At long last, the NHL playoffs have returned! The qualifiers and round robin are done, and now the real thing begins. There were supposed to be a four game per day split, but due to a very spectacular circumstance we only got three for day one.
This recap will cover all eight games from the first two days of the NHL playoffs. Things are already very weird and different, but the very first game would end up making an even more phenomenal circumstance. On top of that is was a game for the record books.
What a spectacular start to the playoffs this one was. The underdog Blue Jackets would get on the board first with a power play goal from Pierre-Luc Dubois to make it 1-0 Columbus. Tampa would respond though as Brayden Point would slide a shot under Joonis Korpisalo to tie the game at 1-1 after the first period. Columbus would retake the lead in the second period on a goal by Oliver Bjorkstrand putting Columbus up 2-1 after two.
The Lightning would find their way back though as Korpisalo would accidentally kick the puck into his own net. The goal would be credited to Yanni Gourde and at 2-2 we’d go to the first overtime of these playoffs. This game would need a staggering five overtimes to reach it’s resolution! To put it into perspective the Flames vs Stars game was done before this one and it started two hours after. The Hurricanes vs Bruins game would have to be postponed until the next day due to all Eastern teams playing in Toronto.
By the time Point would score the game winner for the Lightning on a beautiful shot over the shoulder of Korpisalo, history would be made. The young Columbus netminder set a new NHL record for most saves in a playoff game with 85! This broke Kelly Hrudy’s old record of 73 saves against the Washington Capitals in a game that went to five overtimes.
The first Western conference game of these playoffs was between the Dallas Stars and the Calgary Flames. The first period was the Dillon Dube show as he scored two goals in the period. The first was off a beautiful one-timer set up by Milan Lucic. The second came on a beautiful individual effort as he danced his was around the defence and burried it past Anton Khudobin making it 2-0 Calgary after the first period.
The second period is where the rest of the goals would come from. Starting it off was Denis Guirianov who’d bank a shot off the defender to cut the lead to 2-1. Then Jamie Benn would tie the game just nine seconds later off a bad hopper under the arm of Cam Talbot making this a 2-2 game. However the Flames would find some heroics from the blue-line as Rasmus Andersson would find the top right corner on Khudobin for the game winner and a 3-2 Flames victory.
The final game of the playoffs on Tuesday was the Vegas Golden Knights against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Golden Knights would open the scoring with a second period goal from Shae Theodore who beat Corey Crawford short side for a 1-0 lead. Vegas would add to the lead as William Carrier would score to make it 2-0 Vegas. Chicago would respond on special teams though as David Kampf would bury a shorthanded goal past his old teammate Robin Lehner to close the gap to 2-1 after two.
The Blackhawk comeback would not manifest however, as Vegas would score the only two goals of the third period. Both goals would come from Reilly Smith who first beat Crawford on a scramble play. Then he’d wire home a beautiful shot to finish the game off with a 4-1 Vegas win.
This is the game that got postponed due to the Lightning and Blue Jackets game going to five overtimes. Good thing too because this one also needed extra time as these two teams are very evenly matched. Carolina’s Joel Edmundson would open the scoring in the first period beating Tuukka Rask for a 1-0 Hurricanes lead. The Bruins would respond in kind as Petr Mrazek would be unable to stop David Pastrnak who’d tie the game at 1-1. Boston would take their first lead of the game in the second as Charlie Coyle would put them up 2-1. Then Brock McGinn would tie the game at 2-2 shorthanded only 21 seconds later making it 2-2 after two.
Bruins forward David Krejci would score less than a minute into the third period to put Boston up 3-2. The “bunch a’ jerks” wouldn’t go away though as Hayden Fleury would knot this one up at 3-3 sending this game into overtime. One wouldn’t be enough so it would take the second overtime to determine a winner. The top line for Boston would showcase a beautiful passing play that resulted in the game winner from Patrice Bergeron and the 4-3 win.
Immediately after the Bruins vs Canes game was the Washington Capitals taking on the New York Islanders. After a scoreless first period the Caps would get a pair of powerplay goals from T.J. Oshie. Oshie would capitalise on a couple blasts past Semyon Varlamov to make it 2-0 Capitals. The Isles would cut the deficit before the period ended with a goal from Jordan Eberle making it 2-1 Washington after one.
The Islanders captain Anders Lee would tie the game up less than a minute into the third period at 2-2. Then on a rather unfortunate gaff from Brayden Holtby, New York would take the lead off a short handed goal by Josh Bailey to make it 3-2 Isles. Then Anthony Beauvillier would put the game away with a late third period goal to make the final 4-2 New York.
Now on to the fist Western Conference game of Wednesdays playoffs match ups. Two of the top offences in the league between the Colorado Avalanche and the Arizona Coyotes. However surprisingly it was a goalie duel for the first two periods as there was no scoring until the third period.
It was pretty impossible to not feel bad for Darcy Kuemper as the Coyotes were out shot 41-14 in the game. The first Avs goal came from Nazem Kadri on the powerplay on a mad scramble to make it 1-0. Then J.T. Compher would score an identical goal a little later adding to the lead at 2-0. Finally a gorgeous passing play would lead to a goal by Mikko Rantanen making the final score 3-0 Avs, with Phillip Grubauer getting the shutout.
The final Eastern conference playoffs match-up is the Philadelphia Flyers against the Montreal Canadiens. Both teams coming off strong goaltending as Carter Hart would play his idol in Cary Price. and after one he’d have the edge as Jakub Voracek would defect a powerplay marker for a 1-0 Flyers lead.
The only two remaining goals came in the second period. First came from Habs Captain Shea Weberas his powerplay marker tied the game at 1-1. The lead lasted all of 16 seconds then Joel Farabee would score the game winning goal putting the Flyers up 2-1. Hart continued his stellar play which allowed his team to hold in for the win.
The final match-up of these playoffs featured the reigning champion St. Louis Blues against the young gun Vancouver Canucks. The scoring started early as Canucks captain Bo Horvat would fire a powerplay goal past Jordan Binnington for a 1-0 lead. The Blues would repond with a powerplay marker of their own as David Perron would beat Jacob Markstrom tying the game at 1-1. Jayden Schwartz would give the Blues the lead in the second with a breakaway tally and the 2-1 Blues lead. Vancouver would respond with another powerplay marker, this time from Elias Pettersson making it a 2-2 game after two.
The floodgates would open up for the Canucks as the goals kept coming. First was Troy Stecher who would score a soft goal on Binnington to make it a 3-2 Canuck lead. Then Horvat would get his second of the game making it 4-2. Finally J.T. Miller would ice it on the powerplay for a 5-2 Canucks final.
That wraps up all the game one’s in the 2020 NHL playoffs. Were there any outcomes that surprised you? Let us know in the comments below.