NHL Playoffs 2012: 1st Night Full of Surprises

Cory DuceyAnalyst IIIApril 12, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 11:  Jakub Voracek #93 of the Philadelphia Flyers is mobbed my teammates after scoring the game winning over time goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on April 11, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Flyers defeated the Penguins 4-3 in overtime.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

On the first night of the NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs, there weren't necessarily upsets, but there were a few surprises on the night.


Philadelphia Flyers @ Pittsburgh Penguins

The touted Cup-winner favorites came out swinging, getting three goals in the opening frame.  

Sidney Crosby lit the lamp in the first four minutes, followed by Tyler Kennedy just over four minutes later, and they topped it off with Pascal Dupuis, who scored on what looked like should have been an icing call, but it was waved off unbeknownst to Braydon Coburn.  

The play continued, and so did the Penguins, to put it to a 3-0 game in the first 20 minutes.

The lesson of the day?  Play to the whistle.

The second frame had another controversy.  As the puck got into the Flyers' attacking zone, Daniel Briere was clearly offside, but the call was not made.  Briere finished off the play with a nice goal that beat Marc-Andre Fleury glove side.

One would say that was a wash of the Pittsburgh goal.  Another would say that was a bad call.

In the second intermission, Pittsburgh assistant coach Tony Granato reminded his team that the Flyers have done this before, and that they cannot let up.

In the final frame, Briere was at it again, as he got his second goal about halfway through the period.

The Comeback Kids tied up the game just over three minutes later, as Philadelphia was on the power play thanks to Brooks Orpik's interference call.

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 11:  Danny Briere #48 of the Philadelphia Flyers scores past Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on Ap
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Scott Hartnell shot from the point only to have rookie Brayden Schenn tip it on stick side to tie the game, and the Consol Energy Center was stunned in disbelief.

The goal gave the Flyers new hope.  While they did not play that well in the first 20 minutes, there was much to be desired if you are a Flyers fan in the final 40.

OT didn't take long to resolve the game.  Jakub Vorachek was Johnny-on-the-spot when Matt Carle shot from the point.  The puck rebounded in front of the net, and Vorachek was skating from the left of the net to pop it in the wide-open left side of the net.

Upset?  In terms of the team matchups, not really.  

But after the Pens had the 3-0 lead and blew it in OT?  That is the upset of the night.

Flyers open the series with a 1-0 lead.


Detroit Red Wings @ Nashville Predators

Hardly anyone has given the Preds their proper respect.  True, the Red Wings are a heck of a good team, but so is Nashville, and it has proven itself to be worthy of the postseason in the last couple of years.

Shea Webber popped Henrik Zetterberg in the back of the head followed by a face plant into the glass as regulation expired.

It remains to be seen if Sheriff Shanny will intervene.

NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 11:  Gabriel Bourque #57, Matt Halischuk #24, and Nick Spaling #13 of the Nashville Predators celebrate a goal against the Detroit Red Wings in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

In terms of an upset, this is not in the books.  The Preds played hard and physical, and although that first goal was a fluke, the Wings had their fair share of lucky goals in the past.

Preds open the series with a 1-0 lead.


L.A. Kings @ Vancouver Canucks

Upset? No doubt.

The Kings came in roaring against the President Trophy winner Canucks, as this turned into a physical game. 

The Canucks opened up the scoring in just over four minutes of play in what could have been a missed call.  Ryan Kesler skated around the net and made contact with Jonathan Quick's right pad, and that seemed to have knocked Quick out of position.  

Just when he was trying to get himself set, Alex Burrows let off a virtual no-look whipper to beat him high right, off the post and in.

The Kings answered back with a couple of power-play goals.  Mike Richards buried on a five-on-three power play in the opening frame, and Willie Mitchell put the Kings ahead in the second period.

Byron Bitz was called on a five-minute major boarding call that put Kyle Clifford into the glass.  Clifford did not return, and Bitz was shown the gate.

Vancouver tied it up in the final seconds of the period.

VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 11: Jeff Carter #77 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrates teammate Mike Richards' #10 (not pictured)goal against goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks during the first period in Game One of the Western Conference Quarte
Rich Lam/Getty Images

L.A. answered back by Dustin Brown getting a goal in the first five minutes of the third period, and daggered it with an empty-netter with just 18 seconds left in regulation.

Discipline was the Canucks' issue in this game, and they earned a lot of their penalties on the offensive end.

The Kings are King of the Mountain for now with a 1-0 lead in the series.


Sheriff Shanny

Brendan Shanahan will be busy this morning reviewing the Weber and Bitz issues.  Will either or both be suspended?

It seems that if an injury has not occurred, then it is looked at as no harm, no foul.  I personally don't agree with that, but that's just me...


This is Cory Ducey saying, "Hit Hard, But Keep It Clean."