|Columbus Blue Jackets||3||
Recap | Box score
Goalie report: Marc-Andre Fleury was beaten twice on the first three shots, leading some to search the stands for Tomas Vokoun. But after Sergei Bobrovsky was beaten three times on three consecutive shots in the third period, this became a matchup of goalies concurrently falling from grace.
Key moment: That would be the Penguins scoring three goals on three shots in the third to go from 3-1 to 4-3, would it not? Might very well be the key moment of the series.
What it means: With their third-period rally, the Penguins have shown they actually have backbone. If they advance to the finals, their three-goal third will be the turning point they hang on to.
-- Paul Grant
Recap | Box score
Goalie report: Both goalies get straight A's for the night's efforts. Semyon Varlamov made 45 saves -- jeepers, 45? -- and the winning goal in overtime ... well, more on that later. The switch by Mike Yeo to Darcy Kuemper was inspired and inspiring, as Kuemper was steady and reliable while stopping all 22 shots aimed at him.
Key moment: Mikael Granlund's winning goal was a thing of beauty, a desperate, shooting-while-diving legacy-maker that was the only way Varlamov was going to be beaten in Game 3.
What it means: The Wild threw everything they could at the Avalanche, including a slew-foot here and a knee-on-knee hit there, not to mention 45 freakin' shots, and they barely won. But, with Tyson Barrie done after a questionable hit by Matt Cooke, the Avs will have a tough task ahead with one of their main minute-munchers absent from their no-name D.
-- Paul Grant
Recap | Box score
|0||St. Louis Blues|
Goalie report: Hawks goalie Corey Crawford called himself out after Game 2 and said he needed to play better. He stopped all 34 shots the Blues threw at him in Game 3, earning his third career playoff shutout. Ryan Miller, who finished with 23 saves, was not happy with himself for letting Jonathan Toews' shot go through his legs in the first period.
Key moment: After giving up a goal in the final seconds of Games 1 and 2, the Blackhawks were able to hold a one-goal lead for the first time in the series. This time it was Marcus Kruger securing the win with a goal with 19.2 seconds left.
What it means: After Brent Seabrook's hit on David Backes in Game 2 -- which got Seabrook suspended for three games and caused an injured Backes to miss Game 3 -- you would have expected Game 3 to be vicious. But these Central Division rivals stayed focused on the big picture instead of revenge. With St. Louis up 2-1 in the series and the home team winning each game, there is a lot left to be decided.
-- Sarah Goldstein
Recap | Box score
Goalie report: Kari Lehtonen was terrific when it mattered most. He made several key saves on some point-blank chances, including attempts by Saku Koivu and Nick Bonino early in the second period. That kept it a 1-0 game and the Stars were able to add to the lead later in the period. Lehtonen was in a good rhythm and not afraid to come out and challenge shots. And he saw a lot of them. The Ducks vastly outshot the Stars, but just couldn't get anything past Lehtonen, even when they got some traffic in front of him. He made 37 saves, earned his first playoff victory and did so in a shutout.
Key moment: Stephane Robidas fractured his right leg early in the second period after getting tangled up with Ryan Garbutt in front of the Ducks' net. It's the same leg that Robidas fractured on Nov. 29 as a member of the Stars. He missed four months before returning to the ice with the Ducks last month. The Stars traded Robidas to Anaheim before the trade deadline to give the veteran a chance to win a Cup.
What it means: The Stars earned their first playoff shutout since April 10, 2008, at Anaheim in Game 1 of the first round and in the process are back in the series. It was an opportunity lost for the Ducks to take a stranglehold on the series. The result also guarantees that the series will go back to Anaheim for Game 5 on Friday.
-- Richard Durrett
Stars 3, Ducks 0
(Ducks lead series, 2-1)
* Kari Lehtonen: 37 saves, 1st career playoff shutout; 1st Stars goalie with a playoff shutout since Marty Turco in 2008
* Jamie Benn (DAL): Goal (2), has recorded a point in each game of series, and 8 straight games dating back to include the regular season
* Ducks: shut out for 3rd time this season (2nd time by Stars)
Blackhawks 2, Blues 0
(Blues lead series, 2-1)
* Corey Crawford (CHI): 34 saves, 3rd career playoff shutout
* Jonathan Toews (CHI): goal in 1st period, 21st career playoff goal
* Blackhawks: 3-0-1 vs STL at home this season
* Blues: shut out for 3rd time in past 5 games dating back to regular season
Wild 1, Avalanche 0, OT
(Avalanche lead series 2-1)
* Mikael Granlund (MIN): GW goal at 5:08 of OT, 1st postseason goal of career
* Darcy Kuemper (MIN): 22 saves, 1st career postseason shutout and win
* Wild: break 4-game playoff losing streak
* Wild: outshot Avalanche 46-22; most shots in Wild playoff history
* Avalanche: most shots on goals faced in postseason since April 2010
FROM ELIAS: Mikael Granlund's first NHL playoff goal earned the Wild a 1-0 overtime victory in Game 3 of their series against the Avalanche. Granlund is only the fifth NHL player in the past 75 years to score his first career playoff goal in a 1-0 overtime game. The others were Andrei Zyuzin (1998), Ruslan Fedotenko (2002), Niko Dimitrakos (2004) and Ryan O'Reilly (2010).
FROM ELIAS: Darcy Kuemper, making the first playoff start of his NHL career, recorded 22 saves in a 1-0 overtime victory against the Avalanche on Monday night. Kuemper is only the second goaltender in NHL history to post a 1-0 overtime win in his first postseason start. The first was the Red Wings' Normie Smith, whose first playoff start came in what is still the longest playoff game in NHL history, Detroit's 1-0 victory over the Montreal Maroons on March 24, 1936, which Smith won when Mud Bruneteau scored at the 16:30 mark of the sixth overtime period.
Penguins 4, Blue Jackets 3
(Penguins lead series 2-1)
* Penguins: down 3-1, scored 3 goals in 2:13 in 3rd period to take lead
* Lee Stempniak: 1st career postseason goal
* Sidney Crosby (PIT): 1 point; if he scores 1 more point, he will tie Daniel Briere for 5th among active players for playoff points with 110. At 26, Crosby would be the youngest player among active top-5 point leaders.
* Penguins: including postseason, have won 8 of past 9 vs CBJ
* Blue Jackets: 1-6 all-time in postseason games
* All 3 games had the same exact score: 4-3
* In each of the first 3 games, the losing team has blown a 2-goal lead
FROM ELIAS: The Penguins beat the Blue Jackets, 4-3, in Game 3 of their first-round series, overcoming a 3-1 deficit by scoring three goals in a 2:13 span during the third period. That's been a familiar pattern in this series. The Penguins and Blue Jackets are the first teams in NHL history to play three consecutive games in one playoff year, in one series or spanning two series, with the winning team having overcome a deficit of two or more goals in each game. Pittsburgh won the first game 4-3, after trailing 3-1 in the first minute of the second period, and Columbus won Game 2 by a 4-3 score in double-overtime after trailing 3-1 at the end of the first period.
FROM ELIAS: Jack Johnson of the Blue Jackets has scored a goal in the first 3 games of the series vs. the Penguins. That ties a record for most consecutive games with a goal by a defenseman to start a playoff season. In his 8-season career, he had never scored a goal in 3 straight games (regular or postseason).