Posts Tagged ‘Game 7’

Nothing is fazing these New York Rangers, not multi-game series deficit nor playing in a building where no road team has won in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Instead, this resilient bunch is carrying an ever-growing confidence straight into the Eastern Conference finals, thanks to another Game 7 win and the latest strong performance from possibly the game’s best goaltender.

Chris Kreider scored twice, Igor Shesterkin was strong in net again and the Rangers ended Carolina’s perfect postseason run at home, beating the Hurricanes 6-2 in the decisive Game 7 of their second-round playoff series Monday night.

Kreider and Adam Fox had first-period power-play goals as the Rangers raced to a quick lead. The Rangers then rode Shesterkin’s latest offense-stymieing performance to win a fifth straight elimination game win in these playoffs.

“Backs against the wall five times now,” Fox said, “and we’ve come through all five.”

Shesterkin — a finalist for both the Vezina Trophy for the league’s top goalie and Hart Trophy for most valuable player — finished with 36 saves and carried the shutout well into the third period.

Now the Rangers are off to a conference final for the first time since 2015, earning a matchup with two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay. New York will host Game 1 of that series Wednesday night.

Ryan Strome and Filip Chytil also scored in what became an unexpected rout, with Andrew Copp adding a late empty-netter. More impressively, the Rangers’ win came in an arena where the Hurricanes had gone 7-0 in the playoffs, including a Game 7 victory to beat Boston in the first round and three meetings in this series.

New York coach Gerard Gallant said Sunday he had a group of players who “have a lot of fun and they believe in themselves.” They looked as if they were doing plenty of both Monday in capping a second straight comeback win from a multi-game deficit.

First, they rallied from a 3-1 down to beat Pittsburgh in a seven-game series. Then, after falling in an 0-2 hole against Carolina, New York responded with more resilience, even a stubborn refusal to fade out when down.

Kreider went as far as to throw in a comparison to “cockroaches.”

“We don’t go away, regardless of the score, regardless of where our game is at,” Kreider said.

There were no questions about that Monday night, particularly with Shesterkin holding up against 17 first-period shots. That included one stop from flat on his back on Sebastian Aho near the right post, with Shesterkin snagging the puck between his legs flailing, as if trying to make a snow angel late in the first period.

The Rangers also helped by blocking 25 shots in front of him.

“You’ve got to pay a price to win games in this league, especially against real good teams like that,” Gallant said. ” I love the way our guys are competing and battling. I’ve said 100 times this year, we’re not perfect but we find ways to win.”

Tony DeAngelo finally beat Shesterkin midway through the third period, only to see the Rangers follow with Chytil’s goal just 40 seconds later to push the margin to 5-1.

Max Domi also scored a late goal for the Hurricanes.

But Carolina lost top-line rookie forward Seth Jarvis to a first-period injury after a jarring high hit from Jacob Trouba, and then lost goaltender Antti Raanta to an apparent right-leg injury in the second period in an all-around rough night. Raanta had 16 saves before his injury, while rookie Pyotr Kochetkov allowed three goals on 12 shots in relief.

“Tonight was kind of just some bounces, everyone wasn’t quite there, including myself,” Carolina captain Jordan Staal said. “An unfortunate way to end the series — season.”

Carolina’s playoff success had leaned on its home-ice advantage, backed by a rowdy crowd. But its inability to win a single road game in the postseason only shrunk the Hurricanes’ margin for error and turned winning at home into an absolute necessity to keep playing.

As a result, the first and only home stumble proved fatal, a crushing end to a season that saw the division winner, with the third-best record in the NHL, set franchise records for regular-season wins (54) and points (116) with aspirations of winning its second Cup.

“It’s definitely a bummer to have the team — the caliber of team — that we did,” Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin said, “and not go farther.”

NO FIRSTS

The Hurricanes were 6-0 in Game 7s since the former Hartford Whalers relocated to North Carolina in 1997. They were trying to become the first team in NHL history to win seven straight Game 7s.

Carolina was also trying to become the first to win multiple best-of-seven series in the same postseason with zero road wins.

ELIMINATION-GAME PRODUCTION

When Fox scored and assisted on Kreider’s first goal, that pushed him to 10 points in elimination games during this postseason.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, that marks the most by a defenseman in a single postseason, surpassing Ray Bourque in 1980, Ian Turnbull in 1976 and Denis Potvin in 1975.

INJURED CANES

Jarvis was knocked from the game on Trouba’s hit, which sent him sprawling to the ice and left him able only to crawl back to the bench. When he made it there, he was too wobbly to sit on the bench and needed assistance from teammates to get directed into the locker room.

