There is nothing better in sports than a Game 7 and there is going to be three in the next two nights as Toronto will be in Boston, Vegas will find its way to San Jose and Carolina will try to win on the road for the first time Wednesday when they are in Washington.
The upsets continued Monday as Nashville became the third team to finish in first place in their division but go down to defeat in Round 1 of the playoffs. There is no comparison in any other sport like the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs and this season has been like no other.
CAROLINA 5 WASHINGTON 2 (Best-of-seven series tied at 3-3)
Jordan Staal scored the winner and picked up an assist to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 5-2 win over the Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals and tie the best-of-seven series at three games apiece. Staal poked the past Braden Holtby early in the third period to give the Canes the lead, and eventual win.
Each team has won all three of their games on home ice and Game 7 will take place in Washington Wednesday with the winner taking on the New York Islanders.
The Hurricanes evened the score at 1 when Warren Foegele potted his fourth of the playoffs as well as his sixth point in six games. Foegele had a pair of goals last season with an assist in two NHL games and when he started this season with three goals and an assist in his first four games, it was thought that he was going to be a very good scorer for the Hurricanes. Unfortunately for Foegele and the Canes, he had only seven goals and 11 points in his final 73 games and did little until the playoffs began.
Alex Ovechkin gave the Capitals the lead once again when he beat Mrazek shortside with a wrist shot from the face-off dot and that ended the scoring in the first with the Capitals up 2-1.
The lead did not last long into the second period as Sebastian Aho, the Hurricanes scoring leader in the regular season, set up Teuvo Teravainen (Carolina’s second leading point getter) at the 1:56 mark of the stanza to tie the game at 2’s.
There was no more scoring in the second but the Hurricanes scored three times in the third to put the game away. The aforementioned Staal scored the winner with Justin Williams with his first of the post-season, and Dougie Hamilton with his third, into the empty net, completing the scoring.
Mrazek made 23 saves in picking up his third win of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Holtby turned aside 31 shots but gave up four goals in the loss.
Alex Ovechkin had 12 penalty minutes as he took a slashing penalty with 1:08 to go in the third period and was given a 10-minutes misconduct for arguing.
Every member of the Carolina Hurricanes managed a shot on goal as the Canes managed 36 in the contest.
DALLAS 2 NASHVILLE 1 (Overtime) (Dallas wins the best-of-seven series 4-2)
John Klingberg scored the overtime winner to lead the Dallas Stars to a 2-1 overtime win over the Nashville Predators to win the series 4-2.
Austin Watson got the Predators off to an early 1-0 lead when he knocked in a rebound off a Brian Boyle deflection of a P.K. Subban shot. It was his first of the series. It has been a tough season for Watson who was twice in the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program this past year. He is worth looking at next season in pools as he is a good combination of penalty minutes and points, but don’t go by this season’s results.
It was a night of firsts as Blake Comeau potted his first of the playoffs with the assist going to Radek Faksa. He scored at the 5:20 mark of the second and that was all the scoring until Klingberg’s winner in overtime.
The Predators can look at their power play as a huge reason for losing the series as they were unable to find the back of the net once in 15 opportunities in the six-game series.
Jamie Benn was outstanding in the series, especially in Game 6 as he had eight shots on goal but was stymied each time by Rinne. Tyler Seguin had seven shots on goal. Every player on Nashville had at least a one shot on goal and only Ben Lovejoy was unable to get a shot on net for Dallas.
Watson had an unbelievable 14 hits on the night. Esa Lindell had seven for Dallas to lead the team.
Subban had seven blocked shots while Ryan Johansen had six.