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Stanley Cup Daily 4/27: The House Always Wins

People go to Las Vegas all the time and leave just as empty as the Sharks did last night.

San Jose Sharks v Vegas Golden Knights - Game One Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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

Thursday’s Recaps

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Penguins 3 - Washington Capitals 2 (Penguins lead series 1-0)

The Washington Capitals were 8-2 in Game 1 matchups against the Pittsburgh Penguins before last night. They looked poised to continue their mastery of the Penguins in series openers, but the Penguins flipped the script to steal the series lead.

The Caps came out firing early and scored before the Penguins knew what hit them. Just 17 seconds into the game, Evgeny Kuznetsov scored high glove side on a breakaway. The play was set up by a Tom Wilson pass out of the zone to Alex Ovechkin who then fed it to Kuznetsov at the blue line who was in all alone.

The game was a relatively low shot and a low scoring game through two periods. Heading into the third period, shots were 17-16 for Pittsburgh but the score was 1-0 for the Caps. The third period started much like the first. The Caps scored just 28 seconds into the period, this time from an Ovechkin shot on a two-on-one.

Things were looking good for the Caps now with a two-goal lead in the third, but things changed just two minutes later. Patric Hornqvist opened the scoring for the Penguins with a deflection and the floodgates opened. Just two minutes later Sidney Crosby tied up the game after Ovechkin couldn’t break up a cross-ice pass. Jake Guentzel took the lead for the Penguins two minutes later and they never looked back. Matt Murray robbed Brett Connolly in the Caps’ best chance to tie the game to seal the win.

Despite outshooting the Penguins 18-8 in the third period and having a two-goal lead to start the final stanza, the Caps blew a sure win in game one by having an atrocious five-minute span in the third. But hey, the strategy of blowing two-goal leads at home worked well for the Caps in the first round - so don’t count them out yet. - Zeke Lukow

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-San Jose Sharks at Vegas Golden Knights Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Vegas Golden Knights 7 - San Jose Sharks 0 (Vegas leads series 1-0)

Perhaps it was appropriate that on the night of the NFL draft, an NHL game was decided by a touchdown and an extra point. The league’s newest franchise continued to steamroll their way through the Western Conference with a lopsided Game 1 win over the San Jose Sharks.

Seven different players found the back of the net for Vegas, chasing Martin Jones early in the second period after the Golden Knights’ fifth goal. At the other end of the ice, Marc-Andre Fleury logged his 13th career playoff shutout with 33 saves and celebrated by taking part in the wave with the sold-out crowd at T-Mobile Arena.

Frustration led to 10 penalties called against the Sharks, including a five-minute major and game misconduct for forward Evander Kane, who was tossed for cross-checking Pierre-Edouard Bellemare after a scrum during the third period. Kane will talk his transgression over with the Department of Player Safety later today.

The Golden Knights are the first ever NHL team to win its first five postseason games, and they’re the only undefeated team remaining in the playoffs. But never fear, Sharks fans. It’s just one game, the score doesn’t get aggregated, and this is not the first time the Sharks have lost a playoff game by seven goals. In Game 3 of Round 1 of the 1995 playoffs, they were defeated by the Calgary Flames 9-2 and went on to win the series. - Jamie Kellner

Friday’s Preview

NHL: Nashville Predators at Winnipeg Jets James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

(C2) Winnipeg Jets at (C1) Nashville Predators

8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN

  1. Must-Watch Hockey - For most of the year, a Western Conference playoff matchup between the Jets and the Predators that I and many others have been eagerly awaiting. These two have been absolute powerhouses in the West. Both clubs boast dangerous offenses - Nashville by way of the league’s best defensive core and Winnipeg by way of one of what might be the deepest, most talented forward depth charts in the NHL. This will be phenomenal hockey to watch - an absolute must-watch if you are a hockey fan. The survivor of this series will likely be the odds-on favorite of hoisting the Cup in June.
  2. Carolina Connection - This series will also be a must-watch for Hurricanes fans who want to reminisce on the good (and bad) days of the franchise. Either Peter Laviolette and Paul Maurice served as the team’s head coach from the dawn of its existence in 1997 up until the 2011 season, meaning every single playoff game the Canes have played has been with one of those two elite bench bosses calling the shots.
  3. A Big Time Goalie Duel - While both teams have been able to score at will in many instances this season, the biggest matchup will be in net. Pekka Rinne and Connor Hellebuyck are both Vezina Trophy finalists and will, thanks to a poor finish from Tampa’s Andrei Vasilevskiy, likely finish first and second in voting, respectively. Rinne is the veteran looking to finally win a Stanley Cup, and Hellebuyck is the young starter who has earned his way into being mentioned in the company of the league’s best goalies. From the goal out, these teams are as good as they come. - Brett Finger