NHL Playoffs: Kaprizov hat trick lifts Wild, Hedman leads Bolts to even, Canes and Oilers win

Kirill Kaprizov
May 4, 2022; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Wild left wing Kirill Kaprizov (97) celebrates his hat trick against the St. Louis Blues in the third period in game two of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Playoffs recap for May 4, 2022 saw three out of the four series pull even.

In Minnesota, Kirill Kaprizov led the scoring parade with a hat trick to get the Wild even against the St. Louis Blues. The other Western Conference matchup had the Edmonton Oilers dominate the Los Angeles Kings as goalie Mike Smith posted a shutout after his gaffe lost Game 1.

The Tampa Bay Lightning proved why they are still a team to be reckoned with posting a bounce back win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Victor Hedman’s 4 points helped to even the series. And the Carolina Hurricanes, forced to play their third string goalie took a 2-0 series lead against the Boston Bruins.

NHL Playoffs: Wild 6 vs Blues 2

Kirill Kaprizov had a hat trick and Joel Eriksson Ek had two goals and an assist to lead the Minnesota Wild to a 6-2 victory over the visiting St. Louis Blues in Game 2 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series on Wednesday in Saint Paul, Minn.

The series is now tied 1-1, with Minnesota bouncing back from a 4-0 shutout loss in Game 1. Game 3 is set for Friday in St. Louis.

Kaprizov scored on an even-strength play, on the power play, and on an empty net for the first postseason hat trick in Wild franchise history. Kaprizov had only three points (two goals, one assist) in eight previous career playoff games. It was also a milestone night for Eriksson Ek, who had only five points (three goals, two assists) in his 20 previous Stanley Cup playoff games.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 32 of 34 shots. It was the 91st playoff win of Fleury’s career, putting him one victory behind Grant Fuhr for third place on the all-time list.

Hurricanes 5 vs Bruins 2

Sebastian Aho and Nino Niederreiter each scored twice and third-string goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov made 30 saves as Carolina defeated Boston in Raleigh, N.C.

The Hurricanes were already down their number one goalie Frederik Andersen and lost Antti Raanta early in the first period. He exited game after a collision with Bruins forward David Pastrnak.

“We’ve got faith in the kid,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We’ve seen him. It’s not like we’re just throwing him in. The guys responded in the way they played in front of him, but he responded in the way he played. There’s a lot of faith in that group with our goalie.”

“We’ve got faith in the kid [Kochetkov],” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We’ve seen him. It’s not like we’re just throwing him in. The guys responded in the way they played in front of him, but he responded in the way he played. There’s a lot of faith in that group with our goalie.”

Jesper Fast also scored, Tony DeAngelo had three assists and Jaccob Slavin added two for the Hurricanes, who took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round playoff series. Game 3 is scheduled for Friday night in Boston.

Patrice Bergeron scored twice for the Bruins and Linus Ullmark stopped 29 of 33 shots. The Hurricanes have outscored the Bruins 10-3 through the first two games after sweeping the three-game, regular-season series by a 16-1 margin.

Lightning 5 vs Maple Leafs 3

nhl playoffs victor hedman
May 4, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) celebrates scoring a goal with defenseman Victor Hedman (77) during the second period of game two of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Victor Hedman had a playoff career-best four points with a goal and three assists and visiting Tampa Bay defeated Toronto in Game 2 of the first-round playoff series.

“A win is a win in the playoffs,” Hedman said. “I think we were a little more desperate and we battled hard, that’s the bottom line. On the power play, at 5-on-5, we did a pretty good job most of the night. We take it personal, that’s the bottom line. If you lose two in a row in the playoffs, it’s never good since it’s first to four.”

The best-of-seven series is tied 1-1. Nikita Kucherov added a goal and two assists for the Lightning. Corey Perry, Brandon Hagel and Brayden Point also scored. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 31 shots for Tampa Bay.

Mitchell Marner had a goal and an assist for the Maple Leafs. Michael Bunting and Alexander Kerfoot also scored and Auston Matthews added two assists. Jack Campbell made 29 saves.

Oilers 6 vs Kings 0

Evander Kane scored two goals in a three-point game and Mike Smith collected the shutout as host Edmonton evened its Western Conference first-round series with a decisive victory over Los Angeles.

One game after his third-period puck-handling miscue led to the game-winning goal in the series opener, Smith snapped a 10-game playoff losing streak with a 30-save outing to post his fifth career playoff shutout. His last win was a 4-0 playoff-opening victory for the Calgary Flames over the Colorado Avalanche in 2019.

“To be honest, I didn’t really feel too bad in Game 1. I made one bad play and it cost us the game,” Smith said. “I think I just carried the same kind of mindset into tonight and wanted to put in a good showing, especially after you feel like maybe you’re the cause of a loss.

Leon Draisaitl, Darnell Nurse, Ryan McLeod and Jesse Puljujarvi also scored for the Oilers. Game 3 of the best-of-seven series will be Friday in Los Angeles.

-Field Level Media contributed to this article