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Stanley Cup Daily 4/15: The Pasta Is Cooking

Four more series went to 2-0 yesterday, including in Boston, where David Pastrnak did something that only Wayne Gretzky had done before him.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Two Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Each day during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Canes Country recaps the night before, previews the games for that night, and gives you game times and broadcast information.

Saturday’s Recaps

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Bruins 7, Toronto Maple Leafs 3 (BOS leads 2-0)

With Nazem Kadri’s three-game suspension starting on Saturday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs desperately needed a quality outing in game two.

They came up a bit short.

The Boston Bruins scored a touchdown, kicked an extra point, and blew out the Leafs yet again last en route to a 7-3 win. David Pastrnak’s three goals and three assists on Saturday gave him six points on the night, thus becoming the youngest player in NHL playoff history to reach that feat - that record was previously held by Wayne Gretzky. The line of Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand has combined for 20 points in the first two games of the series.

Now down 2-0 in the series, Toronto has a lot of soul searching to do. They are in serious dangerous of seeing this series end in short order. The Leafs now have the advantage of going home and trying to even up the series with a pair of wins at Air Canada Centre. Though, given how dominant Boston has been thus far, there’s very little reason to believe that will happen. They will have no choice but to tighten things up in their own end and hope that can lead to transition opportunities for guys like Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and Mitch Marner, who have all combined for just two points in these past two games - Marner (one goal and one assist) accounts for both of them. - Brett Finger

San Jose Sharks v Anaheim Ducks - Game One Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

San Jose Sharks 3, Anaheim Ducks 2 (SJS leads series 2-0)

The San Jose Sharks have taken full control of series with their 3-2 win Saturday night, now leading 2-0 as the series shifts back to San Jose for games three and four.

Martin Jones settled in saved 28 of the 30 shots he faced after allowing the first puck past him, a long-range wrist shot from Jakob Silfverberg that gave the Ducks their first goal and lead of the series. After that, the Sharks were again able to control the pace and style of play with their solid defense and active forecheck.

Getting the equalizing tally from Marcus Sorensen midway through the first, the Sharks took the lead with the hard-driving Logan Couture tucking one home in the final minutes of the first period. The eventual game-winner was a spectacular dangling backhand from Tomas Hertl early in the second period, giving the Sharks all they would need. Hampus Lindholm ripped home a power play goal in the second as well, but the Ducks were unable to put home the tying goal.

If the Ducks are to get back into this series, Game 3 is an absolute must to win. But more importantly than that, the Ducks are in desperate need of turning the tables on the Sharks and ratcheting up their own forecheck to generate some additional prime scoring chances as well as slow down the Sharks own attack. Whatever they do, they must do it quick, as they are swiftly running out of time to get back in this series. - Andy House

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Nashville Predators 5, Colorado Avalanche 4 (NSH leads series 2-0)

Game 2 at Bridgestone Arena followed a very similar script to Game 1: an early Avalanche goal followed by an eventual Predators barrage. This time, though, the Avalanche made it interesting, pulling to within a goal with under a minute left, but Pekka Rinne and the Preds hung on to take a 2-0 series lead to Denver.

Gabriel Bourque gave the Avs the lead on their first shot on goal of the game, a wrister from the slot that beat Rinne cleanly. While that score held through the rest of the first period, the Preds came out breathing fire in the penalty-filled second. Kevin Fiala tied the game on a power play goal a minute into the period, and that was followed by goals by Viktor Arvidsson and Ryan Johansen to open up a 3-1 lead in a period that featured nine minor penalties.

But unlike Thursday’s Game 1, that wasn’t the end of the story. Hart Trophy candidate Nathan MacKinnon pulled the Avs back to within a goal 30 seconds after Johansen had made it 3-1, and that set the stage for a wild, back-and-forth third period that saw four goals and 25 combined shots. Ryan Hartman’s empty-netter gave the Preds a two-goal lead back after Austin Watson and Gabriel Landeskog traded goals earlier in the period, but Alexander Kerfoot’s goal with 36 seconds left kept the final result in doubt until the horn blew.

The Avs and Preds return to Denver for Game 3 on Monday, the home team entering down 2-0 but knowing that they were able to hang with the high-powered President’s Trophy champs. That could give them momentum as they enter the first playoff game at Pepsi Center since 2014. - Brian LeBlanc

New Jersey Devils v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Two Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning 5, New Jersey Devils 3 (TBL leads 2-0)

The story of Game 2 in Tampa was told by a Devils second period collapse that proved the difference in allowing the Lightning to go up 2-0 in their series. New Jersey was able to hold off the Lightning for most of the first period, allowing just one goal off of Brayden Point’s stick that made it 1-0 at the first intermission.

But then the flood gates really came open as the Lightning scored four times in the opening 13-plus minutes of the second period, scoring their five goals on only 15 shots. Keith Kinkaid was pulled in favor of Cory Schneider, although Kinkaid shoulders very little blame in the second period meltdown. The Devils dressed seven defensemen on a night that they may have been better off dressing zero. None of the defensive corps played well, allowing plenty of Lightning chances and leaving Kinkaid out to dry.

