Day 12 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs was back to the norm as an offensive explosion broke out between four teams. A total of 18 goals were scored in both games with the Penguins and Predators moving onto the second round.
Here’s how it went down:
Pittsburgh 8-5 Philadelphia
Pittsburgh wins series 4-2
— NHL (@NHL) April 22, 2018
It didn’t take long for the offense to pour out in an offensively explosive game. Pittsburgh jumped out to an early 2-1 lead in the first period.
It was Philadelphia who scored first, however, as Sean Couturier scored his third goal of the playoffs and his second in consecutive games two minutes into the game.
The Penguins wouldn’t stand for that, as their Captain Sidney Crosby scored his playoff-leading sixth goal four minutes later, off the rebound glove side, tying the game at one.
Less than a minute later the Pittsburgh would take a 2-1 lead. Carl Hagelin would score his second of the postseason, waiting all alone in front of the net and capitalizing on a turnover by Shayne Gostisbehere from behind his goaltender.
The offense continued as each team seemed to trade goal for goal. Andrew MacDonald blasted one from the blue-line past Matt Murray scoring with five minutes left in the period to tie the game at two heading into the second.
Sean Couturier added to his goal total, off of a Patric Hornqvist turnover, on a breakaway, Couturier made a nice deke around Murray to score low blocker side. The Flyers goal came 40 seconds into the second period restoring the lead for Philly 3-2.
Philadelphia would add to the lead with Scott Laughton breaking out up the wing and sending a laser shot blocker side to the back of the net for his first career playoff goal.
The Penguins did not waste time answering as Patric Hornqvist finished off a tic-tac-toe play with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel to bring the Pens within one goal in the second period.
It was then that the Jake Guentzel show started.
After a break-out playoff where he scored 13 goals last year, the young forward went off for four unanswered goals in Game 6. The first, off of a rebound with less than a minute left. The second 30 seconds into the third period came off of a steal by Phil Kessel who then set up Guentzel on a short two-on-none to make it 5-4 Pens.
With seven minutes left in the game, Guentzel slapped one past Michal Neuvirth, scoring the natural hat-trick off of what looked like a missed tripping call on Kris Letang. Adding to the impressive day the young forward scored his fourth on a break out with Patric Hornqvist as the Penguins first line scored six of their total eight goals in the game. Guentzel finished with five points in 15:23 of ice time.
Sean Couturier added a goal late for a hat-trick of his own, which is especially impressive with him playing on a torn MCL. However, it was nowhere near enough to come close to a comeback.
— NHL (@NHL) April 22, 2018
The Penguins overpowered the Flyers on their way to a 8-5 win and a ticket into the second round. Getting an outstanding performace by Guentzel in this one, similar to last year could be a scary vision into what’s around the corner for whoever has to face the defending champions.
Nashville 5-0 Colorado
Nashville wins series 4-2
— p-Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) April 23, 2018
The offense continued in the second game of the day, but this one was one-sided as Nashville scored a pair of goals in the first and second periods respectively.
Mattias Ekholm blasted his first of the playoffs past the Game 5 hero Andrew Hammond for an early 1-0 Nashville lead. Austin Watson made it 2-0 a little over three minutes later, pulling the puck around Hammond down low sneaking the puck past the goaltender’s outstretched pad.
The Preds added to their lead in the second period. Filip Forsberg added to his impressive post-season, scoring his fourth, after stealing a pass at his blue-line and sneaking one past the Avs netminder on the break. Seven minutes later Nick Bonino scored making it 4-0 Nashville heading into the third period.
Viktor Arvidsson added a goal early in the third, as he blew past the Colorado defenders while holding only half of his stick. The goal led to a 5-0 Nashville victory. Nashville peppered Hammond with 37 shots on goal as they powered their way to the second round.
Pekka Rinne stopped all 22 shots he faced from the Avalanche in a strong showing, the type his team will need if they wish to compete with a strong Winnipeg Jets team in the next round.