Five things to know about the National Hockey League playoffs

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The Oilers have an opponent in the Western Conference final and the Hurricanes will be trying to reverse a troubling playoff trend.

Here are five things to know as we head into Saturday's post-season action:

OILERS TO FACE AVALANCHE IN WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

J.T. Compher scored two goals and Darren Helm potted the game-winner with six seconds to play in regulation to help the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues Friday as they took their second-round series 4-2.

The win set up a Western Conference final between the Avalanche and the Edmonton Oilers.

Just the third time the two franchises will meet in the post-season, and the first time since 1998.

They first met in the second round in 1997 as Colorado won 4-1. In 1998, Edmonton won in the first round in seven games.

UNLIKELY HEROES SHINE BRIGHT FOR AVALANCHE

The Avalanche were able to clinch their second-round series with the Blues in Game 6 thanks not to their top-line stars like Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, Nazem Kadri and Mikko Rantanen.

Instead, it was the centres of their bottom six that got the job done.

Third-line centre Compher scored twice while fourth-line centreman Helm scored the series-clinching goal.

Helm scored just seven goals in 68 games during the regular season while Compher was a little more productive, finding the back of the 18 times.

Heroes will always grab the headlines, and sometimes those heroes aren't necessarily what most would consider to be star players.

HUSSO STRONG IN DEFEAT

Despite the loss, Blues goaltender Ville Husso was strong in Game 6.

He stopped 36 of the 39 shots he faced in the game as the Avs pressured him from the opening puck drop.

Husso entered the series in relief of starter Jordan Binnington after he was forced out of it in the first period of Game 3.

The Finnish netminder was shaky for much of his time between the pipes during the series but closed strong, unfortunately for him and St. Louis, in a losing effort.

CAN HURRICANES BUCK THEIR POST-SEASON TREND?

The Carolina Hurricanes are perfect 7-0 at home during these playoffs so far, but a disastrous 0-5 on the road.

On Saturday, they'll have an opportunity to finish off the New York Rangers in Game 6 of their second-round series.

The problem for Carolina, however, is that chance will come in Madison Square Garden.

Of course, if they lose, the Canes will have Game 7 back home to try to get the job done, but winning on the road is never a bad idea in the playoffs, especially if it gives you a chance to clinch a series.

RANGERS IN FAMILIAR POSITION

Down 3-2 to Carolina, despite the threat of elimination, New York should feel right at home with its back against the wall.

The Rangers rallied back down 3-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins becoming the first team in NHL history to rally from a deficit in three consecutive elimination games in order to advance.

Only needing to win two more games to reach the next round should prove relatively simple, by comparison.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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