The Stanley Cup playoffs have been somewhat in the shadows of the NBA playoffs so far. But while the NBA has had more thrilling first round action than ever before, the NHL isn't too far behind. In fact, the Stanley Cup playoffs will cap their first leg with a triple header of Game 7 action on April 30, which the Philadelphia Flyers locked up on April 29 from blowing out the New York Rangers by 5-2.
The Flyers did just what the Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild did the previous night, by staving off elimination with a convincing Game 6 home victory. Wayne Simmonds was the star for the Flyers in their Game 6 win, racking up a hat trick while Steve Mason locked the Rangers down for the second straight time in Philadelphia.
Unfortunately for the Flyers, Game 7 is in New York, giving the Rangers a slight edge back. Whoever gets the edge in the end will have to face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round, so both Philadelphia and New York have to hope they aren't too exhausted.
The Flyers and Rangers will begin the last night of first round action at 7 p.m. est. Unless they go to overtime, they will be done before the second and third Game 7's get under way. The Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild start their finale at 9:30 p.m. est in Colorado -- which doesn't bode well for Minnesota since the road team is 0-6 in this series.
The last Stanley Cup playoff game of the first round could be the most historic, if the Los Angeles Kings complete a fourth straight win over the San Jose Sharks. The third and last team to ever erase a 3-0 series deficit was the 2010 Flyers, with current Kings Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, so it would be ironic if both the Flyers and Kings won a Game 7 on the road in the same night.
Whoever the last three teams to advance into round two are, the Stanley Cup playoffs are already setting the bar for the championship rounds to come. The accompanying list details the highlights of the first round so far, with at least a few more coming tonight.