In Pursuit of Lord Stanley’s Cup

After round one, eight teams are still alive in playoffs, including the defending champions

Round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs was a record-breaker

Round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs was a record-breaker

Jacob Murphy, Staff Writer

The NHL season begins in October with 30 teams in pursuit of Lord Stanley’s Cup. Out of these 3o, teams only sixteen of them make the playoffs. The 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs began Wednesday, April the 12, but they will not conclude until June. This year is going to be a wild race to the finish, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Anaheim Ducks defeat the Calgary Flames, 4 games to none

Five Canadian teams made the playoffs this year only a year after none of them got in. This first one to get eliminated was the Calgary Flames, who were swept in four games by the Anaheim Ducks. Game one of the series was pretty close, having the Ducks win 3-2. Calgary didn’t help themselves by putting Anaheim on the PowerPlay seven times, but they only scored on the Power Play (PP) twice. Anaheim’s offense was clicking, out-shooting the Flames 41-32. No single player really stood out in this game. The Ducks won with a solid team effort and solid goaltending from John Gibson. The next game was also 3-2 in favor of the hometown Ducks. The same 3 players who scored for Anaheim in game one scored again in game two with Getzlaf doing it again on the PP. The Flames did lead the game in shots on goal (SOG). Game three in Calgary went to OT, and the Ducks won 5-4. The Flames were up 4-1 in the second period, but didn’t score again for the rest of the game. John Gibson gave up all four goals and was relieved by Jonathon Bernier, who gave up nothing. Game four was a much easier win for the Ducks, who won 3-1 to complete the sweep. Anaheim will face Edmonton in the second round.

Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4 games to 1

The next team to advance was also a bird mascot, the Pittsburgh Penguins. They defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets in five games. Columbus made a historic run this year after finishing last in the league last season. Marc Andre-Fleury made 31 saves in a surprise start in game one after Matt Murray got hurt in warm-ups. Pittsburgh won Game one at home 3-1. Fleury played outstanding once again in game two with 39 saves alongside Sidney Crosby, who had three points. The Blue Jackets out-hit and out-shot Pittsburgh, but still fell short, losing 4-1. The story of game three was Penguins rookie Jake Guentzel, who had a hat trick, including the game winner 13:10 into OT. Pittsburgh went on to win 5-4 in OT. Columbus bounced back from an emotional game three loss to win game four at home 5-4 to force game five in Pittsburgh. The Penguins played like a team of destiny in game five. They went 2-4 in the PP, Marc Andre-Fleury made 49 saves and Bryan  Rust had two goals to lead Pittsburgh to a series victory. The Penguins will play Washington in round two.

The Edmonton Oiler defeat the San Jose Sharks, 4 games to 2

The Edmonton Oilers made the playoffs for the first time since 2006, and they played the San Jose Sharks in the first round of these playoffs. The defense was working well in game one for the Sharks, as they held rookie phenom Connor McDavid to zero goals. They won in OT 3-2. Game two, however, was all Edmonton. The Sharks only got 16 shots on goal the whole game. Cam Talbot stopped every single shot. There were 10 penalties in the game, and neither team scored. Both of Edmonton’s goals were shorthanded, as they won 2-0. Cam Talbot had 23 saves in game three as the Sharks were shut out once again, 1-0. The Sharks got tired of not scoring, and went 4-8 on the PP to win 7-0. Edmonton bounced back in game five at home, and came back from a 3-1 deficit to win 4-3 in OT. Edmonton scored three goals on only 21 shots on goal to eliminate San Jose in game six.

Washington Capitals defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4 games to 2

The Washington Capitals faced the Toronto Maple Leafs in round one, and five of the six games played in the series were decided in OT. Justin Williams scored two goals to help Washington rally from two goals down to win game one in OT, 3-2. Toronto had 51 shots on goal in a game two that went into double OT. Frederik Andersen made 47 saves in the Leafs 4-3 win. Rookie sensation Auston Matthews was held to no goals in the series until game three. Washington went 0 for 3 on the PP, while Toronto’s only PP goal was the OT winner by Tyler Bozak to lead the Maple Leafs to a 4-3 win. Game four was the only game to not go into OT, and it was a high scoring affair. Four of the Capitals’ five goals were scored in the first period, including their only power play goal. Washington won game four by a score of 5-4. Washington’s defense helped them to a win in game five by keeping Toronto 0-4 on the PP. Justin Williams scored the game winner in the extra period to lead the Capitals to a 2-1 win. Game six was scoreless until the third period when Toronto’s Auston Matthews scored off of a lively bounce off the end wall. Marcus Johansson would score the next two goals of the game, and Washington would end the series in game six.

