of points to be had for many combinations of three Jets players.  Filip Forsberg, Mattias Ekholm, P.K. Subban and Ryan Johansen were all 2-point players in the loss.  Get your points while they're hot!

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