For­wards, Halak lift Is­lan­ders past Caps 4-1 in Game 1 of Eastern Con­fer­ence play­off

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Brock Nel­son scored twice, Josh Bai­ley and Ryan Strome added goals, and Jaroslav Halak made 24 saves as the New York Is­lan­ders beat the Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals 4-1 in Game 1 of their Eastern Con­fer­ence play­off se­ries Wed­nes­day.

In the day’s other play­off open­ers, the Mon­tral Cana­di­ens edged the Ot­tatwa Sen­a­tors 4-3, the Chicago Black­hawks beat the Nashville Preda­tors 4-3 and the Cal­gary Flames were 2-1 win­ners over the Van­cou­ver Canucks. The teams will play Game 2 of their se­ries Fri­day.

Nel­son, Bai­ley and Strome had never scored in the play­offs. All were firstround draft picks by New York, none is older than 25, and they en­tered Wed­nes­day with th­ese com­bined play­off num­bers: seven games, zero goals, three as­sists.

That didn’t mat­ter one bit on this night. Nor did Halak’s strug­gles down the stretch in the regular sea­son. The goalie who stymied Alex Ovechkin and the Cap­i­tals while play­ing for eighth­seeded Mon­treal in a 2010 first-round up­set, was mostly su­perb, al­low­ing only Mar­cus Jo­hans­son’s goal in the fi­nal minute of the first pe­riod.

Mon­treal’s Brian Flynn scored a tiebreak­ing goal late in the sec­ond pe­riod as the Cana­di­ens held on in a wild open­ing game of their first-round play­off se­ries against the Sen­a­tors.

Flynn also had two as­sists for the first three-point game of his ca­reer.

To­mas Plekanec and Tor­rey Mitchell scored 15 sec­onds apart in a fre­netic sec­ond pe­riod that saw five play­ers get goals in less than five min­utes. Lars Eller scored short-handed as part of the bar­rage.

Mika Zibane­jad and Kyle Tur­ris got power-play goals in the mid­dle pe­riod for the Sen­a­tors. Mi­lan Michalek was cred­ited with the game’s first goal, which Mon­treal’s An­dre Markov tipped into his own net 12 min­utes in.

Cana­di­ens star de­fense­man P. K. Sub­ban was given a five-minute ma­jor fowl and game mis­con­duct af­ter slash­ing Ottawa rookie Mark Stone in the wrist mid­way through the sec­ond pe­riod.

Dun­can Keith scored at 7:49 of dou­ble over­time in Nashville as the Black­hawks came back from a three-goal deficit af­ter the first pe­riod to beat the Preda­tors.

The Black­hawks fin­ished only two points back of Nashville in the Cen­tral Di­vi­sion, and they grabbed home-ice ad­van­tage back de­spite bench­ing Corey Craw­ford af­ter the first pe­riod. Scott Dar­ling stopped ev­ery sub­se­quent shot, mak­ing 42 saves in his post­sea­son de­but as Nashville took a fran­chise-record 54 shots.

Jonathan Toews had a goal and an as­sist, and Nik­las Hjal­mars­son, Pa­trick Sharp and Jonathan Toews each scored for Chicago. Pa­trick Kane also had two as­sists in his re­turn af­ter miss­ing 21 games with a bro­ken col­lar­bone.

Colin Wil­son scored twice and Vik­tor Stal­berg had a goal, all in the first pe­riod for the Preda­tors.

De­fense­man Kris Rus­sell scored with just un­der 30 sec­onds re­main­ing in the third pe­riod, lift­ing the Cal­gary Flames over the Van­cou­ver Canucks.

David Jones also scored for the Flames, who were down 1-0 en­ter­ing the third pe­riod.

Bo Hor­vat open­ing the scor­ing for Van­cou­ver mid­way in the sec­ond pe­riod. Jan­nik Hansen and Alexander Edler as­sisted on the play.

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