Good god, Sharks fans. What a week we’ve had. The Sharks may have swept the dreaded Anaheim Ducks, but they weren’t the only ones. Here’s a recap of what went on in each playoff series this week. There was a whole lot of action.
In the East:
After a troubling 7-0 game one loss, it looked like the defending Stanley Cup champs, the Pittsburgh Penguins, were going to have an easy go at the series. Don’t be fooled, folks. The Flyers have come back to keep the series alive. Game 3 wasn’t the one, though. They fell 5-1, ironically the same score they beat the Pens by in Game 2. Sidney Crosby racked up four points. The lone Philly goal was scored by Travis Sanheim.
Game 4 rolled around and the Flyers crumbled again. This time they lost 5-0. Shoddy goaltending and sloppy defense have been a season-long struggle for the Flyers and it showed this game. The Pens stars came out to play with Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang all finding the back of the net. It seemed like a done deal for the Flyers.
Come Game 5, things looked a bit different. Sean Couturier returned to the Flyers line up after suffering a knee injury in practice and helped them live to see another day. Claude Giroux got the Flyers on the board first. Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel responded to give the Pens a 2-1 lead in the second before Valtteri Filppula scored a shorty to tie the game up. When the third period rolled around, Couturier found the net, followed shortly by Matt Read leading to a 4-2 Flyers victory.
As Sharks fans know, you can’t count out Pittsburgh in Game 6. It’ll all go down on Sunday at 12:00 PST. The Penguins lead the series 3-2.
Game 1 did not end favorably for the New Jersey Devils and Game 2 was no different. The Devils fought hard but ultimately couldn’t hold off the offensively hot Lightning. Blake Coleman scored for the Devils in the third period, but it was too late. The Devils fell 3-5.
Game 3 was a chippy one. Things got a bit scrappy, with Brian Boyle threatening to murder someone. Oh, sweet hockey. This game was the Devils’ game. They won 5-2, even though the Lightning struck first with a goal from Alex Killorn. Taylor Hall responded shortly after. Will Butcher, Stefan Noesen, Black Coleman, and Ben Lovejoy all got on the board.
Jersey’s momentum flatlined shortly after. Game 4 ended in a 3-1 Tampa victory. Kyle Palmieri got the Devils on the board first, but that would be the only goal they’d have. J.T. Miller scored shortly after, while Nikita Kucherov netted his first goal of the game. The second was the game-winner for the Lightning in the third period.
Tampa Bay leads the series 3-1. Game 5 will take place today at 12:00 PST.
Anyone else rooting for the Capitals after that adorable (and incredibly frustrating) video of Brett Connolly desperately trying to get a puck to a little girl during warm-ups? If so, they just tied up the series and things are heating up. The Blue Jackets were leading the series after two games, taking down the Caps 5-4 in overtime Game 2. Game 3 went into double overtime when the teams tied at 2-2 at the end of regulation. Lars Eller scored the game-winner for Washington.
The series was still in favor of Columbus until Game 4 on Thursday. It was the Cap’s show. Tom Wilson started off the game with a goal, TJ Oshie scored on the power play in the second, and Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov wrapped it up for them in the third period. Columbus didn’t score until Boone Jenner found the net in the third period.
The series is all tied up at two apiece. The fight will continue today at 12:00 PST.
After taking Game 1 with a 5-1 victory, the Bruins looked even better in Game 2. David Pastrnak had a hat trick, while other players who tend to fall in the background like Kevan Miller and Rick Nash also put pucks into the net. Overall, Boston was the stronger team.
Things changed in Game 3. Toronto kept their chances alive by beating the Bruins 4-2. Old friend Patrick Marleau picked up two goals, his firsts in the postseason. Bay Area-born Auston Matthews also had his first postseason goal.
Game 4 was all about Boston again. The Bruins took a 3-1 victory in Toronto. Jake DeBrusk, Torey Krug, and Brad Marchand had the three goals. Patty didn’t find the net in Game 4, but he did have an assist on the lone goal by Tomas Plekanec.
Nazem Kadri, who was suspended two games after a bad hit on old friend Tommy Wingels will return to the lineup tonight for Game 5. Patrice Bergeron, who missed Game 4 with an upper-body injury, will likely be a game-time decision for Boston. The Bruins lead the series 3-1 and will look to advance tonight at 5:00 PST.
In the West:
The Winnipeg Jets have been a dominant team this season and the ‘yoffs have been no different. They had a 2-0 lead on the series until Game 3, when the Wild managed to pull off a 6-2 victory. Devan Dubnyk was in goal and had a .935 save percentage on the night. Things looked a lot more positive for the Wild. It didn’t last long, though. The Wild were shut out by the Jets in Game 4. Mark Scheifele had both of the Winnipeg goals.
The Jets had the chance to take it all on Friday and that’s just what they did. They shut out the Wild 5-0. Former Shark Alex Stalock relieved Dubnyk in net after four goals were scored on him. Stalock managed to make 15 saves, allowing one goal. The Jets will advance to the next round.
The Western series are wrapping up quicker than the Eastern ones. I’m sure a lot of you thought this series would be over by now, but the Avalanche fight on. The Preds took a 2-0 series lead after winning Game 2 by a 5-4 margin. The Avalanche put up a hard fought battle that carried over into Game 3. Colorado took home the 5-3 win. Nathan MacKinnon had two goals for Colorado.
Nashville went on to win Game 4, with goals from Fillip Forsberg, Colton Sissons, and Craig Smith ending the game 3-2. The Preds had a chance to advance on Friday, but the Avs fought back. They won 2-1, pushing the series to a Game 6. Sven Andrighetto and Gabriel Landeskog had the two goals.
Will the Avalanche be able to extend the series to a Game 7? We’ll find out tomorrow at 4:00 PST.
Vegas Golden Knights vs Los Angeles Kings
Good news is the Kings didn’t win a single playoff game. Bad news, they were beaten by a dominate expansion team the Sharks will have to face next. Regardless, let’s celebrate our rivals burning to the ground for now. Both Southern California teams failed to win a postseason game, for that we celebrate.
To be fair, the Kings played tough and really could have won a few games in this series. They were all close ones. It came down to Marc-Andre Fleury's superior goaltending and the Kings’ inability to find the net on the rare occasion Fleury gave them a chance. Each game was won by a single goal. Game 3 was a hard fought 3-2 victory by Vegas. Fleury had a .949 save percentage.
Come Game 4, the Golden Knights were ready for the sweep. Brayden McNabb scored for Vegas in the second period and that was all it took. The Golden Knights took the series with a 1-0 victory over the Kings on Tuesday. An expansion team really shouldn’t be this good.
What series do you think will end next? Let us know in the comments below!