Three teams advanced to round 2 of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday night. The St. Louis Blues, the Edmonton Oilers, and the New York Rangers are all moving on in their quest to win the coveted Stanley Cup.
Last years Stanley Cup champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins, have already moved on to round 2 of the playoffs. The Penguins took out the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 20 after five games. Pittsburgh will either be playing the Washington Capitals or the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Penguins have won the Stanley Cup four times and are hungry to win it again.
On Saturday night, the St. Louis Blues took out the Minnesota Wild in Game 5 in a 4-3 OT win. Magnus Paajarvi scored the game-winning goal at the 9:42 mark in overtime. The Blues will be playing Game 1 on their home ice against the Nashville Predators in the 2nd round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This will be the first playoff meeting for these two teams.
After the game, left winger Magnus Paajarvi told USA Today the following.
“I think we should be proud, but not satisfied,” Paajarvi said, adding “We’ve got to play a better game.”
Nashville swept the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs, so St. Louis has to be playing the best that they can to get past the Predators in round two. The schedule for the series has not yet been announced.
The Edmonton Oilers were another team who advanced to round 2 on Saturday after beating the San Jose Sharks 3-1 in game 6. The team will play the next series against the Anaheim Ducks, who swept the Calgary Flames in round 1. The first game will take place on Anaheim’s home ice, but the series schedule has not yet been announced.
The Oilers are relying heavily on their 20-year-old team captain, Connor McDavid. McDavid told the National Post:
“I know the media makes a big deal about points and that stuff and goals and whatever. That’s my job, obviously. I’m the guy that’s supposed to produce and do that,” he said. “But there’s different ways you can contribute in a hockey game, especially in a playoff game where there’s tight checking. You’ve got to play within the system as well. It’s a good learning experience for me.”
The New York Rangers played Game 6 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night and beat the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 3-1. Mats Zuccarello, the Rangers right wing, scored two of the three goals in the second period. The third goal was courtesy of an empty netter by Derek Stepan.
After the game, Rick Nash had some things to say about Zuccarello’s phenomenal game. The 32-year-old left winger told the NY Daily News:
“I think this year he’s made that transition from another guy to one of the top leaders on the team, and he showed that tonight,” Rick Nash said. “It’s fun to watch guys make that transition. It’s weird for me to say because I feel like my first year was last year. But he’s one of our top guys, he’s one of the faces of the franchise and he had a big night tonight.”
Now the New York Rangers will have to wait to see who they will play in round 2. It will either be the Boston Bruins or the Ottawa Senators. The Senators lead the series 3-2 with a game set for Sunday afternoon. If the series makes it to 3-3, Boston and Ottawa will play Game 7 on Wednesday, April 26.
[Featured Image by Mary Altaffer/AP Images]