With the 2022 NHL Playoffs well underway, 16 teams have come a long way since the start of the 2021-22 season – which began on October 12, 2021. The final game was played on May 1, 2022 and the NHL Playoffs started the following day – which is good, we didn’t feel like waiting.
The NHL Playoffs is an exciting time for any hockey fan, but mostly the fans of the 16 teams currently in the running for the Stanley Cup. The field has nearly been split in half since the start of the season as the league’s best teams enter their crucial first round best-of-seven series.
Of the 16 teams in the NHL Playoffs, 13 of them finished the season with at least 100 points – including all eight teams from the Eastern Conference. The Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, and Los Angeles Kings finished below that mark, but each had at least 44 wins on the year.
Best Moments From the NHL Playoffs So Far
As of Friday morning (May 6), all teams have completed their first two games of the first round series and things are already getting interesting. There have already been five shutouts and two overtime finishes – including one that went to three overtimes. There hasn’t been a dull moment.
The first eight games of the playoffs featured 45 goals and seven of the winners scored at least four goals – including seven from Colorado. The second eight games featured 47 goals and six of the winners scored at least five goals – including six goals from Minnesota and Edmonton.
With so much excitement through just the first two games of each series, we have a lot to unpack. That’s why we’re going to detail the 20 best moments from the first four days of the 2022 NHL Playoffs – Game 1 and Game 2 of all eight series. Let’s see what cracked the list!
20. Toronto Stuns Lightning With Big 2nd Period in Game 1
The Toronto Maple Leafs had a 1-0 lead after a first period that saw them force a lot of turnovers, yet fail to capitalize as much as they’d like. They made up for it with three unanswered goals in the second – the goal scorers were Auston Matthews, David Kampf, and Mitchell Marner.
The Maple Leafs’ goalie Jack Campbell came up big in the second period, more specifically due to a massive save he had on Anthony Cirelli. Toronto held a 4-0 lead on the Tampa Bay Lightning heading into the final period. It was a dominant performance in a dominant period.
19. The Game 1 Dump-In Masterpiece
Speaking of the third period, the Maple Leafs weren’t done with their assault on the Lightning. They scored one more in the first eight minutes of the final period and it was Auston Matthews notching his second of the game. It was quite the spectacular play that no one was expecting.
Morgan Rielly was just dumping the ball into the offensive zone, which prompted Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy to go behind his net to fetch it. Unfortunately, he missed the puck and it rebounded off the back wall right onto Matthews’ stick. He did what he does best – score.
18. Marc Andre Fleury Nixes the Penalty Shot in Game 1
The Minnesota Wild found themselves in quite a pickle early in Game 1. Just 3 minutes and 50 seconds into the game, the St. Louis Blues earned a penalty shot after a Jonas Brodin hooking penalty on a breakaway. Ivan Barbashev was given an early opportunity to put his team ahead.
Marc-Andre Fleury had other plans, though. He stayed in front of Barbashev the entire way and took away any chance of scoring to the left. It was a huge break for the Wild, who were playing in front of their home crowd. Unfortunately, that luck would end there as things got a little ugly.
17. David Perron’s Hat Trick Lifts Blues to a Game 1 Victory
Like we mentioned above, things started to get a little ugly for the Minnesota Wild after that amazing save by Fleury. Not even three minutes later, David Perron put the Blues on the board with a power play goal. Ryan O’Reilly made it 2-0 in favor of the Blues later in the first period.
Late in the second period, Perron scored his second of the night – again on the powerplay. He got his hat trick in the third period, giving the Blues a 4-0 win in Game 1. All four of the Blues’ goals came off rebounds – Fleury did what he could to make the first save, but not the rebound.
16. Kings-Oilers With an Exciting 1st Period in Game 1
The Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers were tied at 0 halfway through the first period, but Trevor Moore put the Kings up at the 11-minute mark. Alex Iafollo made it 2-0 five minutes later – Moore earned an assist, his second point of the period. It seemed like the Kings were rolling.
That’s when Connor McDavid brought the deficit back to one goal with 43 seconds left in the period. Not long before that, we saw an incredible save by Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick – which is shown in the tweet above. There was a lot happening and we were 100% here for it.
15. Incredible Save, But Kings Capitalize on Second Chance
Speaking of incredible saves, let’s talk about the crazy sequence of events that went down in the third period of that Kings-Oilers Game 1. The game was tied at 3 with just over five minutes left when Oilers’ goalie Mike Smith went behind his net to control the puck – which he did.
Smith was looking to pass the puck to his teammate, but passed it right to a Kings’ player – who quickly shot it. Luckily for Smith, he recovered in time to make the save. Just seconds later, the Kings regained control and Sean Durzi took a shot, which was deflected in off Phillip Denault.
14. Ovechkin’s Steal Leads to Three Unanswered Goals in Game 1
The Washington Capitals took a 1-0 lead just four minutes into Game 1, but allowed the Florida Panthers to score two unanswered to close the first period and open the second period. As the game headed into the third period, the Capitals were down 2-1 – but that’s when they woke up.
It took over eight minutes, but a crucial and nifty steal by Alexander Ovechkin gave Evgeny Kuznetsov a breakaway opportunity – which he netted to tie the game at 2. Two minutes later, T.J. Oshie put the Capitals up 3-2 and Lars Eller hit the empty netter with 49 seconds left.
