The NHL 1st series of the playoffs were unpredictably interesting


Caitlyn Feay

A hockey player graphic skating on ice with a puck in his stick. Words on the left state “The NHL 1st series of the playoffs were unpredictably interesting”

Caitlyn Feay, Staff Writer, Editor

With the first series of the National Hockey League playoffs coming to a close, this series of games happened to be one of the best to watch. Every team had a fire inside them due to multiple divisional rivals. Every game I watched had some interesting aspects, which drew me more into watching the series play out. I think a lot of the teams played really well, especially under pressure in close games.  

The Boston Bruins vs. The Florida Panthers:

This series was probably one of the most captivating. Getting to watch Florida step themselves up had me on the edge of my seat every game. I loved watching the speed of the Panthers, even though sometimes it caused more harm than good. The first few games of the series had hockey fans believing Boston would sweep the series, even if the Panthers had won the second game. Suddenly, Florida came out of nowhere and won two games in a row forcing the record-breaking champions into the seventh eliminating game. 

I loved watching game seven because both teams were incredibly emotional trying to win. Boston had taken the lead quickly in the third period by one goal and had carried the lead throughout the period. This was followed by many good saves by both the Panthers goaltender (Sergei Bobrovsky) and Bruins goaltender (Jeremy Swayman). 

In a desperate attempt to take back the game, Florida had no choice but to pull the goalie and get an extra skater on the ice, which was a smart move. I stood by my TV watching defenseman Brandon Montour hit the puck in the net which sent this game into overtime. This move was really amazing to watch, because it had a really small chance to enter the net, yet it still did. The Panthers were in the zone ready to gain the entry spot into the second round after their presidential trophy year in the 2021-2022 season and getting eliminated. With close to 11 minutes left, center Carter Verhaeghe had scored the overtime winner for the Panthers, eliminating the Bruins in only the first round of the playoffs. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning vs. The Toronto Maple Leafs:

With Tampa Bay winning the Stanley Cup twice in a row and making it to the final round last year, they were one of the teams to beat. Toronto had a lot on their plate, even if they were a higher seed than Tampa Bay. With the Lightning beating the Leafs 7-3 in the first game, the series seemed set for the Lightning to win right? Wrong. 

The Leafs won three games in a row putting Tampa Bay in a must-win scenario. The pressure though, moves them and they continue with a win forcing a sixth game. The Leafs led the game until a third-period goal by Lightning center Steven Stamkos which forced the game into overtime. I was genuinely shocked that this game was going into an overtime period because I thought the Leafs had it under control. 

With Toronto on the attack, Tampa Bay surrounded the net which ended up being for the worst. Center John Tavares shot the puck, which hit defenseman Darren Raddysh’s skate, and into the net. The series ends 4-2, advancing them into the second round after a 19 year long streak. I never thought I would see that happen. Tampa Bay had proved a lot previously, so seeing them out in six games, shows they needed to improve something this year. 

The Edmonton Oilers vs. The Los Angeles Kings:

This series is personally one of the ones I wasn’t too deeply interested in yet both teams did provide varied entertainment. Many celebrities attended games to support their teams in this series, including singer Taylor Swift, actor Will Ferrell, rapper Snoop Dogg, and many others. In the regular season, this series was tied 2-2, so the playoffs decided who would be winning the series. The beginning started slow, with both teams winning a game and with multiple going into overtime. 

The most remarkable overtime game was the first one. Los Angeles last second tied up their game which forced them into a dreaded overtime. With Edmonton slipping up, they were given a tripping penalty. The Kings took advantage of the opportunity and had an incredible passing play which resulted in a goal 16 seconds after the penalty call. 

The play was incredible to watch based on the fast-paced puck work. Another thing that surprised me overall by this series, was that center Connor McDavid was not scoring as much in the playoffs. I thought he would be contributing more due to his career-high season, but I was honestly shocked. On the other hand, center Leon Draisaitl proved his skill, scoring multiple goals all series. 

Both goalies had a rocky series, with some getting pulled in a few games. Even though the Kings had been playing relatively well, the Oilers did come on top in a close game six, winning the series 4-2. 

The Dallas Stars vs. The Minnesota Wild:

Once this series was set, I knew it would be unpredictable due to both of these teams being very similar, even in their uniform choices. Honestly, in some games, I would confuse them because they both are similar shades of green. Besides the uniform colors, this played out similarly to the Oilers and Kings game. In the first four games, the teams were tied. Not a shock to me. 

Dallas proceeded to shut out the Wild in the next game, with two of the goals being on a powerplay. I was surprised about the diversity of penalties both teams received, especially with the almost immediate misconduct and kneeing penalty toward Minnesota left wing Marcus Foligno. I mean two minutes in and already a penalty? That’s not good for the playoffs, especially since Dallas Center Tyler Seguin took advantage of that powerplay. 

Another penalty that I saw was the third-period embellishment calls. This penalty is not one I see often, and I’ve been watching hockey for a while. Not only was this called once, but twice on the Stars during the third period. I was surprised by this and I am hoping the coach talks to this team about that eventually, as it could turn into a stricter penalty. 

