While the Tampa Bay Lightning had a day off before Game Four against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Syracuse Crunch continued their North Division Semifinals series against the Laval Rocket. Unfortunately, after their success in Game One, the Crunch were bested by the Rocket 3-2 on Saturday night. The series is now tied 1-1 and the teams are moving to Laval. At this stage the opponents are playing best-of-five series.
Max Lagace stopped 25-of-28 shots for Syracuse in this game, Daniel Walcott and Simon Ryfors each scored a goal.
Our recap from Game One of the series, which ended in favour of Syracuse [Raw Charge]
The Syracuse Crunch kicked off their quest for the Calder Cup with a solid 5-3 win in their opening game against the Laval Rocket. With the victory they take an early lead in the five-game series and maintain their home ice advantage. Max Lagace stopped 28 of 31 shots and Anthony Richard scored twice. Rookie Cole Koepke added a goal and an assist while Gemel Smith and Remi Elie also picked up goals.
With the WHL playoffs slowly coming to an end, the Crunch added a couple of new players to their roster. Yesterday they signed forward Niko Huuhtanen and defenseman Tyson Feist to amateur tryout contracts.
Niko Huuhtanen is an 18-year-old Lightning’s prospect from Finland, who was selected as the 224th overall pick at the 2021 NHL Draft. This is his first season in North America — he played in 65 games with the Everett Silvertips, scoring 77 (37+40) points, he also appeared in 10 playoff games, scoring 10 (5+5) points for his team. Here’s our report on him from last summer:
The Lightning finished off the draft by selecting another forward with size. Huuhtanen is 6’1” and 203 lbs as an 18-year-old. He put up 34 points (20 goals, 14 points) in 37 games for Tappara Jr in Finland. He was selected 2nd overall by the Everett Silvertips in the 2021 CHL Import Draft and signed a contract with them on July 19th so it looks like he’ll be coming over to play in the WHL.
Tyson Feist is a 21-year-old player, who was never selected by the NHL team. He’s a 6’2” and 181 lbs right-shot defenseman. He spent his last five seasons in the WHL, more recently with the Kelowna Rockets as a captain. This season he recorded 39 (15+24) points in 65 games. He also added one assist in five playoff games this spring.
The Capitals surprisingly took a 2-1 lead in the series over the President’s Trophy winner, after beating them 6-1 on home ice on Saturday. Marcus Johansson scored first playoff goal for Washington since his series-clinching goal in Game 6 of the 2017 NHL playoffs against the Maple Leafs. Alex Ovechkin scored his first goal this playoffs. Ilya Samsonov made 29 stops for his first career playoff win, pleasing the crowd so much they chanted his name.
Recap from Japers’ Rink:
The Capitals might have had a poor last half of the game in game two, but they still played above expectation in Florida. Splitting the series 1-1 was huge. The Caps might not have been great at home in the regular season, but the playoffs bring a different atmosphere so hopefully they can feed off the fans this time.
The Avalanche came little closer to advancing to the second-round after beating the Predators 7-3 in Game Three yesterday. Darcy Kuemper made nine saves for Colorado before leaving at the end of the first period after being hit in the eye by Ryan Johansen’s stick. Gabriel Landeskog led his team with two goals and one assist. Former Lightning’s prospect Connor Ingram made 29 saves for Nashville.
Recap by Mile High Hockey:
Nashville are undoubtedly feeling the pressure. The next game is critical for them; if they lose, they will be out of the playoffs. Colorado is in a much better position, having the chance to clinch a spot in the second round and sweep the Predators with a fourth straight win. I expect the intensity to increase as Nashville fights for their spot, and wouldn’t be surprised if we see even more penalties and big hits. Colorado’s power play was excellent, going four for five. If they can keep it up Nashville will have a tough time stopping them scoring and will need to try and strike the balance between keeping their intensity high and not getting called for too many penalties.
Recap by On The Forecheck:
The Nashville Predators took on the Colorado Avalanche this afternoon at home, hoping to turn the series around. They’d shaken up the forward lines, including calling Cody Glass up from Milwaukee, as well as making some tweaks on defense.
The Preds got out to a better start than they had the previous two games, settling into the Avs’ zone early and getting multiple shots at Darcy Kuemper; Connor Ingram, finally getting an interval of having the lighter workload of the goalies on the ice, still made a sharp save when he was first tested.
The Penguins’ playoff experience prevailed in Game Three of their first-round series against the Rangers. After trailing 4-1 by the end of the first period, the Rangers managed to tie the game by the end of the second, but Pittsburgh responded with three unanswered goals in the last third. Jeff Carter and Evan Rodrigues each scored twice for the Pens, Mike Matheson recorded two assists. Former Lightning goaltender Louis Domingue made 32 saves for the victory
Recap by PensBurgh:
One of the Penguins’ slogans adopted from an old Mike Lange saying is, “you’ve got to be here to believe it”. You had to be around to believe a wild Game 3 against the Rangers that had several shocking moments. Pittsburgh finally finished chances on Igor Shesterkin, only to blow a three-goal lead. Yet it would be the Pens who found a goal in the third period to win a crucial game and give them a 2-1 series lead.
Recap by Blueshirt Banter:
Simply put, the Rangers had as good of a chance to win this game in the third as anyone, but the power play couldn’t deliver. You could feel the unfortunate bounce coming after the Rangers stormed all the way back to tie the game, and it came right on cue. The Rangers will need a big Game 4 to take this series back to New York all squared away at 2-2, and we’ll see what they have in store on Monday night.
Another potential upset in the making. The lower-seeded Dallas took over the first game on home ice and now leading the series 2-1. Joe Pavelski scored twice, including scoring a game-winning goal for the second consecutive game. Jake Oettinger made 39 stops and is now leading all goaltenders in playoffs with 6.37 goals saved above expected in all situations according to Evolving-Hockey.com.
Recap by Matchsticks & Gasoline:
Well... this game had everything you would want in a playoff game but not if you’re a Flames fan. The Flames put up a valiant effort but in the end, they drop a key game in Dallas. A back and forth game, but one where the Flames just fell short and the Stars played like they wanted it more. Jacob Markstrom was phenomenal yet again but the team in front of him was a disappointment again. Tough look for the team, as they’re now down 2-1 in the 7-game series against the Stars.
Recap by Defending Big D:
American Airlines Center hosted its biggest hockey game in over three years when the Dallas Stars hosted the Calgary Flames on Saturday night for game three of their first round series. Dallas looked to follow up their gritty game two victory with another solid performance as the series shifted back to Dallas. The opportunity in front of Dallas on Saturday was clear: home ice advantage and a clear shot at grabbing momentum in the series.
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10:00 PM ET; TBS, CBC, TVAS, SN, BSSW