Last night’s opening game of the St. Louis series did nothing to calm the nerves of an already frazzled fan base of the Winnipeg Jets. A wide open Tyler Bozak scored from the high slot with two minutes and five seconds remaining for a 2-1 Blues win, and a steal of home ice advantage right from the get-go.
The tenth time this season the Jets have squandered a lead after 40 minutes — and Paul Maurice says the tying goal by David Perron four minutes into the third changed the complexion of the game.
St. Louis rookie goalie Jordan Binnington was every bit as good as advertised — robbing Par Lindholm on a shorthanded breakaway in the second period, and then making a game-saving right-skate-save off Mark Scheifele with about a dozen seconds to go.
Patrik Laine opened the scoring 13.5 minutes into the game, hit a post, and had a few other good looks in bringing his A game. So did Connor Hellebuyck, who was rock solid between the pipes. So on we go to Game 2 tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m.
The shocker of the evening happened in Tampa Bay — where the Lightning blew an early 3-0 lead, and allowed three unanswered goals in the third period of a 4-3 series opening loss to Columbus. The Islanders let no less than three, one-goal leads get away before Josh Bailey scored at 4:39 of OT for a 4-3 win over Pittsburgh.
Dallas went into Nashville and edged the Predators 3-2 as rookie Miro Heiskanen scored twice for the Stars – joining only Glen Wesley and Phil Housley as the only teenage defencemen to score twice in a playoff game.
And Vegas drew first blood in a literal sense in their series with San Jose when Sharks captain Joe Pavelski took a puck to the mouth and lost a couple of teeth. But the puck also wound up in the Golden Knights net as San Jose went on to win 5-2 to draw first blood in the series- in the figurative sense.
The other three series get rolling tonight, including Toronto at Boston and Calgary at home to Colorado.
Scott Mickoski’s second goal of the game with just under 5 minutes to play gave Portage a 3-2 win over Swan Valley- and a 2-1 series lead over the Stampeders in the MJHL’s Turnbull Cup Final.
And Canada plays Germany this morning in a quarterfinal round matchup of the World Women’s Championship Tournament in Espoo, Finland.
Contract talks between the CFL and the Players Assn have been but on hold by the league. And Union 2nd Vice President Solomon Elimimian of the BC Lions says pushing back the next bargaining session to April 29th is just another reason for the players to have little or no trust in the people who sign their paycheques.
The current Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire on May 18th- which will leave the two sides just 19 days to get a deal done.
Listowel, Ontario’s Corey Connors – coming off his first ever PGA Tour win last Sunday in San Antonio- is in the first group for today’s first round of the Masters.
The Toronto Raptors will open the NBA playoffs late Saturday afternoon vs Orlando, after the Magic claimed 7th spot in the East with a season ending 122-114 win over Charlotte.
And Oakland’s Khris Davis – with a K – belted two home runs. While Baltimore’s Chris Davis – with a C – saw his major league record hitless drought extend to 0/50 in the A’s 10-3 blowout of the Orioles.