Northern Iowan

Puck drops in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Tampa+Bay+center+Cedric+Paquette+%28left%29+collides+with+New+Jersey%27s+Stefen+Noesen+%2823%29+during+their+first+round+playoff+game+on+Saturday.
Tampa Bay center Cedric Paquette (left) collides with New Jersey's Stefen Noesen (23) during their first round playoff game on Saturday.

Tampa Bay center Cedric Paquette (left) collides with New Jersey's Stefen Noesen (23) during their first round playoff game on Saturday.

TNS

TNS

Tampa Bay center Cedric Paquette (left) collides with New Jersey's Stefen Noesen (23) during their first round playoff game on Saturday.

DYLAN PADY, Sports Editor

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The 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs are here and as of press time, all teams are only two games into their respective series except for the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Washington Capitals. The Blue Jackets defeated the Capitals 4-3 in overtime in an exciting first game.

Washington hosted the first two games and their own Evgeny Kuznetsov put the Capitals on the board early, scoring twice within a single five-minute power play. The Blue Jackets narrowed their deficit after a strong cross-ice pass by Boone Jenner, setting up Alexander Wennberg for an inside score.

Early in the third period, Thomas Vanek tied the game at 2-2, but the Blue Jackets were scored on shortly after by Devante Smith-Pelly. The Capitals retook the lead at 3-2 before Seth Jones scored at 15:34 to tie the game one last time. Artemi Panarin then made the game winning shot just 6:02 into overtime.

So far, there has only been one other instance of overtime throughout this year’s postseason.

In a long double overtime matchup between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Los Angeles Kings, the Golden Knights took another victory at home, as well as the series lead, 2-0. For the Golden Knights, this is their inaugural season as an NHL team as the league expanded to 31 teams this season.

In other news, the Tampa Bay Lightning led the New Jersey Devils two games to none in their series, and the Boston Bruins have a 2-0 lead on the Toronto Maple Leaves in their first-round meeting.

The two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers are tied at one game each, as the Nashville Predators lead the Colorado Avalanche 2-0, the Winnipeg Jets lead the Minnesota Wild 2-0 and, finally, the San Jose Sharks lead the Anaheim Ducks by a two game deficit.

In the postseason, Boston’s David Pastrnak leads the NHL with four goals. With an additional five assists under his belt, Pastrnak has already doubled his number of goals and assists from the six games he played during last year’s playoffs. The Bruins also lead the league in average goals per game at six.

It is still incredibly early in the first round, but this is already proving to be an exciting NHL postseason.

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Puck drops in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs