Stanley Cup First Round Finally Gets Games 7
There is nothing like a Game 7 in the National Hockey League playoffs, and this post season, everyone was counting on numerous winner-take-all games.
Until tonight, however, that hasn't been the case.
Then, at last, both Minnesota and Los Angeles forced Games 7 tonight. The Wild sent their faithful home happy when Zach Parise popped the ultimate game winner with five minutes left.
The Kings found themselves down three games to none against San José before waking up. And did they wake up! Tonight's game began at Staples Center and ended in a back alley, as all hell broke loose after Justin Williams poked home the decisive goal at 11:56 of the third. After that, the Sharks melted down and Los Angeles obliged, cashing in two more scores to make it 4-1 before doing their part in racking up 76 penalty minutes after Williams' tally.
That's going to be a Game 7 that will really be must-see TV.
Until this evening the Montréal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning finished one point apart this season, and it looked like the series would be a close one. The Habs didn't cooperate, however, as they swept the Bolts in four games. Detroit took the first game against heavily favored Boston in their series, but the Red Wings wouldn't win again, as the Bruins took the series in five.
The defending champion Chicago Blackhawks lost the first two games to the St Louis Blues before tying the series at two games each. If each team had won their next home game, there would have been a Game 7, but the champs picked off Game 5 in overtime at St. Louis and finished off the Blues at home on Sunday, 5-1.
It appeared the Western Conference series between Anaheim and Dallas was going to go the distance. The Stars led the Ducks, 4-2, with two minutes left in Game 6, but Anaheim suddenly potted two goals to tie it before Nick Bonino stunned the home crowd in overtime, who saluted their Stars' season while as the Ducks celebrated capping this series on the road.
Columbus has played Pittsburgh tough throughout their series, but with a chance to force a seventh game tonight, they waited too long to mount a charge.
It was probably the Penguins' least artistic game, but that's what many of their fans wanted to see. Pittsburgh's stigma was that they were so pre-occupied with style that they didn't have the grit to hold late leads. In this game, they did.
There's one more shot for a first-round Game 7 on Tuesday, when two old rivals -- the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers -- will meet in Game 6. The Blueshirts are up, 3-2, and if Brad Richards keeps playing like he has all series, this one might not make it to the limit, either.