If there were any concerns about the health of Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon after he sat out of the final two regular-season games with an injury, he answered quickly with two goals and an assist in a 4-1 victory in Game 1 against the St. Louis Blues.
“He’s a threat every time he’s on the ice,” Landeskog said of MacKinnon in a postgame interview. “I would expect nothing else from Nate.”
Landeskog, the team captain, had a Gordie Howe hat trick (goal, assist, fight), taking on Brayden Schenn after the Blues player’s hit on Rantanen in the first period.
Said Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar: “He’s the captain for a reason. … I think he definitely set the tempo.”
The first three playoff games went to overtime, the first time that has happened in NHL history. The highly entertaining Tampa Bay-Florida game on Sunday night, which featured four lead changes, was heading that way before the Lightning’s Brayden Point broke a tie with 74 seconds left.
The Hurricanes had the NHL’s biggest crowd of the postseason with 12,000 at PNC Arena after Gov. Roy Cooper eased restrictions. He was in the building Monday and sounded the siren before the game.
“We had 12,000 tonight, and it felt like 24,000,” said goalie Alex Nedeljkovic, who made 22 saves in winning his NHL playoff debut 5-2. “It was crazy.”
N.Y. Islanders at Pittsburgh, 7:30, NBCSN. Islanders lead 1-0
Tampa Bay at Florida, 8, CNBC. Lightning lead 1-0
Minnesota at Vegas, 10, NBCSN. Wild lead 1-0
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NHL scores: Avalanche’s Gabriel Landeskog gets Gordie Howe hat trick