Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid scored his first career NHL playoff goal in his team’s to a 2-0 first-round Game 2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Friday.
The Oilers captain took the puck in his own end shorthanded, zipped down the wing and fired a wrist shot past Sharks goaltender Martin Jones at the 10:31 mark of the third period. McDavid’s goal put the game at 2-0 in favor of Edmonton.
McDavid became the ninth player in past 30 years to score his first playoff goal within his first two career playoff games played and have it come shorthanded. Edmonton’s victory was the organization’s first postseason win since Game 6 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final. The Oilers are also in the midst of their first postseason appearance since 2006.
Edmonton became the third team in NHL history to win a playoff game by scoring exclusively shorthanded goals. Forward Zack Kassian also scored shorthanded earlier in the game.
The last time the Oilers scored two shorthanded goals in a playoff game was the 1986 Smythe Division Final against the Calgary Flames. Jari Kurri and Wayne Gretzky scored those goals.
The victory prevented the Oilers from dropping both of their home playoff games against the Sharks. Edmonton slowed San Jose’s offense, allowing just 16 shots on goal while peppering Jones with 36 shots on goal. Game 3 is Sunday in San Jose.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — As cliche as it is to say: Game 1 against the Calgary Flames showcased ‘vintage Ryan Getzlaf.’
Scoring a power play goal 52-seconds into the first period was a pretty good indication of the night Getzlaf was about to have.
The Anaheim Ducks captain was involved in every aspect of the Ducks 3-2 win. He was physical, he actually shot the puck, he kept his cool when things appeared to be at their worst.
“[Getzlaf] was our leader tonight,” said Ryan Kesler. “He’s our captain and he leads by example. He leads and we follow.”
Goaltender John Gibson said the same, “He’s the leader for a reason. He leads and we follow.”
Follow they did.
After the Flames took the lead in the second period, the Ducks noticed the Flames made one of the worst line changes in the history of line changes and took advantage.
“Well it was a good pass off the pads on the breakaway,” Getzlaf deadpanned after the game. “Those are things that [Rakell] does very well. He identifies his holes and where to be.”
“Yeah, obviously, I missed my shot,” laughed Getzlaf.
Getzlaf’s collected two points in the game, setting his career total at 101.
Jakob Silfverberg gave the Ducks the go ahead goal late in the second. In the third, Getzlaf ignited a somewhat nervous Honda Center crowd with a crushing hit on Mark Giordano.
Giordano heard a chorus of ‘boos’ each time he touched the puck. Over a week ago, the Flames defenseman incidental knee contact with Cam Fowler left the Ducks without one of the their top defensemen.
Getzlaf was quick to point out the hit wasn’t on Giordano just because of what happened to Fowler.
“It’s nothing other than it’s [Giordano],” said Getzlaf. “He was just the guy that had the puck … he kind of turned, and I don’t think he really saw me coming, so I tried to keep my shoulder down and stay on my feet, those things. Just went through the body.”
The Ducks needed the crowd’s energy as they faced a five-on-three penalty kill with 2:20 to play in the third. Getzlaf doesn’t kill a lot of 5-on-3’s during the regular season.
“Tonight was an example of our guy making a difference,” said Randy Carlyle.
“To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t normally use him on a 5-on-3 [penalty kill] in the regular season,” explained Carlyle. “But when you’re playing in the playoffs, that’s the thing that you ask those players to elevate their game, and use them in situations because there is so much on the line.”
Kesler concurred, “Getzy and the guys came up huge, especially late in the game when we needed that 5-on-3 killed. We did it.”
The Ducks went on to win their 26th straight home game against the Flames.
Getzlaf has looked like his old self in the stretch run of the regular season and into Game 1 of the playoffs. It’s the version of him that was nominated for the Hart Trophy after the 2013-14 season.
Carlyle pinpointed where he saw the change in his captain: “I think Ryan Getzlaf’s season really turned at the five game break we had. It wasn’t like he was a poor player before that. He’s been our captain. He’s a good player, but I think his ability to step up and dominate in games has been very evident from that point forward.”
As for Getzlaf, his focus has already shifted to Game 2 on Saturday.
