NHL playoffs 2013: First matinee of the playoffs leads four-game schedule


The fifth night of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will feature four games, including Rangers vs. Capitals, Leafs vs. Bruins, Ducks vs. Red Wings and Blues vs. Kings.

The fourth night of the Stanley Cup Playoffs featured fights, shocking upsets and thrilling comebacks. Oh, and three other games happened besides the Islanders and Penguins.

The Islanders were down 3-1 at 7:22 of the first period, courtesy of two Sidney Crosby goals and an Evgeni Malkin tally. Remarkably, however, the Islanders fought back. I'm not one to usually believe fights can spark a team's fortunes, but Kyle Okposo stepping up and trading punches with Matt Niskanen seemed to get New York going. Colin McDonald scored literally 14 seconds later. Matt Martin tied the game at 3-3 mid-way through the second period, and Okposo himself broke the tie on a shot off the backboards the bounced sharply into Marc-Andre Fleury's back and into the net, capping off a stunning road victory for the Islanders.

The Islanders have actually taken one out of the first two games on the road in each of their last four playoff series, though the last one happened in 2007. The series is even and heads to Long Island for a matinee on Sunday afternoon.

Thank goodness there was no day off between the Senators and Canadiens. The last thing we needed was for the drama of Game 1 to linger in the Canadian media, even though it still managed to with walrus-gate. After an even first period, an Erik Karlsson turnover gave Ryan White a backhand tap-in to make it 1-0. The Habs added goals from Brendan Gallagher and Michael Ryder and held off the Sens, 3-1. This series is also even at 1-1, and continues on Sunday night in Canada's capital.

Out West, you had a disparity: probably the most and least exciting games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs so far.

Despite a Devon Setoguchi goal with 2:03 remaining in the second period to make it 2-1, the Wild were never quite close in Game 2 against the Blackhawks. Two Michael Frolik goals in each of the first two periods had the Hawks on their way, and two Patrick Sharp goals in the third period sealed the deal. Bryan Bickell added an empty netter as Chicago cruised 5-2. They have a 2-0 series lead, as the two teams reconvene in St. Paul on Sunday afternoon for Game 3.

Out in the Pacific Northwest, the Sharks and Canucks played a back and forth game, including a thrilling third period and overtime in one of the best playoff games in recent memory.

Joe Thornton scored mid-way through the first, then the goaltenders took over for a while. Roberto Luongo and Antii Niemi were superb. Ryan Kesler scored twice in the first 7:06 of the third, and the Canucks appeared on their way to evening things. But with Niemi pulled, Patrick Marleau tied the game on a wrister that just snuck through Luongo. At 5:31 of overtime, a two-on-one between Brent Burns and Raffi Torres somehow developed, with Burns feeding Torres for the game-winner and an overall shocking turn of events.

San Jose now has won the first two games of a series on the road since 1995, when they took the first two games of a first round series in Calgary (which they won in seven games). The series meets in San Jose for Game 3 on Sunday night.

Here's a complete look at Saturday's schedule

New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals, Game 2, 12:30 p.m. ET
Series: Washington leads 1-0
TV schedule: NBC, TSN, RDS
Team Blogs: Blueshirt Banter, Japer's Rink

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins, Game 2, 7 p.m. ET
Series: Boston leads 1-0
TV schedule: CNBC, CBC, RDS, NESN
Team Blogs: Pension Plan Puppets, Stanley Cup of Chowder

Anaheim Ducks vs. Detroit Red Wings, Game 3, 7:30 p.m. ET
Series: Tied 1-1
TV schedule: NBCSN, TSN, RDS2, KDOC, FS Detroit
Team Blogs: Anaheim Calling, Winging it in Motown

St. Louis Blues vs. Los Angeles Kings, Game 3, 10 p.m. ET
Series: St. Louis leads 2-0
TV schedule: NBCSN, CBC, RDS, FS Midwest, FS West
Team blogs: St. Louis Game Time, Jewels from the Crown

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