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Stanley Cup Daily 4/16: We Regret To Inform You The Caps Are Capsing Again

The sky is falling on Washington, D.C. after back-to-back overtime defeats have the Caps in a deep hole.

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

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.

Sunday’s Recaps

Columbus Blue Jackets 4, Washington Capitals 3 (CBJ leads 2-0)

Capital One Arena has been abnormally quiet through the first two games, and it’s obvious why. The fans always feel a sense of impending doom, and with the Capitals blowing two-goal leads in consecutive games in the most heartbreaking fashion it is deserved. For the second straight game, the Caps dropped an overtime decision to the Blue Jackets, but this one was a little different.

The Caps were led by Alex Ovechkin who scored two power play goals and led the team with nine shots on goal. The Caps dominated the first period, the third period, and overtime thoroughly. The Caps outshot the Blue Jackets in those periods a combined 46-16, and had seven power play chances.

But with the few opportunities that they got, the Blue Jackets were able to convert. Crisp and clean passing led to multiple goals both on the power play and at even strength. Matt Calvert finished off the game with a one-handed rebound tap-in about 11 minutes into overtime, prompting one of the great tweets of all time:

Between the pipes, Sergei Bobrovsky absolutely stood on his head. He made 54 saves on 58 total shots including 10 saves on the power play. He was able to steal a game away from the Caps to give Columbus the 2-0 series lead heading back home for two games - and also giving Caps fans a familiar sinking feeling. - Zeke Lukow

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Vegas Golden Knights at Los Angeles Kings Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Vegas Golden Knights 3, Los Angeles Kings 2 (VGK leads 3-0)

Cody Eakin, James Neal and William Karlsson each struck in the third period as the Vegas Golden Knights held on for a 3-2 road victory over the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center in Game 3. Vegas now needs just one more win to clinch the first-round series.

The Kings opened the game’s scoring 13:14 into the first period when Alex Iafallo roofed his first goal of the series, and held on through the second period. The teams then played scoreless hockey until Eakin rang a shot off the post, had another saved by Quick and finally wired home a one-timer all within a few moments to level the affair.

After another eight minutes of close-checking action, James Neal spun off of a Oscar Fantenberg hit along the boards and snapped a shot through Jonathan Quick’s five-hole to put Vegas ahead 2-1 at 14:23. Twenty-one seconds later, Reilly Smith beat two Kings to a loose puck behind after LA won a defensive-zone draw, and fed William Karlsson alone in the slot for an easy finish and a two-goal lead for the Golden Knights.

Anze Kopitar bagged a late tally for the Kings to mark the first time they have found twine multiple times in a game in this series, but Marc-Andre Fleury was, once again, the story of the game with 37 saves on 39 shots. Quick turned aside 23 of 26 pucks at the other end of the ice. The Golden Knights have a chance to finish off the sweep tomorrow night at Staples. - Peter Dewar

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Penguins 5, Philadelphia Flyers 1 (PIT leads 2-1)

This series continues to teeter-totter, and after another multi-goal win, the Penguins are back on top of the playground. The Penguins offense woke up on Sunday and beat the Flyers 5-1 behind Sidney Crosby’s four point night. The captain, who has owned the Flyers in his career, played a huge role in the game with a beautiful wrap-around goal to break open the floodgates in the first period. Crosby also added three assists in the win. Pittsburgh’s offense added three goals in the second period including a tally from Evgeni Malkin.

Matt Murray stopped 26 of 27 shots in route to the win including stopping all 11 shots he faced on Philadelphia’s six power plays. Pittsburgh finished three for seven on the power play while only getting off nine shots with the man advantage. In each game of this series, the winning team has scored at least five goals, The winning in any of the games between the two teams this season has scored at least five goals. Game 4 is Wednesday night on NBCSN at 7:00 PM. - Justin Lape

Winnipeg Jets v Minnesota Wild - Game Three Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Minnesota Wild 6, Winnipeg Jets 2 (WPG leads 2-1)

Home really is where the wins are for the Wild. After spending the past two games in Winnipeg, where games seemed to get away from them at the start of the third period, Minnesota won quite handily back home in St. Paul Sunday night, downing the Jets 6-2 in a game that was largely decided by the midway point of the contest.

Jets captain Blake Wheeler opened the scoring off of a fluky goal that seemed to fool Devan Dubnyk. But instead of folding, Minnesota answered with goals from Mikael Granlund and Zach Parise to close the first period. The Wild then padded that score with goals from Matt Dumba, Eric Staal and Jordan Greenway - the latter two just 20 seconds apart, and Greenway’s his first in the NHL. Marcus Foligno finished off a four-goal second period to give the Wild a 6-1 lead, and Tyler Myers gave Winnipeg its lone other tally.

