Three games, three series clinched, three teams heading to round two, three teams heading to the golf course.
Blues 4 – 3 Wild (STL wins 4 – 1)
The Blues sacrificed two two-goal leads, but won in overtime to close the series out and book a place against Nashville in round two.
First period goals within 3:15 of each other, from Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Steen, put the Blues two goals up. They let the Wild come back at them though, and a Ryan Suter marker on the power gave Minnesota hope.
No goals in the second, but the Wild continued their pressure and should have made more of it.
This was made more glaring when Paul Stastny restored the two-goal lead with 12:37 remaining, but with Jake Allen looking a bit lost in goal, the Wild were able to come back. Mikko Koivu scored on the power play with a little under ten minutes remaining, before Jason Zucker danced around Allen and pulled the Wild level.
Their pressure continued for the rest of the third, and into overtime, but they couldn’t convert, and were made to pay when Vladimir Sobotka fed Magnus Paajarvi, who made no mistake and wrapped the tie up.
Canadiens 1 – 3 Rangers (NYR wins 4 – 2)
Two goals from Mats Zuccarello swung game six in favour of the Rangers, sending the Habs home early and asking serious questions of themselves.
It started well for the Habs, Alexei Emelin scoring just after six minutes with the Rangers struggling to get things going.
It wouldn’t last though. Zuccarello’s goals both came in the second, firstly on the power play at 22:26 then at even strength at 33:31, the latter proving to be the game winner.
Derek Stepan scored with seconds left on an empty net to end the Habs’ year, with Henrik Lundqvist making 27 saves. The Rangers will face Ottawa or Boston.
Oilers 3 – 1 Sharks (EDM wins 4 – 2)
Two second period goals, within 56 seconds of each other, really put this tie to bed and sent the Oilers to a date with Anaheim.
Leon Draisaitl (20:54) and Anton Slepyshev (21:50) opened the scoring, effectively putting the game to bed there and then.
Patrick Marleau did score at 52:12, and Cam Talbot made 27 saves, but the Oilers weren’t to be denied, Connor McDavid scoring on an empty net with a second left.
The Sharks fall out, having let their regular season slump carry on into the playoffs, while the Oilers will be unbearable now.
Another two game sixes tonight, with both home teams on the verge of elimination.
Senators @ Bruins (OTT leads 3 – 2)
TV: NBC, Sportsnet, TVAS
The Bruins head home to try to save their season, with the Sens looking for a couple of days off before facing the Rangers. The Bruins managed one win in desperate situations – can they manage two more?
No injury news out of either camp, with both teams expected to keep the same lineup.
What the Sens need to do: Find their power play groove again
What the Bruins need to do: Protect Rask and save their season
Reason to watch: An elimination game in Boston. The crowd will either be super-energetic or baying for blood.
Capitals @ Leafs (WSH leads 3 – 2)
TV: NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVAS, CSN-DC, Premier Sports
This has easily been the best watch of the first round. Two teams who are really very good, being very close, and requiring overtime in four of five games. Expect game six to be no exception – especially when the baby Leafs have to win to keep alive.
No new injury news, with Alex Ovechkin expected to be okay after taking a breather at the end of the first in game five.
What the Capitals need to do: Keep the Leafs quiet
What the Leafs need to do: Explode. Win. Do something.
Reason to watch: Auston Matthews’ last stand this year?