Sunday April 19 First Round NHL Playoffs Action
The first round of the NHL playoffs continued Sunday, with some series being busted wide open and others tightening up. Here's a recap of Sunday's first round NHL playoff games.
The Philadelphia Flyers decided they wouldn't lie down for the Pittsburgh Penguins. They won game 3 with a score of 6-3 at home, showing how much their two season ending losses to the Rangers which resulted in the Penguins being the 4 seed and having home ice advantage hurt them. The Penguins were outscored 2-1 in every period, but for a brief moment in the beginning of the second the score was tied at 2. With 12 seconds remaining in the first, Evgeni Malkin scored to narrow the gap to 2-1. Then just 13 seconds into the second, Rob Scuderi scored to tie the game. The Flyers however would score the next three in a row, widening the gap to 5-2. By the time Malkin scored his second of the game, on a power play midway through the third, the game was all but decided. The Flyers added an empty netter to achieve the final score of 6-3.
The New Jersey Devils and the Carolina Hurricanes continued to alternate wins, as the Devils prevailed in game 3 3-2. It was the second straight game that ended up in Overtime in this series. With less than 10 seconds left in the first period, Brian Gionta put the Devils ahead 2-1. Previously Zach Parise had scored for the Devils and Ryan Bayda had answered some 30 seconds later for the Hurricanes. Despite getting called for 5 penalties in the second period, the Devils did not give up any power play goals. The Canes did however tie the score at 2, and no team scored in the third. Five minutes into the first OT, Travis Zajac put home the game winner on an assist from Parise.
In a series that has been more evenly played than is revealed through the box score, the Vancouver Canucks once again beat the St. Louis Blues. They now have a 3-0 series lead, behind the handy work of Roberto Luongo in net. On Sunday in St. Louis, the Blues led after the first period 1-0. It was then the Canucks power play that turned the tide. All three of their goals, including two in the second period, came during the power play. With the score tied at 2 after two periods, the Canucks grabbed a 3-2 lead less than two minutes into the third and held onto it for the win.
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Forgive San Jose Sharks players, fans, coaches and owners if they are panicking right now. They have fallen behind 2-0 to the Anaheim Ducks, a disturbing disadvantage given their recent playoff futility. This was the year the Sharks were supposed to capitalize on their great regular season and make a deep playoff run. But once again their best hockey has been left at home when it matters the most. They have an uphill road to climb, going into Anaheim down in the series 2-0. In fairness, the Sharks out shot the Ducks by nearly 20 shots, 44-26, but were unable to put the puck into the net more than twice. Anaheim took the game 3-2 and heads to home ice.
By Jake Emen
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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