The Stanley Cup: Round 1

Sadie Swanson, Editor

The Stanley Cup playoffs have been around since 1918, and every year, 16 teams compete for the trophy. Each team must win four games to move on to the next round. 

The teams in the first round are the New Jersey Devils vs. New York Rangers, Boston Bruins vs. Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders, Colorado Avalanche vs. Seattle Kraken, Dallas Stars vs. Minnesota Wild, Vegas Golden Knights vs Winnipeg Jets, and Edmonton Oilers vs Los Angeles Kings.

The first round of playoffs concluded with the Devils beating the Rangers, 4-0. The Florida Panthers beat the Boston Bruins, once again proving the underdog always comes out on top. The Oilers beat the Kings, and Krakens beat the Avalanche, who won the cup last year. The Hurricanes beat the Islanders in game 6. The Dallas Stars beat Minnesota Wild also in a game 6. Winnipeg Jets beat the Golden Knights, only playing five games. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs played 6 games before Toronto took the win.

The Devils and Rangers’ standoff went on for seven games; the Rangers won the first two games with a final score of 5-1 in each. Once the Devils went to the Rangers’ home, they beat the Rangers 2-1 in game 3, then went on to win 3-1 in game 4. In game 5, the Devils won 4-0, but the Rangers took back the thunder in game 6, winning 5-2. Game 7 was a close game, but the Devils won, 4-0, making a repeat of game 5.

The Florida Panthers defeating the Boston Bruins was an outcome no one expected. The Bruins finished first in the Atlantic division, holding a record high 65 wins in the regular season. The Panthers finished fourth in the division, but had 23 fewer wins than their opponent. The Bruins also had 43 more points in the regular season compared to the Panthers. They played 7 games, with the Panthers winning 4-3 in overtime due to Carter Verhaeghe’s goal. 

The Edmonton Oilers played the Los Angeles Kings over 6 games. The Oilers finished 2nd in the Pacific Division, and the Kings were right behind them in 3rd place. The Oilers finished the regular season with 50 wins, and the Kings only had 47. The Kings had won the first and third game, but the Oilers took the wins home in games two, four, five and six, allowing them to advance to round two. 

The Seattle Kraken played the Colorado Avalanche for seven games, but the Kraken ultimately won game 7 2-1. The wins bounced back and forth between the teams, but the Kraken won the series 4-3.  The scores stayed relatively close except in game 6, where the difference was 3. The Kraken placed 4th in the Pacific Division and the Avalanche placed 1st in the Central Division, surprising many that the Kraken won and played such close games every time. 

The Carolina Hurricanes played the New York Islanders for 6 games, with Carolina finishing the series’s 4-2. Game six’s final score was 2-1, so it wasn’t a bad loss for the Islanders. The Islanders won games three and five, and the Hurricanes won the rest. Game six went into overtime until Paul Stastny scored the game-winning goal. It was Stastny’s third overtime playoff winning goal. 

In the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wilds’ series, they also played six games, and the Stars won round one with a solid 4-2. Game 6’s final score was 4-1, blowing away the Wilds.  The Wilds won games one and three, and the Stars the remaining games. The scores were relatively distant, with the Wilds beat the Stars 5-1 in game three. In the regular season, the Stars finished 2nd  in the Central Division, and the Wilds finished 3rd, with one less loss than the Stars. The Stars had 47 season wins, and Wilds had 46, but the Wilds had 4 more losses. 

The Winnipeg Jets and the Vegas Golden Knights went head-to-head for five games. The Jets won one game, and the Golden Knights won the other 4. The Knights finished 1st in the Pacific Division, and the Jets finished 4th in the Central Division. In game five, the final score was 4-1. Kyle Connor got the single goal for the Jets, while Mark Stone and William Karlsson each had a goal, and Chandler Stephenson had two goals for the Knights, which was only a goal away from a hat trick for Stephenson.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs played each other for six games, and the Leafs took the win. The overtime score of game 6 was 2-1 with the Leafs winning. John Tavares scored the overtime goal, securing the passage into Round 2 of the playoffs. For the first time in 19 years, the Maple Leafs have won the first playoff series. 

For round 2, the matchups are the Devils playing the Hurricanes, the Panthers playing the Maple Leafs, the Kraken playing the Stars, and the Oilers playing the Golden Knights. 

Game 1 of round 2 starts Tuesday, May 2. The Panthers play the Leafs at 7:00 PM EST, and the Kraken play the Stars at 9:30 PM EST.