Stanley Cup Playoffs: What You Need To Know, April 26
The Boston Bruins are moving on to the next round for a date with the rival Canadiens. What You Need To Know from Saturday'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.
Avalanche win 4-3 (OT) | COL leads series 3-2 | Game 6 Mon.
Colorado Avalanche: This team just never quits, it's rather amazing the run they have been on all season long. They were once again a little bit flat to start, though nowhere near as flat as they were in Minnesota. That said, they certainly did have a bit more jump in their skates and were right there in a pretty even game with the Wild. You'd probably like to see some more offensive zone time and possession but this is the way the Avalanche have been playing all season and it's been working. The late-game heroics and another overtime win have them on the verge of ending this series and, frankly, they should feel very fortunate to be in that position. They were the benefactors of some questionable calls but of course they won't complain.
Minnesota Wild: If Game 1 was a tough pill to swallow, Game 5 is a punch right to the gut for the Wild. They played a very strong road game and had a tremendous spurt in the third period to go from a goal down to a goal ahead. Throughout the game they seemed like the stronger of the two teams, or at least the slightly more dangerous side but they were not perfect, and to win on the road in the postseason you need to be close to it. Ryan Suter's bad turnover that led to a short-handed Avs goal comes to mind. Still, they were in position to win but again couldn't hold the late lead. They can have beef with the officiating but they still gave up the goals to tie and then lose it.
Play of the Game: No play is bigger than the winner, right? Right. Nathan MacKinnon was doing his thing once again. You have to marvel at him getting that shot off in the traffic he was in and then remember he's 18 years old. P.A. Parenteau's goal to get them to OT was pretty big, too.
Player of the Game: Yup, it's MacKinnon again. He had a terrific play to set up one of the Avalanche goals earlier in the game (see below) and then had the winner in overtime. He was back to being his electric self in this game. He's going to be something special for years to come.
Turning Point: Boiling it down to one exact moment is tough but it had to be when Patrick Roy pulled Semyon Varlamov with 2:30 left to play. The Avs were able to get the equalizer -- even if under contentious terms -- and then the OT winner. The calls in question of course were pretty big turning points, too, particularly Charlie Coyle being unable to score on the empty net.
GIF of the Game: Just stop it already, MacKinnon (OK, don't actually do that, it's too fun to watch). Getting back on home ice brought a return to the electric rushes and great speed from MacKinnon as he flew up ice to make the Avalanche's second goal of the night happen. Big credit due to Stuart Holden for the tip-in as well. Didn't exactly look like a defenseman (via @MyRegularFace).
Kings win 3-0 | SJ leads series 3-2 | Game 6 Mon.
San Jose Sharks: That was just about inexcuseable. The Sharks had a chance to close out the Kings at home -- a place where they have been nearly unbeatable against their biggest rivals -- and they came out flat. In the opening minutes this game was lost as the Kings were just all over the Sharks in the first period and into the start of the second. It was the type of performance that looked like they thought this series was in the bag already, but now they have to go back to Los Angeles and all of a sudden you have to be thinking we could have a Game 7 coming back in San Jose at this point. When you have a chance to put down a team like the Kings at home, you need to do it.
Los Angeles Kings: Darryl Sutter wasn't lying when he said after Game 3 that the Kings weren't going to go away quietly. LA had its best period of this series in the first, just jumping all over the Sharks and making a massive statement in the first 22 minutes, chasing Antti Niemi from the San Jose net. On the other end, Jonathan Quick looked like his old playoff self and had this game on lockdown. It was a very impressive performance all around from the Kings, the kind that many of us expected to see from the Kings to begin the series. To get 41 shots to the Sharks' 30 despite leading by three goals for the majority of the game points to one thing: dominance.
Play of the Game: Tyler Toffoli is a player that not all fans know about but they will soon. He started the scoring in the game with this nifty little drag shot to beat Niemi. Beautiful move.
Player of the Game: It was a strong effort all around from the Kings in this one with players like Justin Williams having very strong games even though he didn't pick up a point. But Quick was equally excellent for the Kings, something that he needed after some rough games early. He was perfect with 30 saves on 30 shots against for the shutout, a few saves in there were not easy, either.
