Jimmy Howard's steady play keyed the Detroit Red Wings' first-round playoff victory.
The first round of the NHL playoffs almost never fails to deliver its share of thrills and surprises.
There were plenty of overwhelming developments in this year's first round.
Underdogs came through with huge wins, and down-and-out favorites found a way to make miraculous comebacks.
When the first round ends, the rest of the playoffs often follow a more predictable script.
Here's a look back at the most dramatic and surprising moments of the first round.
The Boston Bruins had blown it.
They had taken a 3-1 lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs after the fourth game, and it seemed like they would cruise into the second round.
But these were not the same old Maple Leafs. There was no quit in them, and they picked up their game. They beat the Bruins in Games 5 and 6 to tie the series, with both victories coming by 2-1 margins.
In the seventh game, it looked like a disaster. After the Bruins opened the scoring on a goal by defenseman Matt Bartkowski, the Maple Leafs ripped off four straight goals.
The Bruins found themselves down by three goals midway through the third period. Nathan Horton scored a goal to give the Bruins some momentum, but the Bruins were still down by two goals with less than two minutes to play.
Head coach Claude Julien pulled Tuukka Rask, and Milan Lucic cut the deficit to one when he potted a goal with 1:22 remaining. The Bruins did not let up, and Patrice Bergeron fired a wrister from near the blue line with Zdeno Chara screening goaltender James Reimer. The score was somehow tied, and the series would be decided in overtime.
The Bruins did not let up in the extra session. The much-maligned Tyler Seguin went to the front of the net and fought for a loose puck. He got his stick on it, and it skittered over to Bergeron. He sent it into the net for the comeback and the series winner.
No team had ever come back from a three-goal deficit in the third period of a seventh game to win a playoff series.
The Bruins have accomplished that feat and move on to the conference semifinals against the New York Rangers.
The Detroit Red Wings appeared to be on the outside looking in prior to the final week of the regular season.
With four games to play, Mike Babcock's team needed to win each game to clinch a spot in the postseason.
The Red Wings did just that and earned the seventh seed in the playoffs.
They had to take on the Anaheim Ducks, a team that had earned the second seed with consistent play all season.
While the Red Wings had a glorious history, they didn't seem to have much of a chance against a powerful team like the Ducks.
Somehow, the Red Wings won three overtime games in the series. The third came in the sixth game on a long slap shot by Henrik Zetterberg.
The Red Wings then had their best effort in the seventh game to eliminate and shock the Ducks, 3-2.
The undermanned Red Wings advance to play the Chicago Blackhawks, the best regular-season team in the NHL.
The New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals had engaged in tight, defensive-minded games through the first six games of the series.
Neither team could gain the advantage. However, the seventh game was in Washington, and the first six games had all gone to the home team.
The advantage seemed to lie with the Capitals.
However, the Rangers had a special advantage. They had Henrik Lundqvist in goal. He had registered a 1-0 shutout in the sixth game, and he wasn't so much a wall in goal as he was a force field. He simply would not let anything into the net.
Lundqvist continued to play stellar hockey in the final game. But instead of having to hold on to a one-goal lead, he got a bucket full of goals.
Arron Asham scored on a surprising slap shot in the first period, and the Rangers took charge when Taylor Pyatt and Michael Del Zotto scored in the second period.
The Rangers added two more goals in the third period for a 5-0 victory. They shut down Alex Ovechkin in the process.
The league's leading goal scorer scored Washington's first goal of the series, but he did not score again.
The San Jose Sharks were a streaky team in the regular season.
However, head coach Todd McLellan was not looking for a streaky performance in the playoffs. He wanted consistency every night from his sixth-seeded team.
The Sharks drew the Vancouver Canucks, a team that had broken the Sharks' hearts in 2011 when they met in the Western Conference Final.
While the series had the look of a long one, most thought the Canucks would have the edge in six or seven games.
But the Sharks didn't care about reputations or past performances. They came out and dominated the Canucks by doing the little things better.
Instead of depending on longtime stars Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture scored eight points each.
Antti Niemi was consistently spectacular in goal, and the Sharks got a four-game sweep.
It wasn't a shocker that the Sharks got the victory over a played-out Canucks team, but it was surprising that they took out their brooms and swept Vancouver.
The Ottawa Senators dealt with a slew of nasty injuries during the regular season.
Few thought they had a chance to make the playoffs. Dealing with the losses of Erik Karlsson, Milan Michalek, Jason Spezza and goalie Craig Anderson for significant portions of the season, playing postseason hockey was the last thing on head coach Paul MacLean's mind.
He just wanted his team to compete every night.
It did that and took the seventh seed.
Beating the second-seeded Montreal Canadiens seemed unlikely because the Canadiens had an explosive offense, and the Sens scored fewer goals than any team in the playoffs.
However, Montreal goalie Carey Price was slumping, and the Sens were opportunistic. They scored six goals twice in the series and rolled to an easy five-game victory.
Karlsson returned late in the season, and so did Anderson. Both were special performers in their upset over Montreal.
When the Los Angeles Kings rose from the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference to win the Stanley Cup last year, they gave a road map for other eighth seeds to follow.
The New York Islanders tried to follow in their footsteps against the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were clearly the best Eastern Conference team in the regular season.
After the Penguins won the first game easily, the Islanders won two of the next three games and sent the third into overtime.
In the process, the Islanders drove shaky Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury out of the net.
Tomas Vokoun replaced Fleury; he produced a shutout in Game 5 and was solid in the clinching Game 6 win.
The Islanders were supposed to be cannon fodder for the Penguins, but they came within one shot of taking the powerful Penguins to a seventh game.
It's nothing shocking when NHL playoff games go into overtime.
However, the 16 teams who participated in the first round went well beyond the norm.
There were 17 overtime games in the first round this year. That broke the previous record of 16 overtime games in the first round.
Surprisingly, none of the overtime games went past the first extra session.
When the Los Angeles Kings shocked the hockey world by rising from the eighth seed in the Western Conference to win the first Stanley Cup in their history, they did it by winning the first three games in each of their four playoff rounds.
They were never under duress or in danger of losing.
That was not the case in their first-round series against the St. Louis Blues. The Kings lost the first two games in the series, and they appeared to be on their heels.
Goalie Jonathan Quick let in a bad overtime goal in the first game when he lost the puck off his stick, and Alex Steen scored the winner for the Blues. It wasn't much better in the second game, as Quick let in two goals in the third period, including the winner in the last minute of regulation.
However, when it looked like the playoff magic had disappeared, the Kings roared back with four straight wins. Quick rebounded with stellar performances.
The Kings won as front-runners last year. This year, they showed they could come back from a sizable deficit.