The Nashville Predators weren’t given much chance against the Colorado Avalanche, and those odds got worse with news that No. 1 goalie Juuse Saros would miss the first two games.
Tuesday’s first period showed why.
David Rittich, who had one previous NHL playoff appearance, got the start and was gone from the game by the 15:04 mark after giving up five goals on 13 shots.
Not all were his fault, though, as the top-seeded and finally healthy Avalanche flew through the Predators defenders. He probably could have been positioned better on Devon Toews’ goal that made it 2-0, but Nashville made an egregious giveaway on an Andrew Cogliano shorthanded goal.
NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE:Dates, times, television and results
Colorado defenseman Cale Makar, who along with Nashville’s Roman Josi will be finalists for the Norris Trophy, made a brilliant move to make it 4-0, banking in a shot off Rittich’s mask.
Nashville had another defensive breakdown on Artturi Lehkonen’s goal, and rookie Connor Ingram entered the game for his fourth appearance of the season.
Rittich had beaten the Avalanche on April 28, stopping 42 of 46 shots.
His other playoff appearance didn’t go well. With Calgary at the time in 2020, he gave up three goals on nine shots.
Louis Domingue gets win vs. Rangers
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Louis Domingue picked up his first NHL playoff win in his second playoff appearance in an unusual way.
He entered the game against the New York Rangers in the second overtime when Casey DeSmith (48 saves) unexpectedly left. Dominque made 17 saves and Pittsburgh got the win when Evgeni Malkin scored at 5:58 of the third period for a 4-3 victory.
The goalie had played only four NHL games over the last three seasons and is up with the Penguins because of an injury to No. 1 goalie Tristan Jarry.
The Penguins lost forward Rickard Rakell earlier in the game on a hit by Ryan Lindgren.
Capitals upset Panthers
The Washington Capitals upset the Florida Panthers 4-2 Tuesday night, handing the NHL’s No 1 overall team its eighth home loss this season.
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin returned to the lineup after missing the final three regular-season games with an upper-body injury and played a key role: with a defensive play.
He knocked the puck loose from Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar in the third period and Evgeny Kuznetsov swept in on a breakaway and beat goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to tie the game 2-2.
“That’s why he’s legend, right?” Kuznetsov told reporters. “It’s a good thing he didn’t touch the puck after so I got a breakaway.”
T.J. Oshie put Washington ahead less than three minutes later.
The Capitals did get some bad news. Tom Wilson, who scored the first goal, played only three shifts.
Bruins at Hurricanes, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN. Hurricanes lead 1-0
Lightning at Maple Leafs, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2. Maple Leafs lead 1-0
Blues at Wild, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. Blues lead 1-0
Kings at Oilers, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN2. Kings lead 1-0