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|Three of four games go to OT in wild Thursday night|
|Written by Erika Schnure|
|Friday, 13 April 2012 01:27|
Thursday's Stanley Cup Playoff scores
| New York 4, Ottawa 2 (New York leads series 1-0)
| Boston 1, Washington 0 (OT) (Boston leads series 1-0)
| San Jose 3, St. Louis 2 (2OT) (San Jose leads series 1-0)
| Phoenix 3, Chicago 2 (OT) (Phoenix leads series 1-0)
New York 4, Ottawa 2
Thursday night's Stanley Cup playoff games seemed to belong to the postseason first-timers. In Thursday's first game of four, New York Rangers' Ryan Callahan, in his first career playoff appearance as captain, scored the first goal of the game in an eventual 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators.
Though Callahan scored in the first period, halfway through the second period, the Rangers found themselves in trouble. The Rangers were leading 1-0, but were being badly outshot 22-12 by the Senators when coach John Tortorella got fed up and called a timeout to give his players a pep talk.
"We kind of stopped making plays. We weren't making passes," Marc Staal told reporters postgame of the reason behind the timeout. "It was more just to calm us down, remind us to make plays, make passes, make sure we're confident with the puck."
Whatever Tortorella said, it worked. "I thought after that, everyone kind of settled down and we kind of started to take the period over," Staal said.
The Rangers quickly ramped up their offense, and Marian Gaborik scored seven minutes later to make it 2-0. The Rangers didn't let up the pressure, and scored two more to eventually reach a 4-0 lead early in the third period. Following Tortorella's timeout, the Rangers scored on three of their next four shots, and outshot the Senators 21-10 through the end of the game.
The Senators scored twice late in the game, but they couldn't overcome their earlier mistakes to even the score. But Erik Condra was able to get in on the first-timer action -- he scored the Senators' second goal of the game in his first playoff game.
Game 2: at New York, 7 p.m. EDT Saturday (CBC, NBCSN, RDS, MSG)
Boston 1, Washington 0 (OT)
Another postseason newbie was the story of the game as the Washington Capitals took on the Boston Bruins in TD Garden Thursday night. Prior to Thursday, goaltender Braden Holtby had never played in an NHL playoff game, but apparently no one told Holtby that -- Holtby made 29 saves in his postseason debut, a 1-0 overtime loss for the Capitals.
Holtby looked every inch the veteran in the Capitals' net -- he was poised, calm, controlled, and made save after highlight-reel save. The Capitals defensive corps made his job a little easier by blocking 22 shots. Roman Hamrlik, celebrating his 38th birthday, led the charge by blocking five.
Through the first two periods, the Capitals were having trouble getting into an offensive groove. Strong defensively and in net, the Capitals were outshot by the Bruins 26-7 in the first 40 minutes.
In the third period, the tables had seemingly turned. The Bruins were held without a shot in almost 15 minutes of ice time in the second and third periods, while the Capitals started throwing pucks on Tim Thomas, who had been mostly idle until that point in the game.
After 60 minutes of play, neither team had managed to break through the respective walls in each net, and they went to overtime. But the Bruins only needed one shot on goal in the overtime period to finish it -- a Chris Kelly breakaway ended in a crushing loss for Holtby and the Capitals.
However, the Capitals found a lot to take away from battling an aggressive Bruins team. They responded well to the Bruins' physicality and did almost everything right -- everything except scoring, of course. "That's a pretty good game for us," defenseman Karl Alzner told reporters after the game. "It's easy to bounce back from that."
San Jose 3, St. Louis 2 (2OT)
Last week, St. Louis Blues center Patrik Berglund had never scored a playoff goal in his career -- by Thursday, he had scored two.
Unfortunately for Berglund and the Blues, his two goals were not enough to beat the San Jose Sharks in double overtime of Game 1. The Sharks' Martin Havlat, who had not scored a playoff goal since he was a member of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2009, scored the first goal of the game in the second period and netted the overtime game winner nearly 60 minutes later to get the Sharks a 3-2 win. Dan Boyle finished the game with two assists.
Oft-injured Havlat just made his return to the Sharks in March after missing 39 games with a hamstring injury that required surgery. Sharks captain Joe Thornton, for one, is happy to have him back in the line-up for the playoffs. "With Marty back, we're more difficult to defend," Thornton told the San Francisco Chronicle Wednesday. "He's so creative - he's an important player we need."
Jaroslav Halak made the start for the Blues, in for Brian Elliott, who is recuperating from an upper-body injury. Halak made 31 saves, but Antti Niemi was the busier of the two goaltenders on the night, making 40 saves, 14 in the first overtime period alone.
Game 2: at St. Louis, 7:30 p.m. EDT Saturday (TSN, CNBC, RDSI, CSN California, FS Midwest)
Phoenix 3, Chicago 2 (OT)
In his first game back on the ice since sustaining a concussion Feb. 19, Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews scored the first goal for the Blackhawks in Game 1 against the Phoenix Coyotes on his second shift of the game. "I think it was just a good shift," Toews told CSN Chicago TV after the first period. "I threw (the puck) in front and it happened to go in. It's an ugly one, but I'll take it."
The Phoenix Coyotes took over from there. Taylor Pyatt and Antoine Vermette scored in the second period to bring the Coyotes to a 2-1 lead. With one minute left in the third period, the Coyotes seemed content to wrap up the game, but the Blackhawks weren't done yet.
Just outside the paint, Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook found the rebound from a Patrick Kane shot in his feet, kicked the puck to his stick, and put it past goaltender Mike Smith to tie the game with 15 seconds left in regulation. For the third time in one night, a playoff game went to overtime (making it the first time three NHL playoff games have gone to overtime in one night since April 18, 2001).
In the first overtime period, the Coyotes dominated the play and maintained pressure in their zone, but continually missed passes and missed shots cost them an early goal. But soon thereafter, almost halfway through the first overtime, the Coyotes ended the game courtesy of Martin Hanzal. Adrian Aucoin put a shot on net from the blue line, and Hanzal was in just the right spot to get his stick on the puck and tip it into the net.
The Coyotes may have been dealt a big blow in the long-term, however, losing Radim Vrbata in the first period after he absorbed a hit from Chicago's Andrew Shaw. Vrbata, the Coyotes' leading goal scorer, could leave a gaping hole in Phoenix's roster should he miss a significant amount of time. After the game, coach Dave Tippett told media that Vrbata was day-to-day, but he's not too concerned about the prospect of playing without him.
"We've got people that are chipping in," Tippett said in his postgame press conference, mentioning Pyatt's and Hanzal's goals. "In our group, we have to have everybody finding a way to chip in. Especially losing Vrbata early in the game, that's 35 goals out of our line-up right there. We hung around our game and found a way to get a win."
Game 2: at Phoenix, 10 p.m. EDT Saturday (TSN, NBCSN, RDS, CSN Chicago)
|Last Updated on Friday, 13 April 2012 09:46|