= 2001 = 2002 = 2003 = 2004 = 2006 = 2007 = 2008 = 2009 = 2010 = 2011 = 2012 =

Round One - Conference Quarterfinals

Western Conference

#1 Vancouver Canucks vs. #8 Los Angeles Kings

The Canucks almost tasted the Cup the year before and were looking to uncrown LA on their way back to the Finals. Starting goalie Roberto Luongo would be on a short leash as fan-loved #2 Cory Schenider was ready to step in if Luongo screwed up. The Kings were pissed that a loss of their division on the last day of the season dropped them all the way to the bottom seed so they and their possible Vezina-winning goalie Jonathan Quick had something to prove.

GAME ONE: LOS ANGELES 4 at VANCOUVER 2 - April 11 | Highlights
LA’s Dustin Penner scored a bouncy goal to break a 2-2 tie with 3:14 left to help the Kings stun the first-seeded Canucks in the Game One win. Alexandre Burrows had opened the scoring in the 1st for the ‘Nucks with Mike Richards tying it up soon after. Willie Mitchell on the power play for LA in the second forced Alexander Edler to tie it up for Vancouver with seconds left in that period. Dustin Brown got the empty-netter for the Kings.

GAME TWO: LOS ANGELES 4 at VANCOUVER 2 - April 13 | Highlights
Dustin Brown scored two short-handed goals and it looked like he'd had a hat trick, but his third goal was eventually given to Jarret Stoll. But no matter, they still got the unlikely win against the Canuckleheads. Trevor Lewis also scored for the Kings and Vancouver got tallies from Jannik Hansen and Samuel Pahlsson.

GAME THREE: VANCOUVER 0 at LOS ANGELES 1 - April 15 | Highlights
The 8th-seeded Kings ended up with the commanding 3-0 series lead over the President's Trophy-winning Canucks on a Dustin Brown goal and a 41-save shutout by game-stealer Jonathan Quick.

GAME FOUR: VANCOUVER 3 at LOS ANGELES 1 - April 18 | Highlights
Vancouver avoided the embarassing sweep. Daniel Sedin returned to the lineup just in the nick of time. He helped his brother Henrik on his 3rd period power play goal, which added to the Canucks goals by Edler and Bieksa in the second. Anze Kopitar scored for LA in the first.

GAME FIVE: LOS ANGELES 2 at VANCOUVER 1 (OT) - April 22 | Highlights
Goalie Quick was the hero again for the Kings who eliminated the first-seeded Canucks with a 2-1 win. Henrik Sedin, again helped by Daniel, scored in the first, but Quick snuffed the other 26 shots he faced, Brad Richardson tied the game early in the third, and Jarret Stoll 4:27 into overtime sent the Canuckleheads golfing and the Kings into Round Two to face the Blues!

Kings win series 4 games to 1.

#2 St. Louis Blues vs. #7 San Jose Sharks

The playoff history between these two teams is storied. The President's Trophy-winning Blues were upended by the Sharks in 2000 in Round 1 and even though the Blues got revenge the next year it put a sour note on the decade for St. Louis. The dramatic 2009 playoff run for the Blues which ended in a sweep notwithstanding, the Sharks defeated the Blues in 2004, the last time St. Louis made the playoffs with a real chance at success and the last time they won a playoff game. Now the almost-President’s-winning Blues again face a low-seeded Sharks but this time, with the Jennings Trophy tandem of Joroslav Halak and Brian Elliot they looked to dominate the lackluster Sharks and win a playoff series for the first time in ten years.

GAME ONE: SAN JOSE 3 at ST. LOUIS 2 (2OT) - April 12 | Highlights
It was the battle of two great goal scorers and two great goal keepers in Game One. After a scoreless first, Martin Havlat put the Sharks up 1-0 in the 2nd on a power play goal but in the third Patrik Berglund scored 2, one a power play goal, to even it up and go-ahead for the Blues. Andrew Desjardins tied it up for San Jose with minutes left to play and then Havlat again stunned the St. Louis crowd in double-overtime with the winner. Both Jaroslav Halak and Antti Niemi were brilliant, Niemi stopping 40 shots and Halak stopping 31.

GAME TWO: SAN JOSE 0 at ST. LOUIS 3 - April 14 | Highlights
This is where having two great goalies might be the best advantage in the NHL playoffs. The tandem of Halak and Elliot got the shutout and the Blues their first playoff win since 2004 (also against the Sharks). Halak had to leave early in the second, hurt after a collision with one of his teammates. It also helps when your opponent knocks it in their own net - Marc-Edouard Vlasic, only 1:31 into the 1st, after a shot from Vladimir Sobotka trickled through Niemi, tried to scoop the puck out of the net, but instead put it in. In a way the Blues come full circle on that, since it was Game Two, at St. Louis, in 2000, where Marc Bergevin put the puck in his own net to give the Sharks a goal. The Blues scored in each period with Sobotka, captain David Backes, and Andy McDonald.

