Day 1 Of The NHL Playoffs Features 2 Overtime Finishes
Oh for us hockey fans it is Christmas time. The presents can be found every night. For some coal is to be had. For others glory. The Blackhawks and Blues tasted glory. For Jonathan Quick and the LA Kings Not so much.
The Chicago Blackhawks are the overwhelming favorite to get out of the west. They struggled a bit against against the Minnesota Wild but overcame and won 2-1 in OT. The Wild had bad luck working from the start. Their starting goaltender Nicklas Backstrum got hurt in warmups and was replaced by unknown Josh Harding. Backstrum reportedly hurt his leg. No word whether he will be available for game 2 Friday night back in Chicago. Harding is a great story. He disclosed during the summer he suffers from MS. he only played 5 games in the shortened season.
The Hawks won in overtime when Bryan Bickell finished off a nice breakout and was on the receiving end of a nifty pass by Viktor Stalberg and beat Harding low with only 3:25 left in the 1st overtime. The Hawks are looking for their 1st playoff series win in 3 years. They were eliminated in the 1st round the past 2 years.
In St.Louis, the hometown Blues are looking for revenge after their 4 game ouster last season by the eventual Cup champs, the LA Kings. Los Angeles went from 8 seed in the west to champs last year, the 1st ever 8 seed to win the cup. They were led by netminder Jonathan Quick. However in game 1 Quick was the goat. Trying to play the puck behind the net in OT he totally flubbed the play. Alex Steen who scored the Blues 1st goal stole the puck from Quick and backhanded the puck into an empty net to win the game for St. Louis. To make matters worse the Kings had just been given a 4 minute power play after a high sticking double minor on defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk.
Los Angeles tied the game with only 32 seconds left in regulation. A shot by Justin Williams beat Blues goalie Brian Elliot high and over his shoulder. LA outshot St.Louis in OT 7-0 then went on the power play when Quick's flub cost his team the game. Quick was fabulous in the game stopping 35 shots. The Kings were dominated by the Blues until Williams goal late in regulation.
The nightcap was a 3-1 Ducks victory over the Red Wings. Ageless Teemu Selanne, Now 42, scored the game winner early in the 3rd period, giving the Ducks a 1-0 lead in the best of 7 series. Selanne scored right on a Duck power play with a wrist shot. Jonas Hiller who got the starting nod over Viktor Fasth, stopped 21 shots. Game 2 of this series is Thursday night back in the Duck pond.
Tonight 3 more series get underway. The top seed in the east, the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the 8th seeded Islanders. The Boston Bruins battle the Toronto Maple Leafs, and out west the Vancouver Canucks tangle with the San Jose Sharks. GAME ON!