Last night was the first night of the 2013-14 NHL Playoffs. Here is what happened:
Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
In what was arguably the most exciting game of the night, the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4 in overtime. Despite outshooting the Lightning 44 to 25, the Canadiens were pushed to the limit by a Tampa Bay team that was playing without their starting goalie Ben Bishop. Mid-season acquisition Dale Weise lifted the Canadiens to victory by scoring 18:08 into the first overtime session. Two Ex-Sabres played influential roles in Montreal's victory. Thomas Vanek had a third-period goal and seven shots on Tampa fill-in goalie Anders Lindback. Danny Briere also lived up to his billing as a "clutch" playoff performer. Briere had the assist on Weise's game-winning goal. In the loss, Lightning superstar Steven Stamkos had two goals. Game 2 is scheduled for Friday at 7 PM ET in Tampa Bay.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
The heavily-favored Pittsburgh Penguins had to battle back from a two-goal deficit to beat Columbus 4-3 last night. Goals from Jack Johnson and former Penguin Mark Letestu put the Blue Jackets up 2-1 after the first. With only 43 seconds played in the second, Columbus forward Derek MacKenzie scored a shorthanded goal to put the visitors up two. However, two quick Pittsburgh power-play goals from Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen answered Columbus' quick start. With 8:18 played in the third, Penguins center Brandon Sutter scored to put Pittsburgh up for good. In the win, Sidney Crosby had one assist and Evgeni Malkin had two. Much-maligned goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves on 34 shots. Defending Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky had 28 saves on 32 shots in the loss. Game 2 is scheduled for Saturday at 7 PM ET in Pittsburgh.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Dallas Stars
After a franchise record-setting regular season and a number one seed, the Anaheim Ducks managed to hold onto a victory with a 4-3 win over the Dallas Stars. The Ducks started incredibly well, with three unanswered first-period goals from Kyle Palmieri, Ryan Getzlaf, and Matthieu Perreault. After a fourth from Matt Beleskey made it 4-0 about halfway through the first, the Stars did battle back. A power-play goal from captain Jamie Benn and two other markers from Colton Sceviour and Tyler Seguin cut the lead to one. Despite a valiant comeback effort that set up a nervy finish for the home fans, Anaheim managed to hold on for the Game One win. Frederik Anderson, who got the start in net over veteran Jonas Hiller, made 32 saves in the victory. Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 shots in the loss. The Lindy Ruff-led Stars will attempt to rebound in Game 2, which will take place Friday at 10 PM ET in Anaheim.
There are four more playoff games scheduled for tonight. All of the contests are Game 1 of their respective series'. Here is the schedule for those games:
Philadelphia Flyers at New York Rangers, 7 PM ET, CNBC
Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues, 8 PM ET, NBCSN
Minnesota Wild at Colorado Avalanche, 9:30 PM ET, CNBC
Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks, 10:30 PM ET, NBCSN