The offense finally slowed down on day seven of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with goaltenders stealing the show. Connor Hellebuyck led the Jets to a 2-0 victory, the Capitals getting back into their series and the Knights became the first expansion team to win a playoff series.
Here’s how it went down:
Washington 3 -2 Columbus-2OT
Columbus leads series 2-1
— NHL (@NHL) April 18, 2018
Washington could not afford going down three games in the series, and they came out hard to start the game. They had a total of 25 shots through two periods of play.
The Capitals started off the scoring with Matt Niskanen deflecting a shot past Sergei Bobrovsky for his first goal of the playoffs and a 1-0 Washington lead.
Columbus tied things up midway through the second period with Pierre-Luc Dubois sniping his first career playoff goal.
The lead did not last long, with Washington on the powerplay, John Carlson one-timed, a pass from Nicklas Backstrom into the back of the net, to take the lead back for the Capitals.
The Jackets matched the Caps intensity in the third period. Artemi Panarin scored his second of the playoffs, four minutes into the final frame to tie the game at two and give Columbus life, sending the game to OT.
Nine minutes into the second overtime period a break-down had the puck bounce it’s way into the net with Lars Eller getting credit for the goal, his first career playoff overtime goal.
Both goaltenders held their own with Braden Holtby stopping 33 of 35 shots and Sergei Bobrovsky making 40 saves on 43 shots.
Washington played a great bounce-back game to get back into the series and will to tie things up Thursday night at 5:30 p.m. MT in Columbus.
Winnipeg 2-0 Minnesota
Winnipeg leads series 3-1
It's the intermission so let's take a quick sec to talk about this save from Hellebuyck…
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) April 18, 2018
Both teams came into Game 4 learning they would be without one of their respective stars. Tyler Myers will be out indefinitely with a lower-body injury for the Jets, and Zach Parise will be out for an extended period of time with a fractured sternum.
Minnesota came out with their backs clearly against the wall, showing more pressure and urgency to the start of the game.
The Jets, however, opened up the scoring with Mark Scheifele scoring on a three-on-one with 30 seconds left in the first period.
Connor Hellebuyck did the rest of the work stopping all 30 shots he faced to earn his first career playoff shutout. Minnesota had a chance to tie the game in the second period with the glove side of the net open, but Hellebuyck made a fantastic sprawling save to keep it a 1-0 game.
Mark Scheifele added his second goal of the game on an empty-netter to seal the deal for the Jets 2-0. Winnipeg has a chance to eliminate the Wild on Friday at 5:30 p.m. MT from MTS Place.
Vegas 1-0 LA
Vegas wins series 4-0
— NHL (@NHL) April 18, 2018
The third game started out much like the first two with both teams going scoreless through the first period. Five minutes into the second period Reilly Smith set up Brayden McNabb on a two-on-one to give Vegas a 1-0 lead.
Marc-Andre Fleury stole the show stopping all 31 Vegas shots he faced in this one for his 11th career playoff shutout and his second of the 2018 postseason.
LA fought back hard and had many high-quality scoring chances late, but either could not capitalize or were robbed by Fleury. The Golden Knights were the first expansion team to make the playoffs in year one, but are now the first to win playoff series and the first to sweep.
The Kings played a good series but were shut out by Fleury twice in the series. The Knights outscored the Kings 7-3 in the series. Vegas won each game by one goal.
It was an exciting series to watch. Every part of Vegas’ season so far has been unexpected and sweeping a playoff experienced Kings team in the first round can be added to that list.
Who will they play in the second round? What will their chances be to move on past that? We’ll have to wait and see, but assuredly it will be entertaining every step of the way.