Saturday, May 05, 2018

Morning Playoff Notes (May 5)

The top line for the Pittsburgh Penguins was at it again on Thursday night, as they led the charge to tie their series up against the Washington Capitals at 2-2, after a hard fought 3-1 win.  With Tom Wilson sitting out the first of his 3-game suspension, the Capitals didn't quite have the same compete level on the ice and that helped the Penguins to a 2-1 lead after two periods and then adding an empty-netter to finally achieve their final score.

Jake Guentzel had a pair of goals, Sidney Crosby had a pair of assists, Evgeni Malkin scored the winner and Matt Murray only had to make 20 saves for the victory and now the series heads back to Washington tied and they'll play again on Saturday night.

The Nashville Predators did a little bit of tinkering to their lineup, ahead of Thursday night's game in Winnipeg, as Kevin Fiala was among the healthy scratches coming out the lineup and a return of non-pool forward Scott Hartnell helped the team's grit, as the visitors also brought their series against the Jets even at two games a piece with a 2-1 regulation win.  The Predators played a strong defensive game, keeping the Jets offense off the board until the final minute of the game, but by then, it was already too late.  This series will head back to Nashville for a Saturday night game, tied 2-2.

Pekka Rinne made 32 saves for the win and P.K. Subban scored the eventual winning goal and they were the top two notable players in this game.

If the other three series were supposed to be any indication, things were looking good for the Boston Bruins, as the other three all ended Game 4 with the series tied at 2-2. Well, those indications don't really matter and the Tampa Bay Lightning didn't quite see it that way, as they clawed their way to a 4-3 overtime victory on Friday night and they have now put the Bruins behind the 8-ball, with a 3-1 series lead.  Tampa Bay didn't make it easy on themselves, giving up an early 2-0 lead to go down 3-2, tying it up in the 3rd to force extra time, but the extra frame didn't last four minutes, so it was a quick finish for the commanding series lead.

Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves as the notable players on the winning side, while Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Torey Krug each had 2 points in the loss.

The Bruins also suffered a major injury loss, as Krug left the game in the 2nd period with a lower-body injury, believed to be an ankle injury, and the early speculation was not positive.  It seems very doubtful that we'll see Krug for Game 5 and beyond.

The first Game 5 of the second round went in Vegas on Friday night and the Golden Knights returned home to their own beds and a ravenous crowd and they made the most of it.  The home team put on a strong performance for about 48 minutes in this game, then the San Jose Sharks, not wanting to really lose too much face in this game, started a 3rd period comeback, already down 4-0 and made the game interesting, bringing it back to 4-3, but an empty-netter by Jonathan Marchessault spoiled the finish and the Golden Knights won, 5-3, taking a 3-2 series lead and they'll head back to San Jose for Sunday night.

Marchessault added an assist for a 2-point night and David Perron had a couple of helpers for his 2-point night, while Marc-Andre Fleury stood in for 27 saves and the victory.  The San Jose comeback was ultimately cut short, but it was led by Logan Couture, who had 3 assists, and Tomas Hertl and Mikkel Boedker each had a goal and an assist.

In the lineup notes, Tomas Tatar returned to the press box as a healthy scratch for the Golden Knights and after a win like this, it seems unlikely that he'll be in the lineup for Game 6.

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