NHL Playoffs: Connor McDavid lifts Oilers in Game 7, Lightning and Hurricanes advance
The NHL Playoffs delivered three thrilling Game 7 contests on Saturday, March 14, 2022.
It started with the Carolina Hurricanes holding off the Boston Bruins to advance. The loss was even harder than usual for the B’s as captain Patrice Bergeron contemplates his future.
More disappointment in the city of Toronto as the Maple Leafs continue their playoff drought. After falling 2-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 they’ve yet to win a series since 2004 and a Stanley Cup since 1967.
Finally, Connor McDavid willed his team to a series win over the Los Angeles Kings backed by solid goaltending from veteran Mike Smith. It had been 5 long years since the Edmonton Oilers won a playoff series and now they await the winner of the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars series.
On Sunday two more Game 7’s will be played starting off with the New York Rangers looking to complete the 3-1 down series comeback overt the Pittsburgh Penguins. Then the Stars will look to upset the Flames in Calgary.
NHL Playoffs: Oilers 2 vs Kings 0
Connor McDavid scored once and added an assist while goaltender Mike Smith recorded the shutout as the host Edmonton Oilers claimed a 2-0 Game 7 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
Smith made 29 saves to earn his second shutout of the series and sixth playoff goose egg in his career. Cody Ceci scored the series-winning goal.
“There is always a lot of talk about the defensive side of the game, so for our group to step up in a big moment and play like that in a 2-0 win with ‘Smitty’ playing great and contributions from everyone, it feels good,” McDavid said.
Jonathan Quick was outstanding for the Kings while stopping 39 shots, but his teammates couldn’t find the offense to win the Western Conference first-round series.
Edmonton, which advanced past the opening round for the first time since 2017, will face the winner of the series between the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars, who meet in Game 7 on Sunday.
The Oilers held the bulk of the momentum all game, especially in a one-sided second period in which they outshot the visitors 24-11. They were finally rewarded at 13:15 of the middle frame when Ceci moved to the right face-off dot for a pass from McDavid and lifted a top-shelf wrist shot for his first goal of the playoffs.
With his assist, McDavid — by far the most dominating skater on the ice — is the first Oilers players with 10 helpers in a playoff series since Mark Messier in the 1989 Smythe Division semifinal against the Kings.
Hurricanes 3 vs Bruins 2
Max Domi had two goals and an assist to help Carolina fend off and eliminate visiting Boston with a win in Game 7 of their first-round series.
Teravainen gave Carolina a 1-0 lead at 18:36 of the first period. Slavin, at the left point, sent a pass to Domi at the far side of the net and Domi quickly dished to Teravainen in front.
Taylor Hall was assessed a double minor for high-sticking with 58 seconds remaining in the opening frame. Vincent Trocheck came close to doubling the Hurricanes’ lead on the power play carryover 46 seconds into the second period but his shot hit the post.
Domi put the home side ahead 2-0 at 3:14 of the second.
The winger won a battle in the corner and got the puck back to Brady Skjei at the point. Skjei’s shot to the net redirected off Jordan Staal in front over to Domi at the side of the net, who tucked it in on the backhand.
DeBrusk cut it to 2-1 just under two minutes later. Patrice Bergeron’s pass attempt from the left wall to a pinching Charlie McAvoy missed the defenseman, landing on the tape of DeBrusk at 5:04.
Trent Frederic came close to netting the equalizer at 10:19 of the second period, but his shot from the high slot hit the post.
Domi made it 3-1 just 14 seconds later with Teravainen feeding him for a one-timer from the slot at 10:33.
With the Bruins’ net empty, Pastrnak capitalized from the left circle to narrow it to 3-2 with 21 seconds remaining in the third.
The Hurricanes withstood a goal and ensuring flurry in the final 22 seconds to seal the win. Domi’s output matched the Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers franchise record for most points in a Game 7.
Carolina will face the winner of the series between the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“Everyone was engaged, involved, winning battles, doing whatever they could to chip in for a win,” said Staal, the Carolina captain. “Some big individual efforts. You need that as well, but everyone was involved. It was a big win.”NHL.com
Lightning 2 vs Maple Leafs 1
Trade Deadline acquisition Nick Paul played the hero and the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs to move on in the playoffs. They will face the Florida Panthers in Round 2.
Paul scored his first career playoff goal at 18:24 of the first period, After carrying the puck up the left wing on a breakout following a Toronto rush, he knocked in the rebound from Ross Colton’s shot. Cal Foote also earned an assist.
The goal came shortly after Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point went to the locker room with an apparent leg injury. Point returned to play one shift in the second period and no more afterward although he stayed on the bench.
“That was as evenly matched a series as you’re going to see,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “Adversity rears its head in so many different ways, and sometimes it can, an urgency that’s already there, it kicks something into gear. The Leafs had a good start against us, we had to weather the storm, but when Point got hurt it seemed to lock the entire team in, and I don’t think we looked back after that.”NHL.com
Tampa Bay had an 8-6 advantage in shots on goal after one period.
John Tavares put the puck in the net for Toronto at 8:32 of the second period. It did not count, however, because Justin Holl had been called for interference.
Tampa Bay applied furious pressure on the power play, but Toronto was able to survive.
Rielly tied the game on his third goal of the series at 13:25 of the second. Matthews set up Rielly for a shot from the right circle. Mitchell Marner also assisted.
Paul answered with his second goal at 16:32 of the second. He eluded TJ Brodie and kicked the puck back up to his stick before shooting it past Campbell. It came shortly after Vasilevskiy made a superb save.
Nicholas Paul scored his first two career playoff goals and visiting Tampa Bay defeated Toronto to take the first-round playoff series in seven games.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 30 shots in a strong effort in goal for the Lightning, whose pursuit of a third straight Stanley Cup remains alive. Jack Campbell made 23 saves for Toronto.
“This one is going to sting for quite a bit,” Marner said. “I’m getting sick and tired of dealing with this.”
–Field Level Media contributed to this article