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The primary spherical of the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs has reached the midway level. Here is what’s stood out within the eight collection up to now:
Brief-handed Bruins beating the Panthers: Roster depth performed an enormous position within the Boston Bruins’ record-setting dominance throughout the common season. It is also made the distinction of their first-round matchup with the Florida Panthers. They’ve taken a 3-1 lead within the collection regardless of accidents sidelining first-line middle Patrice Bergeron for 4 video games and second-line middle David Krejci lacking their final two contests.
Leafs rising to the event: Toronto Maple Leafs stars Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Morgan Rielly and William Nylander have to date silenced critics of their earlier playoff performances. Sitting amongst this post-season’s factors leaders, they’ve carried the Leafs to a 2-1 collection lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Recreation 4 was April 24.
Rangers’ Kreider lighting up the Devils: New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider has performed an enormous position in his membership’s 2-1 collection lead over the New Jersey Devils. Getting into Recreation 4 April 24, the 31-year-old left-winger’s 5 objectives (together with two game-winners) are tied for the playoff lead. The Devils should shut Kreider down in the event that they’re to rally again on this collection.
Oilers and Kings in one other shut collection: The Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings went the total seven video games of their 2022 first-round collection with the Oilers rising triumphant. This yr’s rematch can be carefully contested. Three of 4 video games required extra time, together with a 5-4 comeback win by the Oilers on April 23 to tie this collection at two video games apiece. This one might go both approach.
Kraken a handful for the Avalanche: Few specialists gave the Seattle Kraken an opportunity of their collection in opposition to the Colorado Avalanche. Nonetheless, they received Recreation 1 and narrowly misplaced the subsequent two video games to the defending Stanley Cup champions. Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon referred to as this the hardest first-round collection he is ever performed in.
Jets lose their prime defenceman: The Winnipeg Jets have held their very own in opposition to the Vegas Golden Knights within the first three video games of their collection. Nonetheless, they’ve suffered a critical setback as Josh Morrissey suffered a series-ending lower-body damage in Recreation 3. With out their greatest defenceman and down 2-1 within the collection, the Jets face lengthy odds of upsetting the Golden Knights.
Stars and Wild a best-of-three: The one different collection within the opening spherical tied at two video games apiece, the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild every have a 3-2 win and a lopsided victory up to now. The Wild’s wins got here after they had been in a position to dominate Dallas bodily whereas the Stars’ energy play (six objectives on 16 man-advantage makes an attempt) made the distinction of their victories.
Hurricanes energy up in opposition to the Islanders: The Carolina Hurricanes’ energy play was a significant component of their 3-1 collection lead over the New York Islanders. They’ve made the Isles pay for his or her undisciplined play, scoring 5 objectives on 19 man-advantage conditions. The Isles managed just one purpose on 12 makes an attempt.
Lyle Richardson is a contract author with Bleacher Report and runs the web site Spector’s Hockey. His column will seem in The Guardian all through the NHL hockey season.