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Flipping the script and what else you need to know about the NHL playoffs

Our daily look at the state of Stanley Cup chance
Los Angeles Kings’ Jordan Spence (21) tries to stop Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid during second period of Game 1 first round NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey action in Edmonton, Monday, April 22, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

After teasing their excited fans with Game 1 victories, both the Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets were playoff losers at home last night.

The Colorado Avalanche rolled the Jets 5-2, while the Nashville Predators pounced on the Canucks 4-1.

Canada’s two other playoff teams, the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs, will try not to let their fans down tonight.

The Oilers, fresh off a 7-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings, will be aiming to go up 2-0 at Rogers Place, while the Leafs, who earned a split in Boston, will be aiming to take a 2-1 lead over the Bruins at Scotiabank Arena.

Here are five things to know about the NHL playoffs:


He made a superb save with his mask and then a better one with his arm off a no-look dive without his stick. Thanks to those now-trending highlight-reel moments, the Florida Panthers’ 35-year-old netminder Sergei Bobrovsky became a household name for hockey fans in the Sunshine State.

The Panthers, who beat the rival Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in overtime last night to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round series, couldn’t say enough good things about “Bob” after Carter Verhaeghe beat Bolts’ goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy at 2:59 of overtime.


Besides shopping for new hats yesterday, Edmonton hockey fans were still giddy about Connor McDavid’s five assists in the Oilers’ 7-4 Game 1 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Kings.

After becoming the fourth player in NHL history to reach the 100-assist mark in a season — and the first since Wayne Gretzky got 122 helpers in 1990-91 — the Oilers’ captain joined Gretzky on another short list. McDavid became the fourth skater to post five assists in his team’s opening game of a playoff year, following Stan Mikita (1973), Geoff Courtnall (1998) and Gretzky (1981).


Defences around the NHL playoffs have been depleted by existing and new injuries, from Tampa Bay’s Mikhail Sergachev and Colorado’s Samuel Girard being out long term, to Carolina’s Brett Pesce going down Monday night, the Canucks’ Tyler Myers unable to play last night, and Washington being down to minor leaguers to fill in.

Heading into last night’s action, there had already been 70 goals scored in the first 10 games. That’s a product of not just hot offence sparked by some of the league’s top players, but defensive struggles to keep the puck out of the net.


ESPN2 was pretty stoked with its numbers from the Winnipeg Jets’ 7-6 victory over the visiting Colorado Avalanche on Sunday, according to Greg Wyshynski, the senior NHL writer for ESPN.

Game 1 of the best-of-seven at Canada Life Centre was the most-viewed first-round NHL playoff game in the network’s history — and the third-most viewed Game 1 of a first-round playoff series in the history of U.S. cable TV, averaging 1.1 million viewers south of the border and peaking at 1.4 million.


New York Rangers’ bench boss Peter Laviolette has coached in 156 playoff games, with six different NHL teams.

But last night’s 4-3 win at Madison Square Garden over the Washington Capitals marked the first time he’s won the first two playoff games with a new team. The Presidents’ Trophy-winning Rangers won Game 1 of the series against the wild-card Caps 4-1.

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