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Stanley Cup Playoffs Takeaways: Landeskog leads by example

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Gabriel Landeskog is regarded as an elite leader in the NHL and the Colorado Avalanche captain put it on full display in Game 1 against the St. Louis Blues.

Landeskog set the tone for his team early when he dropped the gloves with Brayden Schenn as a response to a hit Schenn laid on Mikko Rantanen. The winger later helped set up Nathan MacKinnon’s first of the post-season and midway through the second period he tipped in a MacKinnon shot to extend his team’s third-period lead.

That’s a Gordie Howe hat trick if you’re keeping score at home.

He capped off the night with another assist on MacKinnon’s empty netter and the Avs took home the 4-1 win.

How many times in years past have we seen captains galvanize their teammates during a Stanley Cup run? Yes, it’s just one game, though Landeskog sent a message to the Blues and the rest of the league with a statement game like Monday’s.

Marchand steps up for Bruins, breaks Orr’s iconic record

It’s not often a Boston Bruins player gets to say they broke a record set by Bobby Orr, but Brad Marchand did just that Monday in Game 2 against the Washington Capitals when he scored the overtime winner to tie the series.

Marchand’s goal came at the 39-second mark of the first overtime period, setting a new Bruins franchise record for quickest overtime playoff goal. Marchand beat the previous record by one second.

Orr’s record had stood for 51 years and one week. If you’re wondering, yes, Orr set the old record with that goal.

No player has more playoff points since 2016-17 than Marchand and he’s a threat every time he’s on the ice. Game 2 had plenty of extracurricular activity and Marchand was predictably in the middle of a lot of it but he never completely crossed the line and his coach appreciated it.

“I think he wanted to drag us into the fight and we needed it,” Bruce Cassidy said of Marchand’s performance. “I think he’s matured enough now to not take himself out of the game. Maybe that would have been a game in the past he would’ve let it get to him and he wouldn’t have been an effective player, but he found his game and certainly a big part of the win with the overtime winner.”

Preds can’t weather the Storm Surge

The Carolina Hurricanes were heavily favoured to beat the Nashville Predators in their Central Division series and for good reason. Carolina went 6-2-0 against Nashville this season, outscoring them 24-17 and Game 1 went largely as expected.

Filip Forsberg opened the scoring with a goal almost as nifty as his moustache yet overall the Predators simply couldn’t match the output of the Hurricanes and that could become the story of the series.

The Hurricanes outshot the Preds 38-24 and fed off the energy at PNC Arena that had a crowd of roughly 12,000 waving rally towels and cheering boisterously throughout.

Even Forsberg’s franchise-leading 27th-career playoff goal couldn’t silence the crowd for very long as Teuvo Teravainen scored for Carolina less than 90 seconds later.

The Preds kept it close for 40 minutes but Carolina’s pressure was unrelenting in the third period and they ended up scoring three more goals to become the first team in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs to win a game by more than one goal.

The players saluted the fans following the game with the team’s first playoff Storm Surge.

Binnington stands on his head

Jordan Binnington was outstanding for the Blues in a losing effort and it looks like he’ll be the Blues’ best chance at pulling off a come-from-behind series upset over the Presidents’ Trophy winners.

The fiery netminder, who even tried to confront Philipp Grubauer after the final horn sounded, struggled at times in the middle of regular season. Despite some relatively underwhelming stats, the 27-year-old closed out the season on a 6-0-3 run and was dialled in against the up-tempo Avs in Game 1.

He made 46 saves, including this one where he summoned his inner Dominik Hasek to rob Rantanen on a 2-on-0.

Binnington won all 16 games for the Blues on their 2019 Cup run and if can turn in more performances like Monday’s then this series might last longer than expected – especially if the Blues can get back some reinforcements like leading scorer David Perron.



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