Two of the favourites to win the Stanley Cup are instead in danger of an early exit.
Both the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks and Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins are heading into enemy territory down 2-0 in their first-round playoff series. The Canucks lost 4-2 to the Los Angeles Kings, while Pittsburgh fell 8-5 to state-rival Philadelphia.
At Vancouver, Dustin Brown tied an NHL playoff record with two short-handed goals and Jonathan Quick made 46 saves for Los Angeles.
Brown had the two-goal game two nights after capping the Kings’ 4-2 Game 1 victory with an empty-net goal. He entered the season with three goals in 13 career playoff games.
Brown opened the scoring with 9 seconds left in the first period, and gave the Kings a 2-1 lead at 5:17 of the second.
Jarret Stoll added a power-play goal at 8:30 of the third, a goal originally credited to Brown. Trevor Lewis made it 4-1 with 5:09 left.
Brown became the 12th player to score two short-handed goals in a playoff game. John Madden was the last previous player to accomplish the feat, doing it for New Jersey against the New York Rangers in 2006.
Quick made 22 saves in the third period, allowing only Samuel Pahlsson’s goal with 3:38 to play. Jannik Hansen also scored for Vancouver, the Presidents’ Trophy winner as the NHL regular-season points leader.
Game 3 is Sunday night in Los Angeles.
At Pittsburgh, Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux each scored three goals and the Philadelphia Flyers rallied for a wild victory over Pittsburgh.
Giroux added three assists for Philadelphia, and former Penguins Max Talbot and Jaromir Jagr also scored to help the Flyers take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Ilya Bryzgalov overcame another shaky start to stop 23 shots for the Flyers, who rallied from a pair of early two-goal deficits.
Chris Kunitz had two goals for Pittsburgh, and Sidney Crosby and Tyler Kennedy scored for the second straight game, but the Penguins failed to close out the Flyers for the second time in three days. Paul Martin also scored for the Penguins.
The game mirrored Philadelphia’s 4-3 overtime victory in Game 1 on Wednesday night. Pittsburgh raced to a 3-0 lead in that one only to succumb on Jakub Voracek’s goal less than 3 minutes into the extra session.
Game 3 is Sunday in Philadelphia.
RED WINGS 3, PREDATORS 2
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—Ian White and Cory Emmerton scored in the first period, and Detroit got the best revenge against Nashville with a victory that evened the Western Conference series 1-1.
Johan Franzen also scored, and Jimmy Howard made 24 saves as the Red Wings answered Nashville defenceman Shea Weber being fined only US$2,500 for smashing Henrik Zetterberg’s head into the glass at the end of Game 1.
Todd Bertuzzi dropped the gloves with Weber 1:36 into the game and landed a good punch.
Weber and Andrei Kostitsyn scored for Nashville.
Game 3 is Sunday in Detroit.
DEVILS 3, PANTHERS 2
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP)—Martin Brodeur stopped 24 shots for his 100th post-season victory, and a three-goal first period was enough to help New Jersey spoil Florida’s long-awaited return to the playoffs.
Patrik Elias, Dainius Zubrus and Ryan Carter scored in an 8:25 span in the opening period.
Brodeur also picked up an assist for his 10th post-season point, and became the second goalie in NHL history to reach triple-figures in playoff wins. Only Patrick Roy has more, with 151.
Sean Bergenheim and Kris Versteeg scored for Florida, which was in its first post-season game since losing to Brodeur and the Devils on April 20, 2000. Jose Theodore made 35 saves.
Game 2 is Sunday night.