GAME THREE: ST. LOUIS 4 at SAN JOSE 3 - April 16 | Highlights
St. Louis got the win and 2-1 series lead, fending off a furious late rally by the Sharks. Special teams were the key as 3 of the Blues' 4 tallies came on the power play (Patrik Berglund, Jason Arnott, Alexander Steen). Sharks got one of their own, with Brent Burns that had tied it at 1 in the first. Colin White and Logan Couture scored with minutes, and then seconds, left to play to make the Blues nervous.

GAME FOUR: ST. LOUIS 2 at SAN JOSE 1 - April 19 | Highlights
B.J. Crombeen and Andy McDonald stoked the Blues to a 2-0 lead, again the Sharks made things interesting by Joe Thornton scoring late but again it wasn't enough as they went into the series hole 1-3 .

GAME FIVE: SAN JOSE 1 at ST. LOUIS 3 - April 21 | Highlights
With only seconds left in the second Joe Thornton got the Sharks on the board first in the tight Game Five. After most of the game with lackluster offense from the Blues it looked like the Sharks would live another day. But St. Louis scored twice 45 seconds apart late in the third (Jamie Langenbrunner and David Perron) and with an empty-netter by Andy McDonald later to seal the deal the Blues advanced to Round 2 for the first time in a decade.

Blues win series 4 games to 1

#3 Phoenix Coyotes vs. #6 Chicago Blackhawks

The down-but-not-totally out recent Cup-winners Blackhawks vs. the For-Sale, financially unstable, and maybe-moving, Phoenix Coyotes. It was a battle to see which two losers would be the winner.

GAME ONE:CHICAGO 2 at PHOENIX 3 (OT) - April 12 | Highlights
Chicago made it dramatic, but unfortunately for them, not a winner. They got on the board first in the first with Jonathan Toews, with Phoenix tying and going-ahead with tallies by Taylor Pyatt and Antoine Vermette in the second. But Chicago's Brent Seabrook put-off Phoenix's celebration with only 14.2 seconds left in regulation to force OT. 9:29 into overtime, though, Martin Hanzal had the Coyotes howling on a tip-in goal.

GAME TWO: CHICAGO 4 at PHOENIX 3 (OT) - April 14 | Highlights
Once again, Chicago tied the game with seconds left to play, but this time they converted 10:36 into overtime with a tally by Bryan Bickwell. It was his second goal, as he had opened up the scoring for Chicago in the first. Brandon Bollig and Patrick Sharp also scored for the 'Hawks. Raffi Torres, Antoine Vermette (twice) scored for the Coyotes.

GAME THREE: PHOENIX. 3 at CHICAGO 2 (OT) - April 17 | Highlights
Mikkel Boedker 13:15 into overtime gave the Coyotes a 2-1 series lead.

GAME FOUR: PHOENIX 3 at CHICAGO 2 (OT) - April 19 | Highlights
Mikkel Boedker 2:15 into overtime gave the Coyotes a 3-1 series lead. Whoah. Deja vu.

GAME FIVE: CHICAGO 2 at PHOENIX 1 (OT) - April 21 | Highlights
This time it was Chicago who got to score in overtime, and stay alive, with a tally by Jonathan Toews 2:44 into the extra period.

GAME SIX: PHOENIX 4 at CHICAGO 0 - April 23 | Highlights
Despite a Blackhawks shot frenzy, Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith stopped all 39 shots he faced; and with power play goals by Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Antoione Vermette, and two regular tallies by Gilbert Brule and Kyle Chipchura, the Coyotes are howling into Round Two! (And the 'Hawks are going golfing.)

Coyotes win series 4 games to 2.

#4 Nashville Predators vs. #5 Detroit Red Wings

These two had met in the playoffs before, but never with the Predators a higher seed. It was a surprise in general to see the Wings in the lower rungs of the seeding, as it is lately a rare position for them to be in. Nashville and long (loooong)-time coach Barry Trotz hoped to take advantage of that situation.

GAME ONE: DETROIT 2 at NASHVILLE 3 - April 11 | Highlights
In his first career playoff game, Nashville Predators rookie third-line winger Gabriel Bourque scored 2 goals - including the game-winner with 8:25 left - to help Nashville take Game One. Checking center Paul Gaustad got the other Preds goal - his first playoff goal, too. Tomas Holmstrom scored for the Wings with 2:25 left to make the end very interesting. Zetterberg scored the other Detroit goal.

