Home Hockey jerseys Stanley Cup Playoff buzz: Maple Leafs overcome hurdles to win Game 1

Stanley Cup Playoff buzz: Maple Leafs overcome hurdles to win Game 1

What we learned

The Maple Leafs overcame early hurdles

Have the Maple Leafs finally discovered the mental toughness to overcome adversity in the Stanley Cup Playoffs? It’s just a game but so far so good. Burdened by the history of not having won a playoff since 2004, Toronto could have withered when the Tampa Bay Lightning spent seven of the first 12 minutes of Game 1 on the power play. Instead, led by a hungry penalty kill that produced as many scoring chances as it gave up, the Maple Leafs kept the Lightning off the scoreboard and building momentum. Lightning coach Jon Cooper called it a turning point in Game 1, a 5-0 win for the Maple Leafs. Skill has never been an issue for the Maple Leafs over the past few years, but they haven’t been able to turn things around when things don’t go their way. On Monday, they found a way to do it. — Mike Zeisberger, Editor

Lightning pissed off at failed power play

The Lightning power play ranked eighth (23.9%) in the regular season, but their inability to score early set the tone for the game. They looked flustered and confused at times and even allowed a shorthanded goal to David Kampf in the second period. In other words, the Maple Leafs outscored the Lightning 1-0 while Tampa Bay had the man advantage. In a series where special teams already have a say in the outcome, it was far from an ideal start for the Lightning. Captain Steven Stamkos said he could bounce back from the loss and felt the power play could resume. After losing Game 1, Tampa Bay will have to do it. –Zeisberg

Raving about Raanta

Antti Raanta proved to be just what Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour needed in the absence of an injured goalie Frederic Andersen when he made 35 saves in his first Stanley Cup Playoff start, a 5-1 win over the Boston Bruins in Game 1. “Then we improved our game a bit in second.” Andersen missed the final six games of the regular season with a lower-body injury and an extended absence in the playoffs, so Raanta’s performance could go a long way in boosting confidence for what the Hurricanes hope to be a long playoff series. The 32-year-old made 14 saves in the first period, 11 in the second and allowed one goal on 11 shots in the third. “I was just trying to focus on the things that (made me) successful,” Raanta said. “It was working well. But it’s just one game, one win, and now it’s just to regroup and prepare for Wednesday.” — Mike G. Morreale, Editor

Bruins need to find ways to finish

The Bruins had it all against the Hurricanes in the first period of Game 1, outshooting them 14-10. The inability to capitalize on that puck possession proved vital when the Hurricanes scored two goals 2:10 down in the second. “I thought we were in control in the first half, actually the first 35 minutes of the game, but we weren’t able to take the lead and you see their home crowd getting into it,” said the Bruins forward. Taylor Room mentioned. “They play and they feel good.” boston keeper Linus Ullmark made 20 saves in his playoff debut and coach Bruce Cassidy declined to commit to a Game 2 starter on Wednesday. “I don’t blame our keeper for that,” Cassidy said. “We had a few chances that we needed to finish as well as them.” –– Morreale

Where is the discipline?

The Minnesota Wild know they can’t win a special teams battle against the St. Louis Blues. Yet they were there in Game 1, taking unnecessary penalties and eliminating any momentum they could generate during 5-on-5 play. The Blues are elite on the power play (27.0% in the regular season, second in the NHL) and shorthanded (84.1%, fifth). Minnesota finished 25th on the kill (76.1%) and looked lost trying to stop a St. Louis power play that likes to move the puck and create seams for its attacks. The Blues scored on two of their six chances on the power play and scored another two seconds after a power play ended. “We have to play between the whistles and forget the [other stuff]”Wild coach Dean Evason said. “We don’t need to do that. I would like to say that these are not unruly penalties, just avoidable penalties. These are avoidable penalties.” — Shawn P. Roarke, Senior Managing Editor

