Offense reigns supreme for Rangers, Avalanche & Marlins

The third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs started with a bang as a total of 26 goals were scored between the opening games of the two series.

The Western Conference Finals, which began with the Colorado Avalanche beating the Edmonton Oilers 8-6, came as no great surprise considering the clash was designed to be a showcase of talented attacks against questionable goalkeeping.

The shocking part came from the east.

Andrei Vasilevskiy, who kept the Florida Panthers to just three goals in the second round of the playoffs, conceded six goals on 34 shots as the New York Rangers won Game 1 6-2.

Yes, the Rangers scored twice as many goals in just one game as the Panthers did in their entire series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Frank Vatrano, who Florida traded to New York for a fourth-round pick on the deadline, entered the standings.

Vatrano had an assist on Chris Krieder’s opening strike and then blasted in from high position with a wrist shot to put them 2-1 ahead.

Here are some storylines to watch out for as each of these two series moves into Game 2:

Oilers V. Avalanche

Darcy Kuemper left Game 1 with an upper body injury. Now his Game 2 status is up in the air, which could cement Pavel Francouz as Colorado’s Game 2 starter.

– Cale Makar scored a highly controversial first-half goal with 14 seconds remaining to take the lead, having just avoided an offside call when Valeri Nichuskin came on. It was a backbreaker that pivoted the momentum in Colorado’s direction.

– Mike Smith, 40, has a chance to reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in his career. The Oilers’ netminder doesn’t take that opportunity for granted.

Rangers V Lightning

After Andrei Vasilevskiy finished the Panthers with the best save percentage ever by a goaltender while starting every game in a playoff series (.980), Andrei Vasilevskiy was stunned by the Rangers’ offensive attack in a 6-2 loss.

– Filip Chytil continued his hot streak in Game 1, scoring multiple goals in the second game in a row after a two-goal loss in Game 7 against Carolina helped send New York through to the Conference Finals.

– The Lightning hosted a watch party at the Amalie Arena for Game 1 – and it was infiltrated by Rangers fans. New Yorkers in Florida? Imagine that.

PANTHERLAND

Anton Lundell learned a lot in his rookie campaign after taking on a bigger role than previously anticipated.

During the preseason, I had him signed for the AHL’s start of the season after he sustained an injury during rookie camp…man, was I wrong.

We will review these price predictions again on Friday.

– The Panthers are only about $4 million below the salary cap, so GM Bill Zito will be busy this offseason.

– Sergei Bobrovsky had a hell of a year with the Panthers himself – and it wasn’t limited to the regular season either.

– Do you think Claude Giroux will return to the Panthers with the salary cap issues?

— Videos from last Wednesday’s media sessions are available on FloridaHockeyNow’s YouTube channel.

Panthers we spoke to Zito, Andrew Brunette, Joe Thornton, Sasha Barkov, Bobrovsky, Sam Bennett, Anton Lundell and Giroux.

If you like all of our videos, please subscribe to the channel. It’s completely free and will notify you when new ones are available.

COFFEE CORNER

It looks like the Dolphins started their season early as they beat the Broncos 14-1 on Wednesday. They also appeared to have been the first team in NFL history to score just one point in a game.

By the way, that’s possible. This is how it can happen…

Okay, seriously, the Marlins started a doubleheader against the Rockies with a 14-1 win and the runs didn’t stop in Game 2.

The Fish and the Rox brought the game into the Extras, who tied at 11. Miami took the lead at the top of 10th, but Brendan Rodgers hit a two-run shot to win the ballgame.

With the split, the Marlins sit 13 games behind the Mets for the top spot in the NL East.

National hockey now

Montreal Hockey Now: The Montreal Canadiens became the first team to remove the interim mark from a coach, signing Martin St-Louis to a three-year extension. Will Andrew Brunette be next?

Calgary Hockey Now: Pending restricted free agent Matthew Tkachuk is ready to return to the Calgary Flames on a long-term contract after a disappointing second-round loss to the Edmonton Oilers.

NY Islanders Hockey Now: After a promising playoff run in the 2021 Stanley Cup, the production of New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier took a downturn in 2022.

Washington hockey now: With Tom Wilson missing time with a cruciate ligament injury he suffered in Game 1 of his first-round loss to the Panthers, the Washington Capitals have a big hole to fill.

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