May 4 — Primed Players, Lopsided Losses & Men’s U18 Takeaways

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

MALKIN IN THE MIDDLE: Game 1 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers gave fans the first taste of bonus hockey in the 2022 NHL Playoffs, coming down to an Evgeni Malkin redirection in the third overtime period. Igor Shesterkin set a team record for the Rangers, becoming the first goaltender to make 70+ saves in a playoff game.

A MANDATORY NIGHT OFF: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Kyle Clifford received a suspension for Game 2 of the club’s first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight. After just 49 seconds of ice time, Clifford received a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct after checking Tampa’s Ross Colton into the boards in the first period of Game 1.

MAY MADNESS: The Florida Panthers, winners of the Presidents’ Trophy as the best team during the regular season, were upset by the Washington Capitals last night in Game 1 of their first-round series. Florida held a 2-1 lead following the second period in Sunrise, but Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie scored a goal in the third, while Lars Eller potted an empty-netter to seal a 4-2 victory for the Capitals.

AVALANCHE OF OFFENSE: Speaking of making history, the Colorado Avalanche became the first team to score at even strength, on the power play, and shorthanded in the first 10 minutes of a playoff game en route to a dominant 7-2 Game 1 victory over the Nashville Predators. Nathan MacKinnon had two goals and an assist, while Cale Makar (goal and two assists) and Mikko Rantanen (three assists) also contributed three points. 

55 MINUTES OF SILENCE: A power-play goal five minutes into Game 1 was all Jacob Markstrom and the Calgary Flames needed. Holding the Dallas Stars to 16 shots, Markstrom was perfect in net after leading the league in shutouts this season with nine. Jake Oettinger made 25 saves for the Stars, and Elias Lindholm scored the game’s only tally. 

Lopsided Game 1 Losses

The 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs kicked off Monday, with the Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, St. Louis Blues, and Los Angeles Kings taking the first game of their respective series. Three of those games were blowouts, with the Hurricanes beating the Boston Bruins 5-1, the Blues shutting out the Minnesota Wild 4-0, and the Toronto Maple Leafs demolishing the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-0. You can add the Colorado Avalanche’s win last night to the list after scoring a touchdown against the Nashville Predators.

Of course, despite losing the first game by five goals, the defending champions are far from cooked. Let’s look at some of the most lopsided opening game losses in recent NHL postseason history and how those series went on to play out.

Pittsburgh Penguins 7 – Philadelphia Flyers 0 (2018)

The Penguins finished the 2017-18 regular season two points ahead of the Flyers, and the two in-state rivals faced off as the fourth and fifth seed, respectively, in the first round of the playoffs. Pittsburgh took it to the Flyers in Game 1 behind three first-period goals and a Sidney Crosby hat trick, shutting out Philadelphia by seven goals.

Claude Giroux and the Flyers got a rude awakening from the Penguins in the first round of the 2018 playoffs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Philadelphia bounced back with a 5-1 road win in Game 2, but the Penguins blew out the host Flyers the next two games, outscoring them 10-1. Philadelphia took Game 5 in Pittsburgh but could not win a game at home during the series, as the Pens won in six games. However, the Penguins lost in six to the Washington Capitals in the next round.

Pittsburgh Penguins 5 – New York Islanders 0 (2013)

Pittsburgh shows up again on this list, shutting out the Islanders after finishing the 48-game 2012-13 regular season (abbreviated due to a labor stoppage) with the best record in the Eastern Conference. Pascal Dupuis scored two goals, and Marc-André Fleury stopped all 26 shots he faced in the win.

John Tavares and the Islanders bounced back from a bad Game 1 loss to Pittsburgh in the opening round of the 2013 playoffs, but couldn’t win the series (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Following the opening-game dud, the Islanders edged Pittsburgh 4-3 in Game 2, lost in overtime in Game 3, then won Game 4 to even the series. After the Penguins blanked New York in Game 5 4-0 in Pittsburgh, the host Islanders had a chance to force a Game 7 but fell in overtime. Pittsburgh then beat the Ottawa Senators in five games the next round before being swept by the Boston Bruins in the conference finals.

New Jersey Devils 6 – New York Rangers 1 (2006)

This is the most anti-climactic series on this list, as the Devils, who finished the 2005-06 regular season with 101 points, one more than New York, blew out the Rangers behind six points from Patrik Elias in Game 1, then went on to complete the sweep, winning the four games by a combined total of 17-4. The Devils went on to lose in five games to the Hurricanes in the next round.

