NHL Rink Wrap: Makar shines; Goaltending helps Rangers, Stars get even

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Cale Makar was put on a clinic for the Colorado Avalanche as they take a commanding 2-0 series lead against the Nashville Predators.

Jake Oettinger shuts out the Calgary Flames to help them even their series at one game apiece with the Calgary Flames.

• The Florida Panthers bounced back with a huge win against the Washington Capitals.

Game 2: New York Rangers 5, Pittsburgh Penguins 2 (Series tied 1-1)

Igor Shesterkin stopped 39 out of 41 shots to help the New York Rangers get even in their series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Artemi Panarin and Frank Vatrano each had a goal and two assists in the win as they took advantage of a banged up Penguins team in a 5-2 win. Louis Domingue could not repeat his overtime magic from Game 1 in the Pittsburgh net, while Shesterkin was a wall for the Rangers and made several great saves early in the third period to help protect the lead.

Game 2: Florida Panthers 5, Washington Capitals 1 (Series tied 1-1)

This is the type of offense we expected to see from the Florida Panthers. They chased Vitek Vanecek after the Capitals goalie allowed five goals on 18 shots through two period to help even the series at one game apiece. The Panthers have the league’s bet offense but were shut down a bit in their Game 1 loss. The big question for the Capitals in this series was going to be their goaltending, and Vanecek did not play anywhere near good enough on Thursday.

Game 2: Colorado Avalanche 2, Nashville Predators 1 (COL leads 2-0)

Connor Ingram did absolutely everything he could for the Nashville Predators in this game, but it was just not enough as his teammates could not generate any consistent offense or mount much of a threat against a superior Colorado Avalanche team. Cale Makar scored the game-winning goal for the Avalanche to cap off a dominant performance.

Game 2: Dallas Stars 2, Calgary Flames 0 (Series tied 1-1)

If you like offense and goal scoring this is not the series for year. Through two games there have been a grand total of three goals scored by the two teams, with only two of them coming with a goalie in the net (Dallas scored an empty-net goal in Game 2). Only one of those goals (Joe Pavelski‘s goal in Game 2) came during 5-on-5 play. Both teams have now been able to grind out a shutout win, with Jake Oettinger stopping all 29 shots he faced on Thursday.

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 First Round schedule, TV info]

Three Stars in NHL for Thursday (Fourth day of playoffs)

1. Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche

The numbers from Makar on Thursday are outrageous. He attempted 23 total shots. When he was on the ice during 5-on-5 play the Avalanche had 46 shot attempts to only 15 for the Predators. He put 11 of his shot attempts on goal. Then on top of all of that he also scored the game-winning goal in overtime. With all due respect to Roman Josi, Adam Fox, Victor Hedman, and any other top defender in the NHL there is nobody — nobody! — that is better than this guy right now. He is incredible.

2. Jake Oettinger, Dallas Stars

In his second career playoff start Oettinger stopped all 29 shots he faced to help the Stars even their series with the Flames at one game apiece. They needed every single one of those stops to get the win because there is not going to be any offense in this series from either team. Through two games Oettinger has stopped 54 out of 55 shots for the Stars.

3. Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers

The likely Vezina Trophy winner played like it on Thursday, stopping 39 out of 41 shots for the Rangers in their 5-2 win over the Penguins. He may not have “stolen” the game, but his play definitely helped make it a much more decisive win for the Rangers. Via Natural Stat Trick, the Penguins have 13.8 expected goals through the first two games in all situations, (no other team has more than 8.2), while they averaging 4.79 per 60 minutes (no other team has more than 3.87). They have only scored six goals in the two games because of the way Shesterkin has played. With the Penguins playing without Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith and now relying on Louis Domingue this is a massive positional advantage for the Rangers. At the most important position on the ice.

Friday’s NHL Playoff Schedule

Game 3: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Boston Bruins (CAR leads 2-0), 7 p.m. ET — TNT
Game 3: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (Series tied 1-1), 7:30 p.m. ET — TBS
Game 3: Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues (Series tied 1-1), 9:30 p.m. ET — TNT
Game 3: Edmonton Oilers vs. Los Angeles Kings (Series tied 1-1) 10 p.m. ET — TBS

PHT’s 2022 Stanley Cup previews
Maple Leafs vs. Lightning

Hurricanes vs. Bruins
Blues vs. Wild
Avalanche vs. Predators
Oilers vs. Kings

Flames vs. Stars

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info
First Round, Stanley Cup predictions
NHL Draft Lottery set: Canadiens have best odds for top pick
Why your team will (and will not) win the Stanley Cup

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Makar’s dominance, OT goal helps Avalanche outlast Predators Rangers even series with Penguins as things get physical Bettman says Quenneville hasn’t approached NHL about return

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

NHL Rink Wrap: Makar shines; Goaltending helps Rangers, Stars get even originally appeared on NBCSports.com