GAME TWO: DETROIT 3 at NASHVILLE 2 - April 13 | Highlights
Ian White, Cory Emmerton and Johan Franzen scored for the Wings and Jimmy Howard made 24 saves as the penalty-killing Wings evened up the series.

GAME THREE: NASHVILLE 3 at DETROIT  2 - April 15 | Highlights
The Preds held off a desperate and furious Red Wings team in the waning minutes of the third to secure the series-leading win. Nashville's Sergei Kostitsyn's late third period goal was the game-winner and Pekka Rinne snuffed 43 of the 45 shots he faced.

GAME FOUR: NASHVILLE 3 at DETROIT 1 - April 17 | Highlights
No goals were scored until the third but Nashville scored 3 to Detroit's one, giving them a commanding 3-1 series lead.

GAME FIVE: DETROIT 1 at NASHVILLE 2 - April 20 | Highlights
David Legwand, Detroit native, but a member of Nashville's team since its inception, scored the game-winner in the third as they ousted the Wings, for the first time, from the playoffs. This was Nicklas Lidstrom's final NHL game, as he retired weeks later.

Predators win series 4 games to 1.

Eastern Conference

#1 New York Rangers vs. #8 Ottawa Senators

Two straight losses at the end of the season cost the Rangers the President's Trophy, which would have been their first since 1994. But still, they were the #1 seed in the East. The eighth-seeded Senators also entered the playoffs on a losing streak that had almost cost them their playoff spot. Would goalie Henrik Lundqvist play as brilliantly as he had for New York? Or would the long-time leadership of Ottawa's captain Daniel Alfredsson get the Senators unlikely playoff success?

GAME ONE:OTTAWA 2 at NEW YORK RANGERS 4 - April 12 | Highlights
The Rangers went up 3-0 through the second period with goals by Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik, and Brian Boyle. With Brad Richards putting them up 4-0 early in the third, the lead was insurmountable for the Senators who finally got goals from Daniel Alfredsson and Erik Condra late in the third.

GAME TWO: OTTAWA 3 at NEW YORK RANGERS 2 - April 14 | Highlights
Ottawa ties the series and goes home with the split.

GAME THREE: NEW YORK RANGERS 1 at OTTAWA 0 - April 16 | Highlights
Rangers take the lead again on Ottawa's home turf.

GAME FOUR: NEW YORK RANGERS 2 at OTTAWA 3 - April 18 | Highlights
Ottawa evens up the series again, winning 3-2.

GAME FIVE: OTTAWA 2 at NEW YORK RANGERS 0 - April 21 | Highlights
The Senators shut out the Rangers to take the series lead.

GAME SIX: NEW YORK RANGERS 3 at OTTAWA 2 - April 23 | Highlights
The Rangers force Game Seven with a 3-2 win.

GAME SEVEN: OTTAWA 1 at NEW YORK RANGERS 2 - April 26 | Highlights
Marc Staal and Dan Girardi stoked NY to a 2-0 lead in the second period and helped roll the Big Apple to Round Two. Daniel Alfredsson got the Senators within one later that period and they played furiously in the third but could not tie the game.

Rangers win series 4 games to 3

#2 Boston Bruins vs. #7 Washington Capitals

Alexander Ovechkin and the Caps looked to be a formidable opponent to the defending Cup champions. But the Bruins had been known for their offense as well - maybe not as flashy but all four of their lines could put significant amounts of biscuits in the basket.

GAME ONE:WASHINGTON 0 at BOSTON 1 - April 12 | Highlights
It was a battle of the goalies, Boston's Tim Thomas stopping all 17 shots he faced and Washington's Braden Holtby stopping 29 of 30. But the Bruins prevailed at just 1:18 into the extra period with a slap shot from Chris Kelly.

GAME TWO: WASHINGTON 2 at BOSTON 1 - April 14 | Highlights
Washington took Game Two 2-1, going home with the split.

GAME THREE: BOSTON 4 at WASHINGTON 3 - April 16 | Highlights
The defending Champs disappointed the home fans, winning 4-3.

GAME FOUR: BOSTON 1 at WASHINGTON 2 - April 19 | Highlights
This time the Washington fans were delighted, and the series is tied.

GAME FIVE: WASHINGTON 4 at BOSTON 3 - April 21 | Highlights
Washington looks scary, taking the series lead and the game 4-3.

GAME SIX: BOSTON 4 at WASHINGTON 3 - April 22 | Highlights
Boston forced Game Seven, winning 4-3 again.

