Game one of Western Conference Final between the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers lived up to our expectations, and more.
We all expected goals, and boy we got goals. They scored five goals in the first period, six goals in the second period, and three in the third period. Fourteen goals in total! And three times each team traded goals within one minute of each other — including two goals in the final 30 seconds of the first period. All the stars came out as well. For Edmonton, Kane, Hyman and McDavid scored. And MacKinnon, Makar, Kadri and Rantanen scored for the Avs.
Mike Smith was pulled after allowing the first six goals, and Darcy Kuemper was pulled due to an injury after letting in three. That’s right, through barely more than one period the series already saw four goalies. I don’t know what the record is for most goalies used in one playoff series but this series may break it by the end of the second game.
Darcy Kuemper has left the game with an upper body injury and is doubtful to return.— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) June 1, 2022
We also had some controversy on the Avs’ third goal. Makar carried the puck into the zone as Nichushkin was just trying to get onside. On the review, it looked very clear that Makar had the puck in the offensive zone way before Nichushkin was onside. It looked pretty cut and dry... except the review kept going, and going, and then the refs came back and called it a good goal. Most people lost their minds, but then we got clarification.
The ruling was that Makar propelled the puck into the Oilers’ end but did not actually touch the puck with his stick when it was past the blueline until AFTER Nichushkin was onside again.
Here’s the good look at the puck on/off Makars stick. Puck comes off his stick literally an inch before being in the zone and Makar doesn’t touch it again until the tag up. 100% pure luck on Makars part. Hell of a shot for the goal though. pic.twitter.com/BNA41QiHvj— Bolts Jolts (@BoltsJolts) June 1, 2022
This caused all kinds of amateur lawyer debate about the rule and if it was called correctly, lots of splitting hairs occurred. For what it’s worth, it does appear as if the NHL called this consistently with how they have in the recent past.
The exact same play happened in a Habs game last year and they called it the same way (onside) lol https://t.co/CYo2lOHe86— zero-based god (@hexertion) June 1, 2022
Here’s the intermission panel on the goal.
As someone with no emotional investment in the outcome of the series, I want it to be as chaotic as this for a full seven games. And then the Avs advance to face the Lightning in the Finals like we all want.
Which is why you KNOW it’ll wind up being the Oilers vs Rangers, somehow.
Even though this was already reported, I think the first time before the end of the Leafs’ season, expect to see it come up once a week or so until the off-season moves really start.
Chris Johnston on TSN1050 says he's still not sure if Jack Campbell will be back. Says Campbell/his camp wants $5M AAV and doesn't think the Leafs can pay that. Thinks it's possible the Leafs could be in the market for two goaltenders.— Willyston Riellander (@nylanderthews) May 31, 2022
MISCELLANEOUS HOCKEY LINKS
I still can’t believe that Binnington just... came out and admitted he threw the bottle at Kadri.
Some great news out of New Jersey.
News: Meghan Duggan has been promoted by the @NJDevils after one year w/ the organization.— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) May 31, 2022
She is now Director of Player Development & will oversee all org plans, development staff scheduling + on & off ice evaluations for AHL players & team prospects.
In other front office news, the Canucks made some new changes as well:
In other Canadian NHL team news, well less news than off-season filler...