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The first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs continues Saturday with a couple of underdogs trying to scrap for new life in their rivalry series to start the postseason.
On Wednesday, things got underway with the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins rolling all over the Philadelphia Flyers, the Vegas Golden Knights shutting out the Los Angeles Kings and the Minnesota Wild falling at the young hands of the Winnipeg Jets. Thursday, with the rest of the series kicking off, we got big nights from the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning, an overtime collapse by the Washington Capitals and a physical 3-0 victory by the San Jose Sharks over the hot Anaheim Ducks.
The Penguins sputtered after a blazing hot start to their postseason, getting beat up by the Flyers 5-1 to level the series at a game apiece. The Jets, meanwhile, beat up on the Wild 4-1 to take a 2-0 series lead to Minnesota. For the night shift, the Golden Knights are taking a 2-0 series lead to Los Angeles after a double-overtime thriller ended with Vegas winning 2-1.
Here, we have everything you need to follow along. Keep on scrolling for Saturday's schedule, game-by-game updates and odds/predictions for the entire postseason.
Saturday's full schedule
- Tampa Bay Lightning 5, New Jersey Devils 3
- Nashville Predators 5, Colorado Avalanche 4
- Boston Bruins 7, Toronto Maple Leafs 3
- San Jose Sharks 3, Anaheim Ducks 2
More of the same
Four games were on the slate Saturday, and four teams were able to increase their series lead from 1-0 to 2-0. Things seem to be a little one-sided early in the first round, as only one series of seven is even after two games. (Most people wouldn't have imagined the Philadelphia Flyers would be that team after they got absolutely spanked by the Penguins in their series-opener.)
The Lightning, Predators, Bruins and Sharks were all able to pick up their second win of the playoffs on Saturday. Here are some quick notes on those series.
- The Lightning didn't exactly win pretty. They were outshot by New Jersey 44-26 but they got some good goaltending from Andrei Vasilevskiy and were able to play a blue-collar game and convert on their opportunities. The Devils had a bad stretch in the second period and allowed Tampa to score four times, including two power play tallies.
- The Avalanche are playing the Predators pretty tough thus far. Nashville has been the better team but they also got a few important breaks on Saturday -- including an uncalled trip from P.K. Subban in the defensive end that led to a converted breakaway from Ryan Johansen. Either way, it's been a commendable effort so far from Colorado, a team not many people gave much of a shot against the Presidents' Trophy winners in this series.
- The Bruins' top line of David Pastrnak-Patrice Bergeron-Brad Marchand has been the best line of the playoffs so far, and they've had 20 combined points through the first two games of their series against Toronto. Pastrnak was especially dominant on Saturday, picking up three goals and six points. Meanwhile, Leafs superstar Auston Matthews is still looking for his first point of the series.
- The Sharks continue to outplay and frustrate Anaheim and they'll head back to San Jose having taken two of two on the road to open the series. They're in a good spot to make this a quick series if they stick to their game.
After an early goal from the Ducks, the Sharks scored three straight -- including this beauty from Tomas Hertl.
That's a great individual effort from the 24-year-old.
David Pastrnak continues to dominate
Saturday night brought another big Bruins win over the Maple Leafs, and another victory in which young forward David Pastrnak played a key role. After recording three points in Game 1, Pastrnak notched a hat trick and six points in Boston's 7-3 win over Toronto in Game 2.
Here's his third and final goal:
David Pastrnak is the first Bruin to have at least three goals and six points in a playoff game since Phil Esposito in 1969. Just the second player in franchise history to accomplish such a feat.— Ty Anderson (@_TyAnderson) April 15, 2018
The Bruins onslaught continues
The Bruins came out strong and had their way with the Leafs in Game 1, and if Toronto was hoping that Saturday's Game 2 would be a statement game for them...well, not so much. The Bruins scored four goals on their first seven shots in the opening period. The best of the bunch was the very first, which came from David Pastrnak on this awesome display of soft hands.
Enter Cory Schneider
Keith Kinkaid surrendered five goals for the second straight game in the series, and the Devils have pulled him in favor of Cory Schneider, who has battled injuries and struggled this season. Schneider hasn't gotten a win in net since December.
Nathan MacKinnon does it himself
After three unanswered goals by Nashville, Nathan MacKinnon is doing his best to help the Avs get back into the game. He unleashed a nasty individual effort and fought off multiple Predators defenders before firing a backhander past Pekka Rinne to bring the Avs back within one.
Oh no, Sami Vatanen
It has not been the Devils' day in Tampa on Saturday. We already knew they were going to have their work cut out for them against the Lightning, but things become exponentially more difficult when you accidentally score on yourself. Poor Sami Vatanen.
Vatanen would eventually get one back at the other end with a goal of his own, on the correct net.
Goodness gracious, what a hit
Filip Forsberg became Filip Forsbutt with this massive hit on Duncan Siemens during Game 2 on Saturday afternoon. The brutal hit brought shades of Niklas Kronwall (although Forsberg didn't leave his feet) and it's amazing that Siemens got up, skated away and stayed in the game after that violent of a collision.
Avs off to another hot start
For the second straight game, the Avalanche have put the Predators in an early hole by scoring on their first shot of the game. This time, it's Gabriel Bourque putting Colorado on the board.
The good news for Nashville is that they were able to bounce back in Game 1 and mount a comeback victory. Let's see if Colorado can hold 'em off this time around.
Maple Leafs set for Game 2 without suspended Nazem Kadri
Maple Leafs fans will cry foul because of the hit that came before the Nazem Kadri infraction that has the two-way center sidelined for Game 2 and beyond, but the NHL painted itself into a corner with its one-game ban of Drew Doughty. Kadri will be out for three games against the Bruins for not pulling up and boarding Tommy Wingels' head across the glass, so the Maple Leafs will need to replace his production.
How to watch all the Stanley Cup playoff games
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Who should you be cheering for this postseason?
Odds for each series
The experts at SportsLine have run simulations and have your betting odds for the eventual Stanley Cup champions. Both conferences have genuinely interesting sleepers and matchups. You can find all of those odds here.