GAME SEVEN: WASHINGTON 2 at BOSTON 1 (OT) - April 25 | Highlights
There isn't much that's more exciting than a team clinching a series in Game Seven in overtime. And there isn't much more that sucks than being eliminated in that fashion on your own turf... and you're the defending Cup champs and it's only Round One. Joel Ward stunned the bears in front of all their disappointed cubs at 2:57 of the extra session to Cap the series and send Washington to Round Two... and Tim Thomas and Boston golfing. Matt Hendricks also tallied for the Caps and Tyler Seguin, to tie the game in the second, scored for Boston.

Capitals win series 4 games to 3.

#3 Florida Panthers vs. #6 New Jersey Devils

Unlike their rival across the river, the Devils entered the playoffs riding a six-game winning streak. Special teams and goaltending would be key in this series, with the Devils one of the best penalty-killing teams ever and the Panthers, with goalie Jose Theodore, having one of the best netminders in recent years.

GAME ONE: NEW JERSEY 3 at FLORIDA 2 - April 13 | Highlights
The Devils tamed the kitties in Game One in front of their fans, taking it 3-2.

GAME TWO: NEW JERSEY 2 at FLORIDA 4 - April 15 | Highlights
The Panthers win, taking the series lead.

GAME THREE: FLORIDA 4 at NEW JERSEY 3 - April 17 | Highlights
And the Panthers won again, taking the series lead.

GAME FOUR: FLORIDA 0 at NEW JERSEY 4 - April 19 | Highlights
The Devils evened up the series, shutting out the Panthers.

GAME FIVE: NEW JERSEY 0 at FLORIDA 3 - April 21 | Highlights
This time it was Florida's turn for a shutout, taking the series lead again.

GAME SIX: FLORIDA 2 at NEW JERSEY 3 (OT) - April 24 | Highlights
At 5:39 of OT Travis Zajac, who had missed most of the regular season, scored a can't-miss goal for New Jersey to force Game Seven. Bernier and Kovalchuk also scored for the Devils, Versteeg and Bergenheim tallied for the Panthers.

GAME SEVEN: NEW JERSEY 3 at FLORIDA 2 (2OT) - April 26 | Highlights
Adam Henrique at 3:47 of double overtime won Round One for the Devils in dramatic fashion.

Devils win series 4 games to 3.

#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #5 Philadelphia Flyers

Of course we all know the Penguins have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, with Crosby still recently back from a very long injury and looking to make a statement. But the Flyers have game-changing offense, too, with Claude Giroux, a finalist - behind Malkin - for the Art Ross Trophy. Would there be a lot of offense in this series? Well, the simple answer is... hell, yes.

GAME ONE: PHILADELPHIA 4 at PITTSBURGH 3 - April 11 | Highlights
Just 2:23 into overtime Jakub Voracek scored the winner to complete a comeback against the Penguins and take Game One for the Flyboys. Sidney Crosby, Tyler Kennedy and Pascal Dupuis all scored in the 1st for Pittsburgh but the Flyers flew back into the game with two tallies from Danny Briere and one from Brayden Schenn.

GAME TWO: PHILADELPHIA 8 at PITTSBURGH 5 - April 13 | Highlights
Philly whollups the Penguins, 8-5! The goal orgy would continue the rest of the series.

GAME THREE: PITTSBURGH 4 at PHILADELPHIA 8 - April 15 | Highlights
Another ass-whuppin for Pittsburgh at the hands of the Flyboys.

GAME FOUR: PITTSBURGH 10 at PHILADELPHIA 3 - April 18 | Highlights
Holy Ten! With their backs to the wall, this time it was Pittsburgh's turn to do the spanking!

GAME FIVE: PHILADELPHIA 2 at PITTSBURGH 3 - April 20 | Highlights
A much lower-scoring affair, Pittsburgh wins and stays alive again.

GAME SIX: PITTSBURGH 1 at PHILADELPHIA 5 - April 24 | Highlights
But the Flyers prevail, ass-kicking again.

Flyers win series 4 games to 2.


Round Two - Conference Semifinals

Western Conference

#2 St. Louis Blues vs. #8 Los Angeles Kings

To give you an idea of when the last time these two teams faced each other in the playoffs: Brett Hull was still playing for St. Louis and Bill Clinton was President of the United States. That series was heavy on offense, especially with the Blues, which is why they had swept LA. A few decades later and both teams are completely different. Both have stellar goaltenders, with Jonathan Quick playing out-of-his-mind, almost single-handedly getting the 8th-seeded Kings to Round Two; both are also very stingy on defense. It wouldn't be a series like the Flyers-Penguins, that was for sure!

