Saturday was a great day for fans of brevity and revenge.
Three of a possible three series ended on this day, with the Rangers dispatching the Canadiens, the Blues eliminating the “better” Wild, and the Oilers knocking off the Sharks in six.
The Rangers await either the Bruins or Senators and the Penguins face the winner of the Leafs – Capitals series out East, but we now know how the West shakes out.
St. Louis Blues vs. Nashville Predators
Both teams provided some of the upsets of this young postseason. Each features a red-hot goalie in Jake Allen and Pekka Rinne. Interesting.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Edmonton Oilers
There will be a lot of orange. We may also see a ton of goals with Ryan Getzlaf on fire, Oscar Klefbom headlining the list of unhealthy players and Connor McDavid possibly able to really take off against a Ducks defense that is beat up in its own right.
It’s already been a strange season out West, with the Kings missing the playoffs and first-round exits for the Sharks and Blackhawks. Get ready – and giddy – for things to get even weirder as the postseason goes along.
Two teams (the Montreal Canadiens and San Jose Sharks) are playing to force a Game 7 on Saturday, while the Minnesota Wild are looking to extend their first-round series to a sixth game against the St. Louis Blues.
All three games are on the NBC networks and online via our Live Stream.
Here is all of the important information you need.
St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET
Network: NBC (Stream Online Here)
New York Rangers vs. Montreal Canadiens
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Network: NBC (Stream Online Here)
Edmonton Oilers vs. San Jose Sharks
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
Network: NBCSN (Stream Online Here)
Call it Magnus Paajarvi‘s payday.
The Minnesota Wild provided some push back both in Game 5 and after falling behind 3-0 in the series, but the St. Louis Blues ultimately ended it in overtime on Saturday, collecting a 4-3 OT win.
The Blues saw a 3-1 lead evaporate in the third period, and with the Nashville Predators resting up after sweeping the Chicago Blackhawks, one couldn’t help but wonder if Minnesota was going to keep fighting back.
MORE:Experience Minnesota’s ultimately ill-fated comeback here
St. Louis got that decisive goal after Paajarvi finished a great chance set up by Vladimir Sobotka, however, and the Blues now get to advance.
While the 3-3 goal was one that Jake Allen would like to have back, Saturday provided additional reminders that he’s at the top of his game. Then again, there might not be much margin of error as Allen will try to win a goalie duel against Pekka Rinne.
Perhaps there’s some solace for Bruce Boudreau & the Wild after putting up some impressive last-gasp efforts. Still, this season ended with disappointment once again, continuing a frustrating narrative for both that franchise and its coach.
They also must hope for the best regarding Eric Staal, who was hospitalized after a frightening fall into the boards.
It’s been a season of ups and downs for the Blues, however, who now glance at a fascinatingly wide-open West with their heads held high.
The Minnesota Wild could have buckled when they went down 3-0 in their series against the St. Louis Blues.
They easily could have shut down shop when a goal was disallowed during the third period of Game 5, maintaining the Blues’ lead at 3-1.
Instead, they just kept fighting and fighting, maybe to avoid this gesture from Bruce Boudreau.
They fought back to score two goals that actually counted, starting with this tally by Mikko Koivu.
The 3-3 goal was a combination of arguably a rare mistake by Jake Allen as he seemed to be a touch too aggressive, although you have to credit Jason Zucker‘s instincts and speed. Ultimately, that goal sent Game 5 to overtime.
Impressive stuff. We’ll see if the Wild can force a Game 6, but either way, this team showed that they have some fight left in them.
Bruce Boudreau’s frequently one of the most colorful coaches to watch during a big game … sometimes literally.*
He’s provided some entertaining moments of frustration, with his … frank reaction to a Mathew Dumba penalty ranking among the highlights of Game 5.
Whether you feel that Nino Niederreiter should have been called for goalie interference on a would-be goal or not, the Twitter consensus is that the call is becoming about as clear as what constitutes a catch in an NFL game.
With that in mind, Boudreau’s gesture spoke for us all after the tally was not allowed on Saturday:
Check out video above. It’s been a hectic third period, as the Blues aren’t out of the woods even after a nice Paul Stastny goal where he squeezed the puck through an unlikely window.
Here’s a shot of the interference in GIF form, too.
Even Kerry Fraser didn’t know which way to call the review, by the way. A bit of a mess for the NHL, eh.
(Oh, and the game is now tied 3-3, so check it out on NBC.)
* – Seriously, it gets a little worrisome when his face goes red. It’s not unlike Barry Trotz’s nervous eyebrow(s).