Hockey was the center of attention on Friday as all six games were elimination games. All games were a fight to go to round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Two of those games were number twelve seeds facing off against number five seeds in both conferences. Number twelve Montreal Canadiens faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins and number twelve Chicago Blackhawks faced number five Edmonton Oilers. Both games came down to the wire and had that playoff intensity whether there are fans or not. It was a great Friday for hockey and there’s more where that came from. Amazingly, both twelve seeds advance.
Both Twelve Seeds Advance To Round One Of Stanley Cup Playoffs
Canadiens Upset Penguins
Out of all the series’ played, this outcome is more surprising than any. The Canadiens came out of the gate on fire in game one and ended up winning the series three games to one. Coming into this series, everyone knew Carry Price had to be on his game if the Canadiens had any chance of winning. Not only was he great, but other players stepped up to the task and took down the Penguins.
Price kept his team in games even if he gave up a couple. He made huge saves and showed up when it mattered. To start the series, he saved 38 of 40 shots for an overtime win, and to finish the series, he shutout Pittsburgh in the form of turning down all 22 shots. From the start, the offense did just enough to disrupt the Penguins game. They got big goals throughout the series from guys like Artturi Lehkonrn and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, including a big game three from Paul Byron (a goal and an assist). The defense also came through all series on offense. Both Jeff Petry and Shea Weber both scored two big goals in this series as the anchors of the blue line.
For the Penguins, Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel were the only two players to carry the Penguins in this series. Goaltender Matt Murray looked shaky in two starts and Tristan Jarry was good in the series finale but lost. In a do or die game, the Penguins came out flat and never rose to the occasion. They looked off of their game and out of it the whole time. It’s a big surprise given the star power on the team. The Canadiens came in and stunned everyone as they will move on to the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Blackhawks Upset The Oilers
Another big upset happened on Friday as the Blackhawks stunned the Oilers three games to one. The Blackhawks started with a surprising 6-4 win in game one and never turned back. Chicago’s experienced veterans shined in this series. Jonathan Toews had an outstanding series with four goals and three assists. Patrick Kane had a goal and three assists and Duncan Keith had four assists. They also had a great series from rookie Dominik Kubalik, who has three goals and three assists. Corey Crawford gave up 16 goals, which isn’t good, but he came up with some big saves.
As the Penguins were, the Oilers were stunned when the Blackhawks came out on fire. Edmonton got some great performances in the series. Connor McDavid had five goals and four assists, including a hat trick. Leon Draisaitl had three goals and two assists and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had two goals and six assists. The offense was good but it was the goaltending that wasn’t up to par. Mike Smith was pulled in game one after allowing five goals and that’s the last time we saw him. Mikko Koskinen took over and didn’t look much better. He gave up three or more goals in his three starts. The Oilers had a good run in the regular season but even McDavid wasn’t enough to compete with the Blackhawks experience on the ice.
Drop The Puck
With both being the number twelve seeds, that means they both will face the number one seeds. In the Eastern Conference, the Canadiens will either face the Philadelphia Flyers or the Tampa Bay Lightning. In the Western Conference, the Blackhawks will either face the Colorado Avalanche or the Vegas Golden Knights. If both teams can continue what they did in the qualifying round, they might have a chance to make some noise in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It has been a fun week in hockey and as we’ve seen great games throughout the restart of the NHL. With the fact that twelve seeds advance, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are off to an exciting start.
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