GAME ONE: LOS ANGELES 3 at ST. LOUIS 1 - April 28 | Highlights
Vezina Trophy finalist Jonathan Quick was quick to remind St. Louis how his Kings got to Round Two. He allowed the first goal, though, with captain David Backes scoring midway through the first during a glutton of shots and fierce play by the Blues. But Slava Voynov tied it up later that period, Matt Greene scored shorthanded in the second, and Dustin Penner added an empty-netter at the end of the game to give LA a 3-1 win and 1-0 series lead. Brian Elliott was also sharp, stopping 26 of 28 shots.

GAME TWO: LOS ANGELES 5 at ST. LOUIS 2 - April 30 | Highlights
Well that was a night the Blues and their fans would like to soon forget. In a rare explosion of offense for LA, starting only 31 seconds into the game, the Kings were up 4-0 before the first intermission on goals by Richards, Anze Kopitar (Blues allowing another shorthanded goal there), Carter, Kopitar again. Only 18 seconds into the second the Blues' Andy McDonald scored, but it certainly wasn't the start of a comeback, as Justin Williams scored shortly thereafter for LA. Matt D'Agostini made it 5-2 in the third.

GAME THREE: ST. LOUIS 2 at LOS ANGELES 4 - May 3 | Highlights
The Kings got a "Gordie Howe hat trick" from Mike Richards, goals by rookie Dwight King and Drew Doughty and won the game 4-2 to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. Chris Stewart scored twice for St. Louis.

GAME FOUR: ST. LOUIS 1 at LOS ANGELES 3 - May 6 | Highlights
It was what many in St. Louis had feared after watching the first round. The 8th-seeded Kings eliminated the second-seeded Blues in Quick fashion. Jordan Nolan scored first in the first, with Kevin Shattenkirk tying the game later that period. But Dustin Brown scored the go-ahead goal also later that period and St. Louis wasn't able to tie the game, giving up an empty-netter to Brown again at the end of the game. Brian Elliott was back to true form, stopping 16 of 18 shots, but it wasn't enough to best Jonathan Quick and his 23 of 24 save performance.

Kings win series 4 games to 0

#3 Phoenix Coyotes vs. #4 Nashville Predators

These two teams had never met in the playoffs and both were Round Two surprises, the Preds finally downing the Wings and the 'Yotes sending home the 2010 Champs. The keys to the series would be Phoenix continuing their tough physical play and the goalie duel of stingy netminders Pekka Rinne for Nashville and Mike Smith for Phoenix.

GAME ONE: NASHVILLE 3 at PHOENIX 4 (OT) - April 27 | Highlights
14:04 into overtime Ray Whitney scored to give Phoenix a 4-3 victory and 1-0 series lead.

GAME TWO: NASHVILLE 3 at PHOENIX 5 - April 29 | Highlights
Antoine Vermette, Radim Vrbata, Martin Hanzal and Shane Doan each had a goal and an assist as the 'Yotes won 5-3 and took a 2-0 series lead. Taylor Pyatt also tallied for Phoenix; Nashville got goals from Andrei Kostitsyn, Patric Hornqvist, and Ryan Suter.

GAME THREE: PHOENIX 0 at NASHVILLE 2 - May 2 | Highlights
Nashville got back into the series with a 32-save shutout by Rinne and goals by David Legwand and Mike Fisher.

GAME FOUR: PHOENIX 1 at NASHVILLE 0 - May 4 | Highlights
It was Phoenix's turn to have a shut out, Mike Smith stopping all 25 shots he faced, and the game's only goal was from Shane Doan in the first. Now the 'Yotes have a commanding 3-1 series lead.

GAME FIVE: NASHVILLE 1 at PHOENIX 2 - May 7 | Highlights
Derek Morris and Martin Hanzal scored in the second period and Mike Smith only allowed Colin Wilson's goal in the third period, stopping the other 32 shots he faced, and the Coyotes advanced to the Conference Finals for the first time in the franchise's history.

Coyotes win series 4 games to 1

Eastern Conference

#1 New York Rangers vs. #7 Washington Capitals

Unlike the West, the #1 seed in the East did get out of the first round... but barely. Would the Capitals, who also weren't expected out of Round One, overachieve into Round Three?

GAME ONE: WASHINGTON 1 at NEW YORK RANGERS 3 - April 28 | Highlights
Youngster Chris Kreider was the hero of Game One for New York with a goal and an assist in the third period to help them take the 1-0 series lead.