As the second period waned, the Devils actually started to push back. They buried a goal with less than a minute left to make it 5-2 headed into the second intermission, and Blake Coleman scored to make it 5-3 midway through the third. It looked like the Devils had a chance, and Miles Wood almost made it a one goal game, but it was called back as the puck did not completely cross the goal line. The Devils went on to drop the second game in the series as they travel home to Newark and try to avoid a first round sweep. - Andrew Ahr

Sunday’s Previews

Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Two Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers (Series tied 1-1)

3:00 p.m. ET, NBC

  1. Goals Galore: The two teams in this series have scored a combined 13 goals over the first two games, but it’s been surprising that each game has been heavily lopsided. What the winning team has done in each game is actually shoot less and instead focus on the high quality shot attempts in high-danger areas. Look for that to be a focus in Game 3.
  2. Chippy Play: Both teams played an extremely physical first two games, and don’t expect it to get any quieter. After Claude Giroux’s big hit on Kris Letang that sent him to the locker room in Game 2, Pittsburgh will want retribution — especially now that there is no suspension for Giroux. It could get even rougher now that the series has shifted to Philadelphia.
  3. The Impact of Game 3: While it’s nice to take a series lead after being deadlocked at oneapiece, winning Game 3 isn’t as vital as one may think. Winning this game only adds to the chances of winning the series by 15%, but Game 5, which is inevitable after the teams split the first two games, holds the most weight. - Justin Lape

Minnesota Wild v Winnipeg Jets - Game Two

Winnipeg Jets at Minnesota Wild (WPG leads 2-0)

7:00 p.m. ET, USA Network

  1. April (Snow) Showers: A terrible snowstorm is sweeping through Minnesota today. The Jets arrived earlier this afternoon just in the nick of time, but it’s been an odyssey for them to get to St. Paul including a flight that was diverted to Duluth and then returned to Winnipeg last night. What effects will the crazy travel have on a Jets team coming into one of the toughest home buildings in the league against a team desperate for its first win of the series?
  2. Home Sweet Home: While the first two games north of the border got away from the Wild once the third period hit, coming back to the State of Hockey certainly won’t hurt their chances. Minnesota had the fewest regulation losses at home in the league, with six during the regular season and if they want to get back into this series, they’ll need to play the same way they did most of the year when they were so frustrating to play against on home-ice.
  3. Bad Blood part deux: Remember all that bad blood I mentioned before Game 2? Well, it looks like we may see more of the same for Game 3. The end of the game on Friday featured a line brawl, another fight and four misconducts that likely were the result of frustration from Minnesota. While Winnipeg has definitely controlled this series, the Wild’s Daniel Winnik threw the Jets Brandon Tanev an absolute beating as the game wound down. Minnesota will be hoping they can use that as a catalyst to springboard into victory. - Liam Goff

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Columbus Blue Jackets at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets at Washington Capitals (CBJ leads 1-0)

7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN

  1. Even Strength Struggles: The Capitals were only able to score one goal in Game 1 at even strength. However, the Caps have always been good on the power play, and that trend continued in Game 1, Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring two power play goals in 30 seconds during a major penalty. The Caps will need to be able to score more than once at five on five if they expect to win Game 2.
  2. The Curious Case of Braden Holtby: Bary Trotz has announced that they are sticking with Phillipp Grubauer in net for game two. Grubauer only posted a .852 sv% on 27 shots faced. It raises the question of what is going on with Holtby, and why are they so hesitant to turn to him. One more poor start could see the Caps fall to a two-game deficit heading to Columbus.
  3. Don’t Take any Penalties! The Caps are known or their high octane power play unit and Alex Ovechkin standing at the circle ready for the one-timer. But in Game 1, the Blue Jackets were the more effective team when up a man, scoring two goals in four opportunities. Both were crucial goals that tied the game at the time with the final coming with five minutes left in the game to force overtime. If the Jackets can win the special-teams battle again, they stand a great chance of returning home with a 2-0 lead. - Zeke Lukow

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Los Angeles Kings at Vegas Golden Knights Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Vegas Golden Knights at Los Angeles Kings (VGK leads 2-0)

10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN

  1. Pulling Their Weight: This series features a number of fantastic scorers, but the story so far has been the netminders. Marc-Andre Fleury and Jonathan Quick dueled through Games 1 and 2, with Fleury besting his American counterpart in both matchups as the pair let in just a total of four goals in the two contests. Quick even stopped 54 pucks in Friday night’s 2OT loss, but Fleury outlasted him by a single goal in each affair. The strong play of both goaltenders should carry through to Game 3, but look for more offense to be created as LA gets desperate to excite their home fans and climb out of a 2-0 hole. Conversely, Vegas can exploit what should be fairly open LA units to strike on counterattacks and fast breaks.
  2. Return of the Doughty: Of course, LA will have a far easier time leveling the series with their Norris Trophy-caliber defenseman. After serving his one-and-two-thirds-game suspension, Drew Doughty looks to make an impact for his team in Game 3. The Kings will need more than just the return of one player to shift the momentum, but Doughty, along with Anze Kopitar, has a way of putting the team on his back and fueling their success. Keep an eye on #8 as he aims to dictate the game when he hits the ice.
  3. Nothing New: Of course, it pays to remember that the Kings have been here before: fifteen times, to be exact. During their most recent run to the Stanley Cup, LA came back from a 3-0 deficit to drop the San Jose Sharks in the first round. As Vegas’ younger group continues to ride the excitement and momentum, the Kings can remain calm and let the Golden Knights make the first mistake. That’s not to say LA can afford to sit back, but they can (and should) not be eager to overcompensate for a lack of scoring in the first two games (see point 1). LA’s veteran presence may be their second-greatest strength at this point, behind Quick. - Peter Dewar