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Monday’s slate of games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs feature four series entering a pivotal Game 3. The Leafs managed to climb back into their series against the Bruins with a win in Toronto. The Devils took down the Lightning in a surprising (and feisty) return to Jersey. The late-night shift will be Predators vs. Avalanche and Ducks vs. Sharks.
The Predators are trying to go up 3-0 against the pesky Avs, as the Ducks try to avoid falling into a 3-0 deficit in the Battle of California. The game moves to San Jose, notorious for the crowd noise in “The Tank,” so the Ducks will have their work cut out for them.
Monday’s full schedule
- Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Boston Bruins 2 (Bruins lead 2-1)
- New Jersey Devils 5, Tampa Bay Lightning 2 (Lightning lead 2-1)
- (GameTracker) : (Predators lead 2-0), 10 p.m. ET — FSTN, NBCS, Altitude
- (GameTracker) : (Sharks lead 2-0), 10:30 p.m. ET — PRIT, CNBC, NSCA
Sharks pull ahead of Ducks in second period
In the Battle of California Part III, the Ducks are trying to hold off the Sharks and avoid going down 3-0. For San Jose, it’s been a smothering series as they scored three goals in each of their first two matchups, while the Ducks have scored two goals total. It’s been slow going for Anaheim, and it looked bad from the get-go on Monday, with the Sharks jumping out to a 1-0 lead at 3:44 on Logan Couture’s second goal of the series.
The first goal came on a beautiful odd-man rush from the Sharks, with three Ducks in his wake. With just himself and John Gibson, Couture made a slick move across the crease, burying the puck in the vacated net.
The Ducks would come back later in the period with a goal on their own, however, with Rickard Rakell finally scoring his first goal of the series on, surprise, a power play. Nearly a quarter of Rakell’s 34 goals came on power plays, with eight of them coming when the opposing team was a man short. It was a beautifully executed shot, a tic-tac-toe goal that went from circle to blue line to opposite circle, allowing Rakell to put the puck in off the far post.
Unfortunately for the Ducks, however, the Sharks came out rejuvenated in the second period. After a turnover from the Ducks between the blue lines when Brandon Montour Montour lost his footing, Joonas Donskoi scooped up the puck. In a 2-on-1 situation, Donskoi found Evander “Locker Room Problem” Kane, who made the extra pass to Donskoi for Donskoi’s first goal of the series, as Francois Beauchemin tried desperately to prevent the go-ahead goal.
The Sharks put up another two goals in the period, with Marcus Sorensen putting his second goal of the series in off of a dime from Donskoi, and Eric Fehr scoring from Melker Karlsson and Sorensen. Basically, the Sharks are paying it forward, so expect to see an assist from Fehr soon. They’ve poured it on the Ducks in this period, and things are looking dire for Anaheim.
At about the 14:30 mark in the second period, a scuffle broke out in front of the Sharks’ net, with a giant pile-up occurring in the crease right in front of Martin Jones. Frustrations are clearly boiling over for the Ducks, whose season is slipping away in ugly fashion. After the fight, it got worse, with Tomas Hertle picking up a power play goal from Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture, which is simply perfect for Sharks’ fans to see in the box score. The 5-1 lead might be insurmountable, but the Ducks will now be tasked with keeping their emotions in check.
Avalanche smother Preds in the early going
Monday night is apparently the night for strong underdog performances, as the Avalanche have joined in on the fun shared by Toronto and New Jersey earlier. Despite losing the opening two games of the series, the Avs have played the Preds pretty tightly thus far and they got a very hot start on Monday.
The Avs have gotten the first goal in every game this series, but they got the first THREE in their first game back in Colorado. They jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, getting some sweet goals from Blake Comeau, Gabriel Bourque and Nathan MacKinnon.
MacKinnon quickly added a second tally on the other side of the first intermission.
The Devils? The Devils!
Not many people gave the New Jersey Devils much of a chance against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the opening round, but the Devils came to play and got their first win on Monday night in Jersey. The Devils came from behind and scored four goals in the third period, stunning the Lightning with a 5-2 win in Game 3.
Taylor Hall scored a goal and added two assists in the victory — including a sweet primary on the GWG (below). He was a force to be reckoned with all night.
Cory Schneider, who started his first game in net after replacing Keith Kinkaid, was fantastic. The 32-year-old stopped 34 of 36 shots (both Tampa goals came on the power play) and came up large in big moments during this one. As a result, he gets his first win in net since December 27, 2017. Pretty safe to say the job remains his heading into Game 4.
Things got very feisty near the end of the game, with both teams mixing it up and getting physical in post-whistle scrums. A number of players were sent to the showers early as officials tried to restore order and finish out the remainder of the game.
Not only does New Jersey regain some confidence heading into the next game, but those late extracurriculars have established some bad blood and could set the table for a very interesting Game 4 on Wednesday.
Oh, and Steven Stamkos also got his first goal of the series in the loss.
Leafs take one back from Bruins
The Maple Leafs got back in their series against Bruins, securing a 4-2 win on home ice Monday night. It was a big statement game from the Leafs, who were able to get a consistent offensive attack going against Boston for the first time in the series. They got two goals from Patrick Marleau, one from Auston Matthews and one from James van Riemsdyk.
They also got some very solid goaltending from Freddie Andersen, who made 40 saves in the win — including these absurd ones.
Matthews was almost invisible in the first couple games in Boston, but he made his presence felt in Game 3. The 20-year-old got his first point of the series on this great shot that beat Tuukka Rask in the second period. That goal also gave the Leafs a 3-2 lead heading into the final frame, making it the official game-winner.
After dropping the first two games of their series against the Bruins in Boston, the Maple Leafs got a big break in their first period back in Toronto. Late in the first, Boston’s Riley Nash was whistled for a delay of game penalty after officials ruled that he launched the puck straight into the crowd from the Bruins’ defensive zone.
However, replays clearly showed that Nash’s clear attempt rode up the glass before going out of play, meaning it shouldn’t have been a penalty.
The ruling on the ice wasn’t reviewable, so the Leafs headed to the power play and scored seven seconds into the man-advantage to to take a 1-0 lead.
Nazem Kadri still serving suspension for Maple Leafs
Kadri will miss two more games for the Maple Leafs, who have to win a game if they’re planning on getting him back this season. Kadri was suspended for shoving Tommy Wingels‘ head into the boards, subsequently concussing him. They’ll look to get their first win in what’s been a disappointing postseason so far.
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