There were four games on the NHL playoff schedule on Thursday night, beginning with the Ottawa Senators surprising the Montreal Canadiens with a victory in Game 1 of the series thanks to the strong play of goalie Craig Anderson. The Senators won by a final score of 4-2. In D.C., Alexander Ovechkin (who else?) sparked a rally for the Capitals to beat the Rangers 3-1.
In the West, the St. Louis Blues got the game-winning goal in the final minute of their game against the Los Angeles Kings to take a 2-0 series lead, and the Red Wings surrendered a three-goal lead only to finally win the game in overtime, 5-4.
Let's go to the GIFs!
First, in Montreal, the Senators got off to a good start with this Erik Karlsson goal:
Later in the game, this brutal hit would take Montreal's Lars Eller out of the game:
Eller was bleeding badly after the play, and was taken to a hospital in an ambulance. Read more about it here.
The Canadiens took the lead in the second period with a pair of goals, including this one from Rene Bourque:
And he was as surprised as anyone that he scored:
Nice anticipation off the boards there. The Capitals scored twice more in that period to take a 3-1 lead, which would be the final score. The win gives them a 1-0 series lead.
And then later Brown took a tripping penalty when he stuck his knee out on this play:
...and in the third period Dustin Brown crashed in to Brian Elliott (it was a busy night for Brown):
Here's Justin Abdelkader just 48 seconds into the game:
And here's Johan Franzen, 64 seconds into the second period. Don't miss Daniel Winnik at the top of the frame, just kind of cruising back into the play without his stick. He finally decides to level Franzen ... after Franzen has scored:
Franzen did it again, scoring 20 seconds into the third period. (Note to the Ducks: fat, drunk and giving up early goals every period is no way to win a hockey game, son.)
That should have been enough for the Wings to win, especially when you have Pavel Datsyuk racing off the bench to make defensive plays like this:
Oh my, better watch that again:
That's probably why the man has won the Selke Trophy three times as the league's top defensive forward.
But Datsyuk's heroics weren't enough to prevent near-disaster for Detroit. The Ducks woke up and scored three third-period goals to tie it at 4-4 and send the game to overtime. All of the sudden, it looked like it would be a late night in the NHL's latest game.
Ah, not to worry though. Grover Nyquist ended it quickly, scoring the overtime winner 1:21 into the extra session:
That win tied the series at 1-1 as it heads back to Detroit.
And that was the night in the NHL, where Dustin Brown is dangerous in multiple ways, Adam Oates is an easy lipread and Lars Eller ends up in the hospital on a controversial hit that will stir debate for several days.