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Stanley Cup Daily 4/18: Cashing Out and Moving On

The Cinderella story that is the Vegas Golden Knights will continue for at least one more round.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Vegas Golden Knights at Los Angeles Kings Jayne Kamin-Oncea-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.

Tuesday’s Recaps

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Vegas Golden Knights at Los Angeles Kings Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Vegas Golden Knights 1, Los Angeles Kings 0 (VGK wins series 4-0)

Brayden McNabb posted the only goal of the game just under five minutes into the second period to earn the Vegas Golden Knights their first ever playoff series win, sweeping the Los Angeles Kings with a 1-0 win at Staples Center Tuesdaynight.

The Kings owned the ice in the first period, applying pressure and forcing the Golden Knights to play in their own end, but they failed to find the back of the net. Then, early in the middle frame, former Kings defenseman McNabb drew first blood for Vegas as he joined a rush with William Karlsson and Reilly Smith, who fed a perfect pass as McNabb blasted home a one-timer.

Marc-Andre Fleury again stole the show in the Vegas cage, earning his second shutout of the series and giving up a total of just three goals in the four-game series as he stopped 127 of 130 total shots against. Fleury finished the first round with a stunning .977 save percentage. In the opposite cage, Jonathan Quick again impressed with some strong goaltending of his own, but his 20 saves were not enough to balance out LA’s sputtering offense in Game 4.

Vegas now looks ahead to a potential second-round matchup with the San Jose Sharks, who are looking to close out a sweep of their own over the Anaheim Ducks tonight. - Peter Dewar

Washington Capitals v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Three Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Washington Capitals 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 2 (2OT) (CBJ leads 2-1)

This game had it all: a 5-on-3 goal, a goal overturned, an overtime, a second overtime, and the Capitals actually making it a series! Washington jumped out to what appeared to be a quick two-goal lead when Tom Wilson deflected a goal to open the scoring, and then Brett Connolly appeared to score less than a minute later. However, John Tortorella decided to use a risky offside challenge, which paid off when it was determined that Connolly had put himself offside on the entry.

And to make the challenge even more meaningful, five minutes later the Blue Jackets tied the game when Pierre-Luc Dubois scored off the rush over Braden Holtby’s glove. But the Caps answered, scoring their second after two Columbus slashing penalties in under a minute of game time.

Again, the Jackets answered, tying the game in the third period when Artemi Panarin and Cam Atkinson played a game of tic-tac-toe on a two-on-one and sending the third straight game of the series to overtime. The extra session saw many opportunities for both teams, including hit posts for both teams and a failed power play chance for the Blue Jackets.

In the second overtime, Lars Eller was finally able to score the game-winner after Connolly threw the puck to the net, changing direction off Zach Werenski and nicking the tip of Eller’s skate blade to find a path past Sergei Bobrovsky. The Caps have a chance to back up Alex Ovechkin’s promise to return to Columbus with a tied series if they can win Game 4 in Columbus tomorrow. - Zeke Lukow

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Winnipeg Jets at Minnesota Wild Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Winnipeg Jets 2, Minnesota Wild 0 (WPG leads 2-1)

Recap to come after Liam gets off work...

Wednesday’s Previews

Nashville Predators v Colorado Avalanche - Game Three Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Nashville Predators at Colorado Avalanche (NSH leads 2-1)

10:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN

  1. Mile High Home Cookin’: The Colorado Avalanche were one of the best home teams in the entire league throughout the regular season, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that they were able to pull out a win in Game 3. If Nathan MacKinnon and the Avs can continue to feed off of their home crowd, look for the Avalanche to even this series up.
  2. Pekka Pick-Up: After a huge season for the Predators, goaltender Pekka Rinne was quickly lit up on Monday night. Rinne’s career has come to be defined by its peaks and valleys. When he’s on, very very few are better goaltenders than the towering Finn. When he’s not on, however, performances like Monday’s have had a tendency to make up the bulk of long periods of time. If he’s off his game again tonight, the Predators could be on upset alert.
  3. MacKinnon Magic: MacKinnon is tied for the Colorado series lead in points with linemate Gabriel Landeskog with five. While Colorado’s dangerous top line has certainly been productive, they still haven’t played up to their potential in a game this series. They would routinely have home games where one or two of MacKinnon, Landeskog, or Mikko Rantanen would put up three or four points. Colorado will probably need one of those nights tonight to get this series level. - Kyle Morton

