Day 1 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs couldn’t have been written by even the most talented of writers if they’d tried. The Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning went to 5OT, becoming the fourth-longest game in NHL history, whilst also kicking the Carolina Hurricanes v Boston Bruins Game 1 to 11am on Wednesday morning.
Carolina and Boston finally got to play their first game of the Eastern Conference First Round. They were joined by the New York Islanders, Washington Capitals, Montreal Canadiens and the Philadelphia Flyers. With all three games being played in their hub city of Toronto at the Scotiabank Arena.
On the other side of Canada in the Western hub city of Edmonton, the Arizona Coyotes faced the Colorado Avalanche and the Vancouver Canucks matched up with the St. Louis Blues, with both games taking place at Rogers Place, home of the Edmonton Oilers, who were knocked out at the qualifying stage by the Chicago Blackhawks, who lost 4-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.
Carolina Hurricanes v Boston Bruins
Patrice Bergeron scored at 1:13 of second overtime to give the Boston Bruins a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Scotiabank Arena.
Bergeron added an assist, with David Pastrnak, Charlie Coyle and David Krejci also scoring, and Tuukka Rask made 25 saves for Boston, the No.4 seed in the East after going 0-3-0 in the round-robin portion of the Qualifiers.
Joel Edmundson, Brock McGinn and Haydn Fleury scored, whilst Petr Mrzaek made 36 saves for the No.5 seeded Hurricanes.
The game was originally set for 8pm ET on Tuesday (Aug. 11), but was rescheduled after the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets played the fourth-longest game in NHL history, a 3-2 5OT win for the Bolts.
Fleury tied the game 3-3 at 9:49 of the third, forcing the game in to overtime. His goal coming on a shot from the point, beating a screened Rask.
The win for the Bruins is a very controversial one with their second goal, by Coyle, being upheld by a video review when it was determined Mrazek controlled the puck prior to the goal, which nullified a potential hand pass.
The Carolina bench, and all the fans at home were furious, after it appeared that their goalie had covered the puck, but with no whistle two Boston players seemingly got their sticks under the glove and knocked it out into play for the goal.
Carolina then went on the penalty kill due to a delay of game penalty for the failed challenge. McGinn responded with a shorthanded breakaway goal with emotions still running high.
Game 2 is on Thursday, Aug. 13 (8 pm ET – NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).
Canes v Bruins – Thursday, Aug. 13 (8pm ET – NBCSN, NESN, FS-CR)
New York Islanders v Washington Capitals
The New York Islanders scored four unanswered goals to rally for a 4-2 win over the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference First Round series in Toronto.
Josh Bailey broke the tie with a shorthanded goal in the third period, with Jordan Eberle, Anders Lee and Anthony Beauvillier also getting themselves on the scoresheet, and Semyon Varlamov made 24 saves for the No.6 seed Islanders.
T.J. Oshie scored twice, John Carlson had two assists, and Braden Holtby made 23 saves for the third-seeded Capitals, who went 2-for-7 on the power play.
Carlson played for the first time since July 29, when the defenseman was injured in their exhibition game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Bailey gave the Isles a 3-2 lead at 6:52 of the third with Leo Komarov in the penalty box for high-sticking.
New York outshout Washington 14-10 in the third.
Capitals center Niklas Backstrom was hit by Lee at 2:30 of the first and left the game after the period. Lee received an interference penalty for the hit.
Islanders v Caps – Friday, Aug. 14 (8pm ET – NBCSN, NBCSWA, MSG, MSG+)
Montreal Canadiens v Philadelphia Flyers
Carter Hart made 27 saves, including 13 in the third period, helping lift the Philadelphia Flyers to a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Scotiabank Arena.
Ivan Provorov and Joel Farabee scored for Philly, the No.1 seed in the East.
Shea Weber scored and Carey Price made 29 saves for the Habs, the No.8 seed.
Provorov‘s goal was the flyers’ first with the man-advantage in the playoffs this season, having gone 0-for-11 in the round-robin.
Meanwhile Weber‘s equalizer at 14:38 of the second period was the Canadiens’ first power-play goal of the postseason, having gone 0-for-12 against the Pittsburgh Penguins in their best-of-5 qualifiers.
Game 2 is in Toronto on Friday 3pm ET (NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS, NBCSP).
Canadiens v Flyers – Friday, Aug. 14 (3pm ET – NBCSN, NBCSP)
Arizona Coyotes v Colorado Avalanche
Philipp Grubauer made 14 saves for the Colorado Avalanche, who scored three goals in 1:23 in the third period for a 3-0 victory over the Arizona Coyotes in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place.
Mikko Rantanen, J.T. Compher and Nazem Kadri scored, and Nathan MacKinnon had two assists for Colorado, the No.2 seed in the West.
It’s just the second time in franchise history that the Avs have scored two goals within ten seconds of each other in a postseason contest. The other was in Game 3 of the 1996 conference finals (:07).
Darcy Kuemper made 37 saves for the Coyotes, the No.7 seed.
Arizona forward Nick Schmaltz was ruled unfit to play. As part of the league’s Return to Play Plan, a team is not permitted to disclose a player’s injury or illness information.
Teams that win Game 1 are 478-219 (68.6%) winning a best-of-7 NHL playoff series.
Game 2 is in Edmonton, the hub city in the West, on Friday (2pm ET – NHLN, SN360, ALT, FS-A, FS-A PLUS).
Coyotes v Avs – Friday, Aug. 14 (2pm ET – NHLN, ALT, FS-A, FS-A Plus)
Vancouver Canucks v St. Louis Blues
Bo Horvat scored twice for the Vancouver Canucks, helping lift them to a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round series at Rogers Place.
Elias Pettersson, Troy Stecher and J.T. Miller also scored, and Jacob Markstrom made 29 saves for Vancouver, the No.5 seed in the West.
David Perron and Jaden Schwartz scored for St. Louis, whilst Jordan Binnington allowed five goals on 22 shots.
The Blues, who are the reigning Stanley Cup champions, lost three straight games in the round-robin portion of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers to enter the playoffs as the No.4 seed in the West. It looks like they’re poor run continues, especially with them being outscored 9-0 in the third period this postseason, three of which came in this game.
Stecher scored the go-ahead goal for the Canucks at 5:37 of the third period.
It was the fourth straight win for the Canucks, who defeated the Minnesota Wild in four games in a best-of-5 qualifier series after losing the opening game.
Rookie Vancouver defenseman Quinn Hughes had an assist on Horvat‘s first goal to extend his point streak to four games (1g, 6a).
Meanwhile forward Tyler Toffoli (unfit to play) missed his fourth straight game and Blues forwards Sammy Blais and Alexander Steen were scratched, head coach Craig Berube said they were both day to day.
Game 2 will be in Edmonton on Friday at 6:30pm ET (NHLN, SN, FS-MW).
Canucks v Blues – Friday, Aug. 14 (6:30pm ET – NHLN, FS-MW)