Nashville Predators defeat the Chicago Blackhawks, 4 games to none

The Chicago Blackhawks were the experts’ favorite to win the Western Conference, but they were upset and swept by the Nashville Predators in the first round. Viktor Arvidsson scored the only goal of the game in the first period, and Pekka Rinne made 29 saves to lead Nashville to a 1-0 win. Pekka Rinne made his second shutout in as many games with 30 saves to lead the Predators to a 5-0 win. After getting shutout in both home games, Chicago scored the first two goals of game three, but Nashville came from behind to force OT. Kevin Fiala finished the comeback with his OT goal to lead the Preds to a 3-2 win. Nashville scored three goals in the third quarter and won the series in four straight games. The Predators will play St. Louis in the second round.

New York Rangers defeat the Montreal Canadiens, 4 games to 2

The New York Rangers came into the playoffs as a wildcard team even though they had more points in the standings than their first round opponents, the top-seeded Montreal Canadiens. Henrik Lundqvist overcame his Belle Center curse and made 31 saves to shutout Montreal and lead the Rangers to a 2-0 win. Montreal decided to get a lot of pucks to the net and put 58 shots on goal, which is 20 more than New York had. Alexander Radulov capped the Canadiens’ comeback victory with his OT winner to lead Montreal to a 4-3 victory in game two. The Canadiens went 2 of 3 on the PP in game three, and the defense held NY to no goals on the extra man opportunities. Montreal went on to win 3-1. The Rangers’ defense made sure Montreal did not score any goals after the first period in game four. New York won the game 2-1. Mika Zibanejad scored 14 minutes into the overtime period to lead the Rangers to a 3-2 win in game five. Mats Zuccarello scored two in the second period to lead New York to a series clinching victory.

St. Louis Blues defeat the Minnesota Wild, 4 games to 1

Jake Allen’s outstanding goaltending and good all around team play got the St. Louis Blues into the playoffs and lead them to a series victory over the Minnesota Wild. Jake Allen continued his solid play in game one, making 51 saves and leading the Blues to a 2-1 OT win. Game two also ended in a 2-1 Blues win, even though they were out-shot and went 0 for 2 on the power play. The defense for St. Louis continued to shine in game three holding Minnesota to 0 goals in 4 attempts on the power play, and Jake Allen made 40 saves. The Blues went on to win the game 3-1. Game four had no goals scored in the third period and no Blues goals at all. Charlie Coyle scored his second goal of the series leading the Wild to a win 2-0 game four win. Minnesota came back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game in game five. Magnus Paajarvi scored in overtime to clinch the series for St. Louis.

Ottawa Senators defeat the Boston Bruins, 4 games to 2

Brad Marchand and the Bruins had to fight for the last two months of the season to make into the playoffs, and they faced the Ottawa Senators in round one. Both of Boston’s goals were scored in the third period to finish the scoring and win the game 2-1. Ottawa was down 3-1 going into the third period of game two, and they came back to win it in overtime when Dion Phaneuf scored two minutes into the extra frame. Game three was almost the exact opposite for Ottawa. They were up 3-0 in the second period, but gave up three goals in the same period, and Boston forced overtime. Bobby Ryan scored five minutes into the overtime period, and Ottawa won 4-3. No goals were scored until the third period in game four, and the Bruins did not score at all. Bobby Ryan scored his third goal of the series to win it for Ottawa 1-0. Game five went into double overtime with no goals being scored in over 40 straight minutes of play. Sean Kuraly finally won the game for Boston with ten minutes left in double OT. Game six was the fourth game of the series to go into overtime. Clark MacArthur clinched the series win for Ottawa in overtime.

The first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs was a record-breaking round. 18 games went into overtime. If the rest of the playoffs are as exciting as the first round, then the next month of hockey will be fun to watch.