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