NHL Playoffs: Round 2 Recap

The dominance of the Pittsburgh Penguins continued into another game seven on the road. For the second year in a row, the Pens beat the Caps at Verizon Centre for another conference final appearance.

Away from their home arena, Pittsburgh now improves to 6-0 in game sevens.

Getzlaf and his Ducks finally ended their losing streak in game sevens. Halting the record at four, the Ducks beat the Oilers at Honda Centre. The well-rested Predators are in for their first real playoff test against this perennial powerhouse Anaheim team. Puck drop is scheduled for Friday, May 12 for the 2016/17 Western Conference Finals.

The sole Canadian squad left, the Ottawa Senators are set to face the Pens Saturday, May 13th.

Wednesday was a great night to be a sports fan, here’s a look back.

Trotz’ Capitals thought they had things right where the wanted. Marc-Andre Fleury had other plans and delivered his best performance in this year’s playoffs. The netminder made 29 saves to shut out the Caps and with Patric Hornqvist and Brian Rust scoring a goal each to lead the Pens to victory.

Not being able to reach the conference finals since 1998, an almost 20-year absence, it was another heartbreaking night for the Washington Capitals.

Meanwhile, in the west, scoring the game-winning goal late in the 3rd period, Anaheim’s Nick Ritchie had a lot to smile about. With just under 4 minutes left in regulation, Ritchie beat Cam Talbot and sent Edmonton home. The Ducks now find themselves in another conference final, two in three years. It showed that the Ducks played complete two-way hockey to end their much talked about game seven drought.

Even though it was a second round exit for the Oilers, they have tons to be proud of. After all, they finished almost last in the league last season.

Wednesday marked exactly four weeks, 28 days since the playoff started. So far this has been determined; the Penguins hate losing.

The defending cup champions played with heart and desire of a Stanley Cup winning team. Letting a 3 games to 1 lead slip away, the Pens found themselves gasping for air after dropping games five and six. Their goaltending was solid when it mattered most, withstanding the rushes from the Capitals. This helped find their way back to a winning style of hockey. Already halfway there, the Penguins can be the first team to repeat at Cup champions since the Red Wings did it back in ‘97 and ‘98. The Ottawa Senators have their work cut out for them in this year’s Eastern Conference Finals.

The Capitals may not be doomed, but with their star-studded roster and a real positive regular season, this team cannot find themselves past the second round of the playoffs. Losing the Pens the last two years, despite having won the President’s Trophy twice in a row, the window may soon be closing on Washington. The ‘Ovechkin era’ might be coming to an end really soon. This was most certainly Ovechkin’s best shot at winning Lord Stanley’s cup. Is it his last?

Getting a hot start against a team like the Anaheim Ducks, the Oilers really were looking in good shape and very confident. Oilers rookie Caggiula put the visiting team up 1-0 early in the first. Anaheim looked a little uncomfortable in the first period, having a lot of trouble of controlling the puck and the game. But it’s a game of three periods and the first was the only one Edmonton looked like a threat. The Ducks came out firing in the second and carried that momentum into the third. Anaheim attacked the Oilers relentlessly to secure both the victory, and a meeting with the Nashville Predators for the Western Conference Finals. McDavid and his Oilers will have their chance, just not this year.

Coach Carlyle is known around the league for shaking things up in game sevens. The legendary coach lived up to habits and tactics to make sure his Ducks came out victorious. The Oilers physical presence needed to be matched, Randy put Ritchie on the top line with Perry and Getzlaf. Then dropping less physical and more skilled Rakell to the third line. With these lineup changes, it was the beginning of the end for the Oilers.

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