If Monday night’s Games 1 were any indication, we completely oversold the excitement of the first round of the NHL playoffs.
- The Maple Leafs torched the back-to-back defending champion Lightning 5-0, including two goals from Auston Matthews.
- The Hurricanes started slow but eventually ran away with things on the Bruins in Raleigh, 5-1.
- The Blues rode a dizzying string of power play goals (including a David Perron hat trick all from the same spot) and a Ville Husso playoff debut shutout to humble the Wild, 4-0.
You had to stay up late to get a close game, as the Kings pulled ahead of the Oilers with five minutes left to upset the home team, 4-3.
Two things that played true to script: Mike Smith stickhandling hubris in crunch time, and Marc-Andre Fleury overplaying his angles like a fish out of water.
Meanwhile in the AHL playoff opener, the Bridgeport Islanders carried the postseason torch for the Isles organization and came away from Providence with an OT winner in Game 1. Aatu Raty won the faceoff back to Robin Salo before Arnaud Durandeau’s winner. Cory Schneider made 46 saves.
- The Isles hope for growth spurts from Oliver Wahlstrom and Kieffer Bellows. [Newsday]
- Here are the Draft Lottery (May 10) odds, by the way, with a reminder that teams cannot jump more than 10 slots.
- This Day in Isles History: On this day in 2018, the Isles were in disarray, and rumored to be bringing in the man who brought the Devils out of disarray. Meanwhile the club, fanbase and entire league mourned the passing of Islanders architect Bill Torrey at age 83.
- The Blues will lean on Nick Leddy’s playoff experience, and his old Isles running mate Johnny Boychuk has lots of praise to share. [Athletic]
Last night’s scores, as the league officially recorded them.
Guess where Mike Smith went with this puck pic.twitter.com/uLqUiSdkB3— Gregory Balloch (@GregBalloch) May 3, 2022
- The Leafs survived, and even came alive after killing, a five-minute major on Kyle Clifford for boarding from behind. [Sportsnet]
- Tonight the Flames’ Sutter-infused, playoff-focused culture change gets its first true test. [TSN]
- Confirming reports from the prior day, Kevin Cheveldayoff gets an extension as GM in Winnipeg and will lead the search for a non-interim head coach. [NHL]
- Bruce Boudreau hopes to stick around in Vancouver. [Sportsnet]
- But Mike Yeo gets the interim tag removed in Philadelphia...where it will be replaced with either walking papers or “you’re an assistant again” tag. [Broad Street Hockey | Sportsnet]
- U.S. viewership of the regular season grew in the first year of the NHL’s new contracts with ESPN and Turner. [Sports Business Journal]