SPORTS

NHL playoffs: 4 stories from Friday night

04/18/2015 01:55 EDT | Updated 07/04/2015 11:59 EDT
The Montreal Canadiens grabbed a commanding lead over the Senators, while the Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals, and Nashville predators all earned series-evening victories on a night with plenty of twists and turns. 

Here are four stories from Friday's NHL playoff action:

Good news all around for Canadiens

The Canadiens were firing on all cylinders along the way to a 3-2 overtime victory over the Senators in front of a boisterous crowd at the Bell Centre.

Montreal now leads the series 2-0.

Max Pacioretty, who hadn't played since suffering a concussion in the third-last game of the season, returned to Montreal's lineup and made an immediate impact with a power-play goal in the second period. 

Senators forward Mark Stone was also back in action, but he was seen wearing a bandage on the area of his right wrist that was slashed by P.K. Subban in Game 1.

Literally one fan was delighted when Clarke MacArthur opened the scoring in the first period.

While Alex Galchenyuk gets the nod for providing the overtime winning goal, it was Subban's nearly 140 km/h shot past Senators goalie Andrew Hammond that stood up as the highlight of the game.

Subban's effort put the Canadiens ahead 2-1 at the time and no one seemed to appreciate the moment more than teammate Andrei Markov, as evidenced by a kiss.

Canucks, Flames pack a punch

Tempers flared in the late going of the Canucks' series-tying 4-1 win over of the Flames at Rogers Arena.

A brawl at the 18:43 mark led to a dizzying amount of penalty minutes for several Vancouver and Calgary players. 

As for the nearly 60 minutes of hockey played up to that point, it was Eddie Lack turning in a solid 22-save performance for the Canucks as the preferred choice over Ryan Miller. 

A capital statement made in Washington

The Capitals awoke just in time to beat the Islanders 4-3 and even the series at one game apiece.

When Kyle Okposo scored to give New York a 3-1 advantage it the second period, the visitors seemed poised to head home with a pair of victories.

However, Alex Ovechkin sparked his team and the crowd at the 16:09 mark of the middle frame to begin the rally.

Nicklas Backstrom and Jason Chimera completed Washington's comeback in the third period.

The Capitals were playing without goalie Braden Holtby due to illness, however they received a boost from a rather untested source.

Philipp Grubauer, 23, was summoned from the AHL earlier in the day and filled in admirably, turning away 18 of 21 shots in his playoff debut. 

Blackhawks not sneaky enough for Predators

The turning point in the Predators 6-2 victory over the Blackhawks occurred in the second period, and would probably have led to an outcry if not for the lopsided result that knotted the series at 1-1.

During a line change, Patrick Kane didn't just hop onto the ice as an illegal sixth skater, he also scored during the sequence to pull the score even at two apiece. 

Shockingly, it initially went unnoticed that five Chicago players swarmed Kane to celebrate the goal.

The incident created a bit of a stir among fans although the discussion was all but muted because the Predators responded with four unanswered goals. 

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