Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Former College Skaters Coming Through in NHL Playoffs

Former NCAA players abounded last week in settling first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.

Kevin Hayes (Boston College) and Carl Hagelin (Michigan) scored overtime goals back-to-back in the final two contests as the New York Rangers eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins in five games. The Rangers will now face the Washington Capitals in the second round.

Farther west, Zach Parise (North Dakota) scored two goals in the clinching Game Six as the Minnesota Wild ousted the higher-seeded St. Louis Blues. The Wild will now meet the Chicago Blackhawks, who got the series-winning goal late in Game Six of their series against the Nashville Predators on a seeing-eye shot from defenseman Duncan Keith (Michigan State).

Up north, Ryan Kesler (Ohio State) scored twice in Game Four as the Anaheim Ducks completed a four-step sweep of the Winnipeg Jets. The Ducks will encounter the Calgary Flames, who got a goal and an assist from rookie Johnny Gaudreau (Boston College) in Game Six in knocking out the Vancouver Canucks.

The NHL's opening postseason round will conclude with Game 7 tomorrow night between the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning. The winner will meet the Montreal Canadiens in Round Two.

ADDENDUM: Ben Bishop (Maine) made 31 saves on Wednesday night as the Lightning blanked the Red Wings, 2-0, in Florida and moved on to the next round against Montreal, starting Friday.

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