The Philadelphia Flyers rallied from an early three-goal deficit to win 4-3 in overtime against the Stanley Cup favorite Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening game of the National Hockey League postseason.
The Nashville Predators won 3-2 against the record 11-time champion Detroit Red Wings in the first game of their Western Conference playoff series. Also last night, the Los Angeles Kings beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2.
The fourth-seeded Penguins emerged as the favorite to win the Stanley Cup when Sidney Crosby, the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2007, returned last month after missing 59 games during the past two seasons because of concussions. The Penguins were the last No. 4 seed to win the title, in 2009.
A $2 billion contract between the NHL and Comcast Corp.’s NBC, signed last year, will allow every postseason game to be televised nationally for the first time, Commissioner Gary Bettman said this week.
Crosby, Tyler Kennedy and Pascal Dupuis scored to make it 3-0 for the Penguins after the first period at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh last night.
The Flyers, whose only successes in the Stanley Cup Finals came in 1974 and 1975, cut the deficit in the second period through Danny Briere, who then made it a one-goal game midway through the third period. Brayden Schenn tied it three minutes later and Jakub Voracek scored the winner 2:23 into overtime.
The teams return to the same arena for Game 2 tomorrow before heading to Philadelphia for two games in the best-of-seven first-round series.
Paul Gaustad opened the scoring for the Predators after seven minutes at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. Henrik Zetterberg tied the game with a power-play goal 2:29 into the second period before Gabriel Bourque restored the home team’s lead 10 minutes later. Bourque made it 3-1 with 8:25 to play and Detroit’s Tomas Holmstrom completed the scoring with 2:07 remaining.
At Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Alex Burrows opened the scoring for the Canucks after 4:17 and Mike Richards made it 1-1 just over nine minutes later.
The second period ended with the teams tied at 2-2 after Willie Mitchell scored on a power play for the Kings and Alexander Edler replied with eight seconds to play.
Dustin Penner scored for the Kings with 3:14 left in the third period before Dustin Brown added an empty net goal in the final minute.
The Canucks, the top seed in the Western Conference, are trying to win the title for the first time after losing in their previous trips to the series in 1982, 1994 and last year, when they lost to the Boston Bruins. No Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens in 1993.
Rangers Host Senators
Tonight, the New York Rangers, the top seed in the Eastern Conference, get their bid for a first Stanley Cup title since 1993-94 under way at home against the Ottawa Senators, who have reached the postseason for the first time in three years. New York, the second favorite to win the title, lost three of its four regular-season games against the Senators.
In other first-round series tonight, Western Conference No. 2 seed the St. Louis Blues face the San Jose Sharks, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the Phoenix Coyotes and the Bruins host the Washington Capitals.
Eight different teams have won the past eight Stanley Cup titles and the last team to successfully defend the championship was the Red Wings in 1998.