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SHARKS DEFEAT KINGS IN HOLLYWOOD THRILLER
The Sharks erased deficits of 1-0 and 3-2 before Joe Pavelski (2-0—2) scored the go-ahead goal 17 seconds into the third period to lift the Sharks over the Kings in the series opener between the California rivals.
Via Elias, Pavelski tallied the earliest goal to start any period in Sharks postseason history, besting the previous mark by two seconds (0:19 – Pat Falloon on May 19, 1995 at CGY, also in 3rd).
Pavelski, who picked up his sixth career multi-goal game in the postseason, notched his eighth career playoff game-winning goal – after leading the League with 11 such tallies during the regular-season.
The Kings and Sharks met for the 52nd time since the start of the 2010-11 season (31 regular-season, 21 playoff), two more than Rangers-Capitals for the most matchups between any two clubs in that span.
Sharks goaltender Martin Jones (19 SV), who won a Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2014, defeated his former club in his first postseason start.
Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (1-1—2) registered his third career multi-point game in the postseason. He set single-season franchise records for goals (27), assists (48) and points (75) by a defenseman in 2015-16.
ISLANDERS WIN SEE-SAW AFFAIR IN SERIES OPENER
John Tavares (1-2—3) scored one of three game-tying goals for the Islanders and Ryan Strome (1-1—2) notched what stood as the winning tally to lead the Islanders past the Panthers in their first ever playoff meeting.
Via Elias, the Islanders – who trailed 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 – scored three game-tying goals in a playoff game and won for the first time in franchise history.
Tavares, who established a career high for points in a playoff game, became the first Islanders player to record three points in a postseason contest since May 7, 2013, when Mark Streit (2-1—3), Casey Cizikas (1-2—3) and Brad Boyes (0-3—3) all accomplished the feat vs. PIT.
Tavares has collected 8-9—17 in his past 11 games (regular-season and playoffs) dating to March 23 vs. OTT, including a goal in five straight.
HOLTBY FLAWLESS IN GAME 1 VICTORY
Braden Holtby made 19 saves to record his third career playoff shutout and John Carlson scored his first career postseason game-winning goal to lead the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Capitals past the Flyers in their series opener.
Holtby has allowed no more than one goal in 14 of 17 career postseason victories, including each of his last 11 dating to Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. NYR. He paces all active goaltenders (minimum 20 GP) in career postseason goals-against average (1.86) and save percentage (.937).
Holtby, who matched an NHL record with 48 wins in the regular season (48-9-7), improved to 6-0-3 in his last nine appearances (regular-season and playoffs) dating to March 22.
LEHTONEN, BENN LEAD STARS IN GAME 1 SHUTOUT
Kari Lehtonen turned aside all 22 shots he faced and Jamie Benn (1-2—3) posted his first career multi-point game in the postseason to lead the Western Conference champion Stars past the Wild in their series opener.
Lehtonen, who registered his second career postseason shutout (also April 21, 2014 vs. ANA), improved to 7-1-0 in his last eight appearances (regular-season and playoffs) dating to March 17, including four consecutive victories.
Benn has registered at least one point in six of his seven career playoff games (5-3—8). He also extended his point streak against the Wild to nine games dating to the 2014-15 regular season (4-12—16).
Radek Faksa (1-0—1), the 13th overall selection in the 2012 NHL Draft, notched the game-winning goal in his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut. Stars forward Antoine Roussel hustled to the bench to stay on-side seconds before Faksa scored.
NHL COMMISSIONER BETTMAN ON ED SNIDER
National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman issued the following statement regarding the passing of Philadelphia Flyers chairman and governor Ed Snider:
“Ed Snider was the soul and the spirit of the Flyers, who have reflected his competitiveness, his passion for hockey and his love for the fans from the moment he brought NHL hockey to Philadelphia in 1967.
“Ed created the Flyers’ professional, no-nonsense culture, fostered their relentless will to win and set the highest standards for every activity on and off the ice, including such initiatives as the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation and the Flyers Wives Carnival. While the loss of Ed Snider tears a hole in the heart of the Flyers and the city of Philadelphia, and leaves a massive void in the city’s sports landscape, it also challenges all who knew him to carry forward the great works that are his legacy.
“On a personal note, I have valued Ed’s counsel, I have admired his philanthropy and truly have cherished his friendship. Ed was an unmistakable presence and an unforgettable personality. Like most people who had the pleasure of knowing Ed, I will miss him terribly.
“As the NHL family grieves Ed’s passing, we also celebrate his courage, his vision, his leadership and his commitment to future generations of players and fans. We send our thoughts of compassion, comfort and strength to his family, his friends and all whose lives he touched.”
DUCKS, PREDATORS MEET IN LAST SERIES OPENER
The Ducks – who clinched the Pacific Division title on the final day of the regular season – welcome the Predators to Honda Center for Game 1 of their opening round series. Anaheim, coming off its third consecutive 100-point season, became the first team since 1984-85 to lead the NHL in both power-play (23.1%) and penalty-kill (87.2%) efficiency.
Nashville, who clinched a playoff berth for the second consecutive season and ninth time in the past 12 campaigns, is led by All-Star defensemen Shea Weber and Roman Josi as well as forward Filip Forsberg, who equaled a single-season franchise record with 33 goals in 2015-16. This marks the second all-time playoff meeting between these clubs and first since 2011, when the Predators won their first series in team history (4-2 W in CQF).
FRIDAY’S ACTION (All Times Eastern)
Detroit @ Tampa Bay, TBL leads 1-0, 7:00 p.m., CNBC, CBC, TVAS, FS-F, FS-D
NY Islanders @ Florida, NYI leads 1-0, 7:30 p.m., NHLN-US, SN360, TVAS3, SUN, MSG+
Chicago @ St. Louis, STL leads 1-0, 8:00 p.m., NBCSN, SN, TVAS2, FS-MW, CSN-CH
Nashville @ Anaheim, Game 1, 10:30 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, PRIME, FS-TN
THURSDAY’S RESULTS (Home Team in Caps)
WASHINGTON 2, Philadelphia 0 – WSH leads 1-0
NY Islanders 5, FLORIDA 4 – NYI leads 1-0
DALLAS 4, Minnesota 0 – DAL leads 1-0
San Jose 4, LOS ANGELES 3 – SJS leads 1-0
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services