Five things to know about the National Hockey League playoffs

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There were goals galore as the Battle of Alberta's sixth post-season edition got underway and the Avalanche are looking to stay hot.

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

GOALS, GOALS AND MORE GOALS

The sixth playoff edition of the Battle of Alberta got off to a sizzling start with the two teams combining for 15 goals as the Calgary Flames took the opening contest 9-6.

The Flames led 3-0 by the 6:05 mark of the first period, chasing Edmonton starting goalie Mike Smith out of the game after seeing just 10 shots.

By 6:10 of the second period, Calgary led 5-1, but the Oilers stormed back, scoring three straight goals to finish the middle frame and trail 6-5 heading into the third period.

In that final period, Edmonton managed to tie the game 1:28 in as Kailer Yamamoto scored, but that was as close as the Oilers would get as Calgary would score three unanswered to put the game away.

Matthew Tkachuk scored a pair as part of that three-goal finishing flourish to notch a hat trick.

The 15 goals scored combined was the most ever between the two teams in a playoff game since they combined for 12 goals in Game 3 of the 1983 Smith Division final.

KOSKINEN (RELATIVELY) STRONG IN RELIEF

After Smith was chased out of the game early on, the Oilers turned to Mikko Koskinen who, considering the wild game he was thrust into, performed admirably.

The 33-year-old stopped 32-of-37 shots, outperforming Calgary's Vezina candidate Jacob Markstrom, who made 22 saves on 28 shots against him.

Considering how well Koskinen performed in comparison to Smith Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft may have an interesting decision to make regarding who will get the start in between the pipes in Game 2 Friday.

RAANTA OUTDUELS SHESTERKIN

Carolina Hurricanes outdueled Vezina and Hart Trophy finalist Igor Shesterkin as they hung on to beat the New York Rangers 2-1 Wednesday, taking Game 1 of their second-round series.

Raanta stopped 27-of-28 shots while Shesterkin made 24 saves on 26 attempts lobbed his way.

In particular, Raanta was tested in the first two periods. The Rangers outshot the Hurricanes 23-14 over the first two frames.

AVALANCHE LOOK TO KEEP ROLLING

After sweeping their first-round series with the Nashville Predators, the Colorado Avalanche started their second-round tilt with the St. Louis Blues with their fifth straight victory of the 2022 post-season.

The Avs will look to keep this momentum going Thursday evening for Game 2 in Denver.

Colorado was forced to take Game 1 in overtime and will probably be hoping for a better performance than it showed before.

PANTHERS TRYING TO DIG OUT OF A SMALL HOLE AGAIN

For the second straight series, the Presidents' Trophy-winning Florida Panthers have begun down 1-0.

They managed to recover in Game 2 of their opening-round series with the Washington Capitals and, ultimately, take that series, and will be hoping for much of the same in Game 2 of their second-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday.

Similar to its first-round opener with the Capitals, where it lost 4-2, Florida got thumped by the Lightning in Game 1 Tuesday, falling 4-2.

In Game 2 against Washington, however, the Panthers responded with a 5-1 hammering.

They'll be hoping for much the same in Game 2 against the two-time defending champs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 19, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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