We’re one game through every series of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and we’ve already seen the best and worst of what the postseason has to offer.
First off, you’ve got a triple-overtime thriller between the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins, in which Igor Shesterkin made 79 saves on 83 shots...only for his team to lose 4-3 thanks to Evgeni Malkin’s overtime-winner. As if we needed more proof that Shesterkin is the second coming of Henrik Lundqvist.
Meanwhile, the top team in the West, the Colorado Avalanche, got off to a good start with a massive 7-2 win over the Nashville Predators, while the Florida Panthers, rulers of the East, were unable to do the same, giving up three goals in the third period on route to a 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals. Finally, Elias Lindholm’s early first-period goal held up as the game-winner as the Calgary Flames beat the Dallas Stars 1-0.
Here’s a look at tonight’s Game 2 matchups:
Game 2: Boston Bruins @ Carolina Hurricanes (7 PM)
CAR leads 1-0
The Bruins are looking to bounce back after a 5-1 loss, in which they outshot the Hurricanes 36-25. Carolina, without starting goalie Frederik Andersen, will likely have to keep relying on Antti Raanta, who posted a stellar .971 in Game 1. As for the offensive side of things, top players such as Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, and Teuvo Teravainen found the scoresheet for Carolina, while Boston found out just how ineffective they are without the contributions of their legendary top-line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak. If the Hurricanes have already found a tried-and-true method to controlling that line, this will be a quick series.
Game 2: Tampa Bay Lightning @ Toronto Maple Leafs (7:30 PM)
TOR leads 1-0
We all want to see the Leafs lose this series, so hopefully, the Lightning get their act together after *that* performance. One which featured a five-minute power-play in which they shot the puck fewer times than the defending team. You can really see the difference between the Lightning, who’ve filled up on playoff success, compared to teams that have beaten Toronto in the past — desperate clubs like the Caps, Bruins, Blue Jackets, and Habs. At present, we know of one lineup change across both teams. Leafs forward Kyle Clifford will serve a one-game suspension after boarding Lightning forward Ross Colton.
Game 2: St. Louis Blues @ Minnesota Wild (9:30 PM)
STL leads 1-0
The Wild won’t be the only team looking to get revenge tonight, as defensemen Jared Spurgeon’s cross-check to the skates, which could’ve resulted in a broken ankle for Blues’ forward Pavel Buchnevich, is still fresh in everyone’s memory. Spurgeon was given a $5,000 fine by the Department of Player Safety. Beyond the lack of a suspension on a play in which there was an intent to injure, it also serves to create a point of conflict between the two teams which could put the players in further danger. The lack of discipline could also be connected to the fact that the play took place in the postseason. Playoff hockey is known for being more physical, and the effort to uphold that reputation is what causes the shifting standard of officiating, as well as how willing the league is to protect its players.
Game 2: Los Angeles Kings @ Edmonton Oilers (10:00 PM)
LAK leads 1-0
A very close Game 1 ended with a 4-3 Kings victory, thanks to Philipp Danault’s game-winner at 14:46 of the third period. Connor McDavid had two points in the effort, and Edmonton struck twice on the power-play, but they were nevertheless edged out by a Los Angeles squad that’s taken a massive step forward this year. In order to even up the series, Edmonton will either need McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to take over a game, or they’ll have to look further down the lineup for some offensive contributions.