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NHL Playoffs: Stamkos Injured, Sharks Dominant, Flyers Stage Comeback

Michael Clifford breaks down at all the highlights from Sunday’s NHL playoff action.

San Jose Sharks playoffs

Philadelphia Flyers at New York Rangers – Flyers win 4-2, series tied 1-1

The game started off with the Rangers off to the races as a pretty passing play that started with Rick Nash ended up finishing with Martin St. Louis making it 1-0 just over four minutes into the first period. A little over four minutes later, Benoit Pouliot received a cross-ice pass on the power play from Derick Brassard which he one-timed (and fanned on). The flutter shot fooled Emery, and it was 2-0 Rangers before the 10-minute mark. The lead was cut in half, however, after a very pretty solo effort from Jakub Voracek where he drove the puck wide, cut in front Lundqvist and slid the puck around his pad. What was a slow start by the Flyers was salvaged by Voracek and it was 2-1 after one.

Jason Akeson took a double-minor in Game 1 that led to two Rangers goals. In Game 2, Akeson scored a power play goal to tie the game 2-2 at 5:45 of the second period. The Flyers would go to take the lead on Luke Schenn’s first career playoff goal. Schenn jumped up into the rush on a delayed penalty and put away a rebound to make it 3-2.

The second period was marred by quite a bit of chippy hockey, punctuated by a pair of misconducts from Marc Staal and Scott Hartnell, punching each other on the ice after the whistle.

A relatively uneventful third period was winding down and Henrik Lundqvist came out of his net with about 90 seconds left on the clock. After a turnover by the Rangers, Lundqvist skated back to the net, but Brad Richards hopped on the ice for a Rangers ‘Too Many Men’ penalty. The Flyers would score an empty-netter to seal it on a nice solo effort from Wayne Simmonds. A GIF from Pete Blackburn of that effort can be seen here.

Detroit Red Wings at Boston Bruins – BOS wins 4-1, series tied 1-1

The first period was dominated by the Bruins, both on the scoreboard and in the corners.

Boston’s first goal was scored by Justin Florek, playing his second career playoff game (sixth total) scored after a clearing attempt by Jimmy Howard deflected off his own defender and right on Florek’s stick. The second goal for Boston was on a power play after a 5-on-3 advantage had just expired. The Bruins created good movement and a point shot squeaked through Howard’s pads. Reilly Smith cut to the net and put home the rebound in an empty net.

Detroit’s Brendan Smith seemed to be a target of Boston, notably a big hit from David Krejci that sent Smith hard into the boards. The result was a whiplash effect and it seemed Smith’s head hit the glass. At the end of the period, Smith was engaged with Chara and the Bruins defenseman was trying to get Smith to fight. Smartly, Smith didn’t engage, and a linesman finally jumped in.

The second period saw a goal from each team, as Detroit was able to get a bounce off of Luke Glendening from Darren Helm and in. Boston replied just under five minutes later as a nice passing play ended up with Milan Lucic shooting, and Howard getting a piece but not enough.

Zdeno Chara scored on the power play early in the third period parked in front of the net, and Detroit could not solve Tuukka Rask the rest of the way.

Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Lightning – MTL wins 3-2, MTL leads series 3-0

It didn’t take long for Montreal to grab the lead, as what seemed like a set play sent Rene Bourque in on a breakaway and he put one under Tampa Bay’s Anders Lindback’s arm to make it 1-0 just 11 seconds in. The Habs had just a 12-8 shot advantage in the first, but had the much better chances to score. Two-on-ones and partial breakaways were frequent, and the score could have been about 4-0 by the end of the period had it not been for several big saves from Lindback.

Controversy came in the second period as Tampa Bay thought they had gone ahead after Ondrej Palat made it 1-1 on the power play. The Lightning thought they had scored the go-ahead goal, but the goal was waved off for goalie interference. This is a GIF of the supposed non-goal, from @MyRegularFace (who is a great follow for NHL playoff GIFs). Goaltender interference calls are not reviewable by replay. Montreal would score later on a nice play from P.K. Subban to Brendan Gallagher to make it 2-1 Montreal after two.

To make matters worse, Steven Stamkos was knocked to the ice late in the period (perhaps interference), and Alexei Emelin tried to jump over him. Tried being the operative word because Stamkos took an Emelin knee to the back of the head. He appeared woozy and the trainers came out to help him off the ice. He did return for the third period.

Tomas Plekanec got a couple of good looks just before the first TV timeout of the third period and made good on the second one, making it 3-1 Montreal at 5:43. But with a little over eight minutes left, a good shift from the Stamkos line resulted in a clean Matt Carle point shot that beat a screened Carey Price to make it 3-2. Despite good late pressure from Tampa, the Habs hung on for the win after some good saves from Carey Price.

Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks – SJS wins 7-2, SJS leads series 2-0

The Kings were obviously hoping for a better start to this game than Game 1 where they fell behind 5-0, and got exactly that.

A little under two minutes into the game, a Jake Muzzin point shot avoided the crowd in front and beat a screened Antti Niemi to make it 1-0. The Sharks would respond with a few good chances over the next several minutes but Jonathan Quick was there with a save each time. At the 9:33 mark, a Jeff Carter centering effort was whiffed on by Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and tucked home by Kings forward Trevor Lewis to make it 2-0. Each team had their chances the rest of the period and the physical play definitely picked up.

A Kings turnover led to a clean Mike Brown shot from the slot and goal from the Shark to cut it to 2-1. Including some power play time, the Sharks carried the play for the first half of the second period. Just over nine minutes in, Raffi Torres would score for San Jose to make it 2-2 on a nice off-side wrist shot. The full comeback would come when Justin Braun snapped what seemed like a harmless shot from the boards but a good screen prevented Jonathan Quick seeing it, making it 3-2 Sharks with just over five minutes left in the second.

The game was sealed early in the third period as Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski both scored in the first five minutes to make it 5-2 Sharks. The onslaught continued as Logan Couture and Joe Thornton got in on the fun to make it 7-2 Sharks. This has been a dominant start to the series by the Sharks.

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