The Los Angeles Kings made history and the Minnesota Wild got some unexpected contributions from some unlikely players in their crazy Game 7 win.
5 things to know
The Kings did it
They were down, but they weren't out. The Los Angeles Kings became just the fourth team in NHL history to erase a 3-0 series deficit and win thanks to their 5-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night. Jonathan Quick made some big saves with the game still on the line (like that beauty on Patrick Marleau in the second period) while their big guns (specifically Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar) provided the offense. In the last three years Los Angeles has won the Stanley Cup as a No. 8 seed and overcome a 3-0 series deficit to advance. That is quite an exciting run.
The Sharks did it again
Just ... why. Why does this have to keep happening? There is no shame in losing to that Kings team. They're an elite team and a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. Both of these teams were. But why did it have to be like that? Given their past playoff runs and the narrative that still follows them around, whether it's fair or not, they're never going to hear the end of this one.
Including the Rangers' 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night, Henrik Lundqvist has appeared in five Game 7s in his career and allowed just five goals. It's hard to get much better than that in big games, and even though he wasn't really challenged through the first two periods, Lundqvist was a wall in the third period when the Flyers mounted a late push. Daniel Carcillo, thanks to a ridiculous pass by Mats Zuccarello, and Benoit Pouliot were the offensive heroes for the Rangers while Rick Nash continued his strong play despite not scoring and was probably their best player on the night. There was also another cup check in this game, and some bro winning a new Lexus and being very excited about it.
It's only the first round, so there is still a lot of hockey to be played in these playoffs, but you're going to have a difficult time finding something more absurd than Ilya Bryzgalov coming off the bench in Game 7 with eight minutes to play, stopping only one shot, and getting the win. But that's what he did in Minnesota's crazy, back-and-forth 5-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Playoff hockey is the best.
One of the more underrated trades of the offseason was Minnesota's move to get Nino Niederreiter from the New York Islanders in exchange for Cal Clutterbuck. It paid off in a big way on Wednesday when Niederreiter scored two goals, including the overtime winner, to push the Wild through to the second round. He's coming off his best season as a pro and is still only 21 years old. Some big days could be ahead for him.