And the upsets continue. First it was Tampa Bay and then Friday it was Calgary going down. Both teams were first in their respective conferences and if you thought the Flames would win more games than the Lightning, you would figure that Calgary would be Stanley Cup Champions. Well they did win more games but all that meant was that the Flames were knocked out in five games rather than four games in Round 1 of the playoffs.
It was the Blues turn on Saturday as they eliminated the Winnipeg Jets in six games with the 3-2 win. That’s three teams who did not have home-ice advantage who have won in the opening round with fellow underdogs, Toronto, Dallas and Vegas looking to win their respective Games 6 on home ice and make it six series going to the underdogs.
The only team thus far that has played to form have been the New York Islanders who were the underdogs as far as the pundits were concerned when playing Pittsburgh. But the New Yorkers knocked off the Penguins in four straight and thus far are the only top-two seed in the NHL to win their series.
DALLAS 5 NASHVILLE 3 (Dallas leads best-of-seven series 3-2)
Jason Dickinson and Alexander Radulov each scored twice while Tyler Seguin scored the winner to lead the Dallas Stars to a 5-3 win over Nashville and take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series with Game 6 back at home in Dallas.
Ben Bishop was once again stellar in the Dallas cage as he stopped 30 shots on the same day he was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, in leading the Stars to the victory.
The Predators opened the scoring when Rocco Grimaldi (not of Monaco fame) scored his third goal of the series, 6:25 into the first period to give the hometown side the early lead. Dickinson tied the game with his first of the playoffs at the 13:08 mark of the opening stanza and that’s how the first period ended.
The Stars went out in front 3-1 in the second as Radulov potted a pair of goals to give him four in the playoffs. Ryan Johansen with his first of the playoffs brought the Stars to within one but Tyler Seguin scored the eventual winner at the 15:54 mark of the second when he flipped the puck past Pekka Rinne after receiving a nice pass from Jamie Benn.
Dickinson scored his second of the playoffs and second of the day at 1:57 of the third and Kyle Turris scored just 28 seconds later to bring the Predators back to within two but that was all the scoring in the game.
Rinne gave up five goals on 26 shots in taking the loss as the Predators are now on the brink of elimination with Game 6 Monday back in Nashville.
Seguin lead both sides with eight shots on goal.
ST. LOUIS 3 WINNIPEG 2 (St. Louis wins best-of-seven series 4-2)
Jaden Schwartz had the natural hat trick to give the St. Louis Blues a 3-0 lead and then they hung on to beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 and take the best-of-seven series 4-2.
Jordan Binnington was stellar again even though he faced only 20 shots on net as the rookie defeated the Winnipeg Jets.
Schwartz scored the last four goals for St. Louis including the game winner in Game 5. The move of Brayden Schenn to the Schwartz line in Game 5 proved to be a key move by still interim head coach Craig Berube.
Schwartz scored once in each period including 23 seconds into the first to give the Blues the early 1-0 lead. There have been four goals within 30 seconds of the start of games this season in the playoffs including Adam Lowry doing so in 12 seconds Thursday and Warren Foegele scoring 17 seconds into action against Washington. Mark Stone opened the scoring for Vegas 16 seconds into Sunday’s Game 3.
Schwartz made it 2-0 in the second as the Blues completely dominated Winnipeg, outshooting them 16-1 to lead 27-6 after two periods. You can’t win too many games with only six shots on goal in two periods as the Jets had their backs against the wall.
But after the Blues and Schwartz made it 3-0, the Jets finally kick-started their game and were rewarded when Dustin Byfuglien scored his second of the playoffs at the 12:17 mark. They got to within one goal when Bryan Little scored with just 38 seconds left in the game on a shorthanded effort but that’s as close as it got.
Connor Hellebuyck was quite busy, making 33 saves.
Blake Wheeler had four minutes in penalties.
WASHINGTON 6 CAROLINA 0 (Washington leads best-of-seven series 3-2)
Nicklas Backstrom scored twice and added a pair of assists to lead the Washington Capitals to a 6-0 shellacking of the Carolina Hurricanes and take a 3-2 lead in the Round 1 series.
Braden Holtby stopped all 30 Carolina shots to pick up his third win of the post-season. He had 14 last season in backstopping the Capitals to the Stanley Cup Championship.
It was not a great night for Petr Mrazek who stopped 22 shots while giving up all six Washington goals.
Ovechkin had 11 hits as the Capitals outhit Carolina 48-32. Patrick Brown lead Carolina with eight.
Jaccob Slavin led both sides with six blocked shots.
The Capitals were three-of-four on the power play while the Hurricanes were unable to beat Holtby on five opportunities.
Sebastian Aho had seven shots on goal.
Jaden Schwartz – 3
Jason Dickinson - 2
Jamie Benn – 3
Roman Josi – 2
Alex Ovechkin – 2
John Carlson – 2
Evgeny Kuznetsov – 2
Shots on Goal
Tyler Seguin – 8
Sebastian Aho – 7
Filip Forsberg - 6
Alex Ovechkin - 11
Patrick Brown - 8
Tom Wilson – 6
Matt Niskanen - 6
Blake Wheeler – 4
Lucas Wallmark - 4