(Photo Credit: Reg Natarajan/Flickr Creative Commons)
It’s the playoffs, baby!
Welcome to Cup Check! The Other Half’s crowdsourced playoff-recap for April 15th, 2015. Your friendly neighborhood #TME is in charge of the write-up today, and the first night brought us everything we’ve come to expect in the postseason when our favorite players begin the body-breaking march toward the Cup.
At the end of the night the basics looked like this:
The New York Islanders took the Washington Capitals, the Montreal Canadiens took the Ottawa Senators, the Calgary Flames took the Vancouver Canucks, and the Chicago Blackhawks took the Nashville Predators (in double OT.)
As for the details, well, here’s a quick glance:
– The Islanders haven’t won against the Capitals in the playoffs since 1993, so coming out strong and early to take the game 4-1 must have felt pretty good. And for Ryan Strome to make the game winner in his first career postseason game had to feel even better. Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey also scored their first career postseason goals last night, making the locker room afterward a riotous celebration, no doubt. Congratulations, guys!
– The Canadiens/Senators game was apparently a bit of a mess. It started off with a bang – and an own-goal by Canadiens defenceman Andrei Markov. The refereeing was getting a lot of shouting on the social media front (more than usual for the postseason, even,) and reports this morning have Mark Stone injured, attributed to a slash from PK Subban (for which he was ejected from the game, and then returned, and then…left? And came back? We lost track.) Ultimately, the Canadiens pulled ahead for a 4-3 win, thanks to the first career playoff goal of Brian Flynn – in an insane six-goal second period.
A bit of humor did make it out of that game though, with Stone receiving no end of chirping from all fronts after apparently forgetting how water bottles work. We wish you a speedy recovery, buddy!
– The Flames were down 1-0 headed into the third, until David Jones tied up the game with his first career postseason goal. The game remained tied until Kris Russell scored the game winner with less than 30 seconds left on the clock, in regulation. Not his first postseason goal, unlike our friends above, but still only his second, and we’re sure that victory tasted sweet. And goalie Jonas Hiller made 29 saves for his first postseason win with the Flames (13th career). All in all, it was a big night for first-times across the board, including the longest-running game of the night.
– We were on familiar ground for Blackhawks fans last night, as the game trudged into the second overtime, tied 3-3. The Predators came out fast and hard, and at the end of the first 20 minutes Corey Crawford (and some defensive blunders) had allowed three goals on twelve shots – he started the second period on the bench with rookie goaltender Scott Darling taking his place in the crease. Coach Q had obviously lit a fire in the locker room, and the players carried it back to the ice, closing the gap on a goal from captain Jonathan Toews in the second period.
It was Darling’s playoff debut, and what a debut it was. With a total of 42 saves by the time Duncan Keith scored the 2OT winner, he had quite a few truly impressive stops, and even those rooting for the Preds gave him kudos for a game well played. And much to the delight of Hawks fans everywhere, Patrick Kane was back on the ice for the first time since an awkward fall into the boards broke his collarbone seven weeks ago. He logged two assists for the night, zipping around the ice like he’d barely missed any time at all, much less had surgery the end of February.
Once the points were tallied and the soundbytes given The Other Half took a vote and we and agree:
- What most impressed us: Scott Darling, acrobatic and enthusiastic in his Stanley Cup Playoff debut. (ETA: Apparently the good captain felt the same.)
- What most distressed us: Montreal vs Ottawa. Vegas is gonna have to adjust their over/under on penalties after that game.
That was it for the first night of of the 2015 postseason! I double-checked my details at NHL.com – you can find some of the more esoteric stats for the night in the April 15th Notebook.
Tonight gets started at 7:00 ET with Pittsburgh in New York, and we’ll be back here tomorrow to recap all four of tonight’s matchups.