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

Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers (PIT leads 2-1)

7:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN

  • Momentum Changes: This series has experienced more than a few momentum changes through the first three games, each ending with at least a five-goal win for one team, and it would not be surprising if the pendulum swung back in the direction of the Flyers. But that said, the biggest momentum swing of the series may have occurred at Flyers practice yesterday, when Sean Couturier went down with what looked like a fairly significant knee injury. He is listed as “day to day” but it’s highly unlikely he plays tonight, and his status for the rest of the series is very much in question.
  • Murray’s Net: Matt Murray has been quite solid through the first three games. The Penguins are in the driver’s seat thanks to a stellar .929 save percentage from Murray. Through his first three postseasons he has a career postseason save percentage of .928 to go along with 1.93 goals against average. He’s 24-10 in 34 games, and with Couturier out his task may become marginally easier yet.
  • Dynamic Duo Dominance: Sidney Crosby has four goals and three assists, and Evgeni Malkin is averaging a point per game. Philadelphia must make defensive adjustments to at least slow down the pair. Their on-ice dominance has controlled the series thus far and if they continue to roll, this series could be over in just five games. - Justin Lape

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

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

7:30 p.m. ET, GOLF Channel

  1. The Race to Five: You know how Bill Peters loves to talk about how the first team to three goals will usually win a game? In this series, five has been the magic number. Each game has seen the winning team score five times, and Andrei Vasilevskiy in particular has looked a little rattled at times. New Jersey’s offensive firepower largely consists of Taylor Hall and a bunch of dudes, yet they were able to beat Vasilevskiy three times on Monday night. If they can get Hall some help, this could be a longer series than just about anyone expected.
  2. Play Nicely, Gentlemen: Game 3 wasn’t exactly a showcase for Lady Byng candidates. The teams combined for twelve power plays, thirteen different players spent time in the penalty box (not including a Lightning too-many-men bench minor) and, to top it all off, every player on the ice received a misconduct after a line brawl with 23 seconds remaining. You wouldn’t think that a series between two rather nondescript teams would have this much bad blood, but with the Lightning 5-for-9 on the power play so far in the series, the Devils especially need to figure out a way to stay out of the box, and quick.
  3. Answering the Bell: The big boys have come to play for the Lightning in this series. Seven players have scored at a point-per-game clip to open the series, led by (who else?) Nikita Kucherov with six points including a two-assist showing in Game 3. Despite the lopsided final score on Monday, it was a one-bounce game, and the Lightning certainly have to think that their time is coming. After all, Cory Schneider has won all of one game - Game 3 - since the calendar turned to 2018, and the Lightning have the firepower to make sure that’s a one-time blip on the radar. - Brian LeBlanc

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

Anaheim Ducks at San Jose Sharks (SJS leads 3-0)

10:30 p.m. ET, GOLF Channel

  1. Backs Against the Wall: The Ducks enter Game 4 in a literal must-win after getting dismantled on Game 3 in a figurative must-win. Other than Rickard Rakell finally making the score sheet, the Ducks can take absolutely no positives from their 8-1 shellacking, and their performance will surely leave many observers wondering if there is any resolve left in the team that finished second in the Pacific Division with 101 points. Game 4 will be a test of character and pride. Will the Ducks show up willing to fight?
  2. Penalties abound: With the lopsided score and frustration mounting with the Ducks, Game 3 represented the chippiest of the games in the series thus far. To keep what could be the final game of the series from getting out of hand, expect a tighter than usual whistle in the early going of Game 4. The Sharks have benefited greatly on the power play, converting six times in the first three games. And if the Sharks do get out ahead, they must avoid getting dragged into any altercations that could impact a further playoff run.
  3. Killer Instinct: The Sharks are in complete control, but for a team that blew a 3-0 lead in 2014 to the Los Angeles Kings, you would imagine the sense of urgency should be firmly entrenched. If the Ducks are allowed to hang around the series with a Game 4 win, they would return home for Game 5 with at least some measure of renewed confidence. And if they were able to finally take care of business at home, the outlook for this series will no longer be about Shark domination, but rather about encroaching doubts and a legitimate dogfight in a series that is still most certainly in doubt. - Andy House