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4/13/18 - NHL Playoffs Recap

belowthegoalline

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Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out the latest playoff news and notes from Below the Goal Line! Follow us on Twitter for up-to-date breaking info! @belowthegoaline

 

As the 2018 NHL Playoffs continue into their third night, three teams will look to take a 2-0 series advantage, while three team will look to even up their series at 1-1. These three match-up are Game 2s of Wednesday night's action. Check out the other five series here.

 

Philadelphia Flyers @ Pittsburgh Penguins

 

After losing Game 1 by a score of 7-0, the Philadelphia Flyers needed a strong effort to even up the series in Game 2. The Pittsburgh Penguins looked like they would run away with the series with how they dominated the scoreboard in Game 1.

 

The Flyers would respond, however. Goaltender Brian Elliot finished with 34 saves and the victory over Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. After being pulled in the first game of this series, many wondered if he would even start tonight, but he played extremely sharp in Game 2.

 

Shane Gostisbehere would get the Flyers on the board late in the first period with a powerplay goal. He lasers one from the point that deflects off  a Penguins in front of the net and just squeaks past goalie Matt Murray for the 1-0 lead.

 

Sean Couturier would add to that lead in the second with his first goal of the series. At 0:47 of the first, Couturier throws the puck in front of Murray. The puck bangs of a Penguins and into the net.

 

The Flyers picked up three more goals in the third, and give up just one to Patric Hornqvist, for the 5-1 victory. The Flyers played a strong game, but I think the end result was more about the Penguins not being as sharp as they were on Wednesday. Maybe overconfidence set in, but the Penguins will look to bounce back on Sunday in Philadelphia with the series tied 1-1.

 

Minnesota Wild @ Winnipeg Jets

 

The Winnipeg Jets continue to find ways to win hockey games. Winnipeg held Minnesota to just 17 shots on goal in this game, but poured 44 of their own on Wild netminder Devan Dubnyk. That shot differential resulted in a 4-1 win for the Jets, who take a 2-0 series lead into Minnesota on Sunday.

 

Goaltender Connor Hellybuyck was sharp for the Jets. He held the Wild off the board for the first two periods, and only allowed the single powerplay goal to Zach Parise in the final minute of the third period.

 

The skaters for the Jets took their game to another level, however. They pumped 44 shots on goal, which resulted in four goals from four different players. They also tried to impose their physical will on the Wild, blasting them for 38 hits in this one.

 

I think we can tell that the loss of Ryan Suter is really starting to hurt the Minnesota Wild. The loss of their best defenseman is leading to a tough time trying to get out their zone. Their neutral zone play was also a little sloppy.

 

It's going to be hard for this time to get back into this series without their big defenseman simply because of all the things he does right for them every night. The Wild team just can't get the puck put of their own end at times, and that is how you lose hockey games, not win them.

 

Los Angeles Kings @ Vegas Golden Knights

 

The nightcap of the third day of NHL playoff action was a great hockey game. For any of you who didn't stay up for this one, it went into double overtime before Golden Knights forward Erik Haula scored to end the game 2-1 in favor of Vegas.

 

Easily the best player of this game was Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick. Quick stopped 54 shots in this one, and almost stopped the Haula goal. The Kings netminder saw the Vegas forward breaking in the right side of the zone and sprawled out to break up the puck from Haula's stick. Erik Haula just threw the puck at the net, which found its way under Quick for the game deciding goal.

 

The Kings were without All-Star defenseman Drew Doughty, who was serving his one-game suspension for his hit on William Carrier in the first game. It was Oscar Fantenberg up pick up the minutes for LA, playing 41:03 in this one. That was second on the team next to Alec Martinez (44:51).

 

The series now shifts to Los Angeles, where the Vegas Golden Knights will look to improve to 3-0 in this series. Los Angeles desperately needs a win, and maybe the home ice will spark a good game for them on Sunday.



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