Stanley Cup playoffs: Blue Jackets stun Capitals in overtime again
Sergei Bobrovsky made 54 saves, Matt Calvert scored the winner 12:22 into overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets overcame two goals from Alex Ovechkin beat the Washington Capitals 5-4 in Game 2 on Sunday night to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Calvert’s goal held up after the NHL situation room reviewed the play for a possible offside. Calvert was just onside when Josh Anderson brought the puck into the zone.
Columbus heads home for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Thursday two victories away from advancing to the second round for the first time in franchise history. The Blue Jackets stunned the Metropolitan Division-champion Capitals with back-to-back overtime wins and have the advantage thanks in large part to the play of Bobrovsky.
The two-time Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender continued his playoff reputation rehab tour by keeping his team in the game. Bobrovsky, who entered the arena in a beige trenchcoat as sharp as his play in net, entered these playoffs 3-10 with a 3.73 goals-against average and .887 save percentage but has now stopped 81 of 88 shots through two games.
Cam Atkinson scored twice, Anderson had a goal at even strength and Zack Werenski added one on the power play for the Blue Jackets, who have the odds on their side. In Stanley Cup playoff history, 86.4 percent of teams that take a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series have gone on to win it.
Ovechkin looked like a man on a mission trying to tie the series for Washington three nights after coach Barry Trotz called him out for not making enough of an impact in Game 1. Jay Beagle’s early goal and Ovechkin’s two on the power play put Washington up 3-1 before undisciplined play took its toll.
Penalties to Tom Wilson and Devante Smith-Pelly allowed Columbus to tie the score and take the lead. But a delay of game penalty on Werenski set the stage for T.J. Oshie’s tying goal on the power play with 3:35 left.
The game only got to overtime because Braden Holtby stopped all five shots he faced in the third period after replacing Philipp Grubauer, who allowed four goals on 22 shots. Washington outshot Columbus 21-5 in the third as Bobrovsky made several big stops, including one on Nicklas Backstrom when he didn’t know where the puck was and another minutes later when a shot banked off the post and his left skate and he covered up in the crease.
Penguins take control with 5-1 win over Flyers
Sidney Crosby had a goal and three assists and Matt Murray stopped 26 shots to help the Pittsburgh Penguins silence a raucous Philadelphia crowd and beat the Flyers 5-1 on Sunday to take a 2-1 lead in the first-round playoff series.
Two of the so-called fiercest rivals in the NHL have provided three lopsided games: Pittsburgh’s 7-0 win in Game 1 and Philadelphia’s 5-1 victory in Game 2 could about qualify as nail-bitters in this series.
Game 3 is Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
Crosby scored his fourth goal of the series in the first period, and Derick Brassard, Evgeni Malkin and Brian Dumoulin scored in the second to make it 4-0. Malkin and Dumoulin scored 5 seconds apart.
Justin Schultz made it 5-1 in the third on Pittsburgh’s third power-play goal of the game.
Brian Elliott, yanked in Game 1, had another rough outing and might need to borrow fellow Wells Fargo Center tenant Joel Embiid’s black mask to have a better look at the puck.
The Flyers haven’t won a playoff series since 2012 and pulled out all the theatrical stops in their return to the postseason after a one-year absence. Light-up bracelets flickered in the darkened arena and another packed house roared “Crosby sucks! Crosby sucks!”
Here’s the thing Philly fans haven’t realized, he really doesn’t — and especially not against the Flyers.
Crosby, who has 93 points in 63 career regular-season games against Philly, shut up the orange-and-black die-hards with a wraparound goal off a turnover midway through the first.
Crosby had a hat trick in Game 1 and the three-time Stanley Cup champion showed no sign of easing up.
Flyers fans even stuck photos of the hated Crosby inside the urinals throughout the arena that had to guarantee they were more on target with their shots than anyone on the home team’s roster.
The Flyers ran a video package full of bloody fights, big goals and memorable moments between the teams through the years with a “Bitter Rivals” caption. The Penguins could have just looked in their reflection from the 2016 and 2017 Cups and shrugged off the idea the Flyers are in their league.
Brassard scored on the power play just 2:48 into the second. Then came back-to-back stunning goals that put the icing on the urinal cake: Malkin scored on a one-timer and Dumoulin off the faceoff beat Elliott through the five-hole for a 4-0 lead. Crosby had both assists, naturally.
At that point, each team had 12 shots.
The Flyers, who played more like the team that lost 10 straight games over November-December, had no shot at pulling off the comeback. Travis Sanheim scored late in the third for the Flyers’ lone goal.
Minnesota Wild beat Winnipeg Jets 6-2
Mikael Granlund and Zach Parise scored power-play goals in the first period for the spark Minnesota was missing on the road, and the Wild used a four-goal second to roar back in the first-round playoff series with a 6-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night.
The Wild will try to tie the best-of-seven series 2-2 in Game 4 at home Tuesday night.
Jordan Greenway scored his first NHL goal just 20 seconds after Eric Staal sent a wrist shot past a struggling Connor Hellebuyck, who was pulled for Steve Mason at the second intermission.
Matt Dumba and Marcus Foligno bookended the furious middle frame with goals for the Wild, who won a postseason home game for only the second time in their last nine contests. Mikko Koivu and Nick Seeler each had two assists and Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves, keeping the crowd loud all night.
Blake Wheeler and Tyler Myers scored for the Jets.
After overtaking the Wild with two third-period goals to win 3-2 in Game 1 and dominating the action in Game 2 on the way to a 4-1 victory, the Jets hit some minor turbulence for the first time in the series. The blizzard that blanketed the Twin Cities forced their charter flight to land in Duluth on Saturday afternoon and return to Winnipeg for the night. The Jets skipped the customary morning skate and arrived Sunday about eight hours before faceoff.
Whether or not the Jets were actually affected by the weather hardly mattered, given the way the Wild greeted them after the lackluster performance in Game 2.
The only shot the Jets sent on target over the first 11-plus minutes was the one by Wheeler that went in, a wide-angle attempt on the power play that hit Jonas Brodin’s stick and fluttered toward Dubnyk. The puck hit his glove and fell in the corner of the net, a soft goal if there ever was one.
The Wild snapped right back, though. Koivu took the initial shot that set up both goals in the first period, with Granlund waiting for the rebound on the first one . Parise freed himself from a tie-up in traffic with Jacob Trouba to move in position for the redirect of the second one.
The second period went from bad to worse for the Jets, trailing 5-2, when Myers was checked by Foligno and caught his skate at the bottom of the boards. He needed help off the ice and into the locker room and did not return.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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