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Playoff Open Thread: May 21st

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Multiple-goal comebacks, a horrific injury, and Mark Stone being Mark Stone

Vegas Golden Knights v Minnesota Wild - Game Three Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

It can sometimes be difficult to get properly invested in the playoffs after your team has been eliminated, but last night’s games proved that you don’t need to be emotionally invested to enjoy some good hockey. With all three American matchups featuring multiple-goal comebacks and the Habs pulling off an upset against the Leafs, it was a hell of a night for hockey. Let’s hope tonight’s games are just as much fun.

Yesterday’s games:

Florida Panthers 6, Tampa Bay Lightning 5 (TBL leads 2-1)

The two Florida teams continued to provide the best entertainment of the playoffs with a fast-paced and high-scoring affair. With the Lightning ahead by two games in the series, the Panthers were looking to avoid that deadly 3-0 deficit. The Panthers took an early 2-0 lead, but Tampa Bay responded with three successive goals in the second. Florida scored one more and the Lightning scored two more, so that the score was 5-3 Tampa by the end of the second period. The drama didn’t end there, though! The Panthers started their comeback right at the beginning of the third and ended it right at the end. After a thrilling final three minutes of play and a controversial penalty to former Senator Anthony Duclair that shut down a Florida 2-on-1, the game was headed to overtime.

The extra time was about as exciting as you’d expect. Just as the teams were starting to settle into the game and it was starting to look like we were in for a long night, Florida scored to earn a much-needed and well-deserved win.

I, for one, am rooting for more of this matchup. More overtime. 7 games. Please.

Pittsburgh Penguins 5, New York Islanders 4 (PIT leads 2-1)

Kris Letang opened the scoring for the Penguins only 2 minutes into the game. The Islanders tied things up in the second, but the Penguins responded with two more goals of their own to make the score 3-1. Like the Panthers, though, the Islanders mounted a little comeback of their own, with two more goals in quick succession to start the third.

We also got some of these fun pictures:

I don’t think these teams like each other.

The Penguins soon pulled ahead 4-3, but the Islanders evened the score again at the end of the period. It was like Florida vs Tampa but slightly less exciting. However, Pittsburgh pulled ahead 5-4 almost immediately after the equalizing goal. Unfortunately for Pageau and co., the Islanders did not manage to even the score again, and the Penguins ended up getting the win and pulling ahead in the series.

Montreal Canadiens 2, Toronto Maple Leafs 1

This was one of the most highly-anticipated matchups of the first round, although one that feels like a worst-case scenario for Sens fans.

For the second night in a row, however, a huge injury ended up being the main storyline of a game. This time it was Leafs captain John Tavares taking an accidental knee to the head from Corey Perry after being knocked down onto the ice. I’m not going to link the video because it’s very difficult to watch and I would feel gross sharing it, but you can find it if you look for it. Tavares was very obviously unconscious after the hit and had to be stretchered off the ice. It was very difficult to watch the game after that, as everyone was concerned for Tavares’s health.

Montreal opened the scoring pretty soon after the injury, but Toronto eventually bounced back and evened the score. The score held for most of the rest of the game, which ended up being the least entertaining game of the night. The Canadiens pulled ahead toward the end of the game with an absolutely beautiful goal:

Despite a solid effort from the Leafs right at the end, the Habs took the first game. It’s hard to care about the outcome of this game considering what happened to Tavares at the start.

Vegas Golden Knights 5, Minnesota Wild 2 (VGK leads 2-1)

The Wild came out swinging right from the start of the game, with three successive goals in the first period alone. The third goal was, however, called back because of an offside call. It was a lucky break for Vegas, but it didn’t change the fact that Minnesota was walking all over them. Things were looking pretty bleak by the end of the first period.

Mark Stone must have brought some of that 2017 magic to Vegas with him, though, because his first goal of the playoffs sparked an epic comeback, with the Golden Knights scoring three in the second period and another two in the third for a decisive victory. They also outshot the Wild 40-16.

I miss him so much.

Today’s games:

Washington Capitals @ Boston Bruins - 6:30 PM EST (BOS leads 2-1).

Carolina Hurricanes @ Nashville Predators - 7:00 PM EST (CAR leads 2-0)

Winnipeg Jets @ Edmonton Oilers - 9:00 PM EST (WPG leads 1-0)

Colorado Avalanche @ St. Louis Blues - 9:30 PM EST (COL leads 2-0)