Monday, May 6, 2013

Collegians Coming Through in NHL First Round

Former NCAA players were certainly in the news over the weekend and into Monday in the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs—particularly a plethora of previous Wisconsin Badgers.

Western Conference
Joe Pavelski (Wisconsin) scored twice in San Jose's 5-2 win over Vancouver on Sunday, which gave the Sharks a 3-0 lead in the series. Pavelski has two goals and four assists for six points so far in three games. Dan Boyle (Miami) has a goal and two assists to date for San Jose, while Tommy Wingels (Miami) has two assists.Cory Schneider (Boston College) returned in net for the Canucks on Sunday following time off for an undisclosed injury, but surrendered five goals on 28 shots to take the loss.

Brian Elliott (Wisconsin) won his first two games for St. Louis in the Blues' series with defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles, stopping 56 of 58 shots. The Kings got back into contention with a 1-0 win on Saturday at home, as 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick (Massachusetts) finished with 30 stops. T.J. Oshie (North Dakota) scored twice for St. Louis in Monday night's 4-3 loss in California, and David Backes (Minnesota State) also lit the lamp for the Blues in a losing effort. Quick made 19 saves as the Kings tied the series at two games apiece.

Justin Abdelkader (Michigan State) scored Detroit's first goal in the Red Wings' 5-4 overtime victory Thursday at Anaheim to tie that series, but was ejected and then suspended for two games for his hit on Tony Lydman in Game Three, which Anaheim won, 4-0, in Michigan on Saturday. Nick Bonino (Boston University) had two goals and an assist through three games for Anaheim, while Kyle Palmieri (Notre Dame) scored one goal and set up another for the Ducks, who fell by a 3-2 count in overtime on Monday in Detroit.
Gustav Nyquist (Maine) had the OT winner for Detroit last week, and assisted on the winner on Monday. Brendan Smith (Wisconsin) scored for Detroit on Monday, as did David Steckel (Ohio State) for Anaheim. Jimmy Howard (Maine) stopped 77 of 87 shots in the first three games for the Wings, and had 31 stops in Game Four at Joe Louis Arena in the win that tied the series again. 
Minnesota's Jason Zucker (Denver) made his first career Stanley Cup playoff goal even more memorable when it came in overtime in the Wild's 2-1 win on Sunday against the visiting Blackhawks. Chicago now leads the series, two games to one, as Patrick Sharp (Vermont) has provided two goals and an assist in the three games so far. Duncan Keith (Michigan State) has a goal and two

assists for the Blackhawks.

Eastern Conference

Ryan McDonagh (Wisconsin) unfortunately lifted the puck into the crowd in overtime in Game 2 at Washington on Saturday, resulting in a power play that the Capitals' Mike Green converted for the game's only goal and a 2-0 series lead over the New York Rangers. Carl Hagelin (Michigan) had New York's only goal through the first two games—but Derek Stepan (Wisconsin) tipped home the game-winner late in the third period on Monday night to get New York back into the series with a 4-3 triumph at Madson Square Garden in Game Three. The Rangers' Brian Boyle (Boston College) and the Caps' Jay Beagle (Alaska Anchorage) also scored on Monday.

Phil Kessel (Minnesota) and James van Riemsdyk (New Hampshire) both scored a goal in Toronto's 4-2 win at Boston on Saturday, which enabled the Maple Leafs to knot their series with the Bruins at one win apiece. Boston, however, responded with a 5-2 win at Air Canada Centre on Monday night to regain the lead, as Rich Peverley (St. Lawrence) scored his first goal of the playoffs for the Bruins.

Kyle Okposo (Minnesota) scored the game-winning goal shorthanded for the New York Islanders on Friday in Game Two at Pittsburgh to tie that series. He added another man-down marker on Sunday on Long Island as the Isles fell to the Penguins, 5-4, in sudden death. Chris Kunitz (Ferris State) notched the game-winner in the extra session for Pittsburgh, to go with an earlier goal and assist on the afternoon.

Ottawa downed visiting Montreal, 6-1, on Sunday as the Senators took a 2-1 lead in that series. Rene Bourque (Wisconsin) leads the Canadiens with two goals and an assist so far, while Kyle Turris (Wisconsin) has a goal and an assist to date for the Senators.

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