Saturday playoffs: Comebacks For All

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Let’s start local albeit 1,500 miles away. Oklahoma City trailed 2-0 early tonight and looked set to go to Charlotte with the same deficit in the series. Then they scored five in a row, the last three by Milford’s/Fairfield Prep’s/Yale’s Mark Arcobello, to even up the best-of-5. Arcobello also had an assist on the first goal.

All three Eastern Conference games (all of them Game 1s) went overtime. And the one in Syracuse was pretty much crazy-go-nuts. The Crunch had one apparent overtime winner waved off by video replay, early in the extra period; Jeff Mannix’s best look at the replay was that the puck went in under the goal frame. (He said Portland goalie Chad Johnson looked as if he couldn’t believe it went in, knowing that he had the post covered; apparently he did have the post covered.) Then they had a major power play, with Boris Valabik tossed for an elbow that hurt Brett Connolly. The Crunch had all kinds of chances and blew all kinds of chances until they scored to win 4-3, except that Jon McIsaac blew the whistle, losing sight of the puck, though Chad Johnson didn’t have it; Ondrej Palat put the puck in, but the whistle had blown. Then the Crunch finally did score, Richard Panik, capping a comeback from 2-0 and 3-1. McIsaac and Jamie Koharski combined to award 18 power plays, 11 of them to the Crunch.

In Binghamton, Chad Kolarik scored 8:18 into overtime as the Penguins got the win after giving away a 2-0 lead. I’d say that was a theme, except nobody led by two in Springfield… but Blake Parlett scored on a penalty shot, answered by Yale’s and Manchester’s Brian O’Neill with 8:49 to go, before Cody Bass’ deflection won it 10:36 into overtime. Aaron Portzline reports the Falcons will get Ryan Johansen and Dalton Prout back from Columbus. Missed it back at the deadline, but the Dispatch reports that Atkinson couldn’t come down because he’d need to clear waivers. (That’d be a change from the typical, or at least the old, waivers chart. I really want the new CBA.)

Elsewhere out West, Greg Scott scored four goals, the first two and the last two, in Toronto’s opening win over Rochester. It’s the first four-goal AHL playoff game in 13 years, Chris Kenady for the Once and Future Hartford Wolf Pack. Milwaukee kept itself in it with Markus Hellberg’s 23-save shutout and a 2-0 win to even up the series going to Texas for three.

So everybody’s off the tee, half the games have gone overtime, and the two series that have reached Game 2 are both 1-1. Nice start. Meanwhile, the Big Club waits to see who they get in the playoffs. If Boston beats Ottawa in regulation on Sunday, they’ll get the Islanders; otherwise, the Islanders get Pittsburgh.

Dallas Jackson had a couple of good scoring chances in double overtime, but Cincinnati came the other way, banked in the winner and leads Gwinnett 3-2 in the series. Some no-calls that Gwinnett was unhappy about, according to the Gladiators’ radio call. They will be the home team for Games 6 and 7, but both games will be in Cincinnati because of building conflicts. Onetime Sound Tigers forward Joey Haddad scored the first goal of the night for Gwinnett.

And it’s impressive to see the range of folks on Twitter expressing their condolences for Tim Taylor.

Michael Fornabaio

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