On the Road to the Stanley Cup: A First-Round Recap
Who's in, and who's out. A quick guide to what went down in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
May 25, 2022
The Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, an object only the greatest of hockey teams and players have had the pleasure of winning. 32 teams in the National Hockey League play to win it all. With 16 teams left standing by the playoffs, there is no better time to watch hockey.
For any fans new to the game, the Stanley Cup Playoffs consist of four rounds total. Each round is won in a best of seven series, one team must win, and one must go home. The first of the four rounds is over and done. But for new fans, or for those who are only starting to watch now in the second round, this article should quickly sum up the events of the first round so no one is confused.
Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche:
To start off, in what was the most unbalanced matchup of the first round, the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche only met for four games out of a possible seven in the series. Ending the regular season with 119 points in 82 games – second only to the Florida Panthers – the Avalanche slid into the first round of the playoffs with confidence and composure. The Predators however, ended their regular season slightly behind many of the league’s top contenders, with only 97 points by the end of the regular season. Nashville clinched their spot in the playoffs later than most, and as the 16th seed overall, the “Preds” were the clear underdog in this first series. The Avalanche swept the Predators easily, winning 4 games in a row against their unfortunate competitors. NHL Game 4 Highlights | Avalanche vs. Predators – May 9, 2022
Edmonton Oilers vs. Los Angeles Kings:
In one of the tightest matchups of the first round, the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings clashed in a battle of elite scoring vs. exceptional goaltending. Edmonton’s Connor McDavid is widely regarded as the best active hockey player in the world, if not the best of all time. On the other side of the ice, is long time Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick, a staple in the Kings lineup for years and one of the most athletically gifted goalies to ever play the game. McDavid and the rest of the Oilers lineup definitely struggled more than usual against Quick’s, well, quickness, but they still found a way past him, and earned themselves a ticket to the second round of the playoffs in the seventh game of the series. NHL Game 7 Highlights | Kings vs. Oilers – May 14, 2022
Calgary Flames vs. Dallas Stars:
When it came to the entertainment factor, there were no better games to watch than the seven between the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars. A goalie battle like no other, this low scoring series came down to the wire. Calgary’s top scorers were stumped by the young Stars goaltender, Jake Oettinger. After an incredible regular season, Calgary may just be the best chance to win a cup for Canada, which hasn’t been done since 1993. With their season on the line, Flames star forward Johnny Gaudreau scored the game winner in game seven sudden death overtime. Dallas was left in the dust and Calgary’s win set them up to play against their regional rivals in a second round battle of Alberta. NHL Game 7 Highlights | Stars vs. Flames – May 15, 2022
St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild:
The final Western Conference battle was between the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild. Despite residing in the hockey capital of America, the Minnesota Wild have yet to bring a Stanley Cup to Minneapolis, and with elite winger Kirill Kaprizov on their side, they were hoping to go far. The Blues had something else in mind. St. Louis is notably the last team to win the Stanley Cup before COVID took the sports world by storm. They had the experience and the drive to reach four wins, and that they did. In game six the blues wrapped up the series winning 5-1 at home. NHL Game 6 Highlights | Wild vs. Blues – May 12, 2022
Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers:
In the first Eastern Conference matchup, the Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers put star power vs. depth power to the test. Florida was the clear favorite in this series from the start, following a regular season in which they were first in wins and points league wide, and were seemingly able to score at whim. The Capitals won the Stanley Cup in 2018, and came into this series hungry for a chance at a second championship as their top goal scorer and core forward group continues to age. Despite their firepower, the Capitals came up short losing the series in 6 games to the praiseworthy Panthers. NHL Game 6 Highlights | Panthers vs. Capitals – May 13, 2022
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Tampa Bay Lighting:
Stakes could not have been higher in the contest between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lighting. The Lightning, looking to win their third Stanley Cup in a row, and to prove doubters in their performance over the course of two COVID ridden seasons wrong. The Leafs, the most talented they have been in years, just trying to win their way past the first round for the first time since 2004. Unfortunately for Toronto, even at their most “stacked,” they could not conquer the reigning champions and were left heartbroken after yet another game seven loss. NHL Game 7 Highlights | Lightning vs. Maple Leafs – May 14, 2022
Boston Bruins vs. Carolina Hurricanes:
The home-ice advantage became crucial early on between the Boston Bruins and the Carolina Hurricanes. For a team that ended the season with a franchise record 54 wins, the Hurricanes were a force to be reckoned with. The Bruins, despite being considered the underdog in this series, proved that passion alone can win games. With an aging core and rumors of their beloved captain leaving Boston at the season’s end, the Bruins were desperate to bring a cup back to Beantown. In the end it came down to the difference between home and away games. Over the course of the seven game series, each team won every game at home and lost every game on the road. The Bruins got the short end of the stick, losing game seven in Carolina. NHL Game 7 Highlights | Bruins vs. Hurricanes – May 14, 2022
New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins:
Lastly, in what might have been the most inspired series of the first round, the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins faced-off in a tense seven game series. Neck and neck with each other in the Metropolitan Division, the Rangers narrowly beat out the Penguins for home ice advantage. Despite the edge up on Pittsburgh, the Penguins won three out of the four first games in the series, and with a third-string goalie in net no less. Despite their significant lead, the Rangers beat all odds with a “No Quit” mentality and won the last three games knocking the Penguins out of the race for the Stanley Cup. NHL Game 7 Highlights | Penguins vs. Rangers – May 15, 2022
The first round was a rollercoaster of energy from start to finish. With five out of eight series going to seven games, it was one of the most entertaining playoff rounds in recent history. With the first round finished, the matchups are now the Colorado Avalanche against the St. Louis Blues, the Calgary Flames against the Edmonton Oilers, the Florida Panthers against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Carolina Hurricanes against the New York Rangers. With any luck, the second round will be just as exciting as the first. So far, so good.
