Sunday’s four games saw the end of Round 3 of the First Round for both conferences. We were treated to some high scores, loud fans and a fair penalty minutes around the league.
How things stood after Game 2:
➜ The Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs were tied 1-1
➜ The Washington Capitals led Carolina 2-0
➜ The Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars were tied 1-1
➜ The Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche were tied 1-1
Teams who win Game 3 of a best-of-7 NHL playoff series that was tied 1-1 have a series record of 212-100, whilst those that win the first two games of a best-of-7 playoff series have a series record of 318-50 (86.4%), including 241-30 when those victories come at home (88.9%).
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews and Andreas Johnsson each had a goal and an assist for the Toronto Maple Leafs to help lift them to a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round. They lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.
Trevor Moore also scored, and Frederik Andersen made 34 saves for Toronto, including a stick save on David Krejci with just 3:09 remaining in the game, preserving his side’s one-goal lead.
The NHL announced earlier in the evening that Toronto forward Nazem Kadri would be suspended for the remainder of the first round, due to cross-checking Jake DeBrusk in Game 2. Tyler Ennis took his place in the lineup.
Krejci and Charlie Coyle scored, and Tuukka Rask made 31 saves for the Bruins.
Bruins v Leafs – Wednesday, April 17 (7pm – NBCSN)
Washington Capitals v Carolina Hurricanes
The Carolina Hurricanes limited the Washington Capitals to 18 shots on goal in a 5-0 win in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round at PNC Arena. They still trail the series 2-1 but have a new found confidence to take into Game 4 on Thursday.
Warren Foegele scored two and assisted another, Dougie Hamilton scored twice on the power play, Brock McGinn had a goal and an assist, Jaccob Slavin and Jordan Staal each had two assists, and Petr Mrazek made 18 saves for his fourth shutout in 14 Stanley Cup Playoff games. Staal had 10 of Carolina’s 52 hits.
Speaking to media after the affair, the First Star of the Game, Foegele said, “scoring is nice, but it’s more fun winning. I think I play aggressive and I play hard. I love these moments. This is when it counts.”
Carolina forwards Andrei Svechnikov and Micheal Ferland both left the game after sustaining upper-body injuries in the first period. Rookie Svechnikov was injured in a fight with Alex Ovechkin at 10:59; Ferland left after three shifts, having tweaked a previous injury when making a hit.
Braden Holtby made 40 saves for Washington, who were 0-for-4 on the power play and had just eight shots on goal after the first period.
Washington’s one shot on goal in the second period was their fewest ever in a road playoff game, whilst it was the fewest shots allowed in a period in Carolina/Hartford Whalers playoff history.
The victory was the Canes’ first against the Caps this season, having lost all four regular season games. The Hurricanes are 22-15 in playoff games at PNC Arena.
Capitals v Canes – Thursday, April 18th (7pm – Fox Sports Carolina)
Nashville Predators v Dallas Stars
Mikael Granlund scored the tie breaking goal with 8:19 remaining to win the game 3-2 for the Nashville Predators, who lead the Dallas Stars 2-1 in their best-of-7 series.
Rocco Grimaldi and Filip Forsberg scored, and Pekka Rinne made 40 saves for the visitors, who were outshot 31-40 over the final two periods.
Mats Zuccarello and Tyler Seguin scored, and Ben Bishop made 25 saves for Dallas in their first home playoff game since May 11, 2016.
Zuccarello has scored two goals in this series after playing just two regular season games for the hosts after being acquired from the NY Rangers in a trade on February 23, then breaking his arm in his Dallas debut on February 24.
The Stars went 0-for-3 on the power play, but forced Rinne into five saves when they had a 5-on-3 power play for 1:29 during the second period.
Defenseman John Klingberg said of the 5-on-3, “We could have had better chances. I think we were stressing up a little bit.”
Bishop, who finished second in the NHL regular season with a 1.98 goal-against average, and led the League with a Stars record .934 save percentage, allowed more than two goals for the first time since giving up 4 against the Arizona Coyotes on February 4.
Cale Makar scored in his NHL debut for the Colorado Avalanche as they beat the Calgary Flames 6-2 in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round. They take a 2-1 series lead into Game 4 at Pepsi Center on Wednesday.
Nathan MacKinnon had two goals and an assist, Erik Johnson, Matt Nieto and Mikko Rantanen all had one goal, one assist, and Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves for the Avs, whose 56 shots were tied for second most in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history.
Sam Bennett and TJ Brodie scored, and Mike Smith made 50 saves for Calgary. Head coach Bill Peters said he considered replacing the goalie with David Rittich after the second period.
The two teams combined for 21 penalties and 76 minutes.
Flames v Avalanche – Wednesday, April 17 (10pm – NBCSN)
ALL TIMES U.S. EASTERN