A friendly Zucc reminder

Mats Zuccarello scored the game-winner for the Stars in their 3-2 win over the Predators in Game One tonight. I seem to remember seeing this kind of enthusiasm from Zucc following goals like this one.

Dallas got a pair of goals from rookie defenseman Miro Heiskanen and Zuccarello followed up a Ben Lovejoy shot that rebounded off Pekka Rinne right to him for his first postseason goal as a Dallas Star. Your typical hard working goal from the gritty Zucc, who found the rebound for a 3-1 Stars lead with over nine minutes left.

It stood up as the winner due to a great individual effort from P.K. Subban, who successfully spun around off a defender and blew a shot past Ben Bishop a couple of minutes later.

A key shot block from Roman Polak prevented a potential tying goal. The Stars were able to get out of noisy Nashville with a win.

The biggest stunner was the Blue Jackets rallying from a 3-0 deficit to stun the Lightning for a 4-3 win. I couldn’t help but smile after Seth Jones scored the winner from Artemi Panarin. Sergei Bobrovsky held them in after a rough first period. Columbus became the first team to beat Tampa after trailing by such a deficit. It’s Playoffs. Anything can happen.

In the best game of the first night, Josh Bailey put in a rebound of a Mathew Barzal shot that hit the goalpost to give the Islanders an emotional 4-3 win over the Penguins in overtime at the crazy NYCB Live Nassau Coliseum. It sounded like a madhouse.

Pittsburgh came back three separate times to tie the seesaw game with Justin Schultz tying it with Matt Murray pulled for an extra attacker with over a minute left. The Isles shutdown Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel. They also gave Kris Letang fits. His turnover cost the Pens on Bailey’s winner. Robin Lehner was superb. Jordan Eberle had a goal and a helper. For the Pens, both Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin had a goal and assist. They showed up in what was a physical contest with plenty of hitting. It was fun to watch.

The Sharks were winning comfortably over the Golden Knights in the late game. St. Louis used a Tyler Bozak goal with over two minutes remaining to edge Winnipeg 2-1. Patrik Laine got the only Jets tally early. But the pesky Blues used third period goals by David Perron and Bozak to steal home ice. Jordan Binnington made a clutch save in the waning seconds to preserve the victory.

Tomorrow, the other three series get underway. That’s the Bruins hosting the Leafs, the Caps hosting the Hurricanes, and the Flames at home for the Avalanche.

This night belongs to the Islanders and the beloved Zucc.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of Hudson administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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