Canes Country’s morning snap shots recapping last night’s action in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Pittsburgh Penguins 5, Columbus Blue Jackets 2 (PIT wins series 4-1)
Bryan Rust scored twice, including the game winner, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 49 saves, as the defending Stanley Cup champions defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 to claim the series in Game 5.
The Jackets dictated play for most of the first two periods; despite that, Fleury kept them in the game until the Penguins were able to capitalize a couple of opportunities and take a 3-0 lead. The Jackets battled back to bring the game within 3-2, and looked to have tied the game but Alexander Wennberg was whistled for interfering with Fleury. Instead of 3-3, the game suddenly became 4-2 when Sidney Crosby scored on the power play, and the Penguins pulled away with a Scott Wilson goal a minute later to seal the series.
Jackets captain Nick Foligno was an unexpected late scratch after he sustained an injury in warmups.
Goaltending was a major factor in this series but not at all in the way it was expected. Vezina candidate Sergei Bobrovsky, who was basically going to have to steal the series for Columbus to have a fighting chance, allowed 20 goals and ended the series with a .882 save percentage. Meanwhile, Fleury was expected to back up Matt Murray, and ended up with four wins and a .961 save percentage in Game 5. Fleury now has 57 playoff wins, which is a Penguins franchise record (besting Tom Barrasso).
New York Rangers 3, Montreal Canadiens 2 (OT) (NYR leads 3-2)
It was another close contest on Thursday night in Montreal between the Canadiens and the New York Rangers, but Mika Zibanejad's goal in overtime gave the Rangers a 3-2 victory to match their 3-2 series lead.
Artturi Lehkonen opened the scoring early in the game, but he was answered at the other end by a shorthanded goal from Jesper Fast. Then it was Brendan Gallagher, after spending most of the first period giving the Rangers mental fits, who broke the tie.
The first period ended with the score at 2-1 in favor of the Habs. In the second period, defenseman Brady Skjei put home a rebound off a nice play by Rick Nash to even the score.
The game then went to overtime after a scoreless third period. Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist were each good once again, as they both faced 36 shots, but Lundqvist was able to make one more save that proved to be the difference. Game 5 is back in New York tomorrow night with the Rangers having a chance to close out the series on home ice. -Kyle Morton
Nashville Predators 4, Chicago Blackhawks 1 (NSH wins series 4-0)
For years, “Chelsea Dagger” has tormented opposing teams at the United Center, playing on what seemed like a continuous loop with the Blackhawks scoring goal after goal and driving visiting teams and their fans batty.
Now, the Blackhawks and their fans can say the same about the seven times they heard Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I Love It” in the past week.
The Nashville Predators wrapped up what may be the most improbable sweep in NHL history, knocking out the top-seeded Blackhawks with a 4-1 masterpiece on Thursday. It was the second time since the NHL went to best-of-seven first round series in 1987 that a regular-season conference champion was swept in the first round of the playoffs. (The first? The 1993 St. Louis Blues, who defeated...the Chicago Blackhawks, of course.)
The Preds came out firing, outshooting the Blackhawks 11-7 in a frantic first period. It took until midway through the second, though, for a crooked number to be posted on the scoreboard, Roman Josi opening the scoring for Nashville with a slap shot from the top of the far circle.
Colton Sissons’ second of the series was the game winner nine minutes into the third period, and after Josi and Jonathan Toews traded goals later in the period Viktor Arvidsson brought out the brooms for the Predators with two minutes left, putting them up 4-1 and sending downtown Nashville into delirium.
The Preds now await the winner of the Blues/Wild series, which could end as early as tonight. With the Blackhawks out and the second-seeded Wild on the ropes, who’s to say that Peter Laviolette won’t spring another surprise eleven years after he shocked the world? -Brian LeBlanc
Edmonton Oilers 4, San Jose Sharks 3 (OT) (EDM leads 3-2)
After splitting the first four games of the series, with three of the four wins coming via shutouts, the Sharks and Oilers finally played a game that resembled what most expected to see from this series from the start. The two teams played an up and down game, with the Oilers completing a three-goal comeback, winning 4-3 in overtime to take a 3-2 series lead.
San Jose played another good road game through 57 minutes, much like the one that they won in Game 1. Weathering the storm of a Patrick Maroon goal early in Game 5, the Sharks settled in both offensively and defensively, scoring the next three goals of the game off the sticks of Mikkel Boedker, Patrick Marleau and sudden offensive force David Schlemko.
But Edmonton got a goal back from Mark Letestu on the power play before the end of the second period to get within one, carrying some momentum into the third period. Oskar Klefbom completed the comeback and sent the game into overtime with just under three minutes remaining in the third on a great feed from David Desharnais. Desharnais then sent the home fans into a frenzy with just under two minutes left in the first overtime period, burying a give and go from Leon Draisaitl, who many believe shouldn't even have been playing in the game for his actions two nights prior.
Game 6 will be played on Saturday night in San Jose in an elimination game for the Sharks. The will have to draw on their experience from multiple playoff series to even the series and send it to a deciding Game 7. -Kevin LeBlanc