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Stanley Cup Daily 4/17: The Quacks Crack

Three teams down 2-0 got their first win of the playoffs last night. The one that didn’t was boatraced by the Sharks.

Anaheim Ducks v San Jose Sharks - Game Three Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/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.

Monday’s Recaps

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Anaheim Ducks at San Jose Sharks John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

San Jose Sharks 8, Anaheim Ducks 1 (SJS lead 3-0)

Well, that escalated quickly.

In returning to SAP Center for Game 3 with a 2-0 lead, the San Jose Sharks gave themselves a golden opportunity to take complete control of this first round series with the Anaheim Ducks, and they did just that, dismantling the Ducks by a score of 8-1 to push Anaheim to the brink of elimination.

Speed and skill were on ample display for the Sharks, who had five players with two or more points on the night, including Joonas Donskoi and Logan Couture who each tallied three points. Couture began the scoring in the first period as Mikkel Boedker raced down right wing past Brandon Montour and centered to an untouched Couture in front of the net for the first marker. Later in the first, the delayed arrival of Rickard Rakell’s goal-scoring prowess finally happened as the Ducks’ leading goal scorer netted a power play goal to even the score after one.

From then on, it was simply a feeding frenzy for the Sharks. While Martin Jones was superb in allowing only one goal while facing 46 shots, simply average was all that was required as the Sharks scored at will against the hapless Ducks, going 4 for 7 on the power play. Once the score reached 5-1, Ryan Miller was summoned to replace John Gibson, and he promptly allowed three goals of his own on 12 shots as the frustration and penalties mounted for the Ducks.

The Ducks will have to pull together if they hope to keep their season alive for a Game 5 with a win on Wednesday, and the Sharks have been here before, blowing a 3-0 lead to the Kings in 2014. Expect them to go for the kill in Game 4 at home. - Andy House

Tampa Bay Lightning v New Jersey Devils - Game Three Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

New Jersey Devils 5, Tampa Bay Lightning 2 (TBL leads 2-1)

The Devils did what looked to be impossible in Game 1 and 2 as they topped the Lightning 5-2 last night in their first home playoff game since 2012. The game was much closer than the score would indicate, as it was 3-2 heading into the final minute of the third period. The Lightning pulled Andrei Vasilevskiy in favor of the 6th attacker, and the Devils managed to put two in the empty net.

In a decidedly un-playofflike game, the two teams took minor penalties all over the place last night, 16 of them to be exact totaling more than 20 total power play minutes and resulting in both of the Lightning’s goals. Despite the uncharacteristic penalty time, the matchup really felt like a playoff game. Things got ugly late in the third when it was clear that the Lightning were going to take their first loss of the series. The game devolved into chaos and when all was said and done every player on the ice was assessed a 10 minute misconduct.

With an exciting game last night this series went from looking like a likely sweep to a very interesting story line going into Wednesday night. There’s clearly some animosity between the two teams, but the Lightning need to stay focused and composed because the Devils have shown that they’ve still got some fight left. - Andrew Ahr

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Nashville Predators at Colorado Avalanche Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Avalanche 5, Nashville Predators 3 (NSH leads 2-1)

The Colorado Avalanche picked up where they left off on home ice on Monday night, as the team that went 28-11-2 at Pepsi Center during the regular season served notice to the Nashville Predators that this series isn’t going to be as easy as the first two games may have led some to believe.

Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne looked entirely beatable in the early portion of this game, as Blake Comeau, Gabriel Bourque, and Nathan MacKinnon tallied in the first period to stake their team to a 3-0 lead at the break. Rinne made just eight stops in the frame.

MacKinnon scored again in the second to push the Colorado lead to four before goals from Ryan Johansen and Colton Sissons cut that lead in half. Nashville would get no closer as Gabriel Landeskog scored his second of the series and picked up his third point of the night with under two minutes remaining. Austin Watson quickly answered for the Preds, and that is how we got to the final score of 5-3 in favor of the Avs that you see above.

With the win, Colorado gave themselves a chance to even up the series at two when the two teams face off again in Denver on Wednesday. - Kyle Morton

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Boston Bruins 2 (BOS leads 2-1)

The Leafs have arrived.

After a pair of blowout losses at the hands of the Boston Bruins in games one and two, the Maple Leafs had to pull a rabbit out of their hat in game three. In front of a rowdy Air Canada Centre crowd, the likes of Auston Matthew and William Nylander finally made an appearance on the score sheet and helped cut their team’s deficit in the series to 2-1.

In addition to some of the kids coming through, veteran Patrick Marleau netted two goals. Mitch Marner came up huge with primary assists on both tallies, including one in the final five minutes of regulation that pretty much put things away. In net, Frederik Andersen pitched a gem, stopping 40 of the 42 shots he saw. It was a huge game for him as he was able to regain his footing after two horrid starts at TD Garden.

