Every day during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Canes Country recaps the night before, previews the games for that night, and gives you times and broadcast information.
Ottawa Senators 2, New York Rangers 1 (OTT leads 1-0)
The Senators jumped out to a 1-0 series lead against the Rangers on Thursday with a dramatic late victory by a 2-1 margin. Hobbled star defenseman Erik Karlsson somehow managed to beat Henrik Lundqvist in the final minutes from what appeared to be an impossible angle to give the Sens a lead that they wouldn't relinquish.
Prior to that goal, Lundqvist's performance more closely resembled that of a futuristically-gifted athletic cyborg, programmed solely to win hockey games that his overrated and porous team had no business pulling out, than any sort of human goaltender we've seen play before. He made 41 out of 43 saves in the effort, including a first period in which he turned aside all 21 (!!!) shots he faced. It wasn't enough to beat out Karlsson's stellar play.
But that's probably how this series will go. These are two teams that aren't very good that are made to appear good due to the play of one extremely handsome Swedish man per team. Last night, it was Karlsson beating Lundqvist against all odds. We'll see if Lundqvist can steal the next one for New York.
The other goals in this game were scored by Ryans McDonagh and Dzingel. McDonagh, dynamic as ever offensively, was a standout for the Rangers. -Kyle Morton
Pittsburgh Penguins 3, Washington Capitals 2 (PIT leads 1-0)
The "Unofficial Eastern Conference Finals" got off to a fiery start as the Penguins earned a hard-fought 3-2 win over the Capitals at Verizon Center, led by Marc-Andre Fleury and Sidney Crosby.
The first period ran its course without either team scoring, though there were chances aplenty, as one would expect from this series. But in the second period, the goals came quickly from Sidney Crosby as he tallied 12 seconds into the frame, then again 52 seconds later off a nice feed from Jake Guentzel.
Crosby's goals stood alone for much of the period before Alex Ovechkin had his say. With just under two minutes to go, he fired a laser over Fleury's right shoulder to bring the Caps within one. And halfway through the third period, Evgeny Kuznetsov potted the tying goal after a slick seam pass from Matt Niskanen found its way to his tape and into the open net.
But despite all the momentum going Washington's way, Nick Bonino decided to haunt Caps fans once more as he scored what would be the game-winning goal on a partial breakaway just under five minutes later, effectively taking the air out of the building and the Caps bench.
Braden Holtby finished with 18 saves, while Fleury posted 33 of his own. Game 2 will take place on Saturday night. -Peter Dewar
Nashville Predators at St. Louis Blues (NSH leads 1-0)
8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN
- Preds Riding Momentum: Undefeated thus far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Predators look to take a stranglehold of this series before moving back to the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena for Games 3 and 4. As with Game 1, it will again be imperative for the Preds to jump out in front, as they have done in every game of their playoff run thus far, having only trailed in one game (Game 3 vs. Chicago) during their 5-game streak.
- Blues Bounce Back? Game 2 for the Blues will be about getting started on time. They dug themselves a two goal hole which they were able to climb out of before a quirky chopped puck from Vernon Fiddler found the back of the net with five minutes remaining. Getting out in front and then using their size and matchup preferences at home to lean on the Predators will make all the difference in the world. It will also help if Jake Allen reverts to his first round form if the Blues are to claw back to a 1-1 tie in the series.
- Powerful Power Play: In Game 1, the Predators earned a plus-2 advantage on special teams with their two power-play tallies while not conceding a PPG themselves. These two teams are too evenly matched at even strength to allow the other team to own a special teams advantage and survive. As hot as the Preds are on the power play, the best thing for the Blues may be to stay out of the box altogether. -Andy House
Edmonton Oilers at Anaheim Ducks (EDM leads 1-0)
10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN
- Important Special Teams Battle: In Game 1, the Edmonton Oilers won the special teams battle and they won the game. The Oilers went 2 for 5 on the man advantage with Leon Draisaitl earning primary assists on a pair of goals from veteran power play genie Mark Letestu. Edmonton killed two of their three penalties, with Anaheim's lone special teams tally coming on fresh ice after the first intermission. Just like in Game 1, the winner of the special teams battle will have a huge leg up tonight. Long story short, the Ducks better Saitl up (ed. note: [facepalm]) and get ready for a dangerous Oiler power play.
- Will Connor Steal the Show? Draisaitl was the guy in Game 1with his four-point outing, but if Edmonton will continue its success, it will have to be on the back of Connor McDavid. McDavid didn't have an earth-shattering first round, and other than a secondary power play assist in Game 1, he wasn't a big offensive factor. Of course, McDavid brings so much more than offense, but the Oilers will need him to be a big difference maker going forward, and I wouldn't bet against him.
- Corey Perry’s struggles: The agitating power scorer had a good first round for the Ducks, especially down the stretch as they shut the door on the Flames, but he was far from good on Wednesday. He was on the ice for a pair of Edmonton even-strength goals (including the empty-netter to ice it), he let his emotions come to the forefront down the stretch, and he only managed two shots on net. With Edmonton's offense poised to be an issue throughout this series, the Ducks desperately need their top performers to show up, and Perry is one of those guys. -Brett Finger