NHL Playoffs: Brad Marchand OT winner ties series, Hurricanes roll over Predators, Avalanche and Blues series could get ugly

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May 17, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; St. Louis Blues center Brayden Schenn (10) fights Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92) in the first period in game one of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Last night’s NHL Playoffs saw our first game two of a series. The Boston Bruins knotted things up with the Washington Capitals in another OT thriller. Meanwhile two heavy favorites won their opening round games. Let’s dive into the action.

Game 2, Bruins 4 vs Capitals 3: Brad Marchand evens series in OT

Brad Marchand played the role of hero in game two. In the opening minute of OT, Marchand converted a beautiful passing sequence to tie the series at one game apiece. Of course, that moment isn’t possible without trade deadline acquisition Taylor Hall. He tied the game with a little over three minutes left in the third.

brad marchand ot winner
May 17, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Boston Bruins center Brad Marchand (left) reacts after scoring the winning goal against the Washington Capitals during the first overtime period in game two of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

“It was a greasy goal, for sure,” Hall said. “I thought as the game wore on, the score might not have reflected it, but we really found our game, and by the third period, their goal excluded, I thought we really had it. We had a lot of action at the net, a lot of shots there, and we’re going to have to continue doing that, obviously.”

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Tuukka Rask stopped 36 shots en route to the win. Craig Anderson made 44 saves. Evgeny Kuznetsov came off the COVID protocol list yesterday but did not play. Game 3 of this series is scheduled for Wednesday at 6:30 PM ET.

Game 1, Hurricanes 5 vs Predators 2: Jordan Staal scores twice to lead the way

The Nashville Predators got on the board first which gave this writer’s confidence a boost. I had them being the only real upset in round one. That did not last long. A little over a minute later Teuvo Teravainen started the fun for the Carolina Hurricanes. Jordan Staal would score twice and the Canes took game 1 with relative ease.

nhl playoffs hurricanes
May 17, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal (11) celebrates his second period goal against the Nashville Predators in game one of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

“[Staal] was great,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “It’s just what he does, plays hard every night, every shift. Whatever the situation, you can count on him. That’s why he’s our leader.”

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Filip Forsberg who opened the scoring knows that Nashville didn’t play well but believes they can beat Carolina. “I think we have a recipe for how to play well against them,” he said in defeat. They will first need to muster more than 23 shots on net as rookie Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 22 of them. Game 2 will be played on Wednesday at 8PM ET.

Game 1, Avalanche 4 vs Blues 1: This series is only going to get nastier

Ryan O’Reilly foreshadowed that this series could get nasty and after last night, it should only become increasingly more difficult to play in. The Blues captain openly stated that they would beat the Avalanche prior to the series starting, and I don’t think the Avs appreciated it.

Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog decided to set the tone as he went mano a mano with Brayden Schenn in the first period. Schenn took a run at Rantanen and Landeskog sent a message that wasn’t going to happen again. It would also be his line that ultimately dominated the game in the third period, with three goals. Nathan MacKinnon would score twice and added an assist. Landeskog notched a goal and two assists, and Mikko Rantanen finished the game with two helpers.

“For us, it’s about wins and losses, and that’s what it comes down to,” Landeskog said. “I’m happy to be able to contribute. As a team, I thought we played a strong game. A few periods, second period, toward the end of it, we kind of got away from our game. I thought overall the third period was really good. Everybody chipped in. Everybody played well.”

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At the end of the game things got chippy. Blues goalie, Jordan Binnington wanted to fight his counterpart Phillip Grubauer full pads and all. Game 2 of this series is set for Wednesday at 10:30 PM ET. I will definitely be tuning in to this one.