Five things to know about the National Hockey League playoffs

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The Oilers need a win to stay alive and the the Leafs need one to end an 18-year drought.

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

OILERS ON THE BRINK

The Edmonton Oilers will be fighting for their playoff lives as they take on the Kings in Los Angeles Thursday evening.

The Oilers are coming off a heartbreaking 5-4 overtime loss in Game 5 in Edmonton that saw Leon Draisaitl score a pair of late goals to even things up and send the game into overtime, only to have Adrian Kempe halt that momentum with his winner just 1:12 into the extra period.

Edmonton needs to win in order to force a Game 7 back home at Rogers Place on Saturday, but it will have to try to do so without the services of star defenceman Darnell Nurse, who is suspended for Thursday's Game 6 as punishment for head-butting Kings forward Phillip Danault in Game 5.

LEAFS LOOKING TO SLAY FIRST-ROUND DRAGON

The Toronto Maple Leafs haven't won a playoff series since 2004.

They'll get a chance to end that drought Thursday night as they look to finish off the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 at Amalie Arena.

The Leafs are coming into the game on the heels of a comeback victory that saw them go down 2-0 after the first period and storm back to win 4-3, highlighted by Auston Matthews's game-winning goal and its accompanying Pete Townshend-like windmill celebration.

FLAMES ON THE VERGE

With their 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars Wednesday, the Calgary Flames are just one win away from reaching the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Calgary hasn't officially won a first-round playoff series since 2015. The Flames did win their qualifying series with the Winnipeg Jets in 2020's bubble playoffs.

With the win, history is on the Flames' side. Entering Wednesday's Game 5, the series was deadlocked at 2-2. The team that breaks that tie and wins Game 5 holds an all-time series record of 219-58, according to NHL statisticians.

Calgary will look to finish the job on Friday in Texas.

BLUESHIRTS BOUNCE BACK

The New York Rangers managed to stave off elimination with a 5-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden Wednesday.

Outplayed in their previous two games in Pittsburgh -- getting outscored by a total of 14-6 -- the Rangers used those poor performances to live to see at least one more game..

Game 6 will go Friday and it's unclear what the status of Penguins star Sidney Crosby might be for it.

Crosby left with about seven minutes remaining in the second period after taking a hard high hit from Jacob Trouba in the offensive zone. He was diagnosed with an "upper-body injury," according to Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan, and will be evaluated.

VERHAEGHE LEADS CATS COMEBACK

The Florida Panthers took a 3-2 series lead over the Washington Capitals Wednesday thanks to a five-goal rally that erased a three-goal deficit in a 5-3 win.

Trailing 3-0 after T.J. Oshie scored at 3:38 of the second period, the Panthers mounted a furious comeback to stun Washington, led by Carter Verhaeghe, who was involved in all five goals with his five-point outburst.

Verhaeghe scored at the 6:50 mark of the second period to make it 3-1 and begin the deluge that was to come. At 3:04 into the third period he then scored again to complete the comeback and make it 4-3 Florida as the Panthers never looked back from there.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 12, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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