Making matters worse, the Hurricanes took a penalty for too many men on the ice while trying to sub for Jarvis, leading to Kreider’s first goal.

Ranta went down with 4:23 left in the second period when he extended his right leg in a split to make a stop on Mika Zibanejad. He almost went forward and landed face down on the ice. He was eventually helped off the ice by teammates Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter, not putting any weight on his right leg.

Afterward, coach Rod Brind’Amour said Raanta’s injury would have prevented him from playing the next series, had Carolina won.

The Boston Celtics booked their ticket to the NBA Finals by holding off the Miami Heat 100-96 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday.

Boston will take on the Golden State Warriors in hopes of winning its first championship since 2008.

The Celtics led by as many as 17 points in the contest before Miami cut the lead to two with under a minute to play. Crucial Heat misses down the stretch helped Boston hold on.

“Credit to our guys for bouncing back, keeping our composure, and finding a way to win it,” Boston head coach Ime Udoka said after the victory.

Jayson Tatum led the way for the winning side with 26 points, while Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart scored 24 apiece. Grant Williams was the only other Celtic to reach double figures with 11 points of his own.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler dropped a game-high 35 points while playing all 48 minutes in the contest. He and Bam Adebayo (25 points) accounted for 60 of his team’s 96 total points.

Despite Butler’s brilliance, he squandered an opportunity to pull off a miraculous late-game comeback by falling short on a transition 3-pointer that would have given Miami the lead with 16 seconds remaining. He finished just 1-of-4 from beyond the arc.

“My thought process was: Go for the win,” Butler said postgame. “My teammates like the shot that I took, so I’m living with it.”

“That was the right look,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of his star’s shot selection. “When it left his hand, I thought it was going down.”

Missed jumpers were a theme for the Heat, who shot just 6-for-30 from deep, tied for their second-worst percentage all season. Each of Miami’s three worst 3-point shooting performances this season came in the playoffs.

On the other side, Boston will have four days to regroup before taking on the Warriors after Brown, Tatum, Smart, and Al Horford all topped 40 minutes in Game 7.

The full schedule for the NBA Finals is as follows:

GAMEDATEAWAYHOMETIME (ET)TV
1June 2BostonGolden State9 p.m.ABC/TSN
2June 5BostonGolden State8 p.m.ABC/SN
3June 8Golden StateBoston9 p.m.ABC/TSN
4June 10Golden StateBoston9 p.m.ABC/TSN
5*June 13BostonGolden State9 p.m.ABC/SN
6*June 16Golden StateBoston9 p.m.ABC/SN
7*June 19BostonGolden State8 p.m.ABC/TSN

* if necessary

Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger was stellar all series long against the Calgary Flames, but he somehow saved his best performance for Game 7.

For Oettinger, his 64-save gem in his team’s season-ending loss is the type of standard he sets for himself.

“Everyone needs to step up in the playoffs. I think you can have a great regular season and then not play well in the playoffs, and it doesn’t matter to anyone,” Oettinger told reporters after Sunday’s 3-2 overtime defeat, per Bally Sports Southwest. “I’m happy that I was able to elevate my game. … That’s the level of goaltending I expect from myself, and I think I can be a great goalie for a long time.”

He continued, “I’ve never been more motivated than I am right now. I’m gonna do everything I can to make sure I get this opportunity again, and I’ll make sure I’m on the other side of it the next time.”

Oettinger’s ridiculous .954 save percentage leads all goaltenders who played at least 60 minutes in the 2022 postseason. He also paces the league in goals saved above average (9.07) and goals saved above expected (10.74) at all strengths by a long shot, according to Evolving-Hockey.

The gravity of the 23-year-old’s performance wasn’t lost on Flames head coach Darryl Sutter.

“He was the best player in this series, that’s for sure,” he said.

Jacob Markstrom, the goalie at the other end of the ice, also made sure to give Oettinger some props in the handshake line after the game.

“He said it was a fun battle and that I had a bright future,” Oettinger said. “Obviously, he’s a heck of a goalie, and it was fun for me to be able to square up against a Vezina Trophy finalist.”

Though the Stars’ offseason has just begun, Oettinger is ready to refocus for his next NHL season.

“I have a lot of stuff I want to work on. I feel like I’m just scratching the surface of where I’m gonna be one day. That really excites me.”

The Calgary Flames eliminated the Dallas Stars from the playoffs with a 3-2 overtime win in Game 7 on Sunday night.

Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger made an incredible 64 saves, but wasn’t able to secure the victory as Johnny Gaudreau beat him in overtime.

Oettinger’s 64-save performance is the second-most stops in a Game 7 in NHL history, according to Stats by STATS. Only Kelly Hrudey had more when he stopped 73 shots for the Islanders against the Capitals in 1987.

Jamie Benn opened the scoring for Dallas just 40 seconds into the contest. Tyler Toffoli tied things up in the second before Vladislav Namestnikov and Matthew Tkachuk traded goals to enter the third period tied at two apiece.

The Flames will now take on their rival Edmonton Oilers in the second round. It’s the first time since 1991 that the Battle of Alberta will be renewed in the postseason.

The New York Rangers are off to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in overtime in Sunday’s Game 7. Artemi Panarin came up clutch with the game-winner.

The Rangers simply never quit.

They went down 3-1 in the series but came back in Game 5, 6, and 7 to advance. They’re the first team in Stanley Cup Playoff history to record three straight comeback wins in elimination games within the same series. They trailed 2-1 and 3-2 in Game 7 before Mika Zibanejad scored with less than six minutes left in regulation to force OT.

New York was outshot 45-30 in the contest, but Vezina Trophy favorite Igor Shesterkin was sensational between the pipes, tying Ed Giacomin’s franchise record for 42 saves in a Game 7.

The Rangers now own an all-time record of 8-1 in Game 7s at Madison Square Garden.

New York will take on the Carolina Hurricanes in Round 2. The two sides squared off in the qualifying round of the 2020 postseason, which the Canes swept 3-0.

It was no surprise when Luka Doncic looked ready for Game 7, calmly draining his first three shots to give the Dallas Mavericks an early lead.

The stunner came over the next two hours: The top-seeded Phoenix Suns had no response.

Doncic scored 35 points, Spencer Dinwiddie added 30 and the Mavericks blitzed the Suns with a 123-90 knockout Sunday night, advancing to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2011.

“A lot of people said it would be a blowout,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said with a grin. ”They were right.”

Of course, it wasn’t Dallas that was supposed to win on Sunday. The home team won the first six games of the series, but the Mavs broke through, dominating in a hostile environment from start to finish. Conversely, it was an embarrassing no-show for the playoff-tested Suns — who advanced to the NBA Finals last season with a very similar roster.

The fourth-seeded Mavericks travel to face Golden State in Game 1 on Wednesday.

“Amazing,” Doncic said. “I don’t know what to say.”

Doncic earned the Mavs an early lead, making his first three shots, including two 3-pointers. That helped Dallas push to a 27-17 advantage in the first quarter and a whopping 57-27 cushion at the halftime break.

Doncic and Dinwiddie, who came off the bench, combined to pour in 48 of the Mavericks’ 57 points. Doncic’s 27 points in the first half matched the Suns’ team total.

Game 7 drama? Not in the desert.

Simply put, the Suns looked overwhelmed by the pressure of a Game 7. They missed shots they usually make, made bad passes they usually don’t make and looked nothing like the team that won an NBA-best 64 games during the regular season.

By halftime, many Suns fans were booing at the unsightly display.

The series might have been close but the individual games usually were not. Three of the first six games were decided by at least 20 points and none of the games came down to the final possession.

Game 7 followed a similar pattern, except the team doing all the damage was the road team. Doncic was fantastic, making shots from all over the floor and finishing 12 of 19 from the field, including 6 of 11 on 3s. He also got some help: Dinwiddie was fantastic in the first half with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range.

Meanwhile, Phoenix’s All-Star backcourt of Chris Paul and Devin Booker was never a factor. The 37-year-old Paul is a 12-time All-Star that has done just about everything possible in the game except win a championship.

After this setback, it’s fair to wonder if there will be many more opportunities. Booker finished with 11 points and shot 3 of 14. Paul had 10 points and four assists. The Suns shot just 37.9% from the field.

“You could see some of the pressure was on them early,” Kidd said. “They missed some shots they normally make.”

Dallas beat the odds with the win: After the Celtics defeated the Bucks earlier Sunday, the home team was 110-33 (77%) in NBA Game 7s.

It’s the second straight year the Suns have lost a playoff series after having a 2-0 lead. They won the first two games against the Bucks in the NBA Finals last season before losing four straight games.

