The Stanley Cup Playoffs did not disappoint on Monday night with all four games needing overtime to decide a winner. Two of those games involved rallies that put teams in a 3-0 series hole. First, the Nashville Predators continued their surprising dominance against the Chicago Blackhawks, taking a 3-0 series lead with a 3-2 overtime win. Kevin Fiala scored the game-winner 16:44 into the extra period, helping Nashville rally from a 2-0 deficit in the third. Nashville had never won the first three games of a series in their franchise's history, but are now one win away from ousting their first-place division rivals with ease. Filip Forsberg scored twice in the third to tie the game, as the Predators have now outscored Chicago 9-2 in the first three games of the series. They will look to complete the sweep at home in Game 4 on Thursday night.
Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks rallied from a three-goal deficit on the road and went on to win in overtime, 5-4, for a 3-0 series lead on the Calgary Flames. Corey Perry scored on the power play in overtime, completing the Ducks' comeback from a 4-1 deficit. Perry's game-winner came just 1:30 into the extra period, giving Anaheim the crucial road win, and putting Calgary on their heels quickly. Shea Theodore scored twice, while Nate Thompson and Nick Ritchie each found the back of the net to fuel the rally. The Ducks did replace starting goalie John Gibson after he surrendered four goals on 16 shots. Jonathan Bernier came in and shut out the Flames the rest of the way. Game 4 is Wednesday night.
Maple Leafs, Senators Take Series Leads in Overtime
There were two other overtime contests on Monday night, including the Toronto Maple Leafs taking a 2-1 series lead on the top-seeded Washington Capitals with a 4-3 victory. Tyler Bozak scored 1:37 into overtime, capping off the Leafs' rally from a two-goal second-period deficit. Auston Matthews and Nazem Kadri each had a goal and an assist, while William Nylander also scored in the comeback home win. After falling behind 2-0 in the first, Toronto cut the lead in half, before falling back behind by two in the second period. From there, Frederik Andersen would not allow anything else past him, finishing the night with 23 saves. The eighth-seeded Maple Leafs could be heading back to D.C. with a dominant series lead following Wednesday night's Game 4. All three games of the series have been decided in overtime, so we can only assume Wednesday's Game 4 will be another close contest.
In another thrillingly close series, the Ottawa Senators needed extra playing time to get past the Boston Bruins on Monday for a 4-3 win to take a 2-1 series lead. Bobby Ryan tipped in the game-winner 5:43 into OT, just over a minute into a power play stemming from Riley Nash's roughing penalty. Mike Hoffman added two goals, while Derrick Brassard also scored to support Craig Anderson's 17-save effort. Tukka Rask made 28 saves before surrendering the game-ending goal, as Noel Acciari, David Pastrnak, and David Backes scored in the loss. It was the second straight overtime win for the Senators, who disappointed the hometown fans in Boston with the clutch road victory. Game 4 of the series is back in Boston on Wednesday night.
Cavs, Spurs Take 2-0 Series Leads
LeBron James feels as if his Cleveland Cavaliers are firing on all cylinders and there's nothing saying otherwise at this point. Kyrie Irving led the way with 37 points, as the Cavs took a 2-0 series lead with a 117-111 win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night. Kevin Love added 27 to help Cleveland hold off a late Pacer rally. The defending champs led by as many as 18 points in the second half, but Indiana outscored the Cavs by 12 in the final 12 minutes to make the game too close for comfort. In the end, the Cavaliers hung on for what was their 10th consecutive first-round victory. LeBron finished the night with 25 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists, while extending a personal 19-game first round win streak. Paul George had 32 points in the loss, and criticized teammates Lance Stephenson and Myles Turner during his postgame press conference. George stated that Stephenson needs to improve his body language and control his emote, while Turner needs to make himself available down low. The series shifts to Indiana for Game 3 on Thursday night.
In the West, another title favorite went ahead 2-0, as Kawhi Leonard finished with 37 points and 11 rebounds in a 96-82 San Antonio Spurs win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Leonard's point total was a playoff career-high, leading the Spurs to their 10th straight playoff win over Memphis. They led for all but 13 seconds of the game on Monday, frustrating the seventh-seeded Grizzlies in the process. Vince Carter was given a technical foul for head-butting Kyle Anderson during play, while head coach David Fizdale complained about the officials after the game. Fizdale stated that the referees "did not give us a chance." He also pointed out the amount of free throws Leonard shot (19-for-19), which was four more than the Grizzlies as a team. San Antonio finished the night with five players scoring in double figures, including Tony Parker with 15 points. They led by as many as 26 on the night, and are sitting pretty heading to their road contest in Game 3 on Thursday night.