It was a wild Friday night in the NHL as Montreal took a 2-0 series lead while the other three series are now knotted at one each as the home teams all came back to tie their respective series.
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WASHINGTON 4 NEW YORK ISLANDERS 3
The Capitals were in serious trouble halfway through the game as they were down 3-1 to the Islanders at home as well as down 1-0 in the series before Alex Ovechkin cued the comeback.
Ovechkin scored at the 16:09 mark of the second period to cut the Islanders lead in half. Nicklas Backstrom and Jason Chimera with the winner, scored in the third to put the Capitals back in the picture with Games 3 and 4 in Long Island.
The Capitals were seemingly behind the eight ball before the game even started as Braden Holtby was out of action with an illness, so Washington recalled Philipp Grubauer from Hershey of the AHL and gave him the start. You have to feel for Justin Peters, the Capitals regular backup who was not considered to start. Grubauer turned aside 18 shots for the win. Look for Holtby to get the start in Game 3 Sunday at 12:00 ET.
Cal Clutterbuck scored the only goal of the first to give the Islanders the lead while Ryan Strome (older brother of top five pick in the 2015 Draft Dylan) pushed it to 2-0 before Karl Alzner scored to make it 2-1. Kyle Okposo scored to restore the Islanders two goal lead at the 14:09 mark of the second as the Islanders looked to take a 2-0 series lead but the Capitals fought back to win.
Jaroslav Halak stopped 31 shots in taking the loss.
Backstrom had a three point night while Matt Niskanen chipped in with a couple of assists.
The goal by Ovechkin was his first post-season point in seven games. The Capitals will need more production from The Great Eight if they hope to advance to the Conference semi-finals.
MONTREAL 3 OTTAWA 2 (OVERTIME)
The Canadiens got Max Pacioretty back for Game 2 and were lucky enough to have P.K. Subban in the lineup as the duo each scored in regulation to put Montreal into overtime before Alex Galchenyuk’s goal 3:40 into the first extra frame gave the Habs a 3-2 win.
I thought that Subban should have been suspended for one game for his slash on Mark Stone in Game 1 (just for clarification, I think that Subban is the most exciting player in the NHL and he is my favorite player in the league, but that slash was pretty bad in my opinion and warranted extra punishment but the NHL disagreed). His blast gave the Canadiens a 2-1 lead going into the third period.
Andrew Hammond and Carey Price were both stellar in their respective creases as Hammond stopped 39 of 42 shots while Price turned aside 29 shots to give the Canadiens a 2-0 series lead with Game 3 in Ottawa Sunday.
P.A. Parenteau missed Friday’s game with an upper body injury suffered during Game 1 Wednesday.
NASHVILLE 6 CHICAGO 2
The Predators blew open a close game in the latter half of the third period to knot their series at a game apiece as they defeated Chicago 6-2.
Craig Smith led the way with a couple of goals including the winner at 14:54 of the second period.
Colin Wilson opened the scoring with a power play effort. Patrick Sharp with his second of the series tied the game at one, until Roman Josi scored with four seconds to go in the first to give Nashville a 2-1 lead heading into the locker room.
Patrick Kane scored his first of the post-season to tie the game at two before the Predators scored the last four goals of the game. Filip Forsberg gave Nashville a 4-2 lead with 7:19 to go and Mike Santorelli finished the scoring with five minutes remaining.
Pekka Rinne made 24 saves in the Nashville net for the win.
Corey Crawford gave up six goals on 35 shots after being pulled in Game 1 after the first period in which he gave up three goals on only 12 shots. Do not be surprised if Scott Darling gets the start in goal for Game 3 Sunday in Chicago. Crawford has a .809 save percentage in the playoffs with a 6.75 GAA. He needs to be a lot better if Chicago hopes to advance to the next round of the playoffs.
VANCOUVER 4 CALGARY 1
Eddie Lack turned aside 22 of 23 shots to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-1 win over Calgary and tie their best-of-seven series up at a game apiece with Game 3 in Calgary Sunday.
Daniel Sedin got things started in the first stanza less than three minutes in as he was set up by twin brother Henrik. Chris Higgins (with his first in 21 playoff games) doubled the lead with a power play goal as the Canucks took a 2-0 lead into the second period.
Jonas Hiller stopped 26 of 29 shots before leaving the game with 5:52 to go in the third. Karri Ramo stopped the only shot sent his way. Coach Bob Hartley said that it was just to get some playing time in for Ramo.