The first round51 games, including two overtime thrillers in Game 7 in games No. 50 and 51, and now we move on to Round 2.
We're going to share our top picks for each club, so you can digest the eight teams that we saw and preview the matches for the next round.
Their winning script can be rewritten
The eighth-seed wasn't dominated by Presidents Trophy winnersThey won the first round.
Sometimes the Cardiac Cats were almost on life support.
Game 5: Down 3-0 Game 6: Blown lead allows for overtime You will be able to tell that there were some bumps in the road to Florida's first postseason win since 1996.
Florida made it to the top, however. Not because of the top-end talent, however.(Thirty points) (three points or even) (six points). More the unsung stylings of ‘s playoff-leading six games (including the OT winner in that series-deciding Game 6) as well as the playoff mojo (Three goals, seven points).
The Lightning is the Panthers' reward after all their hard work. Are there any recent issues? You bet. You bet.The two-time Vezina Trophy champion was so beaten that he was replaced by a rookie The Panthers were defeated in six games before they lost.
The Panthers must reflect on what went wrong against Washington to avoid another letdown and prevent a Lightning threepeat.
Florida led the NHL with wins (14), when it was trailing after only two periods. The Panthers may have felt a false sense of accomplishment, which could lead to a toxic positive attitude that could backfire on them.
Florida's average goal-advantage was 4.11 per game, which was a league record. However, that number dropped to 3.33 per game in the playoffs. Florida was able to score more than three goals per game against the Capitals in the regular-season, but allowed less than three.
Bobrovsky (.906SV%) has provided solid goaltending for the Panthers, but he will have to keep them out of trouble.At the other end. Florida also has a bonus: Washington was sent home in six games, while Tampa Bay fought with Toronto to win last Saturday's Game 7. The Lightning will enter Game 1 with less rest than their rivals in the state, which is something the Panthers should capitalize on immediately.
Florida must make team defense a priority. The goals will come with the depth of talent Florida has. Someone will light the torch. The Panthers will need to balance that with the tight-checking defensive effort that Tampa Bay can provide.
This has not been an area of strength for Florida but could make the difference between a conference finals spot and a late May locker clean-out. Shilton
You possess the determination of a champion
What lessons can we draw from a series win over Toronto in the first round?
The Lightning aren't content with their back-toback Stanley Cup wins. Lightning are looking for a third.
We learned from the rest that it won't be easy to become the defending champs.
Tampa Bay was driven to the brink by Toronto. The Lightning won those games with (slightly more) goals against (3.43) than for (3.29). Vasilevskiy's performance was more average than exceptional (.897 SV%). Tampa Bay's powerplay was middle-of the-pack (21.2%) They weren't dominant in faceoff dot (43.4%).
All of this was irrelevant in the end. The Game 7 was won by Tampa Bay. Each player was willing to put his body on line in order to keep the pucks out. Nick Paul was able to enjoy the most memorable two-goal game in his life. Vasilevskiy switched to full-throttle Beast Mode. This is what the Lightning can do. They can get you hooked with a left hook just when you think you're too tired, outmatched, or too frustrated. Turn on the lights.
They will be where that momentum takes them. Florida split Tampa Bay's regular-season series 2-2. Both teams have top-end scorers. Both teams have excellent goaltenders. Both teams boast top-pairing defensemen.(Who was the Lightning's best player during the first round?
Tampa Bay's advantage is its determination. It has played hockey more than anyone in the past two seasons. The team has not been affected by it mentally. Lightning are well aware of the difficulty involved in climbing the mountain. But they have reached the top. The future holds great potential. Tampa Bay has made the sacrifices necessary to achieve its goals before and will continue to do so against the bad Cats.
It's not possible to quantify all of this with numbers or stats. It's only a feeling. Teams like Tampa Bay believe it. You don't have to earn it before you can qualify. Shilton
Tampa Bay's Nick Paul showcases his stickwork to give the Lightning an impressive 2-1 lead.
Raleigh: Home ice is important
We continue to search for value within the NHL's regular season.‘Series against The It was a reminder of how important home ice is.
