The New York Rangers took the first game on home ice to bring their series with Washington to 2-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The NHL Playoff Recap gives you our take of what happened in each game of the night and what the consequences will be for the rest of the series.
We also provide our Three Stars of the night, which will be tabulated after each round and kept trck of each day in our Playoff Game Day Preview. First Star is three points, Second Star is two points and Third Star is one point. Be sure to vote on who you think the first star was as well.
Of course there's the other side of the coin: The Black Hole is a piece of the lineup that just couldn't get it going on a given night and contributed to a difficult evening for the team.
THN’s Take: Brandon Dubinsky’s first goal of the playoffs couldn’t have come at a better time for the Rangers. The Blueshirts squandered two leads in the game, but Dubinsky put them ahead for good with just 1:39 remaining in the third when he worked his way to the front of the net and found a way to slice the puck up and over Caps goalie Michal Neuvirth. New York’s gutsy effort was typified by the line of Brian Boyle between Brandon Prust and Sean Avery, who made sure Washington’s first visit to Broadway in the series left the Caps a little black and blue.
1. Brandon Dubinsky - The Rangers’ top center was an absolute monster, picking up two points while seeing 25:45 of all-purpose ice time, more than any player - defenseman or forward - on either side. He also registered a game-high seven hits.
2. Alex Ovechkin - ‘Ovie’ continues to prove his worth as a playoff performer, notching a goal and an assist in the losing cause.
3. Dan Girardi - He finished plus-1 and his five blocked shots were more than any player in the game. Girardi and partner Marc Staal continue to play big minutes against Washington’s most skilful skaters.
The Black Hole.
Michal Neuvirth - Always easy to blame the goalie, but Neuvirth was beaten from a horrendous angle on the first goal, which is tough to ignore when a team losses by one. Washington’s top D-pair of Karl Alzner and John Carlson have been playing with poise well beyond their years, but were a collective minus-3 in the Game 3 setback.
THN’s Take: An extremely exciting, roller coaster ride of the game ended in favor of the hometown Predators, who outgunned a resilient Ducks squad powered by ageless wonder Teemu Selanne’s pair of second-period goals. Nashville peppered Anaheim goalie Ray Emery with 37 shots, while the Ducks could only manage 16 shots on Pekka Rinne. Martin Erat had a goal and two points for the Preds, who also got goals from Jordin Tootoo, David Legwand and the game-winner from Mike Fisher midway through the third period. Nashville’s defensive shutdown duo of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter really put the clamps down on Anaheim’s big guns, keeping Corey Perry from scoring and holding Ryan Getzlaf off the scoresheet altogether.
1. Shea Weber - A game-high four blocked shots and a game-high plus-3 rating (despite not recording a point) in 25:29 of ice time tells you the impact Nashville’s captain had on the night.
2. Teemu Selanne - Two goals gives the 40-year-old 39 career playoff goals.
3. Ryan Suter - Only Weber came close to Suter’s 27:22 of ice time. Also chipped in a pair of assists and was a plus-2.
The Black Hole
Ryan Getzlaf - Ducks captain was pointless, a minus-2 and had seven minutes in penalties on the night. If his fight with Nashville’s Mike Fisher was supposed to rally the team, it didn’t do it to the necessary degree – and it kept him off the ice for five potentially valuable minutes.
THN’s Take: The tables have turned in this rivalry, with the Canucks taking a critical three-game lead in a win that included a comeback, overcoming penalty problems and a significant contribution from the goaltender who needed to improve something most of all. Roberto Luongo was terrific early as the Canucks took four first period penalties with one two-man kill. The Hawks outshot the Canucks 16-10 in the opening frame and without Luongo on top of his game Chicago would have had a much bigger lead than 1-0. The Canucks got going off a second period power play and didn’t trail again.
1. Roberto Luongo – Remember last year when Patrick Kane and the Hawks offense had Luongo’s number? Not anymore. ‘Bobby Lou’ was terrific early on and made some big saves throughout to give the Canucks a major edge.
2. Ryan Kesler – The second-liner proved how he drives this engine with more than five minutes of shorthanded time, three hits and six shots on net. Kesler’s forechecking frustrated the Hawks all night.
3. Jonathan Toews – Two assists, four shots on net, two hits….and a minus-1 rating. Toews is doing all he can, but all he can isn’t enough this year.
The Black Hole
John Scott – His first game of the series was a disaster. A brutal interference penalty midway through the second opened the door for Vancouver’s potent offense. The experiment of placing him in front of the net on the power play must have had Hawks fans missing Dustin Byfuglien.
POLL: Who was your first star of the game?
The NHL Game Night Recap will get you caught up with all the playoff action. THN will name our Three Stars for each game and tabulate the results after each series. First Star = three points, Second Star = two points, Third Star = one point.