I guess it's fitting that the final game of the first round of the NHL playoffs went to overtime.
After all, except for relatively quick series victories by the Nashville Predators and Philadelphia Flyers, it was a fairly contentious first round with three Game 7s and lots and lots of overtimes. The fact that the "easiest" series, at least in terms of games played, were the 4-5 matchups speaks a lot.
The New Jersey Devils became the final team to advance when Adam Henrique scored a double overtime goal to quash a spirited comeback bid by the Florida Panthers, who trailed 2-0 in the game at one point. The New York Rangers didn't need overtime but they did need a hellacious defensive effort in the third period to eliminate the Ottawa Senators with a 2-1 victory.
With the win, the Rangers and Devils are the northernmost teams remaining in the playoffs, but there will not be a subway series in the semifinals. The Devils will face the Flyers (Amtrak series?) while the Rangers will play the other Game 7 winners in the first round, the Washington Capitals.
With all that set, we can present the second-round schedules, available here at Puck Daddy. Our predictions for the Eastern Conference semifinals should be along shortly.
After the jump, fun with Stars goalies in Europe, the legal system in London doesn't trust Tom Hicks, Don Cherry joins Twitter, and more.
- Richard Bachman didn't earn an NHL roster spot until December, but the ECHL graduate is now headed to Europe to represent the United States in the World Championships. [ESPN Dallas]
- Finnish contingent on DBD, I call on you to sell me if there's anything interesting about Kari Lehtonen in this game story from the Finnish national team's victory over... Russia I think? I could use Google Translate for the hilarity that usually ensues, but I figure our strong European fans might be a better and more accurate option. [YLE.fi]
- And speaking of Mr. Lehtonen, he was the subject of the official site's profile earlier this week. As one might expect, there's not much bad to say about him after the season he had. [DallasStars.com]
- From the "I'm Still Bitter About The Tom Hicks Fiasco" category, here's my favorite Associated Press story of the week. [DallasNews.com]
- There's more to Taylor Vause than just his awesome Photoshops. Vause, who was signed to an ATO at the end of the season by the Texas Stars, can play a little bit of hockey too. [The Hockey Writers]
- Dan Ellis occasionally has problems, but he got as good a look at Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith as anyone else while the two were coming up through the Stars system. Ah the days of backup goalies to spare... [CBC.ca]
- Twitter is a glorious tool when used for good, as many of us have discovered the past few years. Unfortunately, the immediate and unfiltered nature of the medium can also lead to people expressing their inner racist idiot, as Joel Ward found out after scoring the overtime winner that sent his Washington Capitals past the Boston Bruins. [USA Today/Puck Daddy]
- The fine folks over at Backhand Shelf had two very insightful articles on diving, embellishment and just flat out fouls over the past couple of days. Both are well worth reading, but the second one that delves into soccer is particularly interesting. [Backhand Shelf/Backhand Shelf]
- Don Cherry is on Twitter, and that comes with all the hilarity you'd think. [@CoachsCornerCBC]