Eastern Conference opening series Game 1 recap
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Game 1 Final: Penguins 7 – Flyers 0
Every red flag we have seen from the Penguins this season are gone. The Penguins showed everyone that they should be worried about them making a run for a possible three peat this season. Sidney Crosby, as usual, put up his third postseason hat trick and Malkin created a postseason highlight of his own with a beautiful goal during the 1st period. The Penguins offense overpowered their in state rivals and proved they are serious contenders for the Stanley Cup. With the 7-0 win against the Flyers, the Penguins became just the 5th team in NHL history to win a postseason game by at least 7 goals. The Flyers simply could not keep up with the Penguins.
During the regular season, the Flyers gave up at least 5 goals each game but this time was different because the Penguins managed to get a 5 goal lead in just 29 minutes. The Flyers need to figure things out regardless of who is in net during Game 2. The Flyers had a man advantage on four different occasions during the game and were not able to generate a shot. If the Flyers want a chance at stopping the Penguins run at history, they will need to figure out a way to keep themselves out of the penalty box but still being able to play a physical game during all three periods. Just about 3 minutes into the game the Penguins found the back of the net when Rust was able to get the puck just over the shoulder of Elliott.
Though Elliott stopped 14 of 19 shots before being replaced by Mrazek. Mrazek was able to make 12 saves but is not likely to start in net for the Flyers during Game 2. Matt Murray received his third postseason shutout after stopping 24 shots.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New Jersey Devils
Game 1 Final: Lightning 5 – Devils 2
During the regular season, the Lightning were lead offensively by either Stamkos or Kucherov but during Game 1 against the Devils it wasn’t the same. The Lightning scored four goals but none of which were by the scoring leaders in the regular season. The Lightning lead 3-0 behind goals by Palat, Johnson, and Gourde but the Devils were able to trim the lead to two after Taylor Hall scored with 6 minutes remaining in the 2nd period. Hall scored off of a turnover and then assisted on a Zajac power-play goal that trimmed the Lightning lead to 1 midway through the 3rd period. The Devils started off the game rather slow and if they want to succeed moving forward the Devils will need to come out much faster and much more aggressive to start the game. During the regular season the Devils won all three matchups but each were decided by just one goal. The Lightning have a lot of depth on offense and will be hard for the Devils to try and stop.
This is the first playoff appearance for the Devils since they reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 2012. While, this will be the 3rd time in the past 4 seasons that the Lightning make the playoffs. The Lightning were in the Stanley Cup Finals during the 2014-15 season but lost to the Blackhawks in 6 games and the next season the Lightning were able to force game 7 but couldn’t make it past the conference finals.
Kinkaid entered the postseason on a hot streak as he was able to go 7-0-1 during the final eight games. Though the Lightning attempted 31 shots, Kinkaid allowed just 4 while one was during an open net. Kinkaid finished the game with a .871 save percentage. Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 31 attempts with a .935 save percentage.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers on Friday, April 13th at 7PM
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New Jersey Devils on Saturday, April 14th at 3PM