NHL Playoffs: Avs roll over Preds, Capitals, Penguins, Stars all take series lead

nhl playoffs
May 7, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Colorado Avalanche players celebrate after a goal by defenseman Devon Toews (7) during the third period against the Nashville Predators in game three of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL Playoffs had some surprises in store for May 7, 2022.

After a tough Game 2 loss, the Washington Capitals took it to the Florida Panthers on their home ice to take the series lead. In Pittsburgh, the Penguins gave up a 4-1 lead after the first period but scored off a giveaway midway through the third period to go up 2-1 in that series.

The Dallas Stars, who fought hard to clinch a Wild Card spot late in the season doubled up the Calgary Flames for a 2-1 lead out West. Plus the Colorado Avalanche just continue to roll over the Nashville Predators and are one win away from advancing.

NHL Playoffs: Avalanche 7 vs Predators 3

Gabriel Landeskog had two goals and two assists as visiting Colorado pushed Nashville to the brink of elimination.

“There’s no easy games in the playoffs,” Landeskog said. “They’ve got their backs against the wall at home. They definitely don’t want to get swept at home. We want to try to end this thing and don’t give them any life, so it’s going to be a big game on Monday.”

NHL.com

Colorado goalie Darcy Kuemper left the game with 57 seconds remaining in the first period when the stick of Predators forward Ryan Johansen caught him through his mask. He stopped nine of 10 shots. Pavel Francouz came on in relief and made 18 saves.

The Avalanche lead the best-of-seven series 3-0.

Penguins 7 vs Rangers 4

Danton Heinen scored a tiebreaking goal at 11:02 of the third period Saturday as the Pittsburgh Penguins downed the visiting New York Rangers 7-4 for a 2-1 first-round playoff series lead.

After the Rangers erased a three-goal deficit to tie it 4-4, Heinen caught up with a loose puck that squirted out of a tangle in the corner and, from the right circle, ripped it between the pads of goaltender Alexandar Georgiev.

Jake Guentzel and Jeff Carter, with his second of the game, added empty-netters to seal it.

Evan Rodrigues had two goals and an assist, Brock McGinn also scored, and Mike Matheson added three helpers and Sidney Crosby two for the Penguins. Pittsburgh goaltender Louis Domingue made 32 saves and had an assist.

Kaapo Kakko, Frank Vatrano, Artemi Panarin and Andrew Copp scored for the Rangers.

“I don’t think we’re playing together,” said Rangers forward Chris Kreider. “There’s been moments over the year that we’ve put ourselves in this position like that and clawed back but it’s not something you can do in the playoffs. We have to rectify that quickly.”

Capitals 6 vs Panthers 1

nhl playoffs
May 7, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA;Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates with Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov (30) after their game against the Florida Panthers in game three of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Goalie Ilya Samsonov made 29 saves for his first playoff victory as Washington defeated visiting Florida to gain the series lead against the NHL’s No. 1 team.

“I am ready all the time,” Samsonov said via NHL.com. “Sometimes you start playoffs, sometimes another goalie, but you need to get ready for every game. I understand if you want to win, you need to win 16 games.”

The eighth-seeded Capitals lead the best-of-seven series 2-1 against the top-seeded Panthers, who won the Presidents’ Cup as the NHL’s top team in the regular season. Game 4 is set for Monday night in Washington D.C.

The Capitals, who rallied from an early 1-0 deficit, got goals from T.J. Oshie, Marcus Johansson, Trevor Van Riemsdyk, Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson (empty-netter) and Garnet Hathaway.

Stars 4 vs Flames 2

Joe Pavelski scored twice, including the game-winning goal midway through the third period, to lead host Dallas to a victory over Calgary in Game 3 of their Western Conference first-round series.

“There was a lot of effort out there tonight from up and down the lineup. Lot of physicality, guys hanging in, taking checks, making plays, giving checks,” Pavelski said. “It was a competitive game. Our group was very competitive, and I like that.”

Radek Faksa and Roope Hintz also scored for the Stars, while Miro Heiskanen collected two assists. Goaltender Jake Oettinger made 39 saves, his biggest a breakaway stop on Johnny Gaudreau with just over three minutes remaining.

Trevor Lewis and Elias Lindholm replied for the Flames. Goalie Jacob Markstrom stopped 28 shots.

–Field Level Media contributed to this report