Heading into game four of the first series in the NHL playoffs, some teams have shown pure passion while others haven’t showed quite enough. When it comes to this time of year, the playoff jitters can make or break a team; from growing a playoff beard to working with the young guys on the team who are experiencing their first post-season appearances, it can be a lot deal with. The first series of the playoff matchups are the Dallas Stars vs. Minnesota Wild, St Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks vs. Nashville Predators, LA Kings vs. San Jose Sharks, Florida Panthers vs. New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings, Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers.
The Stars vs. the Wild stand at 2-1 going into game four. Stars Center Tyler Sequin was ruled out for game three and is currently day-to-day due to a previous Achilles injury. During game one the Stars swept the Wild 4-0 at home. The game started out relatively slow with each team getting a power play early in the game, both left unscored. Radek Faksa, Jason Spezza, Patrick Eaves and Jamie Benn put the four points on the scoreboard, while goalie Kari Lehtonen blocked 22 shots giving the Stars a blowout win. Going into game two, the Wild avoided being shut out in this game when Marco Scandella snuck one in the net with the help of Mathew Dumba and Jason Zucker. Antoine Roussel and Jaime Benn helped the Stars take that second win of 2-1 giving them a 2-0 lead in the series. Roles reversed in game three. The Wild took matters into their own hand if they wanted to stay in this series. They came out with a win of 5-3. In two instances, Dallas scored first by Patrick Sharp. Minnesota followed with the next four goals by Chris Porter, Erik Haula, Jason Pominville and Mikko Koivu. Colton Sceviour scored one last time for the Stars, which was then answered by another goal from Pominville.
Moving on to the Blues and Blackhawks series where the Blues lead 2-1 going into game four. Blues goalie Brian Elliot made 35 saves in this game, and David Backes goal, assisted by Alex Pietrangelo, gives them the first win in game one of the series. Game two was more eventful; Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford only let in 2 of 31 shots on goal, and Elliot allowed 2 of 28. Blues scored the first goal by Vladimir Tarasenko, which was answered by the Blackhawks, who scored the next three goals. Those three goals put the Blackhawks on the board, and Duncan Keith, Andrew Shaw and Artemi Panarin tied the series 1-1 with a win of 3-2. Game three started off with Blackhawks player Brent Seabrook putting the first point on the board, which was then answered by Blues Colton Parayko. The Blackhawks obtained one more goal after Artem Anisimov got the puck in the net. Blues had the last two goals by Patrik Berglund and Jaden Schwartz, which gave them a 3-2 win and lead them to take the lead in the series. Chicago Blackhawks Brent Seabrook passed Doug Wilson for most playoff goals.
Predators lead the Ducks 2-0 in their series at the beginning of game three on Tuesday night. Blackhawks James Neal and Colin Wilson had the game tied along with two goals from Ducks Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler until Filip Forsberg scored in the third period giving them a 3-2 win. In game two, the Ducks started off with the lead when Andrew Cogliano snuck one past Pekka Rinne. Predators answered with three goals by Mattias Ekholm, Craig Smith and Shae Weber to the Ducks two giving them the 3-2 win.
Sharks lead the series 2-0 going into game 3, but the Kings got the win putting themselves in the series with a chance to win. In game one, the Sharks won 4-3 with goals made by Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns and Tomás Hertl. The Kings fought hard for a win with goals by Jake Muzzin, Jeff Carter and Trevor Lewis but did not emerge victorious. The second game’s win went to the Sharks as well with a score of 2-1. Pavelski and Logan Couture of the Sharks scored goals in game two. Vincent Lecavalier made an attempt to save the game for the Kings with his goal, but was unsuccessful. In game three the Kings put all they had on the ice in order to prove that they belonged in the playoffs. They won 2-1 after they went into overtime and Tyler Pearson scored the winning goal at 3:47 which gave the Kings their first win in the series.
The Panthers vs. the Islanders series belongs to the Islanders at the moment, but the Panthers aren’t far behind; game one went to the Islanders with a score of 5-4, game two went to the Panthers with a score of 3-1, and game 3 was taken by the Islanders 4-3.
Lightning leads the Red Wings series 2-1. Tampa Bay won the first two games only allowing 2 goals in each game, which made a total of eight combined. Detroit won game three in a 2-0 shut out, where goalie Petr Mrazek saved 16 of 16 shots on goal.
The Penguins and Rangers are tied 1-1 in their series going into game three on Tuesday night. During game one Patric Hörnqvist had a hat trick scoring three goals in their 5-2 win over the Rangers. In game two, he scored zero points in their 4-2 loss to the Rangers. Phil Kessel was only one goal short of a hatty. Rangers scored four goals in a row to tie up the series.
When it comes to the playoffs, the Flyers are no match for the Capitals. When it comes to Braden Holtby and the ridiculous Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Bäckström, John Carlson, and the rest of their strong offense, it’s hard for the Flyers to keep up. All the young talent that is experiencing the post season for the first time, the sloppy offense and almost nonexistent defense, it is no surprise this series is having such an upsetting outcome. Holtby made 19 saves in the first game’s shut out and only allowed one goal during game two. Jakub Vorácek scored the Flyers only goal in the series at this point. Going into game 3, the Flyers started out hot. A minute into the game, Brandon Manning assisted Michael Raffl with their first and only goal on Holtby and the Caps. The Caps fired back with six unanswered goals to win the game 6-1.