Another week of the NHL playoffs is over, and with four teams eliminated, we're one step closer to finding out this year's Stanley Cup winner.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild (Avalanche 3-2)
The Colorado Avalanche clinched the Central Division title and currently lead their series against the Wild. That didn't seem to be the case earlier in the week, as Minnesota won Game 3 and Game 4 of the series. Game 3 was a slow and scoreless game, but all was well when Wild forward Mikael Granlund scored an outstanding game-winning goal at the 5:05 mark in overtime.
The Wild evened the series after Game 4 with a score of 2-1. Defenseman Jared Spurgeon of the Wild scored the first goal of the game with nice slapshot. Forward Charlie Coyle gave the Wild a two-goal advantage with a goal during the second period. Forward Ryan O'Reilly of the Avalanche ended Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper's shutout streak in the third period just thirty seconds after Coyle's goal. The Wild were able to hold the Avalanche off though, since Colorado only had a total of 12 shots on goal.
Colorado knew that they had to come back from their two losses and they redeemed themselves in Game 5. It was a back-and-forth game until the third quarter when the Wild scored two goals two minutes apart to give themselves a one-goal lead. Right wing PA Parenteau was able to help his team with some last minute magic by scoring the game-tying goal. Overtime ended within three minutes as Center Nathan MacKinnon completed a three-point night by scoring the game's winning goal.
Colorado will try to advance to round two in Game 6 on Monday, April 28th at 9 PM EST.
St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks (Blackhawks 4-2)
Last week, the Blues were leading the series by two games, but this week, Chicago made a huge comeback as they won four games in a row to make it into round two of the playoffs.
Game 3 ended with a score of 2-0, as captain Jonathan Toews started the game off with his first goal of this year's playoffs from a wrist shot in the first period. The Blues fought hard to try to tie the game, but in the end, goalie Corey Crawford proved that he was done with his mistakes from the other two games. Marcus Kruger secured the win with an empty net goal.
Game 4 was a hard-fought contest, but the Blackhawks were able to even the series in overtime. The game was tied at two apiece at the end of the second quarter. Chicago made the same poor defense moves as the first two games and the Blues had the lead with eight minutes left in the third period. Forward Bryan Bickell finally gave fans at United Center something to cheer for by scoring the game-tying goal at the 16:08 mark. With a beautiful wrister, Patrick Kane scored the winning goal midway through overtime.
It was a back-and-forth Game 5 that once again went into overtime. Captain Jonathan Toews scored his second goal of the playoffs and sent the game to overtime on an amazing backhand shot on a breakaway.
The Blues were unable to get themselves out of their three-game losing streak as Game 6 was won by the Blackhawks with a score of 5-1. Each team scored a goal in the first period, but the Blues lost their momentum into the third period when the Blackhawks scored four goals in a row.
The defending Stanley Cup Champions will be playing either Colorado or Minnesota later this week.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Dallas Stars (Anaheim 4-2)
The Anaheim Ducks will be moving on to round two of the playoffs as they defeated the Dallas Stars late Sunday night.
After waiting nearly six years to see a playoff game back on home ice, Dallas Stars fans were not disappointed as the Stars won Game 3 with a score of 3-0. Goalie Kari Lehtonen made 37 saves in his first playoff victory and shutout.
The Stars' winning streak continued in Game 4 as they evened the series with a 4-2 win. Anaheim led the game with two goals in the first period, but the Stars came back with two goals in each period.
In Game 5, the Stars surely looked like they had control in the second period even though the Ducks had the lead. However, all things changed in the third period when three different Anaheim players scored three goals in seven minutes. Game 5 ended with a score of 6-2.
Anaheim will be moving on to round two after a thrilling overtime finish late Sunday night. For a majority of the game, the Stars had the lead. The Stars became restless late in the third period after giving up a goal to forward Nick Bonino.
With only 24 seconds left in regulation, Devante Smith-Pelly scored his second goal of the night to bring the game to overtime. Bonino also scored his second of the night on a wrist shot only three minutes into overtime to give Anaheim the comeback win.