TIP-INS

Mavericks: Doncic and Dinwiddie were the first teammates to have at least 20 points in a half in Game 7 since Patrick Ewing and Allan Houston did it for the Knicks in 1997, according to ESPN Stats & Info. …

Suns: Phoenix shot just 6 of 23 (26.1%) from the field in the first quarter. … The Suns hosted another sellout crowd at Footprint Center. Celebrities in attendance included baseball great Alex Rodriguez and rapper Lil’ Wayne. … The Suns are the second team in NBA history to win at least 64 games in the regular season and not make the conference finals. The other was the Mavericks in 2007. … Phoenix has still never won a title since coming into the league in 1968.

Grant Williams scored a career-high 27 points and hit seven 3-pointers, Jayson Tatum added 23 and the Boston Celtics set a Game 7 record with 22 3-pointers to eliminate the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks 109-81 on Sunday in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Boston will face top-seeded Miami beginning Tuesday in a rematch of the 2020 East finals. The Heat beat the Celtics in six games in that series at Walt Disney World.

The Celtics trailed early but outscored the Bucks 61- 38 in the second half to cruise to the victory. Boston used a whopping 54-point advantage from behind the arc to improve to 25-9 in decisive seventh games.

The Bucks are now 3-9. They went 4 for 33 (12.1%) from the 3-point line. That’s the second-worst 3-point percentage in a playoff game ever (minimum 30 attempts).

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 25 points, 20 rebounds and nine assists. But he was just 3 of 11 in the paint in the second half, including 1 for 6 the fourth quarter. Jrue Holiday added 21 points and eight assists. Brook Lopez finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Williams finished 7 for 18 behind the arc as the Celtics finished the comeback after dropping Game 5 at home to fall into a 3-2 hole.

Boston started the second half on an 11-4 run to open a 59-47 lead.

It was 63-53 when Tatum went to the bench after being whistled for his fourth foul. But the Celtics rallied without him, outscoring the Bucks 16-11 the rest of the quarter to take a 79-64 lead to the fourth.

The Bucks led the entire first quarter as Antetokounmpo scored or assisted on 24 of Milwaukee’s 26 first-quarter points.

He ended the period with 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists to help the Bucks grab a 26-20 lead.

Boston began to claw back in the second quarter, drawing a third foul on Bobby Portis at the 8:49 mark. TV cameras showed him tossing his goggles as he went to the bench area. He’d been wearing the goggles since suffering a right eye abrasion in Game 2 of Milwaukee’s first-round series against the Bulls.

With Portis on the bench, the Celtics took their first lead of the game on a dunk by Al Horford that punctuated a 12-2 run.

Boston led 45-43 in the final minute of the half when Tatum was called for an offensive foul on Grayson Allen – Tatum’s third foul of the game.

Following an unsuccessful challenge by Celtics coach Ime Udoka, the teams exchanged misses. But after Smart’s steal near midcourt, Antetokounmpo fouled Smart as he attempted a last-second, 3-point heave.

Smart connected on each of his three free throws to give Boston the 48-43 halftime lead.

Celtics center Robert Williams III was available to play after missing three straight games with soreness and a bone bruise in his surgically repaired left knee. But he didn’t play.

TIP-INS

Bucks: There was a pregame moment of silence held for the victims of mass shootings this past week in Milwaukee and Buffalo. … F Khris Middleton missed his 10th straight playoff game with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. … Milwaukee missed their final 11 3-point attempts of the first half.

Celtics: Were 9 of 22 from the 3-point line in the first half. … Patriots team owner Robert Kraft sat courtside, along with Patriots quarterback Mac Jones and receiver Kendrick Bourne.

Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist as the Edmonton Oilers advanced through to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, beating the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 in Game 7 on Saturday night.

Cody Ceci also scored and Mike Smith made 28 saves for his second shutout of the playoffs for the Oilers, who last won a Game 7 in 1998 and celebrated their first playoff series win since 2017.

Jonathan Quick made 39 saves for the Kings, who have not won a playoff series since they won their second Stanley Cup in 2014 — also the last year they won a series in a Game 7.

There was no scoring in a tense opening period, with the Oilers putting 10 shots on Quick, while the Kings sent seven on Smith. Quick came into the game with a 4-0 career record in Game 7s.

Edmonton came close to scoring midway though the second when a puck was heading over the goal line in a scramble, but was fished to safety just in time by Kings forward Andreas Athanasiou.

The Oilers finally broke the deadlock with 6:45 remaining in the second period as McDavid fed a pass from behind the net to a pinching Ceci, who rifled a shot over Quick’s shoulder.

