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Stanley Cup Daily 5/2: Oh Good, More Nonsense

Tom Wilson doing Tom Wilson things overshadowed his team going up 2-1 by winning Game 3.

Washington Capitals v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Three Photo by Kirk Irwin/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.

Tuesday’s Recaps

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Nashville Predators at Winnipeg Jets Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Winnipeg Jets 7, Nashville Predators 4 (WPG leads series 2-1)

The Nashville Predators went into to Winnipeg and blew the doors off the building. They took a 3-0 first period lead and were well on their way to taking the series lead over the Jets. Until they weren’t.

Over the final 38 minutes of Tuesday night’s Game 3, the Winnipeg Jets outscored the road team 7-1. Blake Wheeler, Paul Stastny, and Dustin Byfuglien all notched three-point games, the Preds couldn’t seem to do anything right, and just like that, it was Winnipeg who took control of the series.

For Predators backstop Pekka Rinne, it was a very unwelcome turn of events in the second and third period. After stopping all of the ten shots he faced in the first period, he allowed five goals on 33 shots the rest of the way before the Jets scored two empty-net goals down the stretch. As bad as this game looks for Nashville, it was more about just how well Winnipeg played in the final forty minutes. They made an elite defensive group look clueless. Their speed and skill up front was a spectacle to watch, as it has been so many times this season.

With three games in the books, the Jets have a chance to come back on Thursday and really take a stranglehold on this big second-round series. A win in Game 4 would give the Jets a 3-1 series lead with three opportunities to shut the door and advance to their first Western Conference Final since relocation. The crowd at Bell MTS Place was rocking, and they saw an incredible offensive performance out from their beloved hockey club. - Brett Finger

Washington Capitals v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Three Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Washington Capitals 4, Pittsburgh Penguins 3 (WAS leads series 2-1)

Everyone expected this to be a hard-fought physical series, and Game 3 delivered. This game saw heavy hits and a lot of action after the whistle. Though the Penguins showed up to the game this time, they still couldn’t prevent the Caps from yet another fast start. This time, though, it wasn’t in the first period, but the second.

John Carlson opened up scoring in the first minute in the second period with a blast from the point on the power play. The second period continued with multiple goals for both teams. The Penguins got goals from Jake Guentzel, Patric Hornqvist, and Sidney Crosby. The most spectacular was the Crosby one-timer after Jake Guentzel undressed defenseman Dmitry Orlov before feeding Crosby across the slot for the goal.

The goals weren’t the only action, though. For the second straight game Tom Wilson had a controversial hit in the second period. This time Wilson hit Zach Aston-Reese high along the bench. There was no penalty called on the play, as the hit was borderline shoulder to shoulder, but Aston-Reese left the game with a broken jaw and a concussion, not to mention the ire of Penguins coach Mike Sullivan.

The Caps tied the game in the third period with a blast from Matt Niskanen that beat Matt Murray low glove side just five minutes into the period. The game-winner for the Caps came in the final minute of the game when Alex Ovechkin scored off of a breakaway. After missing his initial shot which came off the crossbar, he batted the rebound out of the air and into the net. The Caps continued their perfect road-record in the playoffs to grab a win in the always pivotal Game 3 and lead the series 2-1. - Zeke Lukow

Wednesday’s Previews

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins (Series tied 1-1)

7:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN

  1. On Point: Brayden Point had a career game on Monday night, notching three assists and an empty net goal to solidify the win. He had a hand in every goal the Lightning scored. Point also kept the Bruins’ all-world line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak in check all night. Without home ice advantage, Point will most likely being seeing less of the Bruins top line. Can he continue to be that shutdown center against what will most likely be the David Krejci line?
  2. A Tale of Two Tuukkas: Tuukka Rask played exceptionally in the first period on Monday night, keeping his team in the game while they took an early game nap. However, the Tyler Johnson goal in the second period was a bit of a soft one. If we’ve learned anything about goaltending here in Carolina, it’s that the shots that you stop are a lot less important than the shots that you don’t. So often in the playoffs we see a team that rides to victory on the back of a hot goaltender. Rask will need to be on his game for 60 minutes tonight in order to keep the Lightning’s lethal offense in check. If he’s not, things will certainly get ugly.
  3. Matchups: With home ice advantage, how will Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy decide his matchups? Against an offense like the Lightning you have to generate goals, and his focus should be on freeing his offensive dynamos and allowing them to buzz like they did in the first round. With these two teams being so close to each other, it’s reasonable to think that a matchup advantage could be the difference in Game 3 and 4. - Andrew Ahr

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Vegas Golden Knights at San Jose Sharks John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Vegas Golden Knights at San Jose Sharks (VGK leads 2-1)

10:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN

  1. Opportunity Knocks: San Jose did a fantastic job of getting to Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 2, and while they still managed a trio of tallies in an extended Game 3, Vegas’ netminder was still able to come up with crucial saves time and time again, despite numerous Grade-A chances against. The Sharks were able to strike quickly back at T-Mobile Arena by getting him to move side-to-side and setting up screens in front. In their first home contest of the series, Fleury was able to see most shots against, and remained relatively stable in the crease, not giving up open net looks to the team in teal even though they peppered him with 42 shots. The Sharks will need to take advantage of their opportunities and make Fleury’s job far more difficult if they want to avoid heading to Vegas on the brink of elimination.
  2. Shutting the Door: On the other hand, Vegas looked dangerously human in the third period of Game 3, letting go of a two-goal lead after seemingly snatching victory in the second stanza. Fleury held strong, but the Sharks’ firepower overwhelmed a stagnant Golden Knights defense and forced overtime. And while they got away with their lack of urgency to close out the contest in this instance, that’s a habit they’ll look to avoid developing any further should they jump ahead by another couple of goals in Game 4.
  3. Wild Bill (and friends!): It feels odd to pick out a single player on Vegas’ roster full of contributors, but William Karlsson has been dynamite for the Golden Knights this season and in this series. With 3g-4a-7pts in the series’ three games. including multi-point efforts in each outing, Karlsson has stood out as the leader of an offensive corps full of strong performers. And therein lies the issue for San Jose:Vegas lacks legitimate star power, but they have a number of guys with the right combination of grit and natural talent to do real damage. Focusing solely on stopping Karlsson invites danger from James Neal, Jonathan Marchessault or Reilly Smith. None of those names jumps out as a world-beater, but each has been downright dominant at times and will be quick to burn a sleepy Sharks defense. - Peter Dewar