GAME TWO: WASHINGTON 3 at NEW YORK RANGERS 2 - April 30 | Highlights
Alex Ovechkin scored a game-winning, power-play goal with 7:27 left in the third period to help Washington even up the series. Knuble and Chimera also scored for the Caps. Mike Richards and Michael Del Zotto scored for New York.

GAME THREE: NEW YORK RANGERS 2 at WASHINGTON 1 (3OT) - May 2 | Highlights
The Rangers had a bloody long night (literally and literally, with Brian Boyle and Dan Giradi reportedly having blood-stained uniforms by the end, and the Caps' Knuble having a horrible cut over his eye) but finally came out with the win and the series lead again. Ryan Callahan had scored first for the Rangers in the second on the power play with John Carlson tying it up for Washington later that period. There wouldn't be another goal until Marian Gaborik's at 14:41 of triple-overtime.

GAME FOUR: NEW YORK RANGERS 2 at WASHINGTON 3 - May 5 | Highlights
Washington evened up the series again on goals by Ovechkin, Backstrom, and the winner by Mike Green. NY got tallies from Arlem Anisimov and Gaborik.

GAME FIVE: WASHINGTON 2 at NEW YORK RANGERS 3 (OT) - May 7 | Highlights
Once again, New York regains the series lead. Ranger Brad Richards scored a power play goal with a mere 6.6 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime and then only 1:35 into OT, again on the power play, Marc Staal won it for the Blueshirts. Anton Stralman also scored for the Rangers. Brooks Laich and John Carlson scored for the Caps.

GAME SIX: NEW YORK RANGERS 1 at WASHINGTON 2 - May 9 | Highlights
And once again Washington ties the tit-for-tat series up on goals by Ovechkin and Chimera and a 30-save performance by Braden Holtby. Gaborik scored for New York with less than a minute left in regulation. Henrik Lundqvist made 21 saves.

GAME SEVEN: WASHINGTON 1 at NEW YORK RANGERS 2 - May 12 | Highlights
Ovechkin and the Caps are capped and the Rangers go further into the range. Brad Richards and Michael Del Zotto in the first and third periods, respectively, put the Rangers up 2-0. Roman Hamrlik made it 2-1 less than a minute after Zotto's goal but a Caps comeback was not to be. The Rangers held on - tightly - to go to the Conference Finals for the first time since 1997, when some guy named Gretzky had played for them.

Rangers win series 4 games to 3.

#5 Philadelphia Flyers vs. #6 New Jersey Devils

New Jersey was set to have a devil of a time with the high-scoring, high-flying Flyers in the hightly-anticipated Second-Round battle.

GAME ONE: NEW JERSEY 3 at PHILADELPHIA 4 (OT) - April 29 | Highlights
Danny Briere and the Flyers got a kick out of their Game One overtime victory, as Briere's first attempt to put the game away, 2:13 into OT, was waved off because the review showed he'd kicked the puck in. However, the second time was a charm, as he scored for reals at 4:36, his second real goal of the night, as he'd scored the first Philly goal. Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk also scored for the Flyers. Peter Sykora, Travis Zajac, and Zach Parise scored for the Devils.

GAME TWO: NEW JERSEY 4 at PHILADELPHIA 1 - May 1 | Highlights
Matt Read scored first for the Flyers in the first, but the third period belonged to New Jersey with tallies by Adam Larsson, David Clarkson, Travis Zajac, and a shorthanded, empty-netter by Bryce Salvador.

GAME THREE: PHILADELPHIA 3 at NEW JERSEY 4 (OT) - May 3 | Highlights
Alexei Ponikarovsky gave the Devils a 4-3 victory and 2-1 series lead with his goal at 17:21 of overtime. Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Patrik Elias also scored for the Devils. Brayden Schenn, Matt Carle, and Danny Briere scored for Philly.

GAME FOUR: PHILADELPHIA 2 at NEW JERSEY 4 - May 6 | Highlights
Martin Brodeur made 20 saves, on his 40th birthday no less, and Danius Zubrus had a pair of goals, to help New Jersey take a 3-1 series lead. The Flyers had actually went up 2-0 in the first on a power play goal by Scott Hartnell and a shorthanded goal by Claude Giroux. But Petr Skyora and Marek Zidlicky erased that deficit before the game-winner and empty-netter by Zubrus.

GAME FIVE: NEW JERSEY 3 at PHILADELPHIA 1 - May 8 | Highlights
The Devils bounced into the third round and bounced Philly out with a pair of lucky-bounce goals in the first from Bryce Salvador and David Clarkson. Ilya Kovalchuk added an insurance tally early in the third. Maxime Talbot had opened the scoring in the game for the Flyers.

