Opening Night Recap

In case you missed it, shame on you. You just passed on possibly the greatest opening night of Playoff hockey anyone could ever ask for. That is unless you're a Pens, Red Wings or Canucks fan - you just got shafted by your own teams mistakes.

The Canucks have fallen off their high horse and are now a game down to the Kings after losing 4-2. Showing no signs of Presidents Cup calibre hockey, the Nucks took 8 penalties leading to 2 Kings goals, 1 of them was Willie Mitchell's, the former Canuck. Mike Richards had a 3-point night for LA while captain Dustin Brown and linemate Justin Williams peppered Roberto Luongo with 15 shots. The Kings outshot the Canucks 39-26. Byron took some Bitz out Kings forward Kyle Clifford in the second, he left the game after crashing into the boards and did not return. Big pat on the back to Jonathan Quick who resumed his outstanding performance from the regular season... an even bigger pat on the back for the Kings who win after scoring score 4 goals or more for just the 18th time all year.

The Red Wings blew a tire in Nashville by stumbling over their own potholes, and there was no service available at Bridgestone Arena. In what might have been a RW road victory ended up in two awkward goals by Paul Gaustad (his first in 38 playoff games!) and Gabriel Bourque, the latter courtesy of Brad Stuart's skate. The Wings did all they could in spite of that, including score both their goals with the man advantage and kill off 6 power play chances while allowing only 7 shots. Preds draw blood first with the 3-2 win, Bourque had two including the game winner. The return of long timer Darren Helm was short lived- he left late in the 1st period due to a cut on his forearm. The big turning point however came extremely late in the game when goal scorer Henrik Zetterberg ate the glass thanks to the helping hands of Shea Weber, who smashed him up pretty good in retaliation to an earlier hit from behind. Pekka Rinne made 35 saves and Game 2 is Friday night. Brandon Yip-ee!

And if you thought it was going to be a physical series, you were board-banging right! Just ask Flyer Brayden Schenn, easily one of the best players of the night, in his playoff debut no less! After an early 3-0 Penguins lead which had me thinking this might be the end for Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov... the opening goal and assist by Crosby came about as simply morale shattering. Consol Energy Center was electric and the Flyers, well, looked like they were about to lose their wings. That is until Danny Briere (back from a Penguins hit that took him out April 1st), snapped his offside "count-it!" goal passed Marc Andre Fleury in the 2nd and once more midway through the 3rd. Schenn, who was tough stuff all night made it a tied game 3 minutes later by redirecting Scott Hartnell's shot from the point. Overtime!!!! Incredibly enough we all know now, you better Jakub Voracek yourself before you wreck yourself! The 22-year old netted his first career playoff goal against Fleury halfway into the extra frame to cap off a truly remarkable comeback. After allowing 3 goals on 10 shots, Bryzgalov settled down to stop 25 total. 4-3 Flyers in overtime.

After a beautiful first night of playoff hockey, I can now look forward to some ugly endings to the opening round. Tonight the rest of the teams are in action except the Devils and Panthers, their series starts on Friday.

See you in the game!

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