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It was the opening night of the Stanley Cup playoffs and the fans were finally back in Toronto for the playoffs for the first time in three years. The 2020 playoffs took place in a Toronto bubble with the Maple Leafs losing in the playoff series to Columbus as they lost last season in seven games to Montreal with just 550 healthcare workers entering Scotiabank Arena in Game 7 for the first time in over a year.
While both Eastern Conference games went with home wins from Toronto and Carolina, the West’s story was different as St. Louis and Los Angeles both picked up wins over the road.
There were four NHL games last night, with all four being their respective division openers.
CAROLINE 5 BOSTON 1 (Caroline leads best-of-seven series 1-0)
It was a great night for the keeper Antti Raanta who made 35 saves in the Carolina cage to earn his first-ever NHL start in the playoffs. The talented Raanta is 1-0 with his .972 save percentage.
Taylor Room was the only Boston player to find the back of the net.
Linus Ullmark made 20 saves on 24 shots in losing.
Brendan Smith had seven hits.
Thirty Frederick had a minor foul and a misconduct with just seven seconds left to give him 12 penalty minutes.
TORONTO 5 TAMPA BAY 0 (Toronto leads best-of-seven series 1-0)
the Toronto Maple Leafs held off a major five-minute start at Tampa Bay for the boarding of Kyle Simmonds (in fact, the Leafs actually topped the Bolts during the man advantage) and roared for an easy 5-0 shellacking of Tampa Bay Lightning.
The defending Stanley Cup champions couldn’t start their game as the Leafs stifled their power play and when they couldn’t, Jack Campbell made eight of his 24 saves with Tampa Bay on the power play.
Now raise your hand if you chose Jake Muzzin to score the first goal of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. I didn’t think so.
But it was Muzzin who opened the scoring for Toronto with the only goal of the first period.
The best player of the opening period was Alex Kerfoot who was all over the ice and created chances, even when Toronto was shorthanded.
It paid off in the second half as Toronto scored three times with Auston Matthews to score in numerical superiority, David Kampf score shorthanded and Mitch Marmer light the lamp with an evenly matched aim.
Matthews with his second of the game, scored the only goal of the third as a Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky misplayed the puck, allowing Matthews to score into an empty net.
Matthews and Marner have each shrugged off the press with goals after a few poor playoff performances over the past two years. For Marner, it was his first playoff goal in 19 games, dating back to the 2018-19 season opener against Boston. Matthews scored just one goal in seven games against Montreal last season, so this outing can only help the Rocket Richard Trophy winner.
Campbell made 24 saves for his second playoff shutout.
Vasilevskiy made 28 saves while taking the loss.
There was a bit of a fight with 9:51 to go in the third as 78 minutes of penalties were called, including fouls at Corey Perry, John Rutta, Morgan Rielly, Ilya Lyubushkin, Wayne Simmonds and brown paw.
Ondrej Kase and Rielly set up Matthews for the lone goal in the third.
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ST. LOUIS 4 MINNESOTA 0 (St. Louis leads best-of-seven series 1-0)
Perron was on all four goals and he got the secondary assist on Ryan O’Reillyis the first of the playoffs.
Perron gave the Blues a 1-0 lead with a power play goal at 6:15 of the first period while O’Reilly made it 2-0 before the end of the first period.
Perron scored once again on the power play in the second period while completing the hat trick in the third.
Husso was outstanding in his NHL playoff debut. He took over mid-season from the difficulty Jordan Binington and never looked back as he clinched the top job with a 25-7-6 rating with a 2.56 GAA and .919 save percentage. He showed that was no fluke with Monday’s perfect effort.
Marc-Andre Fleury gave up all four goals on 31 shots taking the loss.
Torey Krug got three assists.
Marcus Foligno had 14 penalty minutes as he had a double-minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct with less than five minutes left in the third.
The Blues will look to extend their lead Wednesday in Game 2 of the best-of-seven series before heading home for Games 3 and 4.
LOS ANGELES 4 EDMONTON 3 (Los Angeles leads best-of-seven series 1-0)
Philippe Danault scored the winner with 5:14 left in the third period as the Los Angeles Kings beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-3.
It was a home and away game all night as the Kings never trailed, but the Oilers still fought back until Danault scored.
It was the Kings’ second line that hurt Edmonton while the Danault line, Trevor Moore and Alex Iafallo combined for seven points as the three scored with Moore picking up two assists and Danault and Iafallo, one apiece.
Moore and Iafalo gave the Kings a 2-0 lead, but the big Connor McDavid cut the lead in half with 43 seconds left in the first period.
Executor Brendan Lemieux restored the lead to the Kings at 3:50 of the second period, but Leon Draisaitl tied the game with a power-play goal just four seconds before the halfway point of the second period.
It stayed that way until Danault’s heroics gave the Kings a well-deserved victory on the road in the best-of-seven series opener.
Quick Jonathan was exceptional in stopping 36 shots for his first playoff victory in more than six years as he last won on April 18, 2016 when he beat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 in overtime, stopping 29 shots.
mike smith stopped 31 of 35 shots in taking the loss.
Evander Kane had five shots on goal and seven hits.
David Peron – 3
Auston Matthews – 2
Torey Krug – 3
Mitch Marmer – 2
Morgan Rielly – 2
Ondrej Kase – 2
Trevor Moore = 2
Shoot to the net
Auston Matthews – 6
David Peron – 6
Adrian Kempe – 6
Cal Foote – 7
Brendan Smith – 7
Evander Kane – 7
Zack Kassian – 6
Jake Muzzin – 6
John Rutta – 17
Corey Perry – 16
Morgan Rielly – 15
Kyle Clifford – 15
Ilya Lyubushkin – 14
Marcus Foligno – 14