Stanley Cup Playoffs Round One Summary

What happened in round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

The first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs ended last Monday with eight teams advancing to the second round. 

The matchups now consist of Leafs vs. Panthers; Oilers vs. Golden Knights; Kraken vs. Stars and Hurricanes vs. Devils. 

So far, the second round has been full of action with two four-goal games respectably by Leon Draisaitl (EDM) and Joe Pavelski (DAL); but before we talk about that let’s recap each first-round series.

Jets Vs. Golden Knights

The Vegas Golden Knights won four straight after a game-one loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Jets defender Neil Pionk led the team in points with seven; while forwards Chandler Stephenson and Mark Stone shared the honor with eight a piece for Vegas. 112 penalty minutes were assessed during the five games with two fighting majors assessed.

In game one Jets forward Morgan Barron had a scary incident when he took a skate to the face in the first period. Thankfully he was okay and returned for the second with over 75 stitches. 

Game three was a close game that ended after a goal from Michael Amadio around four minutes into double overtime. Game five ended with four unanswered goals being scored throughout the first two periods, but the Jets prevented the shutout as Kyle Connor scored in the final five minutes.

Bruins Vs. Panthers

In one of the biggest upsets in hockey history, the 42-32-8 wild card Florida Panthers beat the 65-12-5 Boston Bruins; who had the best season in NHL history.

During the fifth game, things seemed to be going in the Bruins’ favor.  They were losing by one at the halfway mark of the third period but managed to tie the game at the halfway mark forcing overtime. The Panthers would squeak out with the win after a goal from Matthew Tkachuk. Game four was another close one; at the halfway mark of the third Boston was leading 5-4 after a shorthanded goal, but the Panthers managed to score three in a row evening the series to 3-3.

Game Seven would arguably be the most intense game of the playoffs. It started with the only goal of the period: a four-on-three power-play goal from defender Brandon Montour. One minute into the second period, Sam Reinhart managed to score giving the Panthers a 2-0 lead; but David Krejčí would score on the powerplay for the Bruins. The third period started with a Boston goal right out of the gate. After a David Pastrňák goal gave the Bruins a 3-2, it looked like the Bruins were going to win. Then with one minute left on the clock, Florida would tie the game. The game went into OT… and around halfway through Carter Verhaeghe scored for the Panthers

Avalanche Vs. Kraken

The Colorado Avalanche Vs. the Seattle Kraken series was wild. Colorado Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen was tied with Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl for the most playoff goals with seven a piece and Philip Grubauer is currently leading the NHL in postseason saves will 329; 214 of them coming from round one.

Game one would result in a 3-1 win for the Kraken but games two and three would be a different story as the Avalanche would come out with the victories. Game four would come down to an overtime decision; Seattle would score two in the first and Mikko Rantanen would score two in the second. That would cap scoring in regulation; shortly into overtime The Avalanche would take a penalty and Jordan Eberle would get the winner.

Game five resulted in another Seattle win making game six an elimination game. Colorado would make out with the win in game six; which wasn’t without its controversy Avalanche forward Andrew Cogliano would leave the game after a controversial hit from Jordan Eberle. That would only result in a boarding minor… and it would turn out Cogliano suffered a fractured neck as a result. Jordan Eberle faced no action from the Department of Player Safety. The Seattle Kraken would then make out with a game-seven win.

Islanders Vs. Hurricanes

The New York Islanders Vs. the Carolina Hurricanes series lasted six games, but frankly, it seemed to be one that should have taken four. Sebastian Aho; from the Carolina Hurricanes (Not to be confused with the Islanders Sebastian Aho) let the series in points with seven; (the other Aho only had one).

The Carolina Hurricanes seemed to dominate the Islanders in games one and two goaltender Ilya Sorokin of the Islanders seemed to be one of the few players keeping the scores within a narrow margin, but the two games ended in a loss. Game three was another story after a scoreless first and a goal for each team in the second; the third period sang a different tune; the Hurricanes slipped and allowed four unanswered goals giving the victory to the Islanders.

