Five things to know about the NHL playoffs
The Edmonton Oilers dropped their second-round series opener to Vegas and on the opposite coast, the Toronto Maple Leafs could really use a win over Florida.
Here are five things to know as we head into Thursday's post-season action:
LEAFS BOUNCE BACK?
Toronto took no advantage of home ice in its 4-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. The Leafs will need to do the opposite in Game 2 on Thursday.
Florida is arguably riding the most momentum in the NHL, after having come back from a 3-1 series deficit and ousting the Presidents' Trophy-winning Boston Bruins in the first round.
While the Leafs entered the series after eliminating the Tampa Bay Lightning for their first playoff series win in 19 years, heading back to Florida down 2-0 is less than ideal.
Game 2 will be a great opportunity to buckle down and make it more of a series.
DRAISAITL'S EFFORT NOT ENOUGH
Oilers star Leon Draisaitl had quite the performance in Edmonton's 6-4 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday.
He scored four goals to become the first Oiler since Jari Kurri in 1987 to do so in a post-season game.
However, Edmonton will need more than what the NHL's playoff leader in points (15) and goals (11) has been producing to even the series before heading home for Games 3 and 4.
KRAKEN BUILDING ON STORY
The Seattle Kraken have been quite the story this season and just continue racking up wins.
The expansion franchise, which opened play in 2021-22, posted the largest win (plus-19) and point (plus-40) improvements by an NHL franchise from its first to second season this year.
And after taking out the reigning Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche in the opening round, the Kraken picked up a 5-4 overtime series-opening road win against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.
With Game 2 set for Thursday, Seattle has a chance to further its confidence in taking a 2-0 series lead back home for Games 3 and 4.
HURRICANES TOO MUCH
The Carolina Hurricanes put the New Jersey Devils through quite the series opener on Wednesday.
Carolina held New Jersey to one shot in the opening period and earned a dominant 5-1 win.
The Devils came in having finished off the New York Rangers in Game 7 of their opening-round series on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes last played April 28 when they eliminated the New York Islanders in six games.
ROOKIES IN ON PLAYOFF RIDE
Two of the three Calder Trophy finalists are competing in the second round of the playoffs.
Edmonton goalie Stuart Skinner, Seattle forward Matty Beniers and Buffalo Sabres defenceman Owen Power were the finalists announced on Wednesday.
Skinner is 3-3 with a .883 save percentage so far through the post-season. He led all rookies during the regular season in wins (29) and was second among first-year players in save percentage (.914) and goals-against average (2.75).
Beniers has two points (one goal, one assist) in eight post-season games for Seattle after having led all rookies with 57 points (24 goals, 33 assists) in 80 regular-season games.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2023.
The Canadian Press