The first round of the post-season is officially over with the Nashville Predators moving on to the second round to face the San Jose Sharks. And while the second round has already begun thanks to an odd bit of scheduling with the Islanders winning Game 1 over the Lightning, that doesn’t mean we can’t look back on the round that was.
Every post-season has its share of surprises and memorable moments, and there was no shortage of those over the past two weeks. There was the yearly upset — if you can call it that — with the Sharks moving on past a Los Angeles Kings team that looked primed to chase their third Stanley Cup in five years, and there were some matchups that weren’t as close, like that between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers.
When we look back on the post-season, though, here are the 10 moments we’ll remember from the first round: Read more
The post-season is the best time of year for hockey fans, and the reasons for that have started to go well beyond the action on ice.
For the past few seasons, the team at EA Sports has started slowly releasing information about the next iteration of the NHL video game franchise during the playoffs, and the hype train is ready to get rolling for NHL 17 with the release of the game’s first trailer. While there’s not a ton of actual gameplay footage featured in the 90-second preview of what’s to come in NHL 17, there are some hints as to what gamers can look forward to.
One facet of the game that appears as if it will get an overhaul is the ‘Be A GM’ mode, which looks like it will dive deeper into front office management than any current generation game has. Check out the trailer and see what you can pick up: Read more
The Grand Rapids Griffins, the Detroit Red Wings’ AHL affiliate, are heading to the second round of the post-season thanks to a series sweep of the Nashville Predators-affiliated Milwaukee Admirals, but they should also be thankful for the keen eye of the officiating crew working Game 3 of their first-round series.
The Griffins fell behind early on a goal by Admirals winger Adam Payerl, but stormed back on two goals in the first three minutes of the second period by defenseman Brian Lashoff and winger Anthony Mantha. The Griffins may have been lucky to get both goals up on the scoreboard, though, given that both pucks were shot hard enough to burst through the net in almost the exact same spot.
Lashoff’s goal, especially, caught some off guard. The goal isn’t shown in the AHL-provided game highlights, and it’s only thanks to the Griffins that there’s footage of the puck breaking through the net at all. Take a look: Read more
Through six games of the first-round series against the Nashville Predators, Anaheim Ducks sniper Corey Perry hasn’t found the back of the net once.
Perry, 30, paced the Ducks with 34 goals in the regular season, and the former Rocket Richard winner hasn’t made a habit of being held off of the score sheet and out of the goal column throughout his career. Perry’s six-game goalless drought hasn’t come due to a lack of trying, though. His 14 shots on goal are the second-most among all Ducks forwards, and Perry has gotten pucks on goal from all over the ice. Monday night, that meant a point-blank opportunity to break his personal goose-egg for the series.
The only thing standing between Perry and his first goal of the series, though, was Predators netminder Pekka Rinne. And, just as he has done all series, Rinne turned aside Perry, continuing to frustrate the sniper in a series that has been much closer than anyone could have expected: Read more
The Chicago Blackhawks’ season ended with an incredibly hard fought Game 7 against the St. Louis Blues, but the defending Stanley Cup champions didn’t go away without putting at least one final scare into the Blues.
With the Blackhawks trailing 3-2 in the final five minutes of the third period, Andrew Shaw collected a loose puck behind the Blues net and shovelled a pass back to defenseman Brent Seabrook. Blues goaltender Brian Elliott had to look through several bodies in front, so Seabrook unloaded a shot from the blueline with the hope he’d find the back of the net or catch a favorable bounce to set up a scoring chance. He got a bounce, all right, but it wasn’t exactly the one he wanted.
Seabrook’s shot eluded everyone on the way to the net, got past a screened Elliott and came inches from tying the contest. Watch as the puck hits the post, rides the goal line and exits the net after clanking off the opposite post: Read more
The St. Louis Blues are a long way from winning the Stanley Cup, but it can’t be understated just how big the 3-2 victory in Monday’s Game 7 was.
The mantra in St. Louis for the better part of the week, and maybe for the duration of the first-round series, was that this time things were going to be different. This time the Blues weren’t going to fall apart, they were going to close out a series and finally advance after three consecutive first-round exits. But a loss in Game 6 saw doubt creep in for the Blues, if not from the players then from those who’ve watched this team fail to get the job done in Round One for the past three campaigns.
However, following Game 6’s second period collapse, the Blues entered Game 7 with the same emotion they displayed in the first frame of Saturday’s game. The difference-maker was that this time the Blues didn’t fall apart at the seams. No doubt there was a scare — an early 2-0 lead was squashed by the rival Chicago Blackhawks — but with the game tied, the Blues didn’t blow coverages, they didn’t let a weak goal turn the tide and they didn’t give the Blackhawks one single Grade ‘A’ scoring chance. That all led to St. Louis’ Troy Brouwer scoring midway through the final period, and that marker stood as the goal that sent the Blues to the second round. Read more
The Predators haven’t seen the second round of the post-season since the 2011-12 season, and with their backs against the wall, Nashville did what few imagined they could do against an incredibly tough Anaheim Ducks team: they’ve forced the series to a one-game, winner-takes-all Game 7.
The Predators’ forced the deciding seventh game because, as they’ve done for much of the series, they shut down the Ducks’ top stars, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf and relied on their ability to counterpunch in order to take a hang on for a 3-1 victory. The Predators’ have frustrated Perry and Getzlaf all series, giving the duo almost no room to operate. Even when Bruce Boudreau paired Getzlaf with Perry, the two weren’t able to generate any offense and Predators netminder Pekka Rinne slammed the door on any and all chances the pair was able to get.
In the contests the Predators have won this series, Rinne was no doubt the difference between wins and losses. Nashville has had to rely on their veteran goaltender, too, because over the past three games they’ve only generated six goals. Luckily, one of those goals was James Neal’s game-winner, which came in the final minutes of the second. Read more
The NHL installed crossbar-mounted cameras before the post-season began, and Game 6 of the first-round series between the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild made it clear exactly why the cameras were a necessary addition.
After the Stars took a 4-0 lead heading into the third period, the Wild clawed back to make the contest 4-3. Dallas pulled ahead shortly thereafter thanks to a fortunate bounce that resulted in their fifth goal, but Jason Pominville’s marker with less than five minutes remaining brought the Wild within one to set up a frantic finish. And in the final minute, Minnesota came a mere fraction of an inch from forcing overtime.
With the Wild net empty and Minnesota pressuring the Stars, the puck was worked below the goal line and back out front where Nino Niederreiter knocked the puck into the pad of netminder Kari Lehtonen. At first, it appeared the puck came nowhere close to crossing the goal. However, the play was reviewed and showed the difference between the Wild tying the contest and falling one goal short of knotting the score was less than half an inch: Read more