The NHL playoffs begin with three home teams taking the lead in their series: The Pittsburgh Penguins demolishing the New York Rangers; the Tampa Bay Lightning squeaking by the Detroit Red Wings; and the St. Louis Blues, needing an overtime deflection to beat the Chicago Blackhawks.
New York Rangers 2 Pittsburgh Penguins 5 (Penguins lead series 1-0): The Penguins seem to be the team that no one wants to meet, even if their playing with their third string goalie. Patric Hornqvist did a great job with 35 saves. Henrik Lundqvist didn’t last the entire game after taking a stick in the eye from teammate Marc Staal. With Antti Raanta, things didn’t get any better. Sidney Crosby scored one goal on a beautiful breakaway while adding two assists. Patric Hornqvist shined above all others with a hat trick and an assist.
Detroit Red Wings 2 Tampa Bay Lightning 3 (Lightning lead series 1-0): Early in the second period Detroit had a 2-1 lead. But Nikita Kucherov evened things up as he scored his second goal of the day, and then helped set up the winner by Alex Killorn, who got the puck from Tyler Johnson with some nice hustle to set up the winner.
Chicago Blackhawks 0 St. Louis Blues 1 (Blues lead series 1-0): The losers in the Stanley Cup finals of 2015 won their playoff opener. The defending champions? They looked bad against the Blues, unable to get anything past Brian Elliott, who led the NHL with 93% saves this season. David Backes scored the winner in overtime, as his shot deflected off a Blackhawks defender, going past Corey Crawford.