Game four was another win for the Hurricanes; making game five a possible elimination game; but in a turn of events the Islanders won. Game six started off with a goal from Cal Clutterbuck halfway through the first; and then an exchange of shots that lasted until Carolinas Sebastian Aho scored halfway in the third making the score 1-1. There would go on to be overtime where Paul Stastny would advance Carolina to round two of the Stanley Cup Playoff.

Rangers Vs. Devils

The New York Rangers Vs. New Jersey Devils series was one to be remembered; Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin is still leading playoffs goaltenders with a .931 save percentage (Among all started goalies) after being eliminated in round one. Shesterkin also got called for a roughing penalty in game three. In game four Jack Hughes of the New Jersey Devils scored an impressive breakaway goal after a Rangers turnover.

Games one and two seemed to set the Rangers up as a team that would dominate the Devils after two 5-1 victories. The Devils swapped tenders and put in rookie Akira Schmid; then the rest of the series would go differently. Game three would be lost by a close margin; that isn’t to say both teams were playing well; Shesterkin was the main reason the Rangers didn’t get blown out. Game four would be yet another game lost by a small margin in goals but not in play. Game five would be one of the Rangers’ worst games of the series and get shutout 4-0. The Rangers somehow managed to force a game seven after a 5-2 victory, only to be shut out again by the Devils and end up eliminated.

Kings Vs. Oilers

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers are arguably one of the most lethal combos in the entire NHL, and they showed that against the Los Angles Kings. Draisaitl led the team with points with eleven and McDavid and Evan Bouchard followed closely with ten apiece. On the Kings’ side of things, Adrian Kempe led with eight points.

The three games went Kings overtime win, Edmonton win, and then another Kings overtime win. However, things would shift in the Oilers’ favor. Game four started with three Kings goals in the first period and then the Oilers would tie it after scoring another three in the second. Each team would score one in the third leaving the game tied 4-4. Overtime would take place and around halfway through Zach Hyman of the Oilers would score the winner setting the Oilers up for a three-game heater and allowing them to win the series.

Leafs Vs. Lightning

The longest-running joke of hockey officially ended; the Toronto Maple Leafs managed to make it past round one in the playoffs ending their 18-year drought as they defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in game six. Mitch Marner led the Leafs in points with 11 and Anthony Cirelli and Nikita Kucherov were the leaders for the Lightning with six a piece.

Game one made Tampa seem to be unstoppable they beat the Leafs 7-3 and goaltender Ilya Samsonov allowed six goals on twenty-nine shots and backup Joesph Will allowed one on five shots. The rest of the series would turn out differently; Games three and four resulted in overtime wins. Game five granted the Leafs the possibility of advancing; but would be a close match against Tampa, a loss nonetheless.

Game six was the Leafs’ second chance at advancing; in a close game with a scoreless second and one for the Leafs by Auston Matthews in the second and another for Tampa from Steven Stamkos in the third. With the score 1-1 at the end of the third, the game went into overtime where John Tavares would be the Leafs’ hero and send them to the second round.

Stars Vs. Wild

The Dallas Stars Vs. Minnesota Wild was certainly an interesting series, Roope Hintz had the only hatrick of round one and also led the Stars in points with twelve. On the other side of things Minnesota forwards Mats Zuccarello, Ryan Hartman, and Gustav Nyquist shared the Wild’s lead with five a piece.

Game one would be a Wild win in double overtime, and game two would be a 7-3 win for the Stars. Game three would be a massive 5-1 win for Minnesota but that would be their final win of the series. Game four was the second tight game but this time Minnesota would be able to force overtime; instead the Stars were victorious. Game Five would allow Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger to get a 4-0 shutout, he almost did that again for game six but Frédérick Gaudreau would sneak a goal in during the third making the final score 4-1 with The Stars advancing.

What’s Ahead

Here is the list of round two matchups with where the series stands as of May 9th (Teams must win four games to advance)

Panthers Vs. Leafs (3-0 FLA)

Hurricanes Vs. Devils (3-1 CAR)

Kraken Vs. Stars (2-2)

Golden Knights Vs. Oilers (2-1 VGK)