Second Round Shenanigans: The Stanley Cup Playoffs Recap Continued
The Second Round of the Playoffs is over and the Conference Finals are well underway. Read on to find out whos still in the running for the Stanley Cup.
With eight teams left in the running, the second round was as entertaining as they come. Each of the four series in this round lasted a different number of games which essentially meant a game a day – any hockey fans dream. Every team gave their all but now only four remain. Want to know how it happened? Read on.
Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues:
With drama off and off the ice, the chippy series between the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues had fans on the edge of their seats. With elite center Nathan MacKinnon and star caliber defenseman Cale Makar on their side, Colorado was more than confident against a St. Louis’ team that was hungry for a second Stanley Cup run in the span of four years. In game three of the series Colorado forward Nazem Kadri fell full speed into St. Louis goaltender Jordan Binnington who left the game with a lower body injury. The crash into the net seemed accidental but with their starting goalie out for the rest of the series, the Blues couldn’t get it done. The Avalanche came out victorious, winning 3-2 in the sixth game of the series. NHL Game 6 Highlights | Avalanche vs. Blues – May 27, 2022
Edmonton Oilers vs. Calgary Flames:
To start off, in what was the most unbalanced matchup of the first round, the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche only met for four games out of a possible seven in the series. Ending the regular season with 119 points in 82 games – second only to the Florida Panthers – the Avalanche slid into the first round of the playoffs with confidence and composure. The Predators however, ended their regular season significantly behind the league’s top contenders with 97 points in 86 games played. Nashville clinched their spot in the playoffs later than most, and as the 16th seed overall, the “Preds” were the clear underdog in this first series. The Avalanche swept the Predators easily, winning 4 games in a row against their unfortunate competitors. NHL Game 5 Highlights | Oilers vs. Flames – May 26, 2022
Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning:
A hyped up series between the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning ended quicker than anticipated with a goalie show like no other. With the most points out of every team in the regular season, the Panthers felt good with an edge up on Tampa due to their home ice advantage. However, with Vasilevskiy in net for the Lighting, even a high scoring team like Florida couldn’t seem to break the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions. In a wild turn of events, the Lighting swept the Panthers easily winning the four first games of the series in a row. As for the poor Panthers, they are in for an interesting offseason. NHL Game 4 Highlights | Panthers vs. Lightning – May 23, 2022<
New York Rangers vs. Carolina Hurricanes:
A defensive series between the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes lasted the full seven games leading up to the third round. While most teams had already met their second round fate, New York and Carolina continued to battle up to the very end. For the Rangers it came down to the young guns. Made up of young forwards Alexi Lafrenière, Kaapo Kakko, and Filip Chytil, New York’s “Kid Line” seemed to break out this series becoming true offensive weapons for the boys in blue. Carolina’s lineup depth was impressive but up-and-coming stars Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho failed to perform as hoped. Unfortunately for Carolina, the Rangers and their star power would come out on top this time. NHL Game 7 Highlights | Rangers vs. Hurricanes – May 30, 2022
In the Thick of the Third Round: The Stanley Cup Playoffs Recap Continued
With most of the National Hockey League out for the count, the race for the Stanley Cup is more intense than ever.
Four teams are left with a chance to win it all. Players sacrifice their own blood, sweat, and tears to take their team as far as possible. Read on to reveal the path of champions and all that it takes to reach the top two.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Edmonton Oilers
The Western Conference final was a firepower filled fight, elite scoring against elite scoring, a battle like no other. The Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers played tirelessly against one another in a fast paced series for a chance to reach the Stanley Cup Final and maybe even lift the legendary trophy. Edmonton stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl led their team and all those in the playoffs thus far in points and didn’t slow down for the Avalanche, each of them finding ways to score in even the toughest of situations. Unfortunately the Oilers effort would not be enough against the Avalanche’s depth and stars of their own like Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar who managed to pull off the remarkable up against the two best forwards in the league. The series ended in a heartbreaking fashion for Edmonton who lost their ticket to the championship in four straight games to an incredibly talented Colorado team. NHL Game 4 Highlights | Avalanche vs. Oilers – June 6, 2022
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Rangers
The Eastern Conference Final featured the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lighting in a modern day battle between David and Goliath. The young and inexperienced New York team turned heads, managing to go further into the playoffs than anyone had originally predicted. Tampa Bay on the other hand are the reigning two time champions and had all the experience they needed to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals yet again. The Rangers came out strong against a much well-rested lighting team winning games one and two at Madison Square Garden in front of the home crowd. In Tampa’s territory however, it was a different story and New York just couldn’t steal the momentum back. The Tampa Bay Lighting won games three, four, five, and six beating a tired yet hopeful Rangers team, putting themselves back in the Finals for the third straight year. NHL Game 6 Highlights | Rangers vs. Lightning – June 11, 2022
2022 Stanley Cup Finals Preview:
Starting on Wednesday, June 15, the thunderous Tampa Bay Lighting will face the juggernaut Colorado Avalanche for the first game in a series that is sure to be exciting. Tampa Bay is hoping for their third Stanley Cup in three years. They are led by captain Steven Stamkos, powerful forward Nikita Kucherov, and skilled defenseman Victor Hedman. Colorado’s bench consists of talented center Nathan MacKinnon, dependable winger Gabriel Landeskog, and high-caliber defensemen Cale Makar. The Lighting have the edge in net with arguably the best goalie in the world in Andrei Vasilevskiy, but so far in their playoff run the Avalanche seem unstoppable and may be able to finally pull of what no other team in the past three years has done, and knock the reigning champions off of their throne.
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