Two second-round Stanley Cup Playoff series went down to the wire, requiring that all-important seventh game. The victors, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Anaheim Ducks, reaped the reward of getting to play for a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.
So how did we reach that point?
Well, Penguins freshman Jake Guentzel established a new franchise record. Justin Williams saw his impressive Game 7 streak end. Bob Cole worked his magic yet again. And the Edmonton Oilers scored first, but not often enough.
Get back to the office in no time with BPs New Half-Time Lunch and $10 Combos. Dine-In Only. Click here to learn more.
The talk around the NHL all season was about the amazing performances from rookies such as Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine and Mitch Marner. Overlooked in the conversation was Pittsburgh forward Jake Guentzel.
The 22-year-old certainly won’t be forgotten after this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. Guentzel had a hat trick in the first round against Columbus before adding four more goals in the Pens’ second-round matchup against Washington. He even assisted on Bryan Rust’s opening goal in Game 7 which proved to be the winner as Pittsburgh beat the Capitals 2-0.
With the assist, Guentzel moved past Jaromir Jagr’s record from 1991 for first among Penguins playoff rookie scorers.
So, Jake…what’s in store for Round 3 against the Ottawa Senators?
No magic tricks tonight
Justin Williams created a lot of pre-game hype (and deservingly so) for his effectiveness in Game 7s.
Entering Wednesday night, Williams was 7-0 in Game 7s and had recorded at least a point in each of those seven appearances. Unfortunately for the Capitals, that changed against Pittsburgh.
Neither Williams nor the rest of his teammates could get anything past Marc-Andre Fleury, who made 29 saves for the shutout.
Williams, a pending unrestricted free agent, had two shots on goal and logged 19:51.
Is there anything better than listening to Bob Cole call a hockey game, let alone a Game 7?
Well, he’s been doing a lot of them. The Capitals-Penguins game was his 42nd career Game 7 for Hockey Night in Canada.
It gets better. How about this stat from NHL public relations?
First isn’t good enough
The Edmonton Oilers did what any NHL club aspires to do by opening the scoring. The odds are in a team’s favour under those circumstances, just like they had been for the Oilers in previous Game 7s.
Of course, history didn’t repeat itself. Drake Caggiula got the Oilers on the board first when he knocked the puck off the stick of Ducks defenceman Shea Theodore and past goalie John Gibson. The puck just squeaked past Gibson’s pad 3:31 into the game.
It would be the only goal the Oilers would score. The Ducks managed one more, the decisive marker coming courtesy of winger Nick Ritchie.