N.H.L. Playoffs More Topsy-Turvy Than Usual


The Predators’ Ryan Johansen (92) scoring past Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50). The Predators lead the series, 3-0.

Dennis Wierzbicki/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

The first week of the N.H.L. postseason has been as unpredictable as anyone could imagine, even in a sport where upsets are the norm, home-ice advantage is often meaningless and a hot goaltender can overshadow everything else.

The Chicago Blackhawks, a perennial Stanley Cup favorite, are down by three games to none to the Nashville Predators, and the N.H.L.-leading Washington Capitals trail the Toronto Maple Leafs by two games to one in their first-round series.

But those are only parts of the story. Seven of the first 24 games featured a blown lead of two goals or more, 11 went to overtime, and winning goals came from the unlikeliest of sources.

On Monday, all four games went to overtime for only the third time in N.H.L. history and the first time since 1985. The Blackhawks and the Capitals blew two-goal leads, sowing more seeds of doubt and giving the Predators and the Maple Leafs a jolt of…

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