The Ducks will face the winner of the series between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings.
San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings (Sharks 3-2)
The San Jose Sharks continued their triumphant form from last week by winning Game 3 in overtime. The Sharks led the game after the first period, but in the second, Los Angeles took the lead. The Sharks understood what was happening and quickly adjusted in the second half of regulation. They eventually tied the game to bring it to overtime, where left wing Patrick Marleau's backhander gave the Sharks a 3-0 lead in the series.
The Kings stayed alive in Game 4 from two momentum-building goals late in the second period. A mere 34 seconds into the third period, Marian Gaborik scored the fifth goal for the Kings, putting them up 5-3. Sharks center Joe Pavelski scored a power play goal to make it a two-goal game, but Dustin Brown scored an empty net goal to keep the Kings in the playoffs.
In Game 5, the Kings kept the momentum alive, and made it clear that the Sharks won't easily advance to the next round. They completely blanked San Jose, coming out with a 3-0 win to keep their Stanley Cup hopes alive.
San Jose hopes to end the Kings' winning streak on Monday, April 28th at 10 PM EST.
Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings (Bruins 4-1)
This year's President's Trophy winner has officially knocked off the Detroit Red Wings by winning three games in a row.
The Bruins blanked the Red Wings in Game 3 by keeping possession of the puck, playing smart, and making few mistakes.
The Detroit Red Wings knew that they had to reconcile after Game 3, and they started off well with a two-goal lead. However, the Bruins scored midway through the second period, which gave them momentum for an early goal in the third period. The Red Wings were unable to make up the deficit, and the game went into overtime. Jarome Iginla scored with a simple tip-in at the front of the net to put the Bruins up 3-1 in the series.
Special teams dominated the first half of Game 5, with the Bruins scoring two power-play goals and the Red Wings scoring another. The Bruins had the lead in the third period, but Henrik Zetterberg made it a one-goal game with less than four minutes left to play in regulation. Luckily for Bruins fans, Jarome Iginla protected the Game 5 victory with an empty net goal with 16 seconds left in the game.
The Boston Bruins will face off against the Montréal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Second Round.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montréal Canadiens (Canadiens 4-0)
The Canadiens were the first team this playoffs to sweep their opponent. It was another one goal-game in Game 4, but due to a late power play goal, the Canadiens were able to edge past the Lightning. Max Pacioretty jammed the puck through the five-hole of Kristers Gudlevskis with only 42.6 seconds left in the third period.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (Penguins 3-2)
It's safe to say that in this series, a two-goal lead is never safe. The Blue Jackets were leading by two goals in the second period of Game 3, but the Penguins rallied back to tie the game and eventually give themselves the lead on a deflected shot at the 8:06 mark in the third period.
Game 4 once again proved leads aren't safe; the Penguins were up by three goals midway through the first period, but by the third period the Blue Jackets had tied the game up. Brandon Dubinsky scored the tying goal on a wrist shot with 22 seconds left in the game, when Marc-Andre Fleury left the goal to retrieve the puck from behind the net.
During the third period intermission, forward Nick Foligno of the Blue Jackets said he would score the overtime goal...And within two minutes and 49 seconds left, Foligno helped the Blue Jackets tie the series up.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were done with losing two-goal leads, and held on in Game 5 on their way to a 3-1 win.
The Penguins hope to eliminate the Blue Jackets on Monday, April 28th at 7 PM EST.
New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers (Rangers 3-2)
The New York Rangers dominated a one-sided game in Game 3, defeating the Flyers 4-1.
The Philadelphia Flyers knew they couldn't let the Rangers go up three games to one, and they tied the series up in Game 4. Jakub Voracek iced the win with a power play in the second period, and the score ended up 2-1.
The Rangers moved one step closer to round two of the playoffs by defeating the Flyers in Game 5. They kept a nice safety net, building up an early three-goal lead. The Flyers came back with two goals, but Brian Boyle scored a late empty-net goal to give the Rangers the 4-2 win.
The Rangers and Flyers will face off on Tuesday, April 29th at 7:30 PM EST.
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