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Five things to know about the early days of the NHL playoffs

Here’s some stories taking shape as the opening round moves on to night 4
NHL Hall of famer Lanny McDonald is pictured near the Stanley Cup following a news conference in Toronto on Tuesday June 27, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Mark Stone of the Vegas Golden Knights went from the 26-game injured reserve list to the Game 1 Dallas scoresheet in 83 seconds, the Boston fan with the big sign “Matthews STILL stuck on 69!” was nowhere to be seen after last night’s Leafs-Bruins’ game, and the New York Islanders played an impressive 24 minutes in Raleigh before getting whipped in the other 36 minutes by the Comeback ‘Canes.

Here are five things you need to know about the NHL playoffs:


Don’t scold fans of the Edmonton Oilers for biting their nails inside Rogers Place or outside in the Moss Pit before last night’s playoff opener against the visiting Los Angeles Kings.

Edmonton had a dismal 1-8 record in Game 1s dating back to 2017.

Captain Connor McDavid insisted the Oilers are better prepared this year to handle whatever the Kings throw at them. The Oil wasted no time last night proving it. Zach Hyman scored his first of three goals at 6:52 of the first period as Edmonton cruised to a comfortable 7-4 victory.

McDavid chipped in with five assists to help exorcise the curse.


With the Vancouver Canucks playing their first playoff game at home Sunday since April 15, 2015, it’s fair to suggest fans were extra jacked. Towel Power, U2 songs and flags reappeared.

Out in the suburb of Surrey — about 30 kilometres from Rogers Arena — hundreds of fans paraded in the streets after Vancouver edged Nashville 4-2 chanting “we want the Cup.” A few more kilometres east in Abbotsford, where the Canucks’ farm team is preparing for the AHL playoffs, fans were driving up and down the streets honking and cheering.

Fans of other teams mocked this reaction on social media, but Canucks Quinn Hughes and Brock Boeser admitted the bottled-up enthusiasm is understandable. Expect more of the same for Game 2 tonight.


The Boston Bruins started goaltender Linus Ullmark in Game 2 of their series against the Toronto Maple Leafs last night despite crease counterpart Jeremy Swayman’s 35-save performance in Saturday’s 5-1 win. The decision by coach Jim Montgomery continued the trend of rotating his netminders.

Boston’s goalies, who have a well-documented friendship that includes an emphatic hug following every victory, have gone back and forth for the past 28 games. Ullmark made 30 stops last night but the Leafs won 3-2 on a late breakaway goal by Auston Matthews.


After taking a 1-0 lead in their first-round series against the Nashville Predators, the Vancouver Canucks are looking for ways to improve — including getting more out of centre Elias Pettersson.

The 25-year-old Swedish star did not register a point in Sunday’s 4-2 victory.

Canucks coach Rick Tocchet said Pettersson’s line was “a bit disconnected” in the series opener and that Pettersson knows what he needs to do better.


The Avalanche fired 46 shots at Jets’ goalie Connor Hellebuyck on Sunday and scored six times. The bad news for Colorado is Winnipeg won 7-6, despite only managing 23 shots on Alexandar Georgiev.

It was the first time since 1985 that the first game of a first-round playoff series had two teams combine for 13 goals. It was also the fourth time in Hellebuyck’s career that he faced more than 45 shots in a playoff game. He has won three of those contests.

READ ALSO: Canucks fans fill Surrey/Delta corner after 1st playoff win in 4 years