Josh Bailey scored a shorthanded goal 6:52 into the third period and the New York Islanders overcame a two-goal deficit to beat the Washington Capitals, 4-2, on Wednesday in a hard-hitting opener to the first-round playoff series in Toronto.
Jordan Eberle and Anders Lee scored 1:54 apart spanning the second intermission. Semyon Varlamov stopped 24 shots and Anthony Beauvillier sealed it by scoring with 8:05 remaining in a game the Islanders overcame their own lack of discipline in allowing the Capitals seven power-play opportunities.
T.J. Oshie scored on consecutive power-play opportunities five minutes apart in the second period for Washington.
The Capitals finished the game without top-line forward Nicklas Backstrom. Lee set the physical tone of the game by knocking over Backstrom with a late hit in the opening minutes, which led to the Islanders captain fighting Washington defenseman John Carlson. Capitals coach Todd Reirden didn’t have an update on Backstrom’s status, but called Lee’s hit “late” and “predatory.”
Avalanche 3, Coyotes 0 — Nazem Kadri and J.T. Compher scored 10 seconds apart in the third period, Philipp Grubauer stopped 14 shots and Colorado opened the Stanley Cup playoffs with a victory over Arizona in Edmonton, Alberta.
Colorado dominated the Coyotes through the first two periods, outshooting them 29-7, yet couldn’t get anything past goalie Darcy Kuemper.
Grubauer made the saves when he had to for his second career playoff shutout and Kadri broke a scoreless tie by punching in a rebound on a power play with 7 minutes left.
The Avalanche broke it open from there.
Flyers 2, Canadiens 1 — Carter Hart made 27 saves, Joel Farabee scored 16 seconds after Montreal tied it, and Philadelphia beat the Canadiens in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series in Toronto.
Ivan Provorov also scored for the Flyers. Shea Weber scored for the Canadiens, and Carey Price stopped 29 shots.
Shea Theodore and William Carrier scored 2:17 apart midway through the second period, Robin Lehner made 19 saves against his former team, and Vegas beat Chicago, 4-1, in Game 1 of the teams’ Stanley Cup playoffs first-round matchup in Edmonton, Alberta. Reilly Smith scored twice in the third period as the top-seed in the Western Conference maintained its high scoring ways. The Golden Knights scored 15 goals in the three seeding games and didn’t slow down against the Blackhawks. Game 2 is Thursday.
The Pittsburgh Penguins did not renew the contracts of three assistant coaches — Sergei Gonchar, Jacques Martin and Mark Recchi — after a second straight postseason flameout, the team announced . The contracts originally expired at the end of June but were temporarily extended for the playoffs. The Penguins were outplayed by the seemingly overmatched Montreal Canadiens in the qualifying round, losing the best-of-five series in four games.
Given the uncertainty professional hockey faced in placing its season on pause in mid-March, NHL Players’ Association chief Don Fehr couldn’t have envisioned a better resumption of play five months later with the first round of the playoffs getting under way. Zero players have tested positive for COVID-19 in the two weeks since NHL teams arrived at their two respective playoff hub cities —Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta — and a powerful opening night statement on social and racial justice issues was made by the league and its players. “So far so good. That’s about all we can say,” Fehr told the Associated Press “And we keep our fingers crossed and knock on wood, and throw salt over our shoulders and whatever else we can think will help.”