In Raleigh, the Hurricanes appeared a totally different team. They scored 4.50 goals per game and allowed 1.50 goals in four of their home wins. They averaged 2.50 goals per match and 4.67 goals were allowed in their three Boston losses. The Hurricanes were also the best home defense team (with 2.12 GAA in the regular season).
It's not how coach won the win over the Bruins that matters.He was able get his top line with They are far away from their Bruins Line and receive his amazing checking line Against Boston's top-line. See how Staal's 5-on-5 against Bergeron fluctuated between venues.
Game 1 (CAR), 9:19
Game 2 (CAR), 7 :21
Game 3 (BOS: 1): 1.42
Game 4 (BOS), 1:45
Game 5 (CAR), 09:21
Game 6 (BOS), 3:03
Game 7 (CAR), 09:34
Bergeron was not playing Aho, even if he were playing Staal. Aho scored zero points in Boston's three games, and had four even-strength goals in Raleigh's four games. With the Hurricanes having home-ice advantage in Round 2, one can imagine more from Brind'Amour. He will continue to use his excellent checking line and dynamic top scoring line effectively and efficiently. — Wyshynski
All of his regular-season excellence,Igor Shesterkin, goalie, had not yet proven his worth in the postseason. Prior to this postseason, Shesterkin had just one game of playoff experience. He gave up three goals in Game 3, Rangers' qualifying round sweep loss against the Hurricanes in the 2020 Toronto bubble.
Did he prove it to the Penguins? It was when it really mattered.
Shesterkin didn't have a great series. In three games against the he played at a lower level than his replacement.They won their Game 6 game. He ended the series with two outstanding performances. His Game 1 triple-overtime loss, 79 saves, and his Game 7 overtime win, 42 saves.
Most of his rockier nights were due to the Rangers' effort. The traditional stats reflect that: His 3.66 goals against average is the highest among goalies who have played at least six games in the initial round. However, his.911 save rate is third among postseason goalies. Gerard Gallant correctly called out his team for being soft in front of their goalie. The message was slowly absorbed by the team.
However, if the Rangers wanted to see proof of concept for Shesterkin, they found it at Game 7.he scored the series-winning goal. It was an offensive night. It doesn't matter if the Garden crowd is chanting “Igor!” The Rangers goalie made save after saving.
“He's Mr. Rangers defenseman said, “He's Mr.. “I think everybody, not just our group, knows that he's going show up to big games and play well. He'll also make saves that are probably not his. — Wyshynski
Round 2 will not be as easy for dominance
It was so easy to do It's nearly impossible to recall what happened in a series sweep of the first round. Recall: The Predators were without their top goaltender. The Avalanche was not patient. Colorado put up seven goals twice in four games. He scored five goals during the series. Cale Makar tallied 10 (!) points.
Nashville's rookie netminderNever stood a chance.
Even after the Avalanche lost its starting goaltender to injury,Due to an eye injury in Game 3, nobody missed a beat while playing in front of the camera. . Even though it was a great showcase of what makes Colorado so deadly, the series wasn't fair. Spoiler: It included everything about their game.
This is what makes St. Louis' second round matchup so tasty. Colorado is at their best. As seen in the final three rounds of their win over Minnesota, the Blues are flourishing. This heavyweight bout is what makes playoff hockey so special.
Both St. Louis and Colorado have enjoyed some downtime after wrapping up their last series, which was May 9 and 12. It has also given plenty of time to prepare.
The Avalanche will look across the ice to a Blues team that is full of hard-earned confidence, and a goaltender in their corner.He basically has ice in all his veins. This isn't the same as a Predators team that just wants to be competitive.
The Avs don't have the luxury of underestimating the Blues' ability, or overestimating their own. St. Louis shut down Wild's offensive depth and frustrated bothStrong forechecking and good game planning will ensure a net that is secure. Colorado will also benefit from that recipe.
