NHL Playoffs: Oilers gaffe helps Kings, Leafs explode, Canes and Blues win
The opening night of the NHL Playoffs lived up to expectations as the speed and intensity of each game found a new level from the regular season. All in all, there were 4 games on the docket for May 2, 2022.
In Carolina, despite not having their number one goalie Frederik Andersen, the Hurricanes beat the Boston Bruins thanks to backup Antti Raanta’s goaltending. Meanwhile, a chippy game between the evenly matched Blues and Wild turned into a 4-0 win for the visitors from St. Louis.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, filled with the bad taste of many first round disappointments unloaded on the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions. They soundly beat the Tampa Bay Lightning to take Game 1.
We start our recaps in Edmonton, where the Oilers have their own history of playoff disappointments and will point to a key gaffe in Game 1 against the Los Angeles Kings if they fall in Round One.
NHL Playoffs: Kings 4 vs Oilers 3
Phillip Danault scored the game-winning goal late in the third period to cap a two-point night, leading the visiting Los Angeles Kings to a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday in the opener of their Western Conference first-round series.
The Kings were without 20-goal scorer Viktor Arvidsson posted two goals in the first period to apply pressure on the home team. Trevor Moore opened the scoring at 11:00 with a one-timer from the slot. Moore then sent a seeing-eye pass, firing it backwards as he was heading around the net, that Alex Iafallo converted at 16:48.
Connor McDavid, the Art Ross Trophy winner, provided a great individual effort to put his team on the board with 41.5 seconds remaining in the opening period. Kailer Yamamoto tied the game when he deflected a point shot for a power-play marker 2:39 into the second period.
Brendan Lemieux, who dressed for Arvidsson, restored the Los Angeles lead 71 seconds later when he found the mark after receiving a drop pass on an odd-man rush. But Leon Draisaitl was given all kinds of time to respond with another power-play goal, a top-corner snipe, before the midway point of the second period.
With overtime on the horizon, Phillip Danault broke the tie with just 5:14 remaining. It all started when Mike Smith, who finished with 31 saves, made an unforced error by throwing the puck up the middle from behind his goal. The Kings picked it off and the ensuing scramble ended when Danault tipped a Sean Durzi’s point shot for the winner.
The Oilers have lost four straight playoff games in which McDavid and Draisaitl each scored in the same contest, according to Sportsnet in Canada.
“I was just trying to make something happen; obviously trying to do too much there,” Smith said. “In a tight game like that you can’t afford to make mistakes like that. It ended up costing us the game. Obviously disappointed, but it’s one game and we move on.”
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be Wednesday in Edmonton.
Blues 4, vs Wild 0
David Perron had three goals and an assist as St. Louis routed Minnesota in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round series in Saint Paul, Minn.
“Next game, I think it’s going to be a lot different,” Perron said. “If they grab the first goal tonight, it’s probably a different game. It’s huge in playoffs to get the first one. We’ve just got to turn the page and get ready for the next one.”
Ville Husso made 37 saves to earn a shutout in his first NHL playoff appearance. Ryan O’Reilly had a goal and an assist and Torey Krug had three assists for the Blues, who improved to 10-0-1 in their past 11 games against Minnesota.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves for the Wild, who edged out St. Louis for second place in the Central Division.
Minnesota went 0-6 on the power play, which is something they will need to improve on going forward in this series. They finished the regular-season 18th in the league converting at a 20.5 rate.
Maple Leafs 5 vs Lightning 0
Auston Matthews had two goals and an assist, Jack Campbell stopped 24 shots and Toronto shut out visiting Tampa Bay in the opener of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
“I thought it was a really good effort by us,” Matthews said. “A lot of really good things that we did tonight, but it’s going to be a long series. That’s a really good team on the other end.”
Mitchell Marner added a goal and two assists for the Maple Leafs. Jake Muzzin and David Kampf also scored, and Morgan Rielly and Ondrej Kase each added two assists. Campbell earned his second career playoff shutout.
Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves for the Lightning. Game 2 will be Wednesday, also in Toronto.
The Leafs gained the momentum, or you can say the Lightning gave it up after Tampa could not score early in the game on their first two power play opportunities.
It was really on the second power play that Toronto took control. With Kyle Clifford assessed a five-minute boarding penalty and a game misconduct at 6:59 of the first period, the Bolts zapped out. Toronto actually had the better chances killing the major penalty and it was all downhill from there.
“We had a couple power plays, obviously the five minute one, and some plays that were clicking the last stretch of the season were hitting a stick, hitting a skate, but at the same time, they did a good job executing on those PKs, and they gained some momentum,” Stamkos said. “It could have been a really different game if we’d scored on that, so that was a missed opportunity.”
Hurricanes 5 vs Bruins 1
Vincent Trocheck and rookie Seth Jarvis each collected a goal and an assist to lift Carolina past Boston in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series in Raleigh, N.C.
Nino Niederreiter, Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov also scored for Carolina, which has outscored Boston by a 21-2 margin in four meetings in 2021-22 (three in the regular season, one in the playoffs). Antti Raanta finished with 35 saves while making his first career playoff start.
Taylor Hall scored early in the third period for the Bruins. Linus Ullmark stopped 20 shots. Game 2 will be Wednesday, also in Raleigh.
“The Teravainen goal was really big,” Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “I don’t think we had much action going on, and they were kind of coming. That settled it down a little bit for the rest of the game.”
-Field Level Media contributed to this article.