Devils win series 4 games to 1.


Round Three - Conference Finals (Stanley Cup Semifinals)

Western Conference

#3 Phoenix Coyotes vs. #8 Los Angeles Kings

The stage was set in the third round for two Cinderella teams, neither of which were in anybody's wildest dreams expected to be there. Would the Kings continue their reign of terror? Or would the Coyotes' bite be as big as their howl?

GAME ONE: LOS ANGELES 4 at PHOENIX 2 - May 13 | Highlights
And the Kings did indeed continue that in Game One. With a whopping 48 shots on goal, and four goals (Anze Kopitar, Dwight King, Dustin Brown, and King again - empty-netter) they put themselves 3 wins away from a Stanley Cup Final. Derek Morris and Mikkel Boedker scored for Phoenix.

 

GAME TWO: LOS ANGELES 4 at PHOENIX 0 - May 15 | Highlights
Again LA beats their higher-seeded opponent in both the two opening home games, this time with a demoralizing 4-0 shutout to take the howl out of the Coyotes. Quick snuffed all 24 shots he faced and the Kings got one goal from Dwight King and then a natural hat trick from Jeff Carter, the two latter tallies on the power play.

 

GAME THREE: PHOENIX 1 at LOS ANGELES 2 - May 17 | Highlights
The rest of the NHL is wondering what hockey gods the Kings pray to. For the third time they took a 3-0 series lead on a 2-1 win in LA to put the 'Yotes on the brink. After a scoreless first Phoenix got on the board first with Daymond Langkow. But Anze Kopitar later in that period and Dwight King in the third helped LA get the Game Three win. Quick made 18 saves. Smith made 26.

 

GAME FOUR: PHOENIX 2 at LOS ANGELES 0 - May 20 | Highlights
The Coyotes were not doan howling yet. Shane Doan scored twice, once in the first on the power play and a second time in the second, and Mike SMith got the 36-save shutout to keep Phoenix alive and serve LA a rare 2012 playoff defeat.

GAME FIVE: LOS ANGELES 4 at PHOENIX 3 - May 22 | Highlights
For the first time in two decades the Kings advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, Dustin Penner scoring at 17:42 of overtime, on LA's 51st shot - which makes 47 saves for Mike Smith to Quick's 38. Phoenix controlled most of the game, scoring first (Taylor Pyatt) to lead 1-0, third (Marc-Antoine Pouliot) to lead 2-1. After Anze Kopitar's tying goal, another shorthanded tally for LA, they tied it again and gained the lead on tallies by Doughty and Richards. Keith Yandle sent the game to OT late in the third, but Penner won it, incensing the crowd as it came shortly after a crushing, open-ice knee-on-knee hit, Kings Dustin Brown on Coyote Michal Rozsival to send him to the locker room. Brown got, let's say, negative vibes during the post-series handshake, to put it mildly.

Kings win series 4 games to 1.

Eastern Conference

#1 New York Rangers vs. #6 New Jersey Devils

This was certainly almost a storybook match-up, the Rangers and Devils, forever fierce rivals from either side of the River. The verteran but still-young netminding genius Henrik Lundqvist versus the older, wiser (just celebrated his 40th birthday) Martin Brodeur. They could almost make a movie about it.

GAME ONE: NEW JERSEY 0 at NEW YORK RANGERS 3 - May 14 | Highlights
As expected the Rangers won Game One at home.  Henrik Lundqvist had a 21-save shutout and New York scored three goals - all in the third - to make it count - Dan Giradi, Chris Kreider, and Artem Anisimov (empty net).

 

GAME TWO: NEW JERSEY 3 at NEW YORK RANGERS 2 - May 16 | Highlights
A crazy bounce tied the game for New York early in the second, Marc Staal's power play goal helped by bounces off of Devils d-man Bryce Salvador, the backboards, then off of Brodeur's arm and leg into his own net. But then the Devils bounced back, Ilya Kovalchuk and Ryan Carter and David Clarkson - the winning goal in the third - scored for the Devils. Chris Kreider also scored for the Rangers.

 

GAME THREE: NEW YORK RANGERS 3 at NEW JERSEY 0 - May 19 | Highlights
Henrik Lundqvist got the 36-save shutout and Dan Giardi, Chris Kreider, and Ryan Callahan (empty net) tallied to give New York the series lead.

 

GAME FOUR: NEW YORK RANGERS 1 at NEW JERSEY 4 - May 21 | Highlights
Martin Brodeur has definitely still got it. He made 28 saves to help the Devils tie up the series. Bryce Salvador, Travis Zajac, Zach Parise (twice - second time empty net) scored for the Devils. Only Ruslan Fedotenko scored for New York (which, as any They Might Be Giants fan will tell you, was once New Amsterdam).

