Three games were on the NHL schedule Tuesday night and they featured fast starts, extra hockey, and an ugly hit.
Washington Capitals vs Philadelphia Flyers
The night began at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center with the Flyers paying a moving tribute to their late founder, Ed Snider, who passed away April 11th, but emotions of a different nature took over during the game which cost Philadelphia on the scoreboard and, most likely, on its roster.
The Flyers jumped out to a 1-0 lead 57 seconds into the game on Michael Raffl’s first goal of the postseason. Philadelphia looked ready to take the game to Washington but it was the Capitals that gained momentum as the contest progressed.
Marcus Johansson responded for the Caps with a power play goal at 4:43 of the opening period and Washington never looked back.
With the Flyers on their way to serving a total of 53 penalty minutes, the Capitals set a franchise playoff record by striking for five power play goals, four in the third period, on their way to a 6-1 win and a 3-0 series lead.
“Our power play has confidence, and they keep giving us lots of practice,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “We just did what we did. We stayed to our game plan and script, and we took their best punch.”
The five power play goals were one shy of an NHL playoff record set by the Boston Bruins on April 2, 1969, in a 10-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Alex Ovechkin led Washington with two goals and one assist. The three points gave Ovechkin 74 career playoff points and allowed him to move past Dale Hunter for most points in Washington Capitals playoff history.
John Carlson matched Ovechkin’s three points on one goal and two assists. Carlson’s goal came on the power play making him the second defenseman to score three power play goals in a playoff series. The first to do so was Al Iafrate, who achieved the feat against the New York Islanders in 1993.
Justin Williams, Nicklas Backstrom, and TJ Oshie assisted on two goals each while Jay Beagle and Evgeny Kuznetsov also lit the lamp for the Caps.
Dmitry Orlov, Nate Schmidt, and goaltender Braden Holtby contributed one assist each.
Holtby turned aside 31 Flyers shots to earn his third consecutive win of the playoffs.
Capitals fans received a scare at the 12:17 mark of the third period when Orlov was checked from behind by Philadelphia’s Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and went head-first into the end boards. Orlov remained on the ice until being attended to by the club’s trainer, meanwhile, a melee ensued to Orlov’s left in the corner. After order was restored, Bellemare received a five-minute major penalty along with a game misconduct and will have a hearing Tuesday with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. It appears Bellemare will be suspended.
Wednesday, April 20th, Washington will look to eliminate Philadelphia from the postseason in Game 4 of the series at Wells Fargo Center. Game time is 7:00 pm ET (NBCSN, CSN-PH, CSN-DC).
Dallas Stars vs Minnesota Wild
The Stars were looking to take a commanding 3-0 lead over the Wild in Minnesota and it appeared the Stars were on their way to doing just that when they took a 2-0 lead 4:10 into the game. Patrick Sharp scored both goals for Dallas.
However, the Wild found their game and scored the next four goals on their way to a 5-3 win over the Stars to cut Dallas’ series lead to 2-1.
“Tonight, we responded well after a tough start,” said Wild forward Jason Pominville, who scored two of his team’s goals. “It’s not the way you want to start and our last two periods were pretty good.”
Pretty good is an understatement. The Wild focused on playing a strong defensive game and it paid off by allowing the Stars to put just 17 shots on goal while Minnesota blocked 24 shot attempts.
Pominville added an assist to end the evening with three points.
Erik Haula contributed a goal and an assist to the Wild win. Teammate Nino Niederreiter registered two assists. Chris Porter and Miko Koivu were the other goal scorers for Minnesota. Charlie Coyle, Matt Dumba, Jonas Brodin, and Jared Spurgeon, each added single assists.
Dallas forward Tyler Seguin missed his second game of the series due to an undisclosed injury.
Game 4 is scheduled for Wednesday, April 20th at Minnesota’s Excel Energy Center. The opening puck drop will take place at 9:30 pm ET (NBCSN, FS-N, FS-WI, FS-SW, SN360, TVA Sports 3).
Los Angeles Kings vs San Jose Sharks
After winning both games in Los Angeles, the Sharks returned home to the SAP Center looking to take a 3-0 series lead over the Kings.
It did not take long for San Jose to give anyone reason to believe otherwise as Joe Thornton opened the scoring 30 seconds into the game, giving the Sharks a 1-0 lead.
San Jose looked to be in control of this one but gave the Kings a power play at the 7:50 mark of the first period and 20 seconds later, Anze Kopitar tied the game at 1-1 with his first goal of the postseason.
The next two periods consisted of what is expected from these teams, a fast-paced, heavy-hitting contest that included plenty of spectacular goaltending, especially from LA’s Jonathan Quick, which led to the game needing an overtime session.
In the overtime, Kings captain Dustin Brown threw one of the biggest hits of the night on a Joonas Donskoi, separating him from the puck. Kings forward Tanner Pearson scooped up the puck just inside the San Jose blueline and put a hard shot past Sharks goaltender Martin Jones 3:47 into the overtime, giving Los Angeles a 2-1 win.
“Brown obviously made a nice hit at the blue line there,” Pearson said in describing the play that led to the winning goal. “Turned the puck over to me, and I was able to create a 2-on-1. I knew Vinny (Lecavalier) was with me. I just didn’t want to risk forcing a pass across and turning it over. So I just wanted to get it on net.”
Pearson’s goal gave the Kings their first win of the series and cut San Jose’s series lead to 2-1. It also gave the Kings their first victory in six all-time playoff overtime games against the Sharks.
LA defenseman Drew Doughty logged 35:01 Time On Ice which is the most by any player in the playoffs.
Not a game for the feint of heart, the teams combined for 99 hits.
“Reality is they’re a very good team,” San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said after the game. “Multiple Stanley Cup winners over there. We knew this wasn’t going to be a sweep. We’re in a good spot. I thought we could have won the game tonight too. We just have got to keep rolling out the same type of game.”
Game 4 is in San Jose on Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. ET. (USA, CBC, TVA Sports, FS-W, CSN-CA).
Stat of the Night:
Teams that lead a best-of-seven series 3-0, hold an all-time record of 179-4 (97.8%).
Follow ESPN New Hampshire NHL Writer, Shawn Hutcheon, on Twitter at @ShawnHutcheon.