One team clinched a berth in its conference final and another failed to put away a series in a big way during Sunday's NHL action.
The Nashville Predators booked a spot in the Western Conference Final with a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Blues, closing out the series in six games. It's the first-ever trip to a conference final for the Preds, who have lost just twice in the 2017 postseason despite coming in as the lowest-seeded team in its half of the bracket.
The Edmonton Oilers forced a Game 7 against the Anaheim Ducks, making up for their epic collapse in Game 5 with a resounding 7-1 victory in Game 6.
Beyond Oilers-Ducks, a couple of other postseason series are still going strong. Here's the upcoming slate for the 2017 NHL playoffs.
|Upcoming 2017 Stanley Cup Playoff Schedule|
|Monday, May 8||Game||Series||Start Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream|
|Washington at Pittsburgh||6||PIT 3-2 WAS||7:30 p.m.||NBCSN||NBC Sports Live|
|Tuesday, May 9|
|Ottawa at New York||6||OTT 3-2 NYR||7:30 p.m.||NBCSN||NBC Sports Live|
|Wednesday, May 10|
|Pittsburgh at Washington*||7||PIT 3-2 WAS||TBD||NBCSN||NBC Sports Live|
|Edmonton at Anaheim||7||ANA 3-3 EDM||TBD||NBCSN||NBC Sports Live|
|Thursday, May 11|
|New York at Ottawa*||7||OTT 3-2 NYR||TBD||NBCSN||NBC Sports Live|
|NHL.com, *if necessary|
Expect Plenty of Drama in Anaheim
There have been plenty of twists and turns in the wild series between the Oilers and Ducks, and fans can probably expect a few more when the two teams hit the ice on Wednesday in Anaheim.
The Oilers are young, aggressive and can really fly across the ice. While their quick skating can really test defenses and lead to hoards of goals, their inexperience also shows up, making this series fun and unpredictable. Edmonton allowed three goals to the Ducks in the final three minutes of Game 5, allowing their opponents to force overtime, before conceding a fourth in the second extra period.
Ducks winger Andrew Cogliano doesn't blame fans if they gave up on the game.
"[I got] texts this morning," Cogliano said on Friday, per the Los Angeles Times' Curtis Zupke. "People had no idea. They probably turned it off after the second [period]. You get text messages from people not knowing how we won and how we came back. That’s pretty fair."
Edmonton didn't take long to give Ducks fans another reason to feel like giving up in the next contest. The Oilers netted five goals in the first period and seven overall. Three of those goals and two assists came from their "other" talented second-year player, Leon Draisaitl, who has taken a backseat to phenom Connor McDavid this season but is wreaking havoc on the Ducks.
Deadspin's Barry Petchesky noted Draisaitl gives the Oilers a major scoring punch when McDavid is off the ice:
"That the Oilers could score seven on a night when McDavid didn't have a point is a very good thing. They're offensively top-heavy, which can be a matter of strategy rather than a flaw—look to the Predators for another team with a top line light years beyond their depth forwards, and it's obviously worked for them, though their defense and goaltending is much better than Edmonton's—but the deep playoff runs tend to belong to the teams who can roll three or four legitimate threats. The calculus to separate McDavid and Draisaitl strengthens a second line at the expense of the first, and sometimes that's what's needed."
The Ducks have found themselves down by at least two goals in each of the last three games, but they have managed to win two of them. While it shows incredible resilience and calm, it's not a situation they will want to repeat in a win-or-go-home situation.
Anaheim has had a terrible go of it in Game 7s, losing their last five such contests in the playoffs, per NBCSports.com's Cam Tucker.
Many of the Ducks on the current roster have suffered through those crushing defeats, so the team will have to break through potential psychological barriers if they are to tamp down the Oilers and move on to face another upstart in the Predators in the next round.