Dallas won the series after the disappointing effort from the Wild in game six. With everything on the line, the Wild only managed to get one goal. Normally, when teams face elimination, they put in so much effort, but I never saw that energy from Minnesota. Dallas wins 4-2.

The New Jersey Devils vs. The New York Rangers:

What could be more like a roller coaster than these games right here? To start, the Rangers were the lower seed, visiting New Jersey, yet still prevailing twice. With the Devils not wanting to get stuck by three, they win. 

The major thing I think helped them was rookie goaltender Akira Schmid playing for them. I don’t think he is that persistent, but certainly a big factor for New Jersey just to get some new faces in to switch things up. 

After New Jersey’s three-game winning streak, the Rangers are back at home looking to not get eliminated in game six. This game stuck out to me because the Rangers had not won a playoff home game yet. New York had enough and was able to score five goals in this game, creating a game seven. This surprised me because the Devils’ goaltending was very disappointing in this game. They still included goalie Akira Schmid though in game seven which produced him another playoff shutout due to the Rangers being burnt out.

I was very disappointed in the Rangers. They had a ton of wonderful star players like right-wing Patrick Kane, left-wing Artemi Panarin, and center Mika Zibanejad yet still got eliminated in the first round, resulting in their head coach getting fired. New Jersey, though, gets sent into the second round winning the series 4-3. 

The Colorado Avalanche vs. The Seattle Kraken:

These games sure were interesting, with the reigning Stanley Cup champions battling against Seattle in their first playoffs ever. I knew this series was going to be intense, due to both teams having incredible speed and goal-scoring abilities. 

The first game surprised me. The hype was up for the Avalanche, but Seattle took game one. The Avalanche offense was pushing through, but goaltender Phillip Grubauer made 34 saves pushing Seattle to that victory. 

The win was short-lived when Colorado fought back, winning two games. I was really hyped up about it, because I think they have many star goal-scorers who really make Colorado interesting.

The next game did not go as planned for Colorado. The Avalanche had a strong defense, but it does truly rely on star defenseman Cale Makar. In Game Four, Makar got a singular-game suspension for a hit on left-wing Jared McCann, which also led to Seattle winning the next game. 

Colorado, facing elimination, won their game with beautiful offensive plays. Right wing Mikko Rantanen had a great rebound goal in the first, which opened up the rest of the goals in that game. 

The seventh game though, felt quite slow and disappointing. Both teams, clearly exhausted, only were able to score in the second period, with the Kraken leading the scoring. The close game ended with Seattle advancing. 

The Carolina Hurricanes vs. The New York Islanders:

This series had a lot in store, with the Islanders hopping into the first wild-card spot nearing the end of the season. Carolina seemed to get a head start in the series, winning both of their home games. Then, when they shifted to New York, things changed. 

Game three was one of the most interesting ones due to the Islanders scoring the four fastest goals in playoff history. Both teams were tied, and with 16 minutes into the period, the Islanders woke up and scored four goals in less than three minutes. I didn’t even bother looking up anymore, as I just knew it was the Islanders.

 I loved watching this fast-paced scoring from this defense-driven team. The first two games felt quite slow and boring, so this change felt so much more exciting. Although I would have preferred them to score throughout the game. I also am a sucker for empty-netter goals, because I just think they’re fun to see if they make it in the net or not. Even though the Islanders did lose the series, they did try to make it against the Hurricanes. I think the Hurricane offense played well, as they scored 16 goals in this series alone. 

The last game of the series also showed how hard New York was working though. They were trying to face off elimination and even sent the game into overtime. With the speed of Carolina, center Paul Stastny comes to a close angle and shoots into the net. I’m honestly not sure how he made it, because I reviewed it, and it looked like it was a difficult shot. The overtime goal led Carolina to win the series 4-2.

The Las Vegas Golden Knights vs. The Winnipeg Jets: 

The series overall was pretty chill. Before the playoffs began, I knew Vegas was going to win the series, but the Jets did start big. With Winnipeg’s scoring in this first game, I had my doubts, but the Knights got their revenge in the next game. Little did I know, one of the best games was going to follow.

 Game three was one of the most exciting ones of the playoffs. The first period started quickly with two quick Vegas goals, then a Winnipeg goal. Vegas then had two great second-period goals. One by star center Jack Eichel, and the other one being right-wing Keegen Kolesar. The Knights were dominating the game, but with a desperate push from the Jets, ended up scoring three times to tie up the game in the third period. This sent this game into a very long overtime. Both teams, being very tired, weren’t even able to score in the first overtime period. The fans in the Winnipeg stadium all were frustrated at this point, being there for so long. Vegas got their head straight, and with a beautiful pass sent to center Micheal Armadio, he shot into the net and made it past goaltender Connor Hellebuyck giving Vegas the lead in the series. 

The Knights continued with their streak throughout the rest of the series. I was disenchanted by the effort from the Jets because, after the third game, they only had three goals combined in their remaining two losses. With the lack of effort from Winnipeg, Vegas was sent to round two sweeping the Jets 4-1. 


This was overall an exciting start to the playoffs and I am excited to see what’s in store for the future games. Each series had an exciting game that shows the true reason why each team made it to the playoffs.