Wednesday night was about getting even. The Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks were all winners and managed to even their playoff series' at two games each.
Pittsburgh Penguins Recap
3 - 4 Series tied 2-2
Columbus Blue Jackets Recap
5 things to know
Marc-Andre Fleury happened
The Pittsburgh Penguins didn't play great on Wednesday. They took their foot off the gas when it was 3-0 and allowed Columbus to get back in the game in the second period, and that is never good. But they settled down in the third period, went 14 minutes without allowing a shot on goal while protecting a 3-2 lead and seemed to be on their way to a 3-1 series lead heading back to Pittsburgh for Game 5. And then Marc-Andre Fleury happened. First it was the turnover behind the net that led to the game-tying goal in the third period. Then it was Nick Foligno's low-percentage, innocent wrist shot off the rush that somehow snuck through him. It's happening again, and Tomas Vokoun may not be walking through that door to bail the Penguins out this time. Maybe it was a bad omen when Tanner Glass ate it coming out of the locker room.
The Stars took advantage of a wounded Duck
Teemu Selanne was a healthy scratch. Ryan Getzlaf was out of the lineup with an upper body injury. Stephane Robidas was out with a broken leg. It was a perfect opportunity for the Stars to strike and even their Western Conference playoff series, and that is exactly what they did, erasing a 2-0 deficit by scoring four consecutive goals to send the series back to Anaheim tied 2-2. And it was a total team effort for Dallas. The Stars got contributions all throughout the lineup, with Jamie Benn, Vernon Fiddler, Cody Eakin and Alex Goligoski all scoring goals in the win. The Ducks were eliminated by a No. 7 seed in the first round last season, and they're getting everything they can handle (and more) from a No. 8 seed this season.
And now, for a moment of levity
This has absolutely nothing to do with anything, but it's great because it's completely absurd. Officials in Dallas deciding whether to count an empty net goal by the Stars late in the period. One emphatically says no goal, the other is not quite ready for that ruling. "Hey, slow down!"
Deja Vu for the Blues
The St. Louis Blues have seen this movie before. Last year in the first round they opened up a 2-0 series lead against the defending Stanley Cup champions (the Los Angeles Kings) and they allowed them to roar back, win four straight and end their season. This year in the first round the Blues opened up a 2-0 series lead against the defending Stanley Cup champions (the Chicago Blackhawks) and after their 3-2 overtime loss on Wednesday will be heading back home tied two games apiece. And this is with Chicago playing without one of its best defenseman, Brent Seabrook, as he serves his three-game suspension for hitting David Backes (who remains out for the Blues). The Blackhawks' stars are starting to get going and Patrick Kane was the big difference maker in Game 4, scoring a pair of goals including the overtime winner.
Matt Cooke gets his punishment
This didn't impact any of the games on Wednesday, but it's still a big deal in the playoffs. The NHL finally issued a punishment for Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke and his knee-on-knee hit on Tyson Barrie is going to cost him seven games. If the Wild are eliminated from the playoffs before he serves all seven games of his suspension, then it will carry over to next regular season. The Wild host the Avalanche in Game 4 on Thursday night.
Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings Bruins lead series, 2-18 p.m. ET | NBCSN / TSN / Local Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Mich.
Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild Avalanche lead series, 2-19:30 p.m. ET | CNBC / TSN2 / Local Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minn.
San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings Sharks lead series, 3-010:30 p.m. ET | NBCSN / CBC / Local Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif.