I suppose if you wanted to look at last night in the NHL as a food item, you could call it an Appy Platter, because there was a little bit of everything. A back and forth battle, 2 shutouts, a blowout and a tight as hell game. That along with some ridiculous goals, saves and hits made for a pretty entertaining night 1 in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Let’s get to the breakdowns, shall we?
WINNIPEG 3 MINNESOTA 2 (Jets lead series 1-0)
This win was a long time coming, eh? The Whiteout was in full effect last night as Winnipeg began their 3rd playoff campaign in franchise history, still looking for that first win. And after Mark Scheifele opened the scoring for the Jets late in the 2nd after a scoreless first, it sure seemed like they were going to take control.
And the first goal in the West goes to Mark Scheifele— SI NHL (@SI_NHL) April 12, 2018
WPG 1, MIN 0pic.twitter.com/SWyBrD4YLH
Give the Wild credit for coming out in the 3rd and scoring 2 quick ones, the first from ageless wonder Matt Cullen.
Just over 2 minutes later it was Zack Parise and the previously raucous MTS Center was dead silent.
It took exactly 52 seconds for Patrik Laine to bring the fans back to their feet as he tied the game at 2-2.
It’s hard to believe sometimes that this is a 19 year old, because in his first playoff game he looked like a veteran performer. Absolutely no nerves with this kid!
The Jets continued to pour on the pressure, and that led to a goal from a most unlikely source: Joe Morrow. Morrow’s point shot went in off Charlie Coyle’s stick, beating Devan Dubnyk 5-hole to give the Jets the lead and ultimately the win.
This game was insanely physical, with both teams laying out some massive hits. The best one of the night was Dustin Byfuglien with a beautiful lick Joel Eriksson-Ek.
DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN DESTROYS JOEL ERIKSSON EK WITH AN ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE HIT! pic.twitter.com/uqJH7OMWFu— NHL Daily 365 (@NHLDaily365) April 12, 2018
The Jets lost Matthieu Perrault to an upper body injury after being the target of a number of hits by the Wild. Despite being outshot by a 2-1 margin, the Wild feel like they could have won this game, and we can expect a barn-burner in Game 2 on Friday night.
PITTSBURGH 7 PHILADELPHIA 0 (Penguins lead series 1-0)
This one was ugly, but not in a physical, these two teams hate each other kinda way. No, it was more like a ‘this is men against boys’ kinda ugly, as the Penguins opened their title defence with a 7-0 stomping of the Flyers. Sidney Crosby was a force, notching a hat trick in the opener, as the Penguins also got goals from Evgeni Malkin, Bryan Rust, Carl Hagelin and Jake Guentzel. We’re not gonna take up bandwidth posting all of the goals separately, so here’s a tidy highlight package.
You have to wonder why Flyers coach Dave Hakstol waited so long to give Brian Elliott the hook in this one. As far as the Flyers being out, remember that they lost Game 1 of the series against the Penguins in 2012, and lost Game 4 by a 10-3 score, yet still won the series 4-2. This one isn’t over by a long shot.
VEGAS 1 LOS ANGELES 0 (Golden Knights lead series 1-0)
Playoff hockey arrived in Las Vegas and as we’ve seen all season from this team, they certainly have the pregame stuff down as well as any franchise in the NHL.
This one is going to be a goaltenders’ battle and it was Marc Andre Fleury who came out on top, stopping 30 Kings shots for the win. Jonathan Quick was almost as good in stopping 27 of 28 Vegas shots. The Kings are likely lamenting a number of missed chances from last night, including this one by Dustin Brown.
The winner came from Shea Theodore, and can we have this for every single goal in the playoffs, because I freakin’ LOVE IT!
The Spanish call of Shea Theodore’s goal is absolutely ELECTRIC pic.twitter.com/dZpkp8xBxM— Shayne Pasquino (@shaynepasquino) April 12, 2018
Great play by William Carrier to get the whole thing going with a big hit, but he could miss Game 2 after leaving following a hit from Drew Doughty. Game 2 goes Friday.