NHL Scores, 2012 Playoffs: Blues Advance, Blackhawks Avoid Elimination

April 21, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues players celebrate after game 5 of the 2012 Western Conference quarterfinals against the San Jose Sharks at Scottrade Center. The Blues won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

The St. Louis Blues eliminated the San Jose Sharks on Saturday, but every other series got even more interesting than it was before this weekend.

One day after the Nashville Predators became the first team to advance to the second round of the NHL Playoffs, the St. Louis Blues joined them, winning their series in five games to progress early. The Phoenix Coyotes had a chance to do the same, but let the Chicago Blackhawks score in overtime in their building to extend the series. Saturday's other three games were in series' that were tied at 2-2 heading into Game 5.

Washington Capitals 4-3 Boston Bruins

Though it's not obvious looking at the score, Caps goalie Brayden Holtby had an excellent game while Tim Thomas was extremely poor for the Bruins. He was bad on all of the Capitals' goals, but especially the winner, a power-play goal by Troy Brouwer that beat him on his glove side from a very narrow angle. The Caps lead 3-2 heading to Washington.

Florida Panthers 3-0 New Jersey Devils

Jose Theodore was good for the Panthers in net, but this was simply a poor performance by the Devils. The opening goal by Kris Versteeg came on one of six power plays given up by the Devils. Martin Brodeur made a bad mistake on the second, coming out of his net to get a puck that he never got to, which allowed Scottie Upshall to score on an empty net. The third goal was awarded, with Kopekcy unfairly denied a breakaway on an empty net. The Panthers lead 3-2, but Game 6 is in Newark.

Ottawa Senators 2-0 New York Rangers

Jason Spezza scored both goals for the Senators in this one, while Craig Anderson put on a fantastic performance to outplay and defeat Henrik Lundqvist at Madison Square Garden. The Blueshirts are going to have to come up with some magic on the road in Game 6 to save the series. They're down 3-2 after this home loss.

St. Louis Blues 3-1 San Jose Sharks

It took until the third period of Game 5 for the Blues to turn it on, but what a third period it was. Jamie Langenbrunner scored the game-tying goal midway through the third after Antti Niemi badly mishandled a puck and David Perron scored the winner just 45 seconds later, deflecting in a shot by Alex Pietrangelo. Andy McDonald sealed the game and the series win with an empty net goal.

Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 Phoenix Coyotes (OT)

For the first time since 1951, all five of the first five games in a series have gone to overtime. The Coyotes and Blackhawks provided bonus hockey again, but they got it over quickly this time. Jonathan Toews scored a brilliant game-winning goal after a faceoff just 2:44 into the first overtime period. The Blackhawks were down 3-1 and can tie the series at home in Game 6.

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