Connor Hellebuyck was finally tested and pulled in favor of Steve Mason to start the third. The young goalie gave up six goals on 22 shots for a .727 save%. Sunday night’s game was just as physical as the first two with plenty of scrums between the whistles. While the first two games showed Minnesota wearing down as the game wore on, the Wild kept the physical pace with the Jets and it paid off. The Wild certainly showed that they will not be sent packing from the postseason so easily and look to keep their momentum rolling on Tuesday against a Jets team looking to reset. - Liam Goff

Monday’s Previews

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

Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs (BOS leads 2-0)

7:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN

  1. Frederik Andersen’s New Narrative - Ahead of game one, the talk around Andersen was his stellar 10-1-0 career record against the Bruins. Now, as we prepare for game three of this wholly one-sided series, that narrative has changed dramatically. Andersen has a .822 save percentage through the first two games of this series and was pulled from Toronto’s humiliating blowout loss on Saturday. If the Leafs are going to want to leave this series with any semblance of dignity still intact, they’ll need a big bounce back effort from everyone, including their struggling starter.
  2. Toronto’s Youth - Through two games in this series, the young trio of Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and Mitchell Marner have combined for two points - both of which have come from Marner. The Maple Leafs desperately something to go their way offensively, and that will need to happen through those three, especially Matthews. They need to let their speed come through to at least slow down Boston’s absurdly hot offensive charge. Clearly, the likes of veterans Tyler Bozak, James van Riemsdyk, Tomas Plekanec, and the suspended Nazem Kadri aren’t going to break through.
  3. Boston Runs on Pasta - When you break a record previously held by Wayne Gretzky, you’re probably doing something right. David Pastrnak’s six points in Game 2 did just that and now the Bruins will look to take a stranglehold on this series in Game 3. There’s no reason to think that Boston won’t win Game 3; or Game 4, for that matter. There hasn’t been any point in this series where the Bruins were getting notably outplayed, and that is thanks in large part to the NHL’s best forward trio - Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand. They have skated circles around the Leafs thus far. - Brett Finger

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New Jersey Devils at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning at New Jersey Devils (TBL leads 2-0)

7:30 p.m. ET, CNBC

  1. Back on Home Turf - The Devils have been predictably pushed around in Tampa Bay over the last two games. They come home to the Prudential Center for what could be the final two games of their season. The team has made a slew of avoidable mistakes over the past two games, most notably in Game 2. The Devils should have a much better chance of tackling the Lightning in Newark with their fans behind them.
  2. (Chuck Amato voice) Defense! - Despite dressing seven blueliners, the Devils played abysmal defense on Saturday. Much of the issue was a complete breakdown in the second period in which they allowed three goals in under three minutes. It would make sense for John Hynes to make some lineup adjustments, specifically dressing the traditional 12 forwards tonight as quantity really hasn’t equaled quality over the past two games on the blue line. No matter the lineup, this Devils team needs to be much more efficient defensively.
  3. Cracking Schneider - The Devils appear to be going with Cory Schneider in net tonight. Schneider took over halfway into the second on Saturday and stopped all 10 shots that he faced. Despite his statistics, fill-in starter Keith Kinkaid hasn’t been bad this series. He’s been merely average, getting in front of the shots one would expect him to stop and allowing goals that were a result of complete defensive breakdowns. But playoff teams, particularly ones facing the Tampa Bay Lightning offense, need better than average in net. Is Schneider up to the task? - Andrew Ahr

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

Nashville Predators at Colorado Avalanche (NSH leads 2-0)

10:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN

  1. Home ice shift: After the Predators swept the first two games of this series on home ice (as expected), Colorado will have the chance to even the series up as we head to Denver to play two at the Pepsi Center. The Avs were a dominant 28-11-2 on home ice this year, and star center Nathan MacKinnon put up a cartoonish 67 points in the 39 home games he played in.
  2. Bernier Bounce Back: Through two games in this series, Colorado goaltender Jonathan Bernier has registered a .871 SV% and a 4.07 GAA. In a series in which his team is overmatched on the ice, he’ll need to find a way to give them an edge between the pipes, a tall order against Pekka Rinne.
  3. Balanced Preds Attack: Through two games played in this young series, the following Predators have put up at least two points: Austin Watson, Ryan Johansen, Colton Sissons, Filip Forsberg, Kevin Fiala, Viktor Arvidsson, P.K. Subban, and Mattias Ekholm. Simply put, there isn’t a forward crucial to the Preds’ attack that Colorado has found a way to contain. That will need to change quickly if they’re to keep hope alive.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-San Jose Sharks at Anaheim Ducks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Anaheim Ducks at San Jose Sharks (SJS leads 2-0)

10:30 p.m. ET, CNBC

  1. Desperation: Down 2-0 after a pair of home losses, the Ducks hit the road in pure desperation mode. Unable to get their physical, heavy game going in the first two games, they will try to get the jump they have needed on the road. But the Ducks were in the same situation a year ago when they were down 2-0 to the Edmonton Oilers in the second round yet won the series. If the Ducks hope to turn the tide, it is imperative that they solve the aggressive Sharks forecheck, and also establish their own forecheck on the other end of the ice.
  2. We’re Gonna Be Big Stars: Martin Jones has been wonderful in the first two games, sporting a sturdy .964 save percentage on 55 shots faced. He returns to the Shark Tank, where his career playoff record is just 9-6-1, but where he has only allowed four goals in a game once in 16 starts. Another wonderful postseason performance at home would go a long way to the Sharks potentially wrapping up their opening series quickly and allowing the veteran squad to obtain the rest that is required for a long playoff run.
  3. Big players in Big games: This season marked a bit of an emergence for Rickard Rakell of the Ducks. For the first time in his career, the 24-year-old was the team leader in scoring with 34 goals and a nice 69 points. Some of that was due to injuries to team leader Ryan Getzlaf (only 56 games), but it is clear that Rakell established himself as a cog in the Ducks’ offensive attack. But through two playoff games Rakell has just two shots and no goals. For the Ducks to have any hope of generating enough offense to win this series, Rakell must step up and become the force in the playoffs that he was in the regular season. - Andy House