Edmonton came close to extending its lead a couple times early in the third as Josh Archibald narrowly missed putting a puck through Quick’s legs and Kailer Yamamoto hit a post with most of an open net to shoot at.

The Oilers finally got some insurance with 3:53 left in the third on a terrific individual effort from McDavid, who drove behind the net before sending his second backhand attempt into it for his fourth goal and league-leading 14th playoff point. McDavid had multiple-point efforts in six of the seven games in the series.

The Oilers will now advance to play either Calgary or Dallas, who are going to a Game 7 of their own on Sunday.

Notes: Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse returned after serving a one-game suspension in Game 6 for head-butting Phillip Danault in Game 5. … There was some concern after Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl and Brett Kulak missed the morning skate, but both were able to play, leaving the Oilers will a healthy roster to choose from. … The Kings remained without Viktor Arvidsson (lower body), Drew Doughty (wrist) and Sean Walker (knee). … There were no scoring changes in any of the games of the series, with the team that scored first winning each gamer.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are heading to the second round after defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 in Game 7 on Saturday night.

Nick Paul opened the scoring for Tampa Bay late in the first period. John Tavares thought he scored the equalizer during the second frame, but the goal was called back due to an interference call on Justin Holl.

Morgan Rielly later tied things up before Paul scored his second of the contest, which held up as the game-winner.

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 30 of 31 shots, while Jack Campbell turned away 23 shots.

This marks the Maple Leafs’ sixth straight postseason in which they’ve failed to make it past the first round. The club hasn’t reached the second round since 2004.

Victor Hedman, who had seven points in the series, commended the Maple Leafs on a good series and sees a bright future for the club.

“Unbelievable team … close series … they’re a great group,” Hedman said postgame, according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun. “They’re going to get another chance at this. They’re going to go a long way in the future.”

The Lightning will now take on the Florida Panthers as they look to win a third straight Stanley Cup.

Max Domi scored twice in the second period while Antti Raanta had 27 saves to help the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 on Saturday to win the deciding Game 7 of their first-round playoff series.

Teuvo Teravainen also scored for the Hurricanes, who finally put away a Bruins team that had ousted them from the playoffs in two of the past three postseasons. That ended a series in which neither team could manage a road win, with the Hurricanes eventually getting the final word backed by yet another rowdy and loud home crowd.

Carolina advanced to the second round to face the winner of Sunday’s Game 7 between the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Domi was an unlikely star in this one. Carolina acquired him ahead of the March trade deadline, and he rewarded them by scoring the first postseason goals of his career. He also assisted on Teravainen’s goal with a perfect pass to the top of the crease for the first-period putaway.

Raanta, who had never started a postseason game before this series, was again steady in net. He had probably his best stop on a full-split save to deny Taylor Hall near the left post in the first period of a scoreless game.

Jake DeBrusk scored a second-period goal for the Bruins, while David Pastrnak had one with 21.7 seconds left with Boston having pulled Jeremy Swayman for the extra attacker.

From there, the Hurricanes had to hang on through one final clock-killing shift to protect the lead before they could finally celebrate.

Swayman finished with 28 saves for Boston.

The Bruins found themselves playing catch-up after Domi’s first goal, which had him skating in on the left side to bury a redirect attempt from Jordan Staal at 3:14 of the second.

Later, after DeBrusk had beaten Raanta from the top of the crease, Teravainen whipped a pass to Domi for a one-timer that blasted the puck past Swayman at 10:33 of the second for the 3-1 lead.

The Bruins, a tested veteran squad, were in the playoffs for the sixth straight season. That run included a sweep of the Hurricanes in the 2019 Eastern Conference finals, as well as a five-game win in the first round of the Toronto bubble a year later.

This time, the Hurricanes never trailed in the series before finally grinding through after dominating the Bruins in three regular-season meetings. And the Bruins head into an offseason with some uncertainty about the future of captain and longtime No. 1 center Patrice Bergeron, who can become an unrestricted free agent after 18 seasons with the team.

SIX STRAIGHT

The Hurricanes improved to 6-0 in Game 7s since the former Hartford Whalers relocated to North Carolina in 1997. That includes the 2006 Stanley Cup finals against Edmonton, as well as a second-round series win on the road at Boston in 2009.

EARLY EXIT

This marks the first time Boston exited from the playoffs without winning a series since falling in a six-game series to Ottawa in 2017.

PACKED HOUSE

The Hurricanes had their biggest home crowd in franchise history for this one with an attendance of 19,513. That surpassed the previous mark of 19,495, set during the final win in a second-round sweep of the New York Islanders in 2019.