In the postseason, the Avalanche have not been consistently challenged. St. Louis will change all that. Shilton
Nate MacKinnon scored an empty-netter in the Avalanche's sweep of the Predators.
The return to ‘Jordan Winnington.
TheThey are full of surprises.
Leading the team with five goals, nine points and a win in six games against Minnesota, Eye-popping.
The Blues were trailing their best-of-7 series 2-1 when they tried to open the door to a Jordan Binnington revival (3-0-0,.943 SSV%) Unexpected.
St. Louis is rolling in the playoffs even though it didn't begin them with much confidence.
Perron has the scoring.Each team allowed five goals. The defensive play has greatly improved. St. Louis allowed only 1.67 goals against per game in their three final-round series games.
We've already covered goaltending. St. Louis beat Minnesota 15-5 after Binnington took over. The team was just like the Blues during their Stanley Cup run in 2019, where they clicked in.
Next up is a second round meeting with the powerful Avalanche. They are just back at full strength.
Darcy Kuemper will return for Game 1 against St. Louis after he missed the conclusion of Colorado's sweep over Nashville. He had a fantastic regular season, and was right on point again until the beginning of Game 3 in that Predators series.Hit him in the eye using a stick
Kuemper's presence in the crease helps create a highly competitive environment. How well the Blues can fight through will determine their success. St. Louis' depth in scoring has been impressive all season, but it really came to life in the second round. To challenge Kuemper again and to challenge a skilled Avalanche defense, which boasts a walking highlight-reel, it will take that.A deep offensive team that can score in large numbers.
St. Louis will have Colorado to face in every aspect — just hope it has more tricks. Shilton
It's easy for a playoff goaltender to be overlooked when the man on the other end of the ice is putting together one of most memorable performances in recent NHL history. It's amazing to watch.Game 7: While goalie Was he doing what he was doing was like listening to Adele trying to perform a concert next door.
But the Otter was able to return to Texas so the focus now can be on the playoffs' top goaltender. Markstrom's solid play and Stars' offensive challenges allowed him to post a league-best save percentage of.943 in the first round. This set a Flames franchise record for highest save percentage in one playoff series.In 2007,'s.929
Markstrom was a playoff veteran with 14 games prior to the Dallas series.In their 2020 postseason bubble run. The Flames signed him to a $36 million, six-year deal to prove his concept. This was to stabilize a spot on their roster that wasn't filled adequately since Kiprusoff retired in 2013.
A goaltending duel is featured in the Battle of Alberta.According to Money Puck, Markstrom (4.8), is actually the third-best goal saver in the NHL playoffs. Smith has performed better than the Oilers in front of him by a large margin. Markstrom's acumen appears to have been a crucial part of how the Flames defended their Stars.
Maybe that's why headlines such as “Does Markstrom get more credit for the Flames' win against the Stars?” in Canadian media. Although not often recognized, the Flames goalie has been an incredible player. A series win againstThat could change. — Wyshynski
Jake Oettinger made 64 saves but it wasn't enough as the Flames defeated the Stars in overtime thanks to the winning goal by Johnny Gaudreau.
McDavid's seven-game series win against the Oilers was captured by McDavid.It was amazing to watch a player refuse to let his team waste another season of his life. He's the only one who makes a difference in a league filled with “difference makers.”
Consider that McDavid was on the ice for 19 of the Oilers' 27 goals in the series, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. To rally for the series victory, McDavid was on the ice at least for the six goals they scored during Games 6 and 7. Stathletes reports that the Oilers out-chanced McDavid's Kings by 68-24 for the series.
Game 7 was his sixth game with multiple points. This is the longest streak of multi-point games by a skater in any playoff round for nearly 40 years. His 14 points are the third-most in an opening round series by an Art Ross Trophy recipient. What about the other two? Wayne Gretzky. Have you heard of them?
McDavid's only loss since April 20 was Game 4 in Los Angeles.His shutout was pitched. It's not a question of McDavid scoring against the Flames. It's about when. It's important to minimize McDavid's damage and maximize the difference when he is not in Edmonton. — Wyshynski