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What’s Going On In The Playoffs: The Oilers win Game 1 for the first time since 2017, the Canucks split the first two games, and more!

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Photo credit:© Perry Nelson - USA Today
Ryley Delaney
14 days ago
It’s a very exciting time to be a hockey fan.
The National Hockey League playoffs kick off on Saturday, so this is the first article in a series that’ll look at how the playoffs are going every Wednesday. Basically, a replacement for the “What’s Going On In the Pacific Division.”
That begs the question, What’s Going On In The Playoffs?.

Vancouver and Nashville have won a game a piece

We’ll start with the Canadian teams, and interestingly, this series has implications for the Calgary Flames. Back on Jan. 31, the Flames traded Elias Lindholm to the Vancouver Canucks in a package for five assets, including their first-round pick in the 2024 draft. Simply put, the sooner that the Canucks are out of the playoffs, the better the pick will be for the Flames.
In the first game of the Series, the Canucks won 4-2, which included two goals in 12 seconds to turn the game from 2-1 in the Nashville Predators favour to 3-2 in the Canucks favour. Sadly for the British Columbian team, Game 2 didn’t go quite as well, as the Predators won 4-1 with both teams registering less than 20 shots on goal.
That wasn’t for a lack of trying on the Canucks’ part, as the Predators blocked an insane 30 shots, not to mention all the missed shots or any posts that they may have hit.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Canucks could be without their starting netminder Thatcher Demko, which is a big concern for all Canuck fans out there. Backup netminder Casey DeSmith allowed three goals on 15 shots on Tuesday.

Edmonton leads Los Angeles 1-0

This game doesn’t have implications for the Calgary Flames, other than the fact that the Edmonton Oilers suck and we want them to be eliminated as soon as possible.
The Los Angeles Kings didn’t help in that endeavour in Game 1, losing 7-4 to the other Albertan team. However, the game wasn’t nearly as close as the score suggested, as the Oilers jumped out to a 4-0 lead, before the Kings got two back before the end of the second period.
It all unraveled in the third period for the Kings, as they allowed two more goals on the penalty kill to make it a 6-2 lead. They got two back towards the end of the game, but both these goals were on the fluky side, before Warren Foegele added an empty net goal.
Some facts about this game are that the Kings only allowed two or more goals on the penalty kill three times this past season, with the Flames being the only team until Monday to score three goals on the power play. In the past three series’ against the team, the Oilers are 19-38 on the power play.
Connor McDavid also picked up five assists, the most he’s ever had in one game in the playoffs. Adam Henrique scored the Oilers’ second goal, which ended the longest span between two playoff goals at an insane 4,333 days.
Game 2 will be in Edmonton on Wednesday evening.

Winnipeg and Colorado head to Denver with the series split

Once again, there are no implications for the Calgary Flames in this game, but this has been a very fun series to watch.
The Winnipeg Jets won a barn burner in Game 1, defeating the Colorado Avalanche 7-6 in a back and forth game that saw both teams score three goals a piece in the first and third periods, with the Jets being the only team to score a single goal in the second period.
Game 2 was a bit more tame, as the Jets had a 2-1 lead in the middle of the second period, but the Avalanche scored three goals in the remaining six or so minutes to make it a 4-2 game, before icing it with an empty net.
The away team’s goal is to split the series at the very least, and the Avalanche were able to do so.

Vegas was the only away team to jump out to a 1-0 series lead

The two prior series we looked at had no playoff implications, but this one has two implications for draft picks that the Calgary Flames own. In the Noah Hanifin trade, the Flames acquired a 2024 second round pick from the Vegas Golden Knights, but if they win a series, this upgrades to a 2025 second-round pick.
Chris Tanev was Hanifin’s defence partner with the Flames, and he was traded for a 2024 second-round pick and a conditional 2026 third-round pick. However, the only way that the 2026 pick ends up with the Flames is if the Dallas Stars make it to the Stanley Cup finals. So… go Vegas?
With their 4-3 win over the Stars on Monday, the Golden Knights were the only lower seed team to jump out to a 1-0 lead in the series, narrowly missing out on being the first lower seed team to win a game (the Toronto Maple Leafs won in Boston earlier that night).
Of course, this isn’t your traditional 1-8 match-up, as the Golden Knights are the reigning Stanley Cup champions who were missing key pieces around the trade deadline. Of course, captain Mark Stone returned in Game 1 and opened the scoring.
 
Game 2 of the series will be on Wednesday evening.

Toronto split the series and return home

The Toronto Maple Leafs have had some disastrous games at TD Garden in the past, such as the Game 7 collapse in the 2013 playoffs, as well as two other Game 7 losses in the 2018 and 2019 playoffs.
Since the Leafs decided to start making the playoffs again, they have a 6-8 record at the Boston Bruins’ home barn, and picked up the win on Monday to move the series to 1-1. They’ll return to Toronto to host the Bruins for two games, one on Wednesday and one on Saturday.
It’s been a tough building for the Leafs, but this could be the year that they end their Game 7 curse at TD Garden… if it gets there.

Florida won Game 2 in the first overtime game of the playoffs

Nothing is more exciting in sports than a playoff overtime game, unless it’s the team you’re cheering for, of course. The first overtime game played in the 2024 playoffs belonged to the two Florida-based teams, as the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers went to overtime in Game 2.
Sadly, Lightning fans didn’t quite enjoy this game, as the Panthers took the game with an overtime goal with a Carter Verhaeghe goal, winning 3-2.
With that being said, the Lightning had their chances, particularly this chance, where Sergei Bobrovsky made one of the best saves of all-time.
Despite the 2-0 series lead, the series is far from over as the Lightning have a ton of playoff experience and will be returning home for two games starting on Thursday.

New York Islanders blew a lead in the third period

It looked as if the New York Islanders would tie the series in their game on Monday, as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the second period. However, the Carolina Hurricanes scored a power play goal with just under seven minutes remaining in the second, before disaster struck in the third.
With just over nine minutes left in the game, Seth Jarvis scored his first goal of the playoffs to bring the Hurricanes within one, before Sebastian Aho scored to tie the game with less than three minutes left.
Like the Vancouver Canucks in their first game, the home crowd and momentum were too much for the Islanders (the away team), as the Hurricanes took the lead with a Jordan Martinook goal just nine seconds later, before Jake Guentzel iced the game with an empty net goal.
The Islanders may pick up a win in this series, maybe even two, but the Hurricanes are just that much better than the team from the Island. As they say, it’s not over until a team loses at home, and the Islanders return home on Thursday.

New York Rangers on the way to a sweep

The Islanders’ bigger brother, the New York Rangers, are on the opposite side of things, as they have a commanding 2-0 series lead against the Washington Capitals. They took Game 1 on Sunday, defeating the Alexander Ovechkin-led Capitals 4-1, with a second and much closer 4-3 win on Tuesday.
With all that being said, the Capitals have a ton of playoff experience and have been playing playoff hockey since about the All-Star break, but the Rangers are just better.
We’ll see if the Capitals can respond with a win on Friday, as the series shifts to the United States Capital.
Thanks for reading! You can follow me on Twitter @Ryley_L_D.
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