Florida teams thaw in first round of NHL playoffs


Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals took a 2-1 straight lead over the Florida Panthers.

Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals took a 2-1 straight lead over the Florida Panthers.
picture: Getty Images

The President’s Trophy winners are in trouble. The resilient regular-season champion Florida Panthers faces a tough task to win their first playoff series in 26 years. They were defeated 6-1 by the Washington Capitals on Saturday afternoon, giving the 2018 Stanley Cup Champions a 2-1 lead in the overall series.

The Panthers scored the first at Capital One Arena after scoring five goals in their Game 2 win. But that’s all they got as new Washington goalie Illya Samsonov knocked them out the rest of the way. While Sunrise may not have alarm bells ringing due to Florida’s work this season, a dormant power play takes one of their biggest weapons from this impressive regular season. Florida’s physical game didn’t derail a Tom Wilson-less Capitals team, with Game 4 scheduled for Monday in the nation’s capital.

Alex Ovechkin had an assist for TJ Oshie’s goal in the first half and added a power play goal in the third that all but sealed the win. He scored while leaving the left faceoff circle wide open in his “office,” which maybe you shouldn’t do, Florida:

The other one is in trouble too Florida team in the NHL playoffs. Defeating the two-time Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round always seemed like a huge feat for the Maple Leafs, despite their strong offense. But the Lightning defense couldn’t contain Toronto on Friday night.

The Maple Leafs reclaimed the series lead with a 5-2 win over Tampa in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference best-of-seven first-round series. Toronto scored the first three goals of the game and prevented a Lightning comeback after they cut Toronto’s lead to one. Then two goals from Ilya Mikheyev ended the competition. Tampa now needs to win three of their next four games to avoid elimination, with just one more home game guaranteeing the remainder of the series.

The winning team has scored five goals in every game of this series so far. Advantage Toronto, who has scored 13 goals in the playoffs so far. Game 4 on Sunday from Tampa must be considered a must-win for the Lightning. A defeat guarantees that they will no longer successfully defend their title.

While Tampa suffered at home, Atlantic Division rivals Boston showed life for the first time in their series against Carolina, winning 4-2 and now trailing the Hurricanes two games to one overall. In the second half, the game was delayed by several minutes when a shard of glass fell on NHL off-ice official Joe Foley outside the box.

The game was halted at 5:07 in the second frame as medical personnel ran across the ice to tend to Foley, who was being placed on a stretcher. An NHL spokesman said Foley was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for observation.

Friday night’s other two games were blowouts, with Edmonton taking a 2-1 lead over Los Angeles with eight goals in Game 3. Leon Draisaitl was the only Oilers player to score in the game that several times failed to do so. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman each scored two goals while Evander Kane scored a playoff hat-trick. Edmonton have scored 14 goals in their last two games and have completely overwhelmed the Kings since a 4-3 loss in Game 1.

Minnesota won its second straight game against the St. Louis Blues. The Wild scored twice in the first 40 seconds of a period to jump on the Blues and quickly take any momentum they had. Five different Wild players scored in the game as they looked more like their regular season selves since exiting Game 1.

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