“We got our one win tonight and we’re ready to move on to the next one,” said Getzlaf. “We’re going to have to be better. We were sloppy in some areas. They’re going to be better. We know that group over there. They’re going to respond. We’re going to make sure we’re ready to go.
“We’re going to have to earn everything.”
If Getzlaf continues to lead by example, the team is on their way to earning a lot in the future.
With due respect to overtime game-winner Joel Edmundson, it was all Jake Allen in the Blues’ 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild in Game 1. He made 51 saves (and admittedly had some luck) in carrying St. Louis to victory. For those worried about his playoff mettle (raises hand), this was impressive.
No. 2 Star: Melker Karlsson, San Jose Sharks
The Sharks forward completed their rally against the Edmonton Oilers, sniping a goal at 3:22 of overtime for the 3-2 Game 1 win.
No. 3 Star: Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
The King made goals by Tanner Glass and Michael Grabner stand up with a 31-save shutout, out-dueling Carey Price in the Rangers’ 2-0 Game 1 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
Honorable Mention: Brad Marchand scored at 17:27 of the third period to give the Boston Bruins a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators in Game 1. … Bobby Ryan had the Ottawa goal. … Rookie Charlie McAvoy was solid in skating 24:11 for Boston. … Vladimir Sobotka scored his second goal in two games for the Blues. … Cam Talbot made 41 saves. … Marc-Edouard Vlasic had two assists and helped limit Connor McDavid to one. … Marc-Andre Fleury made a surprise start for the Pittsburgh Penguins in place of the injured Matt Murray, making 31 saves in their 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1. … Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist, the latter coming on a nifty kick-pass:
Did You Know? It was Lundqvist’s 10th career playoff shutout in his 116th consecutive postseason start for the Rangers. (NHL)
Dishonorable Mention: Zach Parise evened things out, scoring a goal after preventing one for his team. … Andrei Markov was given a misconduct for this spear on Rick Nash at the end of the game.
The Wings forward didn’t have a goal in 79 games this season. That changed in Detroit’s 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils, as Sheahan scored two goals including the last one ever scored at Joe Louis Arena.
No. 2 Star: Bryan Bickell, Carolina Hurricanes
Most of the time, Three Stars spots go to monster nights or game-winning goals or unbeatable goalies. But sometimes, you just have to acknowledge the moment. And Bryan Bickell scoring a shootout goal in his last NHL game is one such moment. The Hurricanes beat the Flyers, 4-3.
No. 3 Star: Brayden Point, Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning forward had two goals and an assist in their 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. He ends his rookie season with 40 points.
Honorable Mention: The New York Islanders won their sixth straight game, getting a goal and two assists from Brock Nelson in their 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. … Bobby Ryan scored for the first time since Feb. 14. … Welcome back Vladimir Sobotka, who scored for the first time in the NHL since 2014 in the Blues’ 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Sobotka had been in the KHL. … Cam Atkinson scored goal No. 35 in the Columbus Blue Jackets’ 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. James Van Riemsdyk had two goals for the Leafs, who fell to the second wild card. … Magnus Hellberg got his first NHL win for the New York Rangers, 3-2 over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jimmy Vesey had the game-winner. … James Reimer made 38 saves to shut out the Washington Capitals, 2-0. … The Anaheim Ducks won their fifth straight division title in a 4-3 overtime win over the Los Angeles Kings, on a Shea Theodore goal. Ryan Getzlaf had three assists. … Jordan Eberle had a hat trick and Connor McDavid broke the 100-point mark in the Edmonton Oilers’ 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
Did You Know? Henrik Zetterberg played NHL game No. 1,000.
Dishonorable Mention: Andreas Englund was a minus-3. … Luca Sbisa and Chris Tanev were a minus-3. … Hey look, a fight after a clean hit.
The regular season is over and we finally know all eight first-round matchups. The 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs will begin Wednesday night.
We have some new faces this year in the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Columbus Blue Jackets, Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers, and Calgary Flames, all of whom had early starts to their off-seasons last time around.
Here’s the schedule for Round 1:
Time to say goodbye to your loved ones for a few months and get those playoff beards in order.