Match Replay Tour: Blues-Avalanche, Next Panthers-Lightning -

Match Replay Tour: Blues-Avalanche, Next Panthers-Lightning –

Just minutes after his New York Rangers moved into the second round of the NHL playoffs by defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins, Gerard Gallant didn’t mentally move to the next one.

“I don’t even know who we’re playing with,” Gallant said with a chuckle.

It’s Carolina Hurricanes, coach. The first game is Wednesday night. Soon after, the Calgary Flames hosted the Edmonton Oilers in their first Battle of Alberta playoff in 31 years.

Carolina and New York last met in the postseason in the opening round of the best-of-five of the 24-team expanded bubble playoffs in 2020. Fifth-seeded Hurricanes swept the 12th-seeded Rangers.

Before the Rangers beat the Penguins, Carolina captain Jordan Stahl said either team would be a huge challenge.

New York advanced to the second round for the first time since 2017 by defeating the Penguins 4-3 in overtime in Game 7 on Sunday night. It was the third consecutive win for the Rangers, who trailed 3-1 in the series.

“We are not done,” said Rangers’ Mika Zibanijad.

oil – flame

Conor McDavid overtook Edmonton over Los Angeles with 14 points in a grueling seven-game series. The last time the Oilers and Flames met in the playoffs was almost six years before he was born.

Despite playing two seasons with Calgary, Oilers goalkeeper Mike Smith’s response Saturday night to those who prefer playing was simple, “I don’t really care.”

The hockey community will gladly take on the Flames-Oilers Series since 1991. A year after the Northern Division was created, within a Canada-based team in the fourth round, the same would happen with a team from Alberta.

The last time Calgary reached the cup final was in 2004 and Edmonton in 2006. Montreal in 1993 was the last team from Canada to win it all.

More work is up to end the country’s Cup drought.

“The job is not over yet,” said Oilers defender Cody Jesse. “We just have to refocus and prepare for the second round.”

Lightning – Tiger

Adding deadline at the Florida Panthers, Brandon Montour may not have had any interest rooted in Game 7 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. Several of his teammates who were eliminated by Lightning were happy to see successive Stanley Cup champions win to become their next opponent.

“I think a lot of guys wanted to play for this team,” Montour said on Sunday. “It’s always a battle against these guys, we’re up to the challenge and everyone is excited there.”

Lightning-Panthers is one of two rematch series from last year. In the Western Conference, the top-seeded Colorado Avalanche face the knockout St. Louis Blues in the first round in 2021.

Just like last time, Florida has the advantage of home ice. It didn’t matter because Tampa Bay won its first two games at Sunrise on the way to taking out the Panthers in six games.

Sunshine State’s opponents split their four meetings during the regular season.

“People especially in Florida were begging the two teams to be competitive and go there,” Lightning coach John Cooper said in Toronto after Game Seven against the Maple Leafs. “They have retooled their team and brought some big names out there and it should be a lot of fun. It’s fun to play against them, they are competitive like hell and I think it’s a really good thing for hockey.”

Montour isn’t the only player who wasn’t part of the series last year. The Panthers added striker Sam Reinhart last summer and acquired defender Ben Chiarot and longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroud on the trade deadline, while Lightning signed Corey Berry and Pierre-Edward Bellemare and brought back defender Zach Bogosian before the season before delving deeper into the attack. In March with Nick Paul and Brandon Hagel.

“This was the kind of match I was excited to make the move here,” Reinhart said. “It brings out the best and strength of both teams.”

Avalanche blues

This was the first second-round game to be tallied after Colorado swept Nashville and St. Louis over Minnesota in six. It could also be the most ferocious, particularly in the wake of avalanche midfielder Nazim Qadri headbutting Blues defender Justin Falk with an illegal head check in the series last year which led to an eight-match ban.

My destiny is going through a career season, the Blues have already dealt with a string of injuries on their blue streak and no one has forgotten that hit or the lopsided nature of the series.

“I think it’s definitely in the back of the players’ minds – they weren’t happy about it, and neither was anyone in the organization,” Blues coach Craig Behrop told reporters on Saturday. “We have to focus now. Yes, there is definitely motivation, but you are in the playoffs. You are trying to win. What more motivation do you need?”

There are some similarities with Wild in style of play, but Minnesota did not have finalist Norris Cal Makar or notable forwards like Nathan McKinnon, Miko Rantanen and Gabriel Landskog.

“That’s the difference,” Birubi said. “You’re talking about 230 and 225 pound guys who are really good skaters, they’re tough guys. … you want to be physical on them, but there will be times when sometimes your eyes will outsmart you physically.”

Birubi said his team will need to defend well and score some goals. Avalanche knows the Blues have a lot of offensive depth.

“It’s a different attack because it’s not just one line you have to focus on,” Colorado defenseman Devon Toews said. “They have a total of 12 strikers who can really score. It would take all four lines and all six of our lines to stop that, slow it down and then create our attack on it.”


Associated Press sports writer Pat Graham contributed in Denver.


Follow AP hockey writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at


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2022-05-15 21:10:22

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