One top seed has been eliminated from the National Hockey League playoffs. The New York Rangers will try to avoid becoming the second when they play tonight in Ottawa against the Senators.
The Los Angeles Kings beat Vancouver 2-1 last night in overtime to eliminate a Canucks team that had an NHL-best 51-22-9 record and was the top seed in the Western Conference.
The Kings won the best-of-seven first-round series four games to one and advance to play the St. Louis Blues in the second round. The Canucks become the third team in the past four years to finish with the league’s best record and lose in the opening round of the playoffs.
“We had really high hopes coming into the postseason and we let ourselves down, we let our fans down,” Canucks goalie Cory Schneider told reporters. “It’s tough to swallow.”
The Rangers, who are the top seed in the Eastern Conference after going 51-24-7, are down 3-2 in their series against the eighth-seeded Senators entering tonight’s game and need a victory to force a decisive Game 7 in New York.
“We have a resilient group and we have confidence,” Rangers captain Ryan Callahan said.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, who entered the playoffs as oddsmakers’ favorites to win the Stanley Cup, were ousted from the postseason yesterday with a 5-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Also yesterday, the Boston Bruins topped the Washington Capitals 4-3 overtime to force a Game 7.
The Chicago Blackhawks host the Phoenix Coyotes tonight in Game 6 of their Western Conference series and need a victory to send the teams back to Phoenix for a decisive seventh game.
The Kings moved into the second round of the playoffs and ousted the Canucks as Jarret Stoll scored the winning goal 4:27 into overtime last night in Vancouver.
The Canucks lost all three home games in the series.
After the Penguins and Sidney Crosby twice avoided elimination with wins of 10-3 and 3-2, the Flyers rebounded at home yesterday to win their series four games to two.
The Flyers have won each of the 10 playoff series in which they’ve led 3-0 in games, though coach Peter Laviolette said eliminating the Penguins carries added weight.
“There’s something about Pittsburgh, their history recently and probably being favorites in a lot of people’s minds, to be able to play the way our group did and to be able to move on I think speaks volumes about our group,” Laviolette said at a post-game news conference. “It’s real satisfying to be able to move on against that team.”
Claude Giroux scored his sixth goal of the series in the first minute and finished with three points for the Flyers, who have to wait until the remaining Eastern Conference first-round series are finished to determine their next opponent.
Scott Hartnell, Erik Gustafsson and Danny Briere added goals over the first two periods as the Flyers opened a 4-1 lead at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov made 30 saves and Brayden Schenn capped the scoring with an empty-net goal for Philadelphia, which has lost in the Stanley Cup Finals six times since claiming its only NHL titles in 1974 and 1975.
The defending Stanley Cup-champion Bruins forced a seventh game against the Capitals as Tyler Seguin scored the winning goal 3:17 into overtime in Washington.
The winning score came after a giveaway by the Capitals’ Nicklas Backstrom. Seguin took the puck in the middle of the ice off passes from David Krejci and Milan Lucic, then held it as Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby went down for the save and fired a wrist shot into the open net.
“I just faked a shot and was lucky that it went in,” Seguin, who added an assist, said in a televised interview.
Rich Peverley, Krejci and Andrew Ference added goals for the second-seeded Bruins, who will host Game 7 on April 25.
Mike Green, Jason Chimera and Alex Ovechkin scored goals for the Capitals. All six games in the series have been decided by a single goal.