The first day of real games in nearly five months wasn’t short on drama as the Montreal Canadiens shocked the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime, Matthew Tkachuk was accused by some of intentionally injuring Mark Scheifele, and Chicago jumped out to a surprise series lead over the Edmonton Oilers.
Last night’s games:
- Carolina overcome a stellar performance from Mika Zibanejad (1G,1A, 25:08 TOI) to win the opener of their series with the Rangers 3-2.
Chicago 6, Edmonton Oilers 4, CHI leads 1-0
- Chicago powered their way past Edmonton thanks to four consecutive goals in the first period. Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid each had three points in the losing effort.
- Jean-Gabriel Pageau netted the opening goal, and the Islanders held on for a 2-1 series-opening victory.
- Jeff Petry scored 13:57 into overtime to send Montreal to a surprising 1-0 series lead. The Penguins mostly carried the play but Carey Price stopped 39 of the 41 shots he faced and the Habs blocked another 27 more.
- The Flames scored four unanswered goal from the second period onwards to win going away, but the Jets’ hopes were even further damaged when both Scheifele and Patrik Laine were injured and had to leave the game. There will be a debate in some corners as to whether Tkachuk’s skate coming up and cutting Scheifele was deliberate, but I have a hard time believing it was anything but a terrible mishap.
- The Chayka-less Coyotes will be in tough against a deep Nashville team that will be hoping to redeem a mediocre regular season, by their standards, with a strong play-off showing.
- The Flyers are the Bruins kick off their round-robin schedules to determine seeding for the next round of their play-offs. The teams will each also face the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals.
- The defending Stanley Cup champion Blues being their post-season against one of the real challengers to their throne, the youthful Colorado Avalanche.
- The Blue Jackets slayed one giant last year, and then promptly lost several of their most important players in the off-season. The Leafs aren’t quite the same calibre of opponent as last year’s Bolts, but an upset would still be quite an accomplishment for the motley crew from Ohio.
- Minnesota and Vancouver face-off for the right to be steam-rolled in the next elimination round. The Canucks have some fun, talented youngsters and the Wild are a veteran team that play suffocating defense; these teams could not be more different.