Throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs we’ll be keeping track of all the action around the league, and bringing you all of the results in one place.
Stanley Cup Qualifiers: No. 6 Carolina Hurricanes vs. No. 11 New York Rangers
In the first game of the qualifying round, there was a surprise in store for Rangers fans: Igor Shesterkin was deemed “unfit to play,” meaning that Henrik Lundqvist would get the start in game one. And the first shot he faced would beat him. After Jaccob Slavin opened the scoring just a minute into the game, a surprising fight would take place between two players not known for dropping the gloves; Ryan Strome and Justin Williams. In the second period Sebastian Aho increased the Hurricanes’ lead to two, before Mika Zibanejad would get the Rangers on the board. Marc Staal scored twice in the third period, but just once for his team. A Martin Necas’ shot would beat Lundqvist after deflecting off of Staal’s skate, who would later go on to score a shorthanded goal himself. No, really, Marc Staal scored a shorthanded goal. Just a very normal game one.
Stanley Cup Qualifiers: No. 5 Edmonton Oilers vs. No. 12 Chicago Blackhawks
Unsurprisingly, the award for the most chaotic game of the day goes to the two teams who make up for their defensive deficiencies with a ton of offense. In goal, the Oilers started Mike Smith, a decision that quickly bit them in the ass. After Connor McDavid gave them the lead, Smith went on a puck-handling adventure that led to Dylan Strome scoring off of his backside — and then the Chicago offensive onslaught would begin. Jonathan Toews scored twice, Brandon Saad once, and the Blackhawks left the first period with a 4-1 lead. Art Ross Trophy winner Leon Draisaitl cut the lead to two with a power play marker, before Dominik Kubalik would answer with a power play goal himself. That’d mark the end of Smith’s day, as Mikko Koskinen would enter for the remainder of the contest. Koskinen would get beat once, as Kubalik, who finished the day with five points, scored his second of the game. The Oilers attempted a late third period comeback, with goals from James Neal and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins coming with less than five minutes to play, but ultimately fell short.
Stanley Cup Qualifiers: No. 7 New York Islanders vs. No. 10 Florida Panthers
Trade deadline acquisition Jean-Gabriel Pageau opened the scoring for the Islanders, the lone goal of the first period with a drive to the net, and a perfectly placed pass from Derick Brassard. Early in the second period, Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson would be assessed a minor for an illegal check to the head, a check that would send Johnny Boychuk out of the game. On the ensuing power play, Anthony Beauvillier scored to increase the Islanders’ lead to two goals. Just 23 seconds into the third period, Jonathan Huberdeau would break Semyon Varlamov’s shutout bid with a backhander in close, but it’d be all the offense that the Panthers could muster.
Stanley Cup Qualifiers: No. 5 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. No. 12 Montreal Canadiens
The story of the first period had to be Carey Price. Despite the Penguins clearly being the better of the two teams, the Canadiens left the period with a 1-0 lead thanks to Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s first playoff goal. His goal was one of Montréal’s just three shots on goal in the opening frame. Another first-timer, Nick Suzuki, put the Canadiens up by two just about seven minutes into the middle frame. But then the Penguins broke through. First it was Sidney Crosby banking the puck off of Price and in from below the goal line, and then Bryan Rust struck on a net-front scramble. With just over three minutes remaining in the third, Jordan Weal’s attempted pass to the point was intercepted, Jeff Petry was caught a bit flat-footed, and Petry wound up hooking Conor Sheary on a breakaway. Sheary was awarded a penalty shot. He missed the net.
However, that wouldn’t be the only penalty shot of the game. In overtime, Jonathan Drouin was awarded a penalty shot, and on his attempt ... well ... he lost control of the puck. Two penalty shots, zero shots on net. But then, in the dying minutes of the first overtime period, Petry pounced on a loose puck in the slot and beat Murray with a wrist shot to end the game.
Stanley Cup Qualifiers: No. 8 Calgary Flames vs. No. 9 Winnipeg Jets
The final game of the day started off in a terrible way for the Jets, when star center Mark Scheifele had to leave the game after being on the receiving end of a Matthew Tkachuk hit. After the game, Jets coach Paul Maurice called it a “filthy, disgusting hit.” That will surely be a point of contention in the coming days. Shortly after Blake Wheeler challenged Tkachuk to a fight in the name of retribution, Andrew Copp opened the scoring. Adam Lowry set Copp up from behind the net and, with a bit of traffic in front, Cam Talbot couldn’t stop the one-timed blast. That wound up being the lone time Talbot would be beat. Calgary took over in the second period with a pair of power play goals from Johnny Gaudreau and Mikael Backlund, and a shorthanded goal from Tobias Rieder to boot. The Flames’ special teams were really something special last night, no pun intended, and that’s why they walked away with the victory. In the third, Patrik Laine would collide with Mark Giordano, and after Giordano retaliated with a slash, Laine would leave the game holding his arm and not return. Andrew Mangiapane picked up the empty net goal to put a bow on game one for the Flames.