The Stanley Cup Playoffs offered some thrilling action Saturday, as the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers advanced to the second round while the New York Rangers forced a Game 7 against the New Jersey Devils.
The Toronto Maple Leafs prevailed in a 2-1 overtime victory over the Lightning, giving them a 4-2 series win, their first since 2004. John Tavares scored the game-winner for Toronto at 4:36 of overtime. With the playoff jitters seemingly behind them, Toronto will face either the Boston Bruins or the Florida Panthers in the second round.
After dropping their last three games, the Rangers collected an impressive 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden to force a Game 7 in the series. Five different Rangers players scored in the win, and Chris Kreider led the way with a goal and two assists. The Rangers and Devils will now play for a second-round playoff berth in a winner-take-all Game 7 on Monday.
The Edmonton Oilers punched their ticket to the second round with a 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Kailer Yamamoto was the Oilers' hero on Saturday, as his long shot goal with three minutes left in regulation proved to be the game-winner. Edmonton will move on to play the Vegas Golden Knights in Round 2.
For the full playoff schedule and final score updates on every Stanley Cup Playoff series,. For now, follow along tonight as the first round inches closer to an end.
Maple Leafs top Lightning in OT, win first playoff series since 2004
The Maple Leafs earned their first playoff series win since 2004 in style on Saturday, defeating the Lightning 2-1 in overtime thanks to a game-winning goal from John Tavares. Toronto will now face either the Boston Bruins or Florida Panthers in the second round.
Toronto's Auston Matthews opened the game's scoring with a goal at 13:47 of the second period, and the Leafs would hold that one-goal lead through the remainder of the frame. But Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos responded with a game-tying goal at 4:11 of the third period, which led to a brief but exciting overtime.
The overtime game-winner from Tavares came less than five minutes into the period and was a beauty, as the Leafs captain skated around the net before quickly turning and firing a wrist shot past Lighting goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.
While Tavares stole the show late, Toronto goalie Ilya Samsonov was exceptional throughout the game. The netminder made 31 saves for a save percentage of 96.9%, stopping the Lightning offense dead in its tracks at their own arena.
Rangers bounce back vs. Devils to force Game 7 in New Jersey
After winning the first two games of their first-round playoff series against the Devils, the Rangers fell completely flat, losing three straight while being outscored 9-2 over that stretch. But with their season on the line in Game 6 at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers put together a dominant showing to get only one win away from the second round.
The Devils struck first with Curtis Lazar scoring on a wrist shot at 11:49 of the opening period, but it was all Rangers from then. New York scored five unanswered goals, the first coming from Chris Kreider with less than 30 seconds remaining in the first period. Kreider was superb all night, scoring a goal and assisting on two others for the Rangers.
Vladimir Tarasenko was also pivotal in the Rangers' win, as he recorded a goal and an assist over his 15 minutes on the ice. Barclay Goodrow, Braden Schneider and Mika Zibanejad accounted for New York's remaining goals.
The Rangers and Devils will meet again Monday in a winner-take-all Game 7 at the Prudential Center.
Kailer Yamamoto scores go-ahead goal to lift Oilers past Kings
The Oilers are headed to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs thanks to some late-game heroics from Kailer Yamamoto. With three minutes left in regulation and the game tied 4-4, Yamamoto fired a long shot past Kings goalie Joonas Korpisalo and into the back of the net. Yamamoto's goal effectively clinched the series, as the Oilers prevailed 5-4 to win the series in six games.
Along with the game-winner, Yamamoto tallied an assist on a Kim Klostin goal at 10:54 of the second period. Klostin was a huge difference-maker for the Oilers, scoring two goals and adding an assist of his own. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl scored the remaining two goals for Edmonton.
For the Kings, this is yet another heartbreaking loss at Crypto.com Arena. The last time Los Angeles played at home was Game 4 of the series, when the team squandered a three-goal lead in a 5-4 overtime loss.