Hooray for Husso

City Husso has plenty of support in the Blues dressing room, even after supplanting Jordan Binington, one of the heroes of the 2019 Stanley Cup champions, as the No. 1 goalie. The 27-year-old returned coach Craig Berube’s confidence in him, making 37 saves for a 4-0. Husso was sometimes brilliant. He made five saves on Kirill Kaprizov, who has scored 47 goals this season. He also had huge saves on Joel Eriksson Ek and Marcus Foligno. “I don’t like inflating his tires when he’s here,” said the Blues striker David Peron, who scored a hat trick and featured in all four goals. “I’m a big fan of ‘Huus.’ Even four years ago, when he was a Black Ace, I just saw how hard he worked, how passionate he was about the game. You’re happy for guys who win everything they have , and he certainly did. –Roarke

Tankers need to reduce errors

As impressive as the Edmonton Oilers are under coach Jay Woodcroft, winning 14 of their last 15 home games (14-0-1) in the regular season and going 26-9-3 once he took over on Feb. 10, their margin for error in the playoffs is going to be small. Edmonton were outscored 4-1 at 5-5 in Game 1 against the Los Angeles Kings and the goalie mike smith gave up two goals that he would probably want to recover. Brenden Lemieux scored at 3:50 of the second period to give Los Angeles a 3-2 lead and Philippe DanaultThe 14:46 winner of the third was caused by an unnecessary turnover from Smith. –– Tim Campbell, Editor

Kings are not subject to change

Game 1 revealed that the Kings will likely continue to do what they’ve done all season, play a persistent, structured game and while they don’t often match up well in terms of high-yield offensive stars, they will keep coming and coming. Being able to lead that kind of game in the Stanley Cup playoffs with a roster made up of eight players who had never played an NHL postseason game (forward Quinton Byfield, Blake Lizotte, Carl Grundstrom and Arthur Kalievdefenders Sean Durzi, Jordan Spence, matt roy and Mikey Andersonand guardian Cal Peterson) will only build confidence and make the Oilers firepower defense, namely Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitlseem a bit more manageable. –Campbell

About last night

Carolina Hurricanes 5, Boston Bruins 1

Carolina scored three goals in the third period and Raanta made 35 saves to guide the Metropolitan Division’s No. 1 seed to the Game 1 victory at the PNC Arena. Vincent Trocheck and Seth Jarvis each had a goal and an assist. Nino Niederreiter, Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov also scored for the Hurricanes. Hall scored for Boston, the Eastern Conference’s first wild card, and Ullmark made 20 saves.

Toronto Maple Leafs 5, Tampa Bay Lightning 0

Auston Matthews scored two goals and an assist and Jack Campbell made 24 saves to lead the Maple Leafs to their first Game 1 home win since 2002, when they beat the New York Islanders 3-1. Michael Marner got a goal and two assists, and Morgan Rielly and Ondrej Kase each had two assists for the Maple Leafs, the second seed in the Atlantic Division. Toronto went 5-for-5 shorthanded. Matthews became the first defending Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner in 15 years to score multiple goals in his team’s first playoff game. Vincent Lecavalier did it for the Lightning in Game 1 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the New Jersey Devils.

St. Louis Blues 4, Minnesota Wild 0

Husso became the first St. Louis goaltender to get a shutout in his Stanley Cup playoff debut and Perron became the first Blues player to score a hat trick in Game 1 of the playoffs . Ryan O’Reilly had a goal and an assist for St. Louis, the Central Division’s third seed. Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves for Minnesota, the No. 2 seed at Central.

Los Angeles Kings 4, Edmonton Oilers 3

Danault scored the go-ahead goal after Smith turned the puck over trying to clear it down the middle. Trevor Moore had a goal and two assists, Alex Iafallo had a goal and an assist and Quick Jonathan made 36 saves for the Kings, the third seed in the Pacific Division. Kailer Yamamoto and McDavid each had a goal and an assist, and Draisaitl scored for the Oilers, the second seed in the Pacific. Smith made 31 saves.