The Leaf now have an opportunity to tie this series on home on Wednesday. It’s an opportunity they need to take advantage of. Giving the big, bad Bruins a 3-1 series lead headed back to Boston would likely be disastrous. - Brett Finger

Tuesday’s Previews

Columbus Blue Jackets v Washington Capitals - Game Two Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Washington Capitals at Columbus Blue Jackets (CBJ leads 2-0)

7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN

  1. Burakovsky Out: The Capitals really missed Andre Burakovsky who left Game 2 early with an upper-body injury. Burakovsky normally quarterbacks the Capitals breakout plays on the power play and is a valuable top six forward for the Caps. The Caps are likely to replace Burakovsky, who has been ruled out of the next two games, with dynamic rookie Jakub Vrana for games 3 and 4.
  2. Holtbeast? Phillipp Grubauer was pulled after two periods of Game 2 after allowing four goals, and Braden Holtby made seven saves on eight shots throughout the third period and overtime. Both goalies ended the game with sub .900 save percentages. Holtby is a rhythm goalie who thrives on high shot counts and multiple games in a row, neither of which he saw much of down the stretch. Barry Trotz said earlier today that Holtby will start tonight, and the Caps’ fortunes may depend on him recovering his form.
  3. Killer Power Play: Again both teams had success in Game 2 on the man advantage, with the Blue Jackets are still operating at a 50% success rate. On Sunday Artemi Panarin drove the offense, finding Cam Atkinson through the seam with a tape to tape pass for a goal and posting a secondary assist on Zach Werenski’s game-tying goal. Alex Ovechkin’s power play success may be more flashy and explosive, but keep an eye on Panarin in Game 3. - Zeke Lukow

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Winnipeg Jets at Minnesota Wild Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Winnipeg Jets at Minnesota Wild (WPG leads 2-1)

8:00 p.m. ET, CNBC

  1. How will the Jets respond? The Jets lost handily Sunday but, while they do lack playoff experience, they did not seem to be dejected in the post-game media scrum. However, what’s on my own mind is the response of Connor Hellebuyck. The Winnipeg goalie gave up six goals and while he told the media after the game that he was ready to move on, there’s little doubt that things could snowball if the Wild get on the board early at home. He had a great regular season but the playoffs are a different animal and that type of pressure can crack the best of goaltenders.
  2. Let them play: There were eight total penalties called in Sunday’s game, with a plethora of them called early in the game. The referees were trying to set the tone after what had been a very physical and chippy first two games. It will be interesting to see how each team tests the waters since both have generated wins out of strong physical play and finishing checks.
  3. Myers out? Tyler Myers left early in the second period after going down awkwardly following a collision with Marcus Foligno. Depending on which side of the border you find yourself on, fans may tell you the play was dirty or just one of those fluke hockey plays that players succumb to every so often. No matter the intent, Myers is an important part of the Jets’ blue line and if he is out, it could create an even bigger hole for the Jets, who are already coping with the absence of Toby Enstrom. - Liam Goff

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

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

10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN

  1. Comeback Kings: Sure, they’ve got a mountain ahead of them, but the Kings are no strangers to playoff deficits. It’s been four seasons since their comeback from being down 3-0 to the Sharks, and after Game 3’s close-checking battle that saw Vegas pull away late, LA will be looking to their veterans to pull off another stunning playoff revival. They managed to notch more than one goal in a game for the first time in the series with their pair of tallies on Sunday, and can look to build off of strong outings from Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty as they look to finally find their rhythm just in time to salvage the series.
  2. Flower Power: Of course, LA doesn’t stand much of a chance if Marc-Andre Fleury continues looking as superhuman as he has through three games. He and Jonathan Quick have dueled, with the latter being the first to look mortal in Game 3, but Fleury has been on another level so far. With 96 saves on 99 shots thus far, the Vegas netminder has easily been the series’ MVP. If the Kings are to have any shot at getting back into things, they need to get to Fleury early and often in Game 4 and knock him off of his game.
  3. Keep it Cool: The one thing Vegas absolutely wants to avoid is beating itself with stupid retaliation penalties. The Kings will certainly try to goad them into taking whacks and punches after the whistle, and it nearly worked for them in Game 3. Jonathan Marchessault got tagged for a silly call when he knocked Doughty’s helmet off after a hit, and was the recipient of some sardonic applause from Doughty after playing directly into his hands. The Golden Knights have to understand that they have all the advantages here and avoid falling into the Kings’ trap; otherwise their opponents will smell blood. - Peter Dewar