Canes Country’s morning snap shots recapping last night’s action in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
St. Louis Blues 3, Minnesota Wild 1 (STL leads 3-0)
The Blues won their third straight game of the series yesterday afternoon to become the first of two teams to take a 3-0 lead in the first round of this year’s playoffs. History tells us that a 3-0 lead is an (almost) completely insurmountable series deficit. Only four teams out of 182 which have ever been down 3-0 in a series have come out victorious, although it’s happened twice in the last seven years, with the Flyers and Kings both pulling off the feat.
The biggest storyline in this series continues to be the heroic play of goalie Jake Allen. Allen made a prolific 40 saves Sunday, only allowing one shot - Charlie Coyle’s second-period tally that tied the game - to hit the back of the net for the third straight game. Allen's stingy three goals allowed in the past three games have afforded his team a very easy path to victory.
Minnesota's scoring troubles, meanwhile, are still very much alive, with only six players hitting the scoresheet in the first three games, and Zach Parise and Ryan Suter the only ones who have more than a single point. If the Wild want to avoid an embarrassing sweep at the hands of their division rival, they're going to need to get in Allen's head (and his net). The series will continue on Wednesday night at 9:30 PM in St. Louis. -Andrew Ahr
Montreal Canadiens 3, New York Rangers 1 (MTL leads 2-1)
The Montreal Canadiens handed the New York Rangers their sixth straight playoff loss on Madison Square Garden ice as their porous defense let them down once again in a 3-1 defeat.
Alex Radulov was once again instrumental for the Montreal offense as he had a gorgeous goal and an assist in the contest. The Montreal power play was strong as Artturi Lehkonen and Shea Weber got the game's first two goals with the man advantage. Brady Skjei had the lone tally for the Rangers, but it was too little too late as the game was well in hand by the time he scored with three minutes left and the Rangers’ net empty. Carey Price was rarely tested, but good when he needed to be as he turned aside 20 of 21 shots in the winning effort.
The Rangers will look to prevent Montreal from grabbing a stranglehold on the series on Tuesday night in Midtown Manhattan. -Kyle Morton
Pittsburgh Penguins 5, Columbus Blue Jackets 4 (PIT leads 3-0)
The Blue Jackets are on the brink of elimination, but they weren't the only team playing in desperation mode Sunday night. The Penguins were relentless in their pursuit to put this series away early, overcoming an early 3-1 deficit to prevail 5-4 in overtime for a 3-0 series lead. Pick a storyline, any storyline, because this game had plenty:
- Cam Atkinson scored two goals and rookie Zach Werenski tallied his first playoff goal to give the Blue Jackets a 3-1 lead six minutes into the game.
- Two goals from Bryan Rust in the second period tied things up for the Pens.
- On Rust's game-tying goal, Werenski took a puck to the face at point blank range and was lying on the ice bleeding profusely while play continued without a stoppage. He came back in the third wearing a cage, but was unable to play overtime because his eye was swollen shut (as you can see from his post-game selfie, click at your own risk).
Werenski looks like he just got off a @united flight.— Bill Crawford (@dveBillCrawford) April 17, 2017
- The Penguins took the lead (Jake Guentzel's second goal of the night) during a power play with Brandon Dubinsky in the box. Dubinsky then redeemed himself with a tying goal to force overtime, off a play that probably should have been blown dead after Sidney Crosby tipped the puck into an open bench door and out of play.
- Check out Marc-Andre Fleury's off-the-mask save (Dubinsky again) to preserve the tie in overtime.
- Guentzel completed the hat trick off a power move and pass from Crosby for the game-winner, his second of the series.
Whew. It's do or die time for the Blue Jackets as they try to stave off elimination Tuesday at 7:30 pm. -Jamie Kellner
Edmonton Oilers 1, San Jose Sharks 0 (EDM leads 2-1)
The trend of this series continued on Sunday night as Game 3 was yet another grind-it-out defensive battle. As the series shifted to San Jose, it was the road team who was able to push ahead for a 2-1 series lead, behind the once again stellar play of Cam Talbot.
One goal was all Edmonton needed, and they got it from unexpected offensive powerhouse Zack Kassian with 10 minutes to play. Kassian, who was arguably the Oilers’ best player in Game 2, scored for the second consecutive game after tallying seven in 79 regular season games. Talbot made 23 saves for his second shutout in a row, and has now has made 80 of a possible 83 saves through three games of the series. His play paired with the Oilers defensive efforts have been the difference in the series to this point.
San Jose got a boost when Joe Thornton returned to the lineup, but it was not enough to get past the wall that has been Talbot in this series. Each game has been a one-goal contest, a trend likely to continue as the series plays out. Game 4 is set for Tuesday night in San Jose. -Kevin LeBlanc