Turning Point: The opening faceoff? As mentioned, the Kings came out blazing and didn't look back. This game was over almost before it began with how they were just doing whatever they wanted to the Sharks.
Penguins win 3-1 | PIT leads series 3-2 | Game 6 Mon.
Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins were sluggish to start and were being beat to just about every loose puck. But they woke up after the Jackets went ahead, and when they woke up they really woke up. They looked like the Penguins everybody has thought they were capable of being, just peppering the Blue Jackets with shots and barely giving Columbus the puck. They only won by a narrow margin (empty-netter) but especially in the final 40 they dominated. And perhaps the best news of the night? Marc-Andre Fleury isn't a conversation after the game.
Columbus Blue Jackets: That was the Sergei Bobrovsky the Blue Jackets needed in this series. He was fantastic, making 48 saves in the game on 50 shots but on this day he got no help. The Jackets were just overwhelmed by the Penguins after taking the early lead, extending the trend of the first team to score loses. They had little chance, though, of blowing a 3-1 lead because they never had a chance to score three. They have to feel pretty concerned to head back to Columbus licking their wounds after being thoroughly beaten in Game 5. When the shot attempts are 67-34 in favor the other team, there aren't many other ways to put it.
Play of the Game: This was the game-winning goal that went to Jussi Jokinen, in the right spot at the right time for the tap-in on the doorstep. But this play was really made by Lee Stempniak, who danced along the blue line to create some space and get the original shot.
Player of the Game: There were some boos in the arena for Sidney Crosby of all players early in the game and that was pretty ridiculous. Crosby isn't scoring goals but he's picking up points and the Penguins are crushing with him on the ice. He was really good in Game 5 but he wasn't as good as Brandon Sutter. He only had one assist to show for it but he was all over and at both ends. That was the player the Penguins hoped they were getting to be Jordan Staal's replacement. Also, both goalies were strong.
Turning Point: The shift had already started a bit but the Penguins really took off when Joe Vitale drew a cross-check from James Wisniewski seven minutes into the second period. They scored on the ensuing power play and never looked back.
Bruins win 4-2 | BOS wins series 4-1
Boston Bruins: There are many things that make the Bruins so difficult, one of which is the fact that they can throw out four lines with consistency and get something from all of them. Every skater but one had a shot on goal. It was no different on Saturday as everybody did their jobs and once again the Bruins handled the Red Wings with relative ease until the desperation for Detroit kicked in. They didn't dominate the game or the possession but they also once again did a good job keeping the Wings away from the net at even strength. It's fitting that the Bruins did so much damage on the power play with two goals as they finished with six on the man advantage in the five games against Detroit. On to Round 2 and the great rivalry with the Canadiens.
Detroit Red Wings: There were times the Red Wings almost looked intimidated by the Bruins but they still held their own pretty well, once again going about shot for shot with Boston in terms of attempts. They relied on the youngsters to get them into the playoffs but they didn't get much from them in this game or this series, the little production they did get came from the veterans. It was certainly a good season again for the Wings with all things considered and they extended their playoff streak to another year but there is still work for Ken Holland this offseason, particularly shoring up the defense will remain a priority.
Play of the Game: This ended up being the winning goal for Boston, Milan Lucic's tally early in the third period. The play is helped out by Johan Franzen's defensive-zone turnover but Torey Krug knew what to do with it and put a beautiful pass right on the tape of Lucic in front of the net. Plus, this play comes with the bonus of a nice Jonas Gustavsson save earlier in the sequence.
Player of the Game: It's tough given how much the Bruins balance out and you can never go wrong with Chara but we'll shine the light on Torey Krug today. He was on the ice for just a touch over 20 minutes and finished with two assists. He is a big reason why the power play has stepped up this season along with the move of Chara to the front of the net.
Turning Point: Late in the second period the game was tied and then a parade to the penalty box commenced. In a short time the Bruins ended up with a 4-on-3 advantage and on the power play Zdeno Chara bombed home a shot just before the end of the period. It was a massive goal that carried over the Bruins' edge into the third period.
GIF of the Game: Getting the better of Zdeno Chara on a check is pretty rare but Justin Abdelkader did just that in the first period. Not only did he knock Chara's helmet off but the hit resulted in the big man getting his stick stuck between panes of glass for a second.
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