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STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS OPEN THREAD- Apr 13/17

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Last night's opening of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs had everything: shutouts, unlikely heroes, OT games, and a fan base being milked by their team like we've never seen before... 3 games tonight including the Leafs and Capitals.

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Well, if you were a fan of the Canadian teams playing last night, it wasn't exactly a great start to the playoffs for you. The road teams won 4 of 5 last night, including a pair of OT thrillers in Minnesota and Edmonton, and whether your team won or not, it was a pretty decent start to the 2017 Playoffs. The remaining 3 series start tonight, including the Toronto Maple Leafs taking on the Washington Capitals, and we'll preview those after a look at what went down last night:

RANGERS 2 CANADIENS 0 (Rangers lead 1-0)

On the strength of goals from Tanner Glass and Michael Grabner, the Vancouver Canucks New York Rangers silenced the raucous crowd in the Bell Centre last night, especially through the efforts of Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped 31 shots, including 16 in the first period alone en route to a 2-0 Game 1 victory. While it's early to panic in Montreal, familiar ghosts threaten as once again, this team finds itself struggling to score goals against the Rangers in the post-season. I just want to post this video because someday people will try to deny that Tanner Glass ever scored a playoff goal. Yeah, I hear you sighing heavily...

While we expected solid goaltending at both ends of the ice, what we weren't counting on was the volume of hits we saw between these teams last night, combining for 98 hits, the Habs leading that stat 53-45.

BRUINS 2 SENATORS 1 (Bruins lead 1-0)

While it wasn't a huge lead, the Senators seemed pretty confident heading into the 3rd, up 1-0 and having held the Bruins shotless in the 2nd frame, leading to this tweet from the Sens twitter account:


You would think that being the fatalistic types athletes are, someone would have stopped them from tweeting this, because of course the Bruins came back, tying it on a goal from 1940's mobster Frank Vatrano, and the dagger from who else: Brad Marchand.

PENGUINS 3 BLUE JACKETS 1 (Penguins lead 1-0)

No Matt Murray? No problem. Goals from Bryan Rust, Stanley Cup Winner Phil Kessel and Nick Bonino (ouch...) led the way, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 31 of 32 Columbus shots to be the only home team to notch a win last night. After the 1st period, it looked like the Pens might be in some trouble, being outshot 16-3, and they can thank Fleury for giving them the opportunity to win as they returned serve in the 2nd, outshooting Columbus 16-4 and scoring 3 times. Evgeni Malkin notched 2 assists including one on Kessel's PP goal.

BLUES 2 WILD 1 OT (Blues lead 1-0)

One of the big question marks for the Blues heading into this one was could Jake Allen match up against Devan Dubnyk? Allen answered his critics in a huge way last night, making 51 saves, his only blemish coming on a Zack Parise goal with less than 30 seconds remaining to send it to OT. Joel Edmundson was the hero for St Louis in the extra frame, firing one past Dubnyk to give the Blues the victory.

SHARKS 3 OILERS 2 OT (Sharks lead 1-0)

The crowd was fired up for the return of playoff hockey in Edmonton after a decade long drought, and goals by Oscar Klefbom and Milan Lucic in the 1st had them going wild. And while that high-energy start, punctuated by a ton of big hits was entirely predictable, so was the let down. San Jose did some serious rope-a-dope last night, riding out the storm in the first and slowly taking the game over, forcing the Oilers out of their comfort zone. A penalty late in the 1st by Drake Caggiula came back to bite them as Joel Ward scored on the PP early in the 2nd.

The Sharks continued to dominate the play, killing off penalties and doing a good job of handling Connor McDavid's efforts to try and swing the momentum. Paul Martin tied it up at 5:22 of the 3rd and it didn't take long in OT for some heroics from Melker Karlsson.

Such a nice pass from Patrick Marleau there. Also, this guy...

I wonder if he got this mad about the great idea that the Oilers had. They introduced a new ticket for this game, allowing fans access to the arena concourse, with no access to view the ice other than on tv screens for just $80. So, a full house, add in over a thousand more and the result? LONG lines for concessions and bathrooms. Seriously, why not just do a viewing party outside instead of turning it into a massive cash grab? It will be interesting to see if they continue this much further, but 20+ minutes for a bathroom line is pretty crazy.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Washington Capitals

4:00 PM PT - Verizon Centre- Washington, DC

TV: CBC - Radio: TSN 1410

The good news is, your team made the playoffs. The bad news? You have to play the best team in the league. But... and it's a big one, the Washington Capitals have a lot of pressure. They won back to back Presidents' Trophies, but have continued to find ways to bow out of the playoffs year after year. This is a pretty good situation for the Leafs to find themselves in. No one is expecting them to win the Cup this year, so they can just go out and play the kind of hockey they have all season long.

This should be one of the most fun matchups of the first round, really. Who wouldn't want to see Alex Ovechkin go up against Auston Matthews? The Leafs can certainly go toe to toe offensively with the Caps, but it's goaltending that will decide this series, and that's where Washington has an advantage. Braden Holtby had another phenomenal season, but is under the spotlight to replicate that in the post season. Meanwhile the Leafs may be young, but G Frederik Andersson does have playoff experience, coming within 1 win of going to the Finals with the Ducks in 2015.

Honestly, the Leafs have no business winning this, and yet because Washington always seems to mess things up, and with it being the Centennial and all, I think it could actually come down to a Game 7 OT goal. I am hesitantly saying Washington wins this, but want it on record that I think that could be wrong and am not confident at all. Capitals in 7*

Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks

5:00 PM PT - United Centre- Chicago, IL

TV: SN - Radio: N/A

You want your upset special? Look no further. As Dave Lozo pointed out in a great piece earlier this year, everyone is sick to death of the Hawks. From the trash that they employ, to the smugness of their media and fans; it's old, it's tired, and it's time for them to fail. And the Nashville Predators just may be the team to do it.

Virtually a draw when it comes to goaltending, the difference will be Nashville and their depth trying to take advantage of Chicago's rookies and exposing them. The Preds also have a top 4 D that can go toe to toe with Chicago, and have the x-factor of PK Subban that they didn't have the last time these teams met, a 4-2 series win for Chicago.

Everything seems to have gone right for the Hawks this year. They're so due for an upset it's ridiculous. Predators in 7.

Calgary Flames vs. Anaheim Ducks

7:30 PM PT - Honda Centre- Anaheim, CA

TV: CBC - Radio: TSN 1410

Lost in the Oilers hype was the fact that the turnaround by the Calgary Flames was no less impressive. With new coach Glen Gulutzan and a strong 2nd half from Brian Elliott, the Flames are full value for their playoff spot. They will have their hands full with Anaheim though, a team that is pretty much a more experienced carbon copy. These two teams hate each other something fierce, and we'll see plenty of fireworks throughout the series.

The fact that the Ducks were able to win the Pacific Division this year with the kind of season they got from Corey Perry is something of a miracle. Perry was brutally bad all year long, and they will need him to step up in the post season if they wish to go anywhere.

Of course none of this will matter if the Flames cannot change the only stat that you need to know in this series: The Flames have lost 27 straight in Anaheim. Even the Canucks haven't had a futility streak like that. If they can't head back to the Saddledome with at least a split, they are as good as done. Ducks in 6.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

A brand new one from German beer-soaked thrashers TANKARD, here's Arena Of The True Lies, taking on the fake news phenomenon.