Montreal Canadiens 6 – Carolina Hurricanes 1 (2006)

This 2006 series is the lopsided Game 1 loss teams like the Lightning can look to for inspiration. Carolina finished the season with 112 points, third-most in the NHL and good enough for the second seed in the Eastern Conference, matching up against the Canadiens, who had 93 points during the regular season. Despite being favored, the hosts got off on the wrong foot, losing Game 1 by five goals. They then lost Game 2 in double-overtime and were in a 2-0 hole as the series shifted to Montreal.

Rod Brind’Amour and the Hurricanes bounced back from a lopsided loss in the first game of the 2006 playoffs and won the Stanley Cup (The Hockey Writers)

However, the Hurricanes clawed back with a 2-1 overtime victory in Game 3 and a 4-3 win in Game 4. Taking a 3-2 series lead with a 2-1 home win, the Hurricanes finished off the Canadiens with a 2-1 overtime victory in Game 6. Carolina beat the Devils in the next round before recovering from a Game 1 loss to beat the Buffalo Sabres in seven games to win the Eastern Conference. Ultimately, the Canes went the distance in the Stanley Cup Final, edging the Oilers four games to three to win it all.

Dark Horses Who Need to Make an Impact

The playoffs are in full swing, which means the stage is set for players to surprise fans and skate into the spotlight. This year, a handful of players deemed as “dark horses” could make significant impacts on their team, and our top three include a player from each position group. Let’s break it down.

Devon Toews – Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche are once again a favorite to win the Stanley Cup. It’s a team led by the offense of Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, and Nazem Kadri, and while all three are stars, we know that defense wins championships. Toews is part of the team’s first defensive pairing with Makar, the second power-play unit, and the first penalty-killing unit. Ultimately, the 28-year-old will need to be at the top of his defensive game, especially since his partner likes to jump into the play. Toews’ two-way game this season has been impressive and may win him some votes when it comes to the Norris Trophy, which goes to the defenseman who demonstrates the best all-around ability at the position throughout the season.

Andrew Mangiapane – Calgary Flames

Calgary’s left winger finished the best season of his career, putting up 55 points in 82 games. He was a pleasant surprise out the gate, and while he went through some goal droughts, he made a name for himself this season. Mangiapane is currently being utilized on the second line alongside Mikael Backlund and Tyler Toffoli and expects to have a big performance in the postseason to take some of the pressure off the team’s top line.

Spencer Knight – Florida Panthers

We all know what happened during the playoffs last season. Sergei Bobrovsky was the guy until he gave up five goals on 14 shots in Game 4 in the first round against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The events led to young Spencer Knight making his first postseason appearance in an elimination game. At 21 years old, the goaltender is the franchise’s future, and with the Panthers going all in this season, it will become his net if Bobrovsky can’t get the job done. Knight’s stage is set for him to become the next Matt Murray or Jordan Binnington, especially after a Game 1 loss to the Washington Capitals. 

How Swede It Is: Men’s U18 Takeaways

While you were busy gearing up for the two months of hockey bliss known as the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the next generation of NHL stars battled for international bragging rights in Germany at the 2022 IIHF World U18 Championship. Sweden toppled the powerhouse United States 6-4 for the gold medal, while Finland secured bronze. Here’s what you need to know:

Reign of the “Tre Kronor”

For the second time in the past three U18 tournaments, Sweden reigned supreme, topping the Group B standings and then getting past the host Germans, the rival Finns, and the favored Americans for gold. Goaltender Hugo Hävelid stopped 47 of 51 shots against the US, while Jonathan Lekkerimaki and Mattias Hävelid, Hugo’s twin, finished one-two in tournament scoring, finishing with 27 combined points in six games. Lekkerimaki and the netminding Hävelid earned all-tournament honors.


The gold medal loss to Sweden swiftly halted the Americans’ bulldozing path through the tournament. Led by Isaac Howard, Logan Cooley, and Rutger McGroarty, the States poured in a whopping 47 goals in six games (nearly eight per game), 20 more than any other country. While Cooley earned most of the pre-tournament buzz, Howard’s six goals and 11 points sent his 2022 draft stock soaring.

Uh Oh Canada

For all the exhilaration experienced by the Swedes, there was an equal disappointment from the Canadian contingent, limping to a quarter-final loss to Finland. Even with phenom Connor Bedard scoring six times in four games, the defending champs never got on track after getting crushed 8-3 by the US in the tournament opener. Canada followed that embarrassment with an 8-3 win over Germany and a 6-5 overtime loss to tourney MVP Jiří Kulich and Czechia before being ousted by the Finns.

Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket

Stanley Cup Playoffs Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule