Going into the Stanley Cup playoffs, it could be argued there were four “pick ’em” series – while Tampa Bay, Boston, Washington, and Calgary were thought to be the favorites in their matchups. Last night the Caps, and Flames delivered, while the Bruins joined the Lightning in the “being upset” column. Patrice Bergeron gave Boston a 1-0 lead midway through the first, but Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen slammed the door shut the rest of the way for a 4-1 Leafs victory. The first series opening win for the Buds goes all the way back to 2003. Mitch Marner scored the tying and winning goals and says — maybe now the critics and naysayers will be silenced.
Andersen finished with 37 saves.
Calgary Flames Coach Bill Peters said when you have a player with post-season experience, a team should take advantage of that. And as it turned out, Coach Peters was right on the money in going with veteran Mike Smith over flashy newcomer David Rittich for Game One last night vs Colorado. Smith, who had some tough stretches during the regular season, turned aside all 26 shots he faced as the Flames beat the red hot Avalanche 4-0. And he says it was something else to hear the Saddledome Crowd chanting his name.
In addition to being a usual “pain in the derriere,” Matthew Tkachuk also led the way offensively with a pair of goals.
And Washington grabbed an early 3-0 lead and then held off Carolina 4-2 as Nicklas Backstrom scored twice for the defending Cup Champs.
Three more series resume tonight. The afore mentioned Lightning will try to get back on even terms with Columbus. And of course the Jets will try to do likewise in an 8:30 p.m. start vs St. Louis. Head Coach Paul Maurice says the playoffs are a complete reset with respect to questions about his team’s inability to consistently protect third period leads this season.
And Jets defenceman Josh Morrissey says losing home ice advantage right off the hop will not have any affect on the approach of him and his team mates for Game Two tonight at 8:30 p.m.
We may or may not see Brandon Tanev return to the lineup tonight.
The Manitoba Moose — who are trying to make the AHL playoffs — go into their final three games this weekend trailing Iowa by a single point for the final post-season berth. Moose visit Grand Rapids tonight, and then finish up with a doubleheader in Chicago.
Golf’s “Mad Scientist” and “Mr Major” share the lead heading into Round Two of the Masters. Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka shot six under 66’s as late starters for round one. DeChambea — known for his ultra analytical approach and description of almost every shot — had all the right calculations in closing with four straight birdies.
Three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson is next at five-under, while Canadian Corey Conners is in a 10-man group — that includes Tiger Woods — sitting at two under.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers selected German Linebacker Thiadric Hansen with the second overall pick in the CFL’s first ever European draft on Thursday. The 26 year old, 6-2 and 235-pounder plays for the Potsdam Royals and will attend Bomber rookie camp in mid-May.
The Toronto Blue Jays couldn’t hang on to an early 5-0 lead and lost 7-6 in Boston, leaving both teams at 4-9. Last year the Red Sox came flying out of the gates at 13-2, and in 2019 it’s Seattle setting the torrid early pace. The Mariners homered for the 15th straight game to edge Kansas City 7-6 in 10 innings, for their MLB leading 13th win.
And Manitoba rinks skipped by Tracy Fleury and Reid Carruthers take 2-1 records into the final day of round robin play at The Players Championship in Toronto.