Welcome to the final eight.
That was the message received by the Kings, Penguins and Red Wings this past weekend as all three teams moved into their respective conference semifinals.
In LA, the Kings got a late — and we mean late — second-period marker from Dustin Penner to beat the Blues 2-1, winning the best-of-seven series in six games.
Penner scored with 0.2 seconds left in the middle frame, and his goal stood as the game-winning tally as Kings netminder Jonathan Quick slammed the door shut in the third.
On Long Island, the Penguins displayed some late flair for the dramatic.
Paul Martin scored with five minutes remaining to tie the game at three — this despite the Isles largely outplaying the Pens for most of the contest — and Brooks Orpik scored in OT to give Pittsburgh its first series win since 2010.
In Anaheim, Detroit won its first regulation game in grand style.
The Wings flummoxed the Ducks — at the Honda Center, no less — beating Anaheim 3-2 to capture the series in seven.
It was the first time Detroit won in 60 minutes (their first three series victories came in overtime) and the game-winning goal came courtesy Valtteri Filppula, who picked a fine time to bump his slump.
The Finnish forward scored his first goal of the series midway through the second period, which stood as the eventual game-winner.
The Ducks cut Detroit’s lead to one late in the third, but Wings goalie Jimmy Howard stood tall over the final few minutes to push the Wings through to Round 2.
Extended weekend recap!
We’d be remiss without mentioning two of the series that pushed to a Game 7 this weekend — Boston-Toronto and Washington-New York Rangers — that will be played tonight at TD Garden and Verizon Center, respectively.
The Leafs beat the Bruins 2-1 on Sunday to head back to Boston for a do-or-die affair, while the Rangers — led by the outstanding goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist — beat the ‘Caps 1-0 to force a do-or-die of their own.