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First round draws to a close

Apr 30 • Hockey, Sports • 1057

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The St. Louis Blues at one point held a 2-0 series lead on the defending Stanley Cup Champion, Chicago Blackhawks. Prior to the playoffs a large portion of hockey fans saw this Blues team as a cup contender. The general consensus was that if anybody could beat the highly skilled Blackhawks, it was them; and they looked poised to do it.

Fast forward to Game 6.

The Blackhawks win their fourth straight after falling behind two games and move on to the next series. They will face either the Colorado Avalanche or the Minnesota Wild, who will play a Game 7 in Colorado after a commanding 5-2 Wild victory in Minnesota on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Kings also forced a Game 7 against the San Jose Sharks on Monday night. Facing elimination for the third straight game after falling behind to three games to none, the Kings won the sixth game of the series 4-1 and stayed alive for at least one more game.

The Anaheim Ducks have a lot of very good veteran players, such as Teemu Selanne, who has announced that he will retire after a 25-year career in the NHL. For as much experience and talents as they have, the Ducks didn’t play their best hockey in their first series. However, they were good enough to squeak by a young and promising Dallas Stars team, winning the series four games to two. They will face the winner of the Kings/Sharks series.

In the Eastern Conference, the Montreal Canadiens were the first team to move on to the next round, sweeping captain Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning four games to none. Shortly after, the Bruins locked up a second-round matchup with the Canadiens, beating the Detroit Red Wings in five games.

The Metropolitan Division-leading the Pittsburgh Penguins moved to the second round after winning Game 6 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, who gave the Penguins as much as they could handle and almost pulled off a major upset.

They stand to face the winner of the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers, who will play at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Game 7 of the series.

Philadelphia used home ice to take down the Rangers 5-2 Tuesday. The Flyers now have to travel to Madison Square Garden, where they typically struggle a great deal to win, and they must do so in back-to-back games.

All in all, the first round of the NHL playoffs has been incredibly exciting to watch, and if there’s only one thing that all hockey fans can agree on, it’s that it these are some of the best postseason games we have seen for quite some time.

 

CHARLES LEAR

lear001@knights.gannon.edu

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