WASHINGTON (AP) — Brock Nelson scored twice, Josh Bailey and Ryan Strome added goals, Jaroslav Halak made 24 saves, and the New York Islanders beat the Washington Capitals 4-1 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference playoff series Wednesday night.
Nelson, Bailey and Strome had never scored in the playoffs. All were first-round draft picks by New York, none is older than 25, and they entered Wednesday with these combined playoff numbers: seven games, zero goals, three assists.
That didn’t matter one bit on this night. Nor did Halak’s struggles down the stretch in the regular season. The goalie who stymied Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals while playing for eighth-seeded Montreal in a 2010 first-round upset, was mostly superb, allowing only Marcus Johansson’s goal in the final minute of the first period.
Game 2 is Friday night.
Canadiens 4, Senators 3
MONTREAL (AP) — Brian Flynn scored a tie-breaking goal late in the second period and the Canadiens held on in a wild opening game of their first-round playoff series.
Flynn also had two assists for the first three-point game of his career.
Tomas Plekanec and Torrey Mitchell scored 15 seconds apart in a frenetic second period that saw five players get goals in less than five minutes. Lars Eller scored short-handed as part of the barrage.
Mika Zibanejad and Kyle Turris got power-play goals in the middle period for the Senators. Milan Michalek was credited with the game’s first goal, which Montreal’s Andre Markov tipped into his own net 12 minutes in.
Canadiens star defenseman P.K. Subban was given a five-minute major and game misconduct after slashing Ottawa rookie Mark Stone in the wrist midway through the second period.
Game 2 is Friday night
Blackhawks 4, Predators 3
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Duncan Keith scored at 7:49 of double overtime, and the Blackhawks rallied from a three-goal deficit after the first period.
The Blackhawks finished only two points back of Nashville in the Central Division, and they grabbed home-ice advantage back despite benching Corey Crawford after the first period. Scott Darling stopped every subsequent shot, making 42 saves in his postseason debut as Nashville took a franchise-record 54 shots.
Jonathan Toews had a goal and an assist, and Niklas Hjalmarsson, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews each scored for Chicago. Patrick Kane also had two assists in his return after missing 21 games with a broken collarbone.
Colin Wilson scored twice and Viktor Stalberg had a goal, all in the first period for the Predators.
Game 2 is Friday night in Nashville.
Flames 2, Canucks 1
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Defenseman Kris Russell scored with just under 30 seconds remaining in the third period.
David Jones also scored for the Flames, who were down 1-0 entering the third period. Jonas Hiller stopped 29 shots in the Flames’ first playoff game since 2009.
Bo Horvat opening the scoring for Vancouver midway in the second period. Jannik Hansen and Alexander Edler assisted on the play.
Vancouver hosts Game 2 on Friday night.
Russell’s shot from the point found its way through traffic after a dominant shift by the Flames that had the Canucks hemmed in deep.
Eddie Lack made 28 saves for Vancouver, which is back in the postseason after missing out last spring for the first time in six years.