Another entertaining night of hockey as the Toronto Maple Leafs got off to the start they wanted to in Boston, the Capitals survived a scare against the Carolina Hurricanes and Mike Smith silencing some critics with a shutout performance against Colorado. Let’s roll with the highlights!
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS 4 BOSTON BRUINS 1 (Toronto leads 1-0)
One of the things the Leafs have going for them is speed and it was on full display last night in a 4-1 win at the TD Garden in Boston. The Bruins defence struggled to contain them all night long, while the Leafs did a better job of handling Boston’s snipers (save for a pretty power play goal from Patrice Bergeron on a beauty pass from Brad Marchand). The dagger came in the 2nd when Mitch Marner scored a shorthanded penalty shot that made Tuukka Rask look silly. This one’s far from over, but proving they can win in Boston is a huge step forward for the Leafs.
WASHINGTON CAPITALS 4 CAROLINA HURRICANES 2 (Washington leads 1-0)
After jumping out to a 3-0 first period lead, there was a lot of “well, this one’s over” talk on Twitter, people of course forgetting that just 24 hours earlier they saw Tampa do the same thing to Columbus and lose. And full credit to the jerks, they battled back in the 3rd on a couple sweet snipes from Andrei Svechnikov, before an empty netter sealed the deal for the Caps. Not the result they wanted but the Canes look like they’re not gonna make it easy on Alex Ovechkin and the Caps to defend their title.
CALGARY FLAMES 4 COLORADO AVALANCHE 0 (Calgary leads 1-0)
In what was the most dominant performance of all the Game 1’s this year, the Flames came out and served notice that they’re for real and they’re gonna do it with Mike Smith, dammit!
Smith stopped all 26 Colorado shots and added an assist, and the Flames got two from Matthew Tkachuk en route to a 4-0 series opening win.
4 games on the schedule for tonight, so let’s start in the Eastern Conference:
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING VS COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (Columbus leads 1-0)- 7:00PM EDT/4:00PM PDT
Let’s be honest, it’s gonna be a bigger shock than Wednesday night if Tampa doesn’t come out and just stomp a mud hole in the Jackets tonight. The team thought by many to be invincible took their focus off the task at hand and paid for it with a loss on home ice to open the series, shocking the hockey world. Tampa fans reacted rationally, of course.
It could be that Tampa just blasts their way through the next 4 games and everyone forgets about Game 1. But if it’s close, and Sergei Bobrovsky plays like the did in the last 40 minutes of Game 1, we could be looking at an upset of historic proportions.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS VS PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (New York leads 1-0)- 7:30PM EDT/4:30PM PDT
This was probably the most entertaining game of the 5 on opening night, from the back and forth battle, to the raw energy of the Islanders crowd, to that sweet OT goal, it’s one you’re gonna want to watch. It’s too early to count out the Penguins, but they’re already showing signs of losing their tempers to the Islanders who are playing guys like Kris Letang like a fiddle.
WINNIPEG JETS VS ST LOUIS BLUES (St Louis leads 1-0)- 9:30PM EDT/6:30PM PDT
Winnipeg is going to need to do better than trying to ride out a one goal lead against a team that can score like St Louis, and that means doing more to disrupt Craig Binnington in his comfort zone. It makes you think they should get Dustin Byfuglien going to the net the way he used to for Chicago against Roberto Luongo, anything that will work and help solve the rookie who stymied them all night long. They can’t go to St Louis down 2-0, and a first round loss for the Jets will surely see heads roll in the off-season.
SAN JOSE SHARKS VS VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS (San Jose leads 1-0)
The Sharks had everything go pretty much according to plan on Wednesday night. They needed a strong performance in goal from Martin Jones, and they needed a big night from their best players. They got that as they took Game 1 5-2 on 2 point performances from Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, Evander Kane, Tomas Hertl and Marc-Edouard Vlasic and a goal from Joe Pavelski. I am sure we won’t see any changes from Pete De Boer and his group tonight. For Vegas they’re going to need more than the 26 shots on goal they mustered Wednesday, and they’re going to need someone else besides Mark Stone to step up. They made some big moves to make another long playoff run. One thing you can expect tonight is for this series to get even more physical than it already is. Game 1 saw these teams combine for 83 hits and 56 penalty minutes, and given the way the Golden Knights like to play, you can bet Gerard Gallant’s crew will come out looking to make a statement tonight.
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Talk about a game changer. 30 years ago this week, the world got clued in to what some in the underground already knew. Brazil had a hot bed of metal ready to boil over and Sepultura was the best of the bunch. They’d released a couple albums that were well-reviewed, but it was their 3rd disc ‘Beneath The Remains’ that broke them out of the underground. Recorded in Florida at Tampa’s Morrisound Studios with Scott Burns (Obituary, Death, Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death, among others) gave them a production and sound that really captured their take on thrash/death metal. Infused with a their Brazilian roots and a hunger born of growing up in Belo Horizonte, Brazil gave them a fresh perspective, enabling them to grow at a time when the music industry was about to turn away from metal to more commercial friendly grunge and alternative music. This album truly changed my musical taste and stands up as one of metal’s finest moments.