Playoff recaps and more in today’s collection of notable NHL headlines.
NHL Playoff Recaps
STLTODAY/CHICAGO TRIBUNE: A late-game high-sticking penalty by Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane set the stage for Jaden Schwartz’s game-winning goal to give the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 victory in Game 3 of their best-of-seven series. The Blues overcame a 2-1 deficit with two third-period goals (including Schwartz’s) while goaltender Brian Elliiott made 44 saves, with 24 of those coming in the second period. St. Louis holds a 2-1 series lead.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks dominated the play but Elliott was outstanding in this game. However, the Blues must be prepared to pick up the pace for Game Four if they hope to return to St. Louis with a 3-1 series lead.
NEWSDAY: Thomas Hickey scored in overtime as the New York Islanders overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Florida Panthers 4-3, taking a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven series. It was the first playoff home game for the Isles at Barclays Center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles two victories in this series were well deserved. The Panthers did themselves no favor in those games as they’ve struggled to hang onto leads in both of those games.
YAHOO SPORTS: Craig Smith tallied a goal and an assist while Pekka Rinne made 27 saves to give the Nashville Predators a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks, winning both games on the Ducks’ home ice to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven opening round series. It’s the first time in Predators’ history they’ve held a 2-0 series lead.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Now comes the big test for the Predators, learning how to play with that series lead. The Ducks will be pushing hard to get back into this series in Game 3.
THE DETROIT NEWS/TAMPA TRIBUNE: Second period goals by Andreas Athanasiou and Henrik Zetterberg and a strong overall team game carried the Detroit Red Wings to a convincing 2-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Wings goalie Petr Mrazek was rarely tested in this one, facing only 16 shots. The Lightning hold a 2-1 lead in this series. They also confirm defenseman Anton Stralman (non-displaced left fibula fracture) won’t be playing in this series.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a much different performance from the Red Wings compared to the first two games. The speed of younger Wings such as Athanasiou and Dylan Larkin gave the Bolts fits throughout Game 3.
Notable NHL Playoff Headlines
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: Having won two straight games on the road against the Los Angeles Kings, the San Jose Sharks face the challenge of trying to win at home in this best-of-seven series. Of the 16 teams in the opening round of this year’s playoffs, the Sharks had the worst home record (18-20-3).
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars center Tyler Seguin struggled in his return from an Achilles injury that sidelined him for over a month. He could be a game-day decision for Game Three of their series against the Minnesota Wild. Forward Mattias Janmark, a healthy scratch in Game Two, will return to the lineup for Game Three.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Down 2-0 to the Dallas Stars, the Minnesota Wild return home in need of a victory in Game Three. Given their struggles down the stretch in the regular season and in this series, Monday’s game could lead to an offseason roster overhaul if it is lost.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As this article indicates, the Wild are a mess right now. Their leading goalscorer (Zach Parise) is sidelined, veterans such as Thomas Vanek, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville and young players like Charlie Coyle and Jason Zucker has faded. The Wild have the NHL’s 12th highest payroll but they’re not getting sufficient bang for their buck.
PHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers expect an emotional homecoming for Game Three of their best-of-seven series against the Washington Capitals. Not only are they down in the series 2-0, but it’s also their first home game since the passing of team founder Ed Snider.
THE WASHINGTON POST: The Capitals penalty kill is a perfect eight-for-eight against the Flyers thus far.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Flyers hope to get back into this series they must find a way to start cashing in on the power play.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins goaltender Jeff Zatkoff remains ready to go if needed in Game Three of his club’s opening-round series against the New York Rangers. The status of starter Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion) and backup Matt Murray (undisclosed injury) remains uncertain.