2023 Playoffs game thread: Opening round matchups taking shape

Stamkos and Matthews drop the gloves in Tampa Bay. Fleury loses his starting job in Minnesota. LA wins it in overtime on a controversial play.

2023 Playoffs game thread: Opening round matchups taking shape
Photo by Klim Musalimov / Unsplash

The slate of hockey games continues this week with the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs proving to be extremely entertaining.

None of the teams heading into today's games have a chance at a sweep and many of these matchups look like they have the chance to go a full seven games. Here's what's on the schedule.

Today, April 23, 2023

Carolina Hurricanes at New York Islanders 10 a.m. PT: The Hurricanes lead this series 2-1 and other than a few minutes here and there, the Canes have looked like the better team. The Islanders pulled back into the series on Friday thanks to an incredible final four minutes in the third period.

The team broke a 1-1 tie with 3:51 remaining in regulation and then reeled off three more goals to win by a lopsided 5-1 score. We'll see if the team has more magic in it this morning.

Boston Bruins at Florida Panthers 12:30 p.m. PT: This Bruins team took the Panthers' punches in Game 2 of the series and then countered with an attack of its own on Friday, winning 4-2 to go up 2-1 in the seven game series.

Boston will be without Patrice Bergeron again today. He didn't even travel with the team to Florida. Still, the Bruins pulled out a win in Game 3 and will have to dig deep again if the team wants to return to Boston with a stranglehold on the series.

Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild 3:30 p.m. PT: Speaking of doing without, the Stars will be without Joe Pavelski until at least Game 5 of this series. Pavelski is in concussion protocol after that hit by Matt Dumba and there's no word on if/when he'll return.

His Stars are in Minnesota, currently trailing the series 1-2. Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury admitted that he did not play well in Game 2, when the Stars beat up on the Wild 7-3. He did not get a chance to redeem himself in Game 3. Instead, Filip Gustavsson backstopped the Wild to a 5-1 victory and will likely get the start today.

Edmonton Oilers at Los Angeles Kings 6 p.m. PT: Not many people picked the Kings to win this series but LA currently leads 2-1. It was another instance of overtime heroics on Friday night, this time with Trevor Moore netting the controversial game winner.

Oilers fans will tell you the puck was hit with a high stick and therefore the whistle should have blown. However, the league says there's not enough evidence to prove it and so the goal and the win stands.

Tomorrow, April 24, 2023

New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers 4 p.m. PT: The Rangers were on the brink of a sweep until New Jersey managed to get that game winner in overtime yesterday. Game 3 had a much different tenor than Games 1 and 2 of the series.

In the first two games, the Rangers beat the Devils by matching 5-1 scores. This time around it was a low scoring affair with a 2-1 final score.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Lightning 4:30 p.m. PT: You know there's a lot of hate in this series when Steven Stamkos provokes Auston Matthews into a fight.

Toronto's head coach Sheldon Keefe was not happy after the game and accused the Lightning of "manipulating" the officials by taking advantage of a situation where a penalty was already going to be called against the Lightning.

Toronto ultimately won the game 4-3 in overtime and currently leads the series 2-1.

Vegas Golden Knights at Winnipeg Jets 6:30 p.m. PT: The Jets' chances of winning the series just got a lot smaller. Sounds like Norris contender Josh Morrissey is out for the remainder of the series after injuring himself on what looked like a simple move in the defensive zone.

Without Morrissey, the Jets will need Connor Hellebuyck to steal a game or two against the high scoring Golden Knights.

Vegas currently leads the series 2-1 thanks to a 5-4 win in double overtime yesterday.

Colorado Avalanche at Seattle Kraken 7 p.m. PT: For two periods, the Kraken hung with the defending Stanley Cup Champions in the first playoff game in the team's history. Then, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen happened.

The Avs beat the Kraken 6-4 yesterday to take a 2-1 series lead.

So that's where things stand hockey fans. Which teams will even things up and which teams are just holding on for dear life?