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LOS ANGELES, CA (BDCi) – The NHL playoffs have been fast and exciting as there has been some exciting hard hitting action so far through one round. Many of these matchups have been decided and several teams will be advancing to the second round while others will be going home. Which teams are moving on and which ones are going home? Read ahead to find out!

Eastern Conference Matchups

#1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs #8 New York Islanders (Pittsburgh Wins Series 4-2)

Entering the week the Penguins led their series against the New York Islanders two games to one. The Islanders would tie the series up at two games a piece with a 6-4 victory in game four. In the fifth game of the series the Pengins changed things up as they replaced goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury with Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun was perfect in his first start as he stopped all 31 shots he faced en route to a 4-0 victory. In game six however Vokoun allowed the Islanders to score as the two teams played to a 3-3 tie before the Penguins scored in overtime to earn a 4-3 victory and 4-2 series victory to send them to the second round.

#2 Montreal Canadians vs #7 Ottawa Senators (Ottawa Wins Series 4-1)

The Canadians may have been the higher seed in this matchup, but it was the Senators who clearly showed who was the better team as they only needed five games to dispatch the Canadians. Entering the week the Senators held a 2-1 series advantage and earned a 3-2 victory in overtime in game four and a dominating 6-1 victory in game five to claim the series. After battling all season without defending Norris trophy champion Erik Karlsson, the Senators received a huge boost with him getting healthy just before the end of the season. Karlsson came up big in the series for Ottawa as he scored one goal and recorded five assists and a +/- rating of +5 against Montreal.

# 3 Washington Capitals vs #6 New York Rangers (Series Tied at 3-3)

Entering the week these two teams were tied in their best of seven series. Exiting this week it’s more of the same as these two teams continued to be tied, this time at three games each however. The Rangers jumped out to a 2-1 series lead after winning game three 4-3, however the Capitals bounced back with back to back victories in games four and five to take a 3-2 series lead. In game six the Rangers earned a hard fought 1-0 victory to send the series to a decisive game even which is to be played on Monday night.

#4 Boston Bruins vs #5 Toronto Maple Leafs (Series Tied at 3-3)

The schedule for this series mirrored the Rangers and Capitals series, and just like that series, this one too will be going to a game seven to decide who will advance and who will go home. Entering the week the series was tied at one, however the Bruins took control and earned victories in games three and four to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. The Maple Leafs however were not going to go down without a fight however and earned 2-1 victories in both games five and six to send the series to a decisive game seven to be played on Monday.

Western Conference Matchups

#1 Chicago Blackhawks vs #8 Minnesota Wild (Chicago Wins Series 4-1)

Entering the week the Chicago Blackhawks led their best of seven series against the Minnesota Wild two games to one. The Blackhawks would only need to play two more games in this series to dispatch the Wild as a 3-0 victory and 5-1 victory sent the Wild packing the and Blackhawks into the second round of the playoffs. The Blackhawks  offense was clicking on all cylinders this series as they scored 17 goals in the series while allowing only seven goals. The Blackhawks have received stellar play from forward Patrick Sharp so far as the forward netted five goals and recorded one assist in the series. Corey Crawford answered the questions about who would be the Blackhawks goaltender this series as he had a save percentage of .950 in the series and recorded one shutout.

 #2 Anaheim Ducks vs #7 Detroit Red Wings

 The only series to go a full seven games and be decided so far, the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings have been one of the most fun series to watch so far. Each game has been a flip flop as the Ducks won games one, three, and five while the Red Wings earned victories in games two, four, and six. Game seven provided plenty of fireworks as the scoring was opened up early as Henrik Zetterberg scored just 1:49 into the game to give the Red Wings an early 1-0 lead. The Ducks would answer though as Emerson Etem tied the game at 1-1 before the Wings regained the lead. The Ducks would fall behind 3-1 and rally late to make it 3-2, however they would come up just short as the Red Wings would hold on and earn the series victory where they will now face the Chicago Blackhawks.

#3 Vancouver Canucks vs #6 San Jose Sharks (San Jose Wins Series 4-0)

 The Vancouver Canucks opened up the playoffs down three games to none last season and for the second straight year have done the same as they entered the week down 3-0 to the San Jose Sharks. While the Canucks were able to win one game last season, they were not so fortunate this time as the Sharks did not take the foot off the accelerator as they earned a 4-3 overtime win in game four to earn a series sweep and advance to the second round of the playoffs. The question for the Sharks is will the long layoff between rounds cool them off, or will they remain just as hot next round? That is something that will be answered soon.

 #4 St. Louis Blues vs # 5 Los Angeles Kings (Los Angeles Wins Series 4-2)

 At the start of the week the Los Angeles Kings trailed the St. Louis Blues two games to one in the series, but with how well the Blues had been playing, it was safe to wonder whether the defending champs would be able to steal the series. After earning a victory at home in game four to tie the series at two, the Kings earned a pivotal road win in game five to send the series back to Los Angeles with the series at a 3-2 advantage for the Kings. In game six it was all Los Angeles as they jumped out to a 1-0 lead and got the game winning goal on a surprising last second goal at the end of the second period from Dustin Penner that took the wind out of the Blues and gave the Kings the momentum they needed to take the series. The Kings advance to the second round where they will take on a familiar foe as they will face their Pacific Division foe the San Jose Sharks.

By: Benjamin Robinson

Source: ESPN

May 12, 2012

10:00 p.m. PDT

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