Stanley Cup Playoffs: What You Need To Know, April 25
The Flyers got even with the Rangers thanks to Steve Mason's fantastic game and more from Friday's playoff action.
Every night during the playoffs, we will wrap up all the exciting action and tell you what you need to know about the 2013-14 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Welcome to What You Need To Know.
Ducks win 6-2 | ANA leads series 3-2 | Game 6 Sun.
Anaheim Ducks: This was a special-teams affair for the Ducks as they exploited the penalties in this game to rout the Stars and move a game away from the second round. The Ducks set a franchise playoff record with four power-play goals on six opportunities. The best part about that was that their big players were the guys doing the damage. After they had a quiet go of it in Dallas, that was a very welcome sight. They did have some struggles at 5-on-5 and nearly let the Stars back into the game but they came out in the third period and really put the pedal to the floor to finish squash Dallas' hopes before it went any further. Frederik Andersen was strong in his return to the net after being pulled in Game 4, making 34 saves.
Dallas Stars: Jamie Benn really is a treasure, isn't he? The Stars were dominating when he was on the ice in Game 5 but without him, things were about even. But he can't play all the time and at every position as the Stars' defense is really thin right now, something the Ducks were able to take advantage of. They have to figure out what went wrong on the penalty kill and how they can stop the Ducks from penetrating the inside of their defense so much. Perhaps it would be best to just stay out of the box the rest of this series, that's as good of a PK solution as any. Kari Lehtonen was not great at all but he wasn't helped much either before he was pulled after giving up five goals.
Play of the Game: Take your pick from six different Anaheim goals (or Jamie Benn's aforementioned goal that we're going to link because you should see it) but we'll go with what turned out to be the game-winner. It's not often you get rushes on the power play but the Ducks did and Getzlaf delivered a dime right on the stick of Mathieu Perreault for the score. Terrific pass, great finish.
Player of the Game: So Ryan Getzlaf completely fell asleep at the wheel and let Jamie Benn pick his pocket for a short-handed goal but other than that, he was pretty excellent as usual so we'll overlook that here. He had a goal and two assists in his return to the lineup and was a driving force on the power play again. It's good to have your captain back.
Turning Point: Going into the third period, the Ducks had reason to sweat. The ice had been tilted in Dallas' favor by the end of the period and it was just a one-goal game. It took all of 67 seconds for Jakub Silfverberg to score and a few minutes later the Ducks had blown the Stars' doors off.
GIF of the Game: Like the rest of the series, Game 5 was physical and heated. The refs were doing what they could to keep things under control and that meant Antoine Roussel was thrown in the box for 10 minutes after an altercation in the crease. He was NOT happy (via SB Nation).
Blackhawks win 3-2 (OT) | CHI lead series 3-2 | Game 6 Sun.
St. Louis Blues: The Blues are going to rue the missed chances in this one and now they could be staring at another first-round exit on Sunday. They had numerous golden opportunities in this one but either they were missing the net altogether or Corey Crawford was getting in the way. They will feel the same about the first period as a whole, getting nothing offensively from two power plays. What burned them in overtime wasn't so much a breakdown as it was just awful timing as they lost the puck in the offensive zone right when Jonathan Toews was hopping on the ice, leading to his breakaway. Now the Blues have to win in Chicago with the Blackhawks getting Brent Seabrook back. In other words, life just got really difficult.
Chicago Blackhawks: They were flirting with danger all game long as the amount of times the Blues had odd-man rushes were tough to keep track of. But they were generating golden chances of their own, not as many but they were getting them, too. The Blackhawks weren't playing a dominant game at all against St. Louis, it was just another physical, excellent matchup between two elite teams. But the big difference in Game 5 was that the Blackhawks were able to capitalize on the chances that the Blues didn't. Credit to Crawford in net with a big game and while they gave up some glorious odd-man rushes, they made the plays to help him out.
Play of the Game: T.J. Oshie's goal will be all over the highlight reels and is probably the best actual play but come on, overtime winners are always glorious, especially when they are breakaway winners. Toews is pretty good at this.
Player of the Game: Toews has a good argument as does Crawford but how about Marian Hossa? He finally got the scoring monkey off his back with the first goal of the game and fired seven shots in his 21:03 of ice time to go with his two takeaways, something he excels at. In defeat Alex Pietrangelo was his usual excellent self and Oshie was dangerous any time he had the puck.
Turning Point: This game had a few ebbs and flows with great plays all over but it was trending a bit -- ever so slightly -- in the overtime to the Blues. All it took was one play to flip it and end it. The turning point was the ending.
GIF of the Game: Halfway through the third period the Blues had yet another odd-man rush and Oshie nearly put this puck home if not for a great diving save by Corey Crawford. He didn't get a lot of it but he did get some. The puck might have hit the post anyway but still, great play by Crawford (via @MyRegularFace).
Philadelphia Flyers: Claude Giroux just might be a prophet. The Flyers captain said his team was going to take this series back to New York all even at 2-2 and the Flyers did just that. The Flyers looked slow and out of the game through the first 40 minutes but the few chances they did have they converted. Through the first two periods the Rangers had 28 shots on net but Philly did get stronger in its game as it wore on, holding the Rangers to just 10 shots in the final period. One big difference in this game was their special teams play, getting the game-winning goal from Jakub Voracek on the power play. Oh, and a certain someone in net was OK, too.
New York Rangers: You could argue this was the Rangers' best game of the season. They jumped on the Flyers early and put the pressure on them and Steve Mason all game yet they are the team that lost. Hockey is cruel like that sometimes. The Rangers were using their speed very well and especially early, Philly was having troubles with it. Their speed died down as the game wore on, though, and so did their chances. Right now the big bug-a-boo is the power play, which was 0-fer again in Game 4 despite a lengthy look at 4-on-3.
Play of the Game: If he hadn't said as much, you might have thought Jason Akeson did this on purpose. In the first period the Flyers were having a very tough time keeping their shots on target, Akeson included. But this shot went wide perfectly, rebounding off the boards behind the net and right to Matt Read on the other side for the goal. It pays to do your geometry homework, kids.
Player of the Game: Welcome back, Steve Mason. The Flyers goalie had never won a playoff game before Friday night and was stepping back into the lineup for a game the Flyers just had to have. Mason was simply outstanding, stopping 37 of 38 Rangers shots in the game including one amazing save in the second period. Mason was the Flyers' savior on Friday, just as we all saw happening in September.
Turning Point: In this case the Rangers were flying from the start but the Flyers did start to slow them down a bit in the second and picked up their forecheck. The biggest moment of all, though, was probably the penalty to Dominic Moore that gave the Flyers a power play, leading to Voracek's tip-in goal.
GIF of the Game: Mats Zuccarello isn't a big guy but he can still lay a big hit. He upended Giroux in the third period, a landing that couldn't have felt good for the Flyers captain (via @MyRegularFace).
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