GAME FIVE: NEW JERSEY 5 at NEW YORK RANGERS 3 - May 23 | Highlights
The Devils stoked themselves to a 3-0 lead in just the first period (Gionta, Elias, Zajac) but allowed the Rangers to tie the game with tallies by Brnadon Prust later that period, one by Ryan Callahan in the second, and Marian Gaborik just 17 seconds into the third. But later Ryan Carter and Zach Parise on the empty net got the Devils within a win of the Finals.

GAME SIX: NEW YORK RANGERS 2 at NEW JERSEY 3 (OT) - May 25 | Highlights
Eighteen years ago - to the day! - the Devils lost to the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals (Brodeur was also the Devils goalie then if you can believe that; it was also an overtime game). This time overtime went differently. Adam Henrique, just 1:03 into the extra session, made sure history wouldn't repeat itself. The Rangers go home, and the Devils go on. The Devils had again squandered a lead, Ryan Carter and Ilya Kovalchuk had made it 2-0 in the first. But Ruslan Fedotenko and Ryan Callahan had tied it for New York in the second.

Devils win series 4 games to 2.


Round Four - Stanley Cup Finals

New Jersey Devils vs. Los Angeles Kings

Would New Jersey have a "devil" of a time with the feared Los Angeles Kings, who had started from an 8th seed and plowed their way to the top? Would Quick be quicker than the aged but wise Brodeur? Will I be able to have a sentence in this series description without a question mark?

GAME ONE: LOS ANGELES 2 at NEW JERSEY 1 (OT) - May 30 | Highlights
The Kings continue their reign of terror. Anze Kopitar at 8:14 of overtime put the Kings within 3 wins of their first-ever Stanley Cup. It was a non-win for New Jersey, to go along with Zach Parise's non-goal in the third (you can't put the puck across the goal line with your hand, guys). LA's Colin Fraser opened up the scoring in the first and Anton Volchenkov tied it in the second.

GAME TWO: LOS ANGELES 2 at NEW JERSEY 1 (OT) - June 2 | Highlights
Jeff Carter at 13:42 of overtime gave the Kings their 10th road playoff win in a row, a 2-1 Game Two victory, and a 2-0 series lead.

GAME THREE: NEW JERSEY 0 at LOS ANGELES 4 - June 4 | Highlights
Alec Martinez, Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, and Justin Williams all scored to give the Kings a 4-0 win, a first in NHL history, and one win from a sweep and the Cup. For the first time ever in the NHL the Kings lead 3-0 in all four playoff series. Quick snuffed all New Jersey shots he faced, and the Kings' Simon Gagne played for the first time since December, seeing 3:44 of ice time.

GAME FOUR: NEW JERSEY 3 at LOS ANGELES 1 - June 6 | Highlights
It was a scoreless game until the third when Patrik Elias backhanded one past Quick. Then LA's Drew Doughty scored a power play goal to tie things up. But minutes later Adam Henrique scored the go-ahead goal for Jersey and they stayed ahead, Ilya Kovalchuk adding an empty-netter. Devils live to play another day. The venerable Martin Brodeur finally got a 2012 Finals win with 21 saves; Quick had the same number of saves but a different result.

GAME FIVE: LOS ANGELES 1 at NEW JERSEY 2 - June 9 | Highlights
Again the Devils stay alive, Bryce Salvador scoring the game-winner in the second. And the Finals go back to Califor-ny-ayy.

GAME SIX: NEW JERSEY 1 at LOS ANGELES 6 - June 11 | Highlights
The Kings scored three power play goals in the first en route to a Game Six, 6-1 rout of the Devils. Those were all on the same power play, as Steve Bernier had hit/boarded in the face L.A. defenseman Rob Scuderi and was given a major penalty and game misconduct at 10:10 of the first. Goals that followed: L.A. captain Dustin Brown at 11:03, Jeff Carter at 12:45, and Trevor Lewis at the final seconds of the man-advantage. Carter tallied again early in the second before the Devils got on the board at the end of the period with Adam Henrique. Lewis again and Matt Greene capped the night, and the 2011-2012 season, with two last goals in the third and LA finally wins its first-ever Stanley Cup in front of their long-suffering and cheerful fans.

Kings win series 4 games to 2.

LOS ANGELES KINGS WIN THE STANLEY CUP

Conn Smythe Trophy
most valuable player in the 2012 playoffs:
Jonathan Quick (LAK); 1.41 goals-against average and .946 save percentage. 16 -4 record.

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