Every night during the playoffs, we will wrap up all the exciting action and tell you what you need to know about the 2013-14 Stanley Cup playoffs. Welcome to What You Need To Know.
Blackhawks win 5-2 | CHI leads series 1-0 | Game 2 Sun.
Chicago Blackhawks: This was a game that was played in two periods by the Blackhawks. They were good enough in the first period, though were getting all they could handle from Minnesota. Then the second period happened and the Blackhawks were absolutely flat, only generating three shots, one of which fortuitously resulted in a goal. They watched their 2-0 lead fade in the third period before ramping it up again for the last half. This wasn't a great game for the Blackhawks, but Corey Crawford kept them in it for as long as he could until the Wild finally broke free. When you're a team as good as the Blackhawks, you can have those lapses and win, apparently. They'll be glad to go up 1-0, but there's some things they'll have to clean up.
Minnesota Wild: The Wild actually looked really good in this game, despite the final score. Great goaltending from Corey Crawford and a few unfortunately missed nets really cost the Wild. To their credit, they hung in tight and even when they couldn't break through after out-shooting the Hawks in the second period 17-3, they managed to erase the 2-0 deficit in the third. A few lapses in the latter stages of the final frame did the Wild in, however. The fact they were able to hang with the defending champs like they did should be encouraging going forward.
Play of the Game: Patrick Kane's go-ahead goal in the third period stood up as the game-winner and was it ever pretty. The Blackhawks star darted through the defense and got off a backhanded shot from an impossible angle to beat Ilya Bryzgalov. That's just a remarkable goal even by Kane's standards.
Players of the Game: Corey Crawford deserves a ton of credit, even though the Blackhawks lost a 2-0 lead at one point. The Blackhawks netminder had a lot of work as the team in front of him was getting badly outshot during stretches of this game. There were a lot of tough saves Crawford made look routine and then there were a few acrobatic stops as well. He finished the game with 30 saves and continued his rather stellar play in these Stanley Cup Playoffs (just like last year, too). Patrick Kane also gets a nod for his two goals at the end of the game. The reigning Conn Smythe winner now how has five goals and three assists this postseason. He continues to raise his star status in this league.
Turning Point: There were a couple different times this game twisted and turned, but the final turning point came when Kane scored that goal. The Wild dominated from the second period and were the better team in a lot of the third period. Once Kane scored that goal, the Wild got a bit deflated it seemed. That goal steadied the ship for the Blackhawks and then Kane applied the dagger about eight minutes later.
GIF of the Game: Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo took a nervous sip of water during the game, but you know who was feeling pretty good? How about the kid in the upper left corner of this GIF just straight rockin' out? Solid air guitar and air guitar face, kid. GIF via @myregularface:
Rangers win 3-2 (OT) | NYR lead series 1-0 | Game 2 Sun.
Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins got off to a bad start with a first period where they let the Rangers get ahead 2-0. The second period belonged to the Penguins, however, and they were absolutely dominant. They were probably the more threatening team in the third period. The sequence that led to the overtime goal that sunk them was rather dreadful as the Rangers actually put the puck in the net twice (the refs missed the first goal before the Rangers put it in again anyway). The lack of consistency from the Penguins has really bitten them postseason.
New York Rangers: The Rangers may be a bit lucky to get out of Game 1 with a win. New York really couldn't have started the game better, just controlling play in the first period and getting two goals. The Penguins owned the second period and were probably the better team in the third period as well. The Rangers came out ready for overtime, however, and earned the 3-2 win. They'll want to focus on some of those same consistency issues that have plagued the Penguins and the Rangers' power play really needs some work, but they'll be happy to come away with a huge road win in overtime.
Play of the Game: The overtime game-winner from Derick Brassard came off a really great play by the entire line to get the puck deep and get the puck to the net. They were all over the Pens on that shift and it showed because the Rangers actually had to put the puck in the net twice. The referees actually missed Brassard's shot going under the bar and right out, but Benoit Pouliot slammed home a rebound to make sure it counted. You know you're good when you can score twice before the whistle.
Player of the Game: Benoit Pouliot ended the game with two points, so he'll represent the depth players of the New York Rangers, who all performed really well. Pouliot ended the game with a goal and an assist (and a phantom goal that was negated because Brassard scored the actual OT winner). His remarkable season and postseason continues as he now has eight points in nine playoff contests. When you get that kind of performance out of your depth, you're going to have some success.
Turning Point: The first period ended. The Rangers carried play in the first period and outshot the Penguins 13-8 and jumped out to a 2-0 lead. But Pittsburgh came out flying in the second and scored twice while outshooting the Rangers 15-4. It was quite the turn of events for the Pens who needed a good response, but the concern remains that this team hasn't really had too many consistent efforts in the postseason.
GIF of the Game: This was actually kind of scary. Referee Steve Kozari, who was hit in the eye with a puck in the first round, took a rather nasty spill in the third period of tonight's game. Kozari landed hard and his head struck the ice after getting tripped up accidentally by Benoit Pouliot. This is why even the referees wear helmets. Kozari didn't miss anything despite the hard fall, actually blowing a play dead seconds later before collecting himself and getting right back to work. GIF via @myregularface: