April 28, 2016
More heartbreak for Anaheim, as the Ducks were eliminated once again in a Game 7 at home:
RINNE SHINES IN PREDATORS’ FIRST-EVER GAME 7
Pekka Rinne made 36 saves, including 12 after the Ducks pulled within one goal in the third period, to backstop the Predators to victory in the franchise’s first Game 7 appearance.
The Predators recorded three road wins in a playoff series for the first time in club history (also Games 1 and 2). Nashville improved to 5-2 in all-time playoff games in Anaheim, compared to a 9-18-5 clip in 32 visits during the regular-season.
Rinne, who also helped the Predators eliminate the Ducks in the 2011 Conference Quarterfinals, improved to 8-5 in 13 all-time playoff meetings against the club. He owns a 12-5-4 record in 21 career regular-season contests vs. ANA (2.29 GAA,.919 SV%, 2 SO).
Paul Gaustad scored what held up as the game-winning goal, his second career playoff goal (61 GP) and first since Game 1 of the 2012 Conference Quarterfinals vs. DET. He scored his last game-winning goal in the regular-season on Oct. 11, 2014 vs. DAL.
The Predators will remain in California to face the Sharks in the Second Round, the third all-time playoff meeting between the franchises. San Jose eliminated Nashville in five games in both the 2006 and 2007 Conference Quarterfinals.
In other NHL news . . .
TAVARES NETS (ANOTHER) WINNER AS ISLANDERS TAKE GAME 1
After scoring the tying and overtime goals in New York’s series-clinching victory on Sunday, Islanders captain John Tavares (1-1—2) again provided the decisive marker to help his club win the opening game of the Second Round.
Tavares, who posted his fourth multi-point game of the postseason, leads the League in points (11) and shares top spot in goals (6; tied w/ Nikita Kucherov) thus far in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs (7 GP). Overall, he has 11-11—22 in 20 career playoff games.
Via Elias, Tavares is the first player to record 20 or more points in his first 20 career playoff games with the Islanders.
Tavares has registered 12-10—22 in his last 13 outings dating to March 31 (regular-season and playoffs), including eight multi-point efforts and at least one goal in 10 of those contests.
The Islanders have trailed by at least one goal in four of their five victories this postseason (also Games 1, 3 and 6 of First Round vs. FLA). Elias says they overcame a deficit of at least one goal to win 19 times during the regular season, sixth-most in the NHL.
The Lightning opened the scoring but the Islanders responded with three goals before the end of the first period, including two in the final 2:32 from forward Shane Prince (2-0—2).
Elias says Prince become the first Islanders player with multiple goals in the first period of a playoff game since Game 2 of the 1983 Division Finals vs. NYR (Duane Sutter: 2).
Prince, who hails from Rochester, N.Y., tallied 3-2—5 in 20 regular-season games with the Islanders after being acquired from Ottawa on Feb. 29. He has three goals in seven games this postseason.
BISHOP, HOLTBY AND QUICK VOTED VEZINA TROPHY FINALISTS
The NHL announced that Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop, Washington’s Braden Holtby and Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick are the three finalists for the 2015-16 Vezina Trophy, which is awarded “to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position.”
CROSBY, OVECHKIN RENEW RIVALRY IN SECOND ROUND
The Capitals and Penguins play the opening game of their ninth all-time playoff meeting and first since the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals, when Pittsburgh defeated Washington in a thrilling seven-game series en route to its third (and most recent) Stanley Cup. Washington’s Alex Ovechkin totaled 8-6—14 in that series, while Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby countered with 8-5—13. Both players recorded hat tricks in Game 2 and scored in Game 7, but Crosby posted 2-1—3 in the finale to lead the Penguins to victory.
Ovechkin (525-441—966 in 839 GP) and Crosby (338-600—938 in 707 GP) rank first and second, respectively, in NHL scoring since entering the League in 2005-06. When the puck drops on the series there will be several familiar faces on opposite ends of the rink: Washington’s Matt Niskanen (2011-14) and Brooks Orpik (2002-14) both played for the Penguins, while Pittsburgh’s Eric Fehr (2005-11 and 2012-15) spent nine of his first 10 NHL seasons with the Capitals.
THURSDAY’S ACTION (All Times Eastern)
Pittsburgh @ Washington, 8:00 p.m., CBC, NBCSN, TVAS
WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS (Home Team in Caps)
Nashville 2, ANAHEIM 1 – NSH wins 4-3
NY Islanders 5, TAMPA BAY 3 – NYI leads 1-0
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services