Wow. In Vegas’ first round series against Los Angeles we saw the Golden Knights win through solid defense and outstanding goaltending, but last night the Golden Knights’ showed off the amazing offense that contributed greatly to their first round success.
I’ll go over that and of course the Penguins-Capitals below, but before we into last night’s actions, I wanted to share with you our staffs’ predictions for the second round series. Please note that everyone submitted these predictions before any games were played. I wonder if any of those that picked the Sharks would have changed their minds based on Game 1…
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|Capitals/Penguins||Tampa Bay/Boston||Nashville/ Winnipeg||Vegas/San Jose|
|Michael||Capitals in 6||Tampa Bay in 5||Winnipeg in 6||Vegas in 7|
|Brian||Penguins in 6||Boston in 7||Nashville in 6||San Jose in 5|
|Ryan||Penguins in 7||Tampa Bay in 5||Nashville in 7||Vegas in 6|
|Corey||Capitals in 6||Tampa Bay in 6||Nashville in 7||San Jose in 6|
|Joey||Capitals in 7||Tampa Bay in 6||Nashville in 7||Vegas in 7|
|Gus||Penguins in 7||Tampa Bay in 5||Nashville in 7||Vegas in 6|
|Aaron||Penguins in 6||Tampa Bay in 6||Nashville in 7||San Jose in 6|
|Daniel||Penguins in 6||Tampa Bay in 5||Winnipeg in 7||San Jose in 6|
|Jeff||Capitals in 7||Tampa Bay in 6||Nashville in 6||San Jose in 7|
As you can see, our writers were most split when it comes to the Vegas-San Jose and Pittsburgh-Washington series. There is a near consensus that Tampa Bay will beat Boston with Brian being the only one that picked the Bruins. Meanwhile, just Daniel and Michael picked Winnipeg over Nashville.
As far as the first round goes, Joey, Aaron and I each finished at 7-1. My mistake was picking Columbus over Washington, Joey incorrectly picked Anaheim over San Jose, and Aaron's lone mistake was picking Los Angeles over Vegas. Gus and Jeff were 6-2, Brian, Corey, and Daniel were 5-3, and Michael was 4-4.
PITTSBURGH 3 WASHINGTON 2 (Penguins lead series 1-0)
This was a demoralizing loss for the Capitals and not just because it came at home. The Capitals had a 2-0 lead in the third period that they couldn’t hold onto.
Alex Ovechkin assisted on the game’s opening marker and found the back of the net just 28 seconds into the third. He’s up to six goals and 10 points in seven playoff games.
Patric Hornqvist began the Penguins’ comeback with a goal at 2:59 of the final frame and later added an assist. That gives him three goals and eight points in five postseason contests.
Jake Guentzel had yet another big game by scoring the winner and registering two assists. He’s up to seven goals and 16 points in seven games.
Matt Murray stopped 32 of 34 Capitals shots. He improved to 5-2 with a 2.17 GAA and .917 save percentage in seven starts in the playoffs.
Braden Holtby surrendered three goals on 25 shots. This is his third straight start where he’s allowed three goals, though the Capitals had won the previous two contests and to be fair, he stopped 74 of 80 shots over that two-game span.
VEGAS 7 SAN JOSE 0 (Golden Knights lead series 1-0)
The Golden Knights’ offense might be the headline tonight, but it’s worth noting that the Sharks actually did challenge Vegas quite a bit in the first period. San Jose outshot Vegas 17-9 in that frame and it took a strong performance from Marc-Andre Fleury to silence the Sharks early.
Fleury went on to save 33 shots to earn his second straight shutout and his third perfect game of the 2017 playoffs. He has a 5-0 record, 0.54 GAA, and .982 save percentage in five postseason starts.
Like Fleury, Martin Jones had excelled in the first round, but he couldn’t bail out the Sharks tonight. He surrendered five goals on 13 shots before being yanked early in the second period. Aaron Dell stepped in and turned aside 19 of 21 shots the rest of the way.
Evander Kane was booted from the game early in the third period after crosschecking Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in the face. Given that the NHL was fairly active when it came to issuing suspensions in the first round, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Kane serve time over that incident. That would be a big problem for San Jose as Kane provided the Sharks with three goals and four points in their four-game sweep of Anaheim.
Jonathan Marchessault scored a goal and registered two assists. It was the first postseason marker of his NHL career.
William Karlsson assisted on three of Vegas’ seven goals. He has a goal and five points in five playoff games.
Reilly Smith also chipped in three helpers. He’s up to six assists in five postseason games.