Weekly Stanley Cup playoff notebook:
Tampa Bay Lighting (1) vs. New Jersey Devils (WC2)
Series: Lightning lead 2-0.
Tampa Bay is having no troubles finding the back of the net, as after two games Devils’ goaltender Keith Kinkaid is posting an inflated 5.87 GAA. Eight players on the Lightning have two or more points and Tampa Bay is converting on 75% of their power-play opportunities. Devils star forward Taylor Hall has two points in his first two playoff games.
Next Game: Tonight, 4:30 p.m. in New Jersey.
Pittsburgh Penguins (2) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (3)
Series: Penguins lead 2-1.
The three-headed monster of Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin and Phil Kessel is proving to be difficult to handle for the Flyers. Crosby is second in playoff scoring with four goals and three assists. Pittsburgh is drastically outshooting the Flyers and boasts an impressive 26.7% power-play conversion rate. Pens goaltender Matt Murray is his usual playoff self with a 1.70 goals against average.
Two down, fourteen to go.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 16, 2018
Here are the highlights from Round 1, Game 3. pic.twitter.com/37Pc6qvovx
Next Game: Wednesday, 4:00 p.m. in Philadelphia.
Boston Bruins (2) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (3)
Series: Bruins lead 2-0.
Bruin’s forward David Pastrnak is leading the playoffs in scoring with nine points in two games. The Bruin’s top line is outscoring Toronto’s 40 points to two. After 30-goal scorer Nazem Kadri was suspended for three games on his hit on Bruins forward Tommy Wingels, and with the Leafs’ Auston Matthews and William Nylander being held pointless after two games, it’s looking to be a relatively quick series.
Next Game: Tonight, 4:00 p.m. in Toronto.
Washington Capitals (1) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (WC1)
Series: Blue Jackets lead 2-0.
Both wins have came in overtime for the Blue Jackets. Columbus forward Artemi Panarin has proven invaluable to his team after setting up the tying goal and eventually slotting the game-winner in Game 1. Despite posting a 3.04 GAA, Blue Jacket goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has proven he is able to perform in the playoffs. Special teams is costing the Capitals as they have killed off only four of eight penalties. It might be time for Washington to bring back starting goaltender Braden Holtby.
🍞GAME🍞— x - Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) April 14, 2018
Next Game: Tuesday, 4:30 p.m. in Columbus.
Nashville Predators (1) vs. Colorado Avalanche (WC2)
Series: Predators lead 2-0.
Hart trophy candidate Nathan MacKinnon has had his hands full against an extremely deep Nashville team. The Predators have been able to provide scoring from a handful of players, including seven points from their third line including the likes of Vancouver-born Colton Sissons, ex-Canuck Nick Bonino and Austin Watson.
Next Game: Tonight, 7:00 p.m. in Colorado.
Anaheim Ducks (2) vs. San Jose Sharks (3)
Series: Sharks lead 2-0.
San Jose has been able to provide scoring from more than one line this time around. Vancouver native Evander Kane has shown he is ready for playoff hockey with his first two career playoff goals in Game 1. It has been a battle of the goaltenders between San Jose’s Martin Jones and Anaheim’s John Gibson. Gibson will have to be stellar on the road as they head to San Jose down 2-0.
"We're a tough team to play against. You've got to earn your way to beat us in a game. We've definitely carried that mindset here in the playoffs" -DeBoer pic.twitter.com/qhwGLQAX2q— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) April 15, 2018
Next Game: Tonight, 7:30 p.m. in San Jose.
Winnipeg Jets (2) vs. Minnesota Wild (3)
Series: Jets lead 2-1.
After being down 2-0, the Wild came back scoring six goals at home in a Game 3 win. The Wild’s first power-play unit, consisting of Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund, is proving to be effective against the Jets as their power play is converting 37.5% of the time. Jets’ sophomore sensation Patrik Laine is leading the charge with two goals and two assists as well as the dominant play of goaltender Connor Hellebuyck on home ice.
Next Game: Tuesday, 5:00 p.m. in Minnesota.
Vegas Golden Knights (1) vs. Los Angeles Kings (WC1)
Series: Golden Knights lead 3-0.
The Golden Knights are no fluke. Leading the series 3-0 it is almost certain they will advance. Both goalies in the Golden Knights’ Marc-Andre Fleury and Kings’ Jonathan Quick are boasting two of the best goals against average with 0.84 and 1.69, respectively. As well, both teams have the highest penalty-kill percentage in the playoffs with 90.9%. It has been a defensive battle but the depth of Vegas has provided the edge. Missing defenceman Drew Doughty for Game 2 was costly for the Kings.
Check. pic.twitter.com/KeKBCfzhCf— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) April 16, 2018
Next Game: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. in Los Angeles.
B.C.-born player update:
Vancouver’s Evander Kane had two goals in a 3-0 win over Anaheim. The two goals were Kane’s first career playoff goals in his first playoff game.
North Vancouver’s Martin Jones recorded a 25 save shutout in the Sharks’ first meeting with the Kings. Jones followed up the 3-0 shutout with a 28-save 3-2 win to extend the Sharks’ lead to 2-0 in the series against the Ducks.
Nashville’s Colton Sissons, who hails from North Vancouver, has himself a goal and two assists through two games for the Preds.
Vancouver’s Ryan Johansen has a goal and two assists as well for the Preds.
Langley’s Shea Theodore had the lone goal for the Golden Knights in their 1-0 win against the Kings on Wednesday, as well as an assist in the second game.
Way-too-early Conn Smythe Watch:
There are a few early candidates for the Conn Smythe trophy, awarded to the player judged most valuable to his team in the NHL playoffs.
Sidney Crosby: Crosby has carried the Penguins to a 2-1 series lead against the Flyers, producing seven points in their two wins. Crosby has a plus-6 rating and is converting on 44.4% of the shots he takes. Crosby has won the trophy for the last two seasons and knows what it takes to win the Stanley Cup.
Don't make Sid mad... Or else. pic.twitter.com/a6THPZJGnR— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 15, 2018
Artemi Panarin: Panarin set up the goal from Seth Jones to push the Blue Jackets into overtime in Game 1. In overtime, Panarin produced an amazing play lifting the puck over the shoulder of Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer. Panarin had another two assists in Game 2, helping the Blue Jackets win in overtime once again.
Boston Bruins first line: At this point in the playoffs it is hard to decide which forward deserves the trophy most on the Bruins first line. David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron have scored a combined five goals and 15 assists in two games against a very strong Toronto Maple Leafs team.
This was obscene. 🎩🎩🎩 pic.twitter.com/2Ff1RVg3iS— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) April 15, 2018