When it appeared the home ice advantage had disappeared in the playoffs, it was reinstated by the Montreal Canadiens.
Guy Carbonneau scored with 81 seconds to play in regulation Friday night at the Montreal Forum to give the Canadiens a 5-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. They became the first team to take a 2-0 playoff lead on home ice.
During the regular season, all 16 teams that qualified for Stanley Cup play had winning records at home. Only four teams in the NHL had winning records on the road.
But after opening games in the playoffs, the visitors had a 6-2 record.
The Canadiens, who dominated from the start Wednesday night, getting four goals in the first period, struggled in this one.
Buffalo, which scored early on a power play with a two-man advantage, pulled in front, 4-3, early in the last period. Stephane Richer brought the Canadiens even halfway through the final period.
With time running out, Mike McPhee of the Canadiens shot wide of the net, but Carbonneau grabbed the puck and slipped it under goalie Daren Puppa to win the game.
Pittsburgh 5, New Jersey 4--The Penguins, champions of the Patrick Division, didn't exercise a home ice edge against the Devils.
After losing the opener, they had to go into overtime to even the best-of-seven series at 1-1.
Rookie Jaromir Jagr scored his first playoff goal at 8:52 of overtime.
It was only the second shot on goal for the Penguins in overtime, while the Devils, who outshot Pittsburgh, 40-25, had seven.
The Devils took the lead three times but fell behind early in the third period when Troy Loney scored for the Penguins. Alexei Kastanov scored for New Jersey on a 15-footer 45 seconds later.
For the next 24 minutes, goalies Chris Tereri of the Devils and Tom Barrasso of Pittsburgh prevailed.
Barrasso made two sensational saves before Jagr faked Terreri and lifted the puck into the corner of the net.
Boston 4, Hartford 3--While dominating the Adams Division this season, the Bruins were especially tough on the Whalers.
But after losing the playoff opener at home, the Bruins needed Cam Neely to complete his hat trick to get a split on home ice.
Neely's third goal with 3:22 to play in regulation broke a 3-3 tie.
The Whalers, who won easily Wednesday night, skated into the third period with a 3-2 lead.
But Neely, taking a pass from Craig Janney, the playmaker who was sidelined for the opener because of an injury, tied the score with 8:21 remaining. Janney also set him up for the winner.
"I'm supposed to score the goals," said Neely, who scored 51 during the season. "But I have to get into the game. I wasn't nervous in the third period, but I was ready."
Washington 3, New York Rangers 0--The Rangers were the only team besides Montreal to win an opener at home, but in their second home game, they couldn't beat Don Beaupre.
The veteran netminder stopped 35 shots for his second playoff shutout and tied the series, 1-1.
The Rangers, ranked No. 2 in the league on power-play goals this season, had eight chances with the man advantage.
Dino Ciccarelli, on a power-play before the game was two minutes old, gave Beaupre the goal he needed.