13. Bobrovsky Spoils Orlov’s Open Net Opportunity
The Florida Panthers didn’t win Game 1 because of that clutch comeback by the Capitals, but Panthers’ goalie Sergei Bobrovsky had himself a tremendous save that’s worth mentioning on this list. It came just over 12 minutes into the second period with his team enjoying a 2-1 lead.
The Capitals were pushing and Lars Eller got himself a nice shot from the right side. Bobrovsky was able to save that one, but gave up a layup off a rebound to Dmitriy Orlov. He shot the puck at a wide open net, but Bobrovsky managed to get his toe across far enough to make the save.
12. Penguins-Rangers Have Exciting 2nd Period in Game 1
About halfway through the first period of Game 1 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers, Adam Fox gave New York a 1-0 lead that they took into the second period. That’s when things took a major turn as fans got to see an onslaught of goals in the second.
Andrew Copp started the second period off, giving New York a 2-0 lead. Then Jake Guentzel scored two unanswered goals to tie the game up. Chris Kreider gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead with a shorthanded goal, but Bryan Rust tied it up for the Penguins on the power play.
11. Shesterkin Records 79 Saves Despite 3OT Loss in Game 1
That massive second period led to a quiet third period. Neither team scored, which meant fans got some extra hockey. And since it’s the NHL playoffs, games don’t go to a shootout – teams keep playing until someone scores. For the Penguins and Rangers, it took three OT periods.
Not just five-minute periods either – they were 20-minute periods, which means they almost played two games in one night. Evgeni Malkin ended up scoring the game-winner six minutes into the third overtime period and while Igor Shesterkin got the loss, he finished with 79 saves!
10. Things Get Chippy Between Stars and Flames
In what might’ve been the most exciting and close game of the entire playoffs so far, the
Dallas Stars and Calgary Flames got personal in Game 1. First off, we should mention the Flames had a 1-0 lead after Elias Lindholm scored on the power play five minutes in.
In the closing seconds of the first period, Matthew Tkachuk of the Flames and Michael Raffl of Stars started fighting. That, of course, started a couple of other fights. And when things seemed to settle down, John Klingberg and Rasmus Andersson started going at one another.
9. Colorado Avalanche Have Themselves a Perfect First Period
Many people have the Colorado Avalanche winning the Stanley Cup and they showed us why in the first period of Game 1. They scored five goals in the opening period with goals by Nathan MacKinnon, Devon Toews, Andrew Cogliano, Cale Makar, and Artturi Lehkonen.
In fact, the onslaught continued in the second period with a goal by Gabriel Landeskog. The Nashville Predators finally answered with a goal by Matt Duchene late in the second period. MacKinnon and Duchene each scored their second of the game as Colorado won 7-2.
8. Hurricanes Score Three Unanswered to Seal the Game 1 Victory
Heading into the third period of Game 1, the Carolina Hurricanes held a comfortable 2-0 lead over the Boston Bruins – thanks to Seth Jarvis and Nino Niederreiter late in the second period. The shutout wouldn’t last long with Taylor Hall scoring just three minutes into the third.
The Hurricanes responded well, scoring three unanswered goals in the final period. Teuvo Teravainen scored seven minutes into the period, Vincent Trocheck scored with three minutes left, and Andrei Svechnikov scored one minute later. It was a dominant 5-1 win for Carolina.
7. Pyotr Kochetkov and Brad Marchand Get Into It
The Bruins-Hurricanes saga continued in Game 2 as Carolina continued to pressure Boston – despite the Hurricanes watching their starting goalie Antti Raanta leave just seven minutes into a tied game. That’s when Pyotr Kochetkov entered the game and he was simply phenomenal.
He finished the game with 30 saves and only allowed the Bruins to score twice. With Carolina goals by Sebastian Aho (2), Neno Niederreiter (2), and Jesper Fast, Kochetkov did enough for the win. He also picked up a penalty for trying to fight Brad Marchand – understandable.
6. Lightning Survive Late Push by Leafs to Even Up Series
The Tampa Bay Lightning were embarrassed in Game 1, losing 5-0 to the Toronto Maple Leafs. If they wanted to avoid a sticky situation, they needed to respond well in Game 2 – which they did. They scored with just seconds left in the first period and two minutes into the second period.
Michael Bunting brought the Leafs’ deficit down to just one goal, but the Lightning had an answer. In fact, they had three answers and took a commanding 5-1 lead under 15 minutes left. The Leafs scored two goals late in the third period, but it wasn’t enough and Tampa won 5-3.
5. Minnesota Opens Game 2 With Four Unanswered Goals
Speaking of teams that needed to respond well in Game 2, the Minnesota Wild were coming off a 0-4 loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 1. They responded perfectly with four unanswered goals to start the game – three in the first period and another 51 seconds into the second period.
The Wild gave up a goal late in the second period and early in the third, but Kirill Kaprizov denied any hope for a Blues’ comeback. He scored with eight minutes left to give the Wild a 5-2 lead and completed the hat trick one minute later. The Wild evened up the series with a 6-2 win.
4. Oilers Earn a 6-0 Shutout in Game 2
Game 1 between the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings ended in an exciting thriller with the Kings taking a 1-0 series lead. Many were expecting a similar outcome in Game 2, but that’s not what we witnessed. In fact, the game started out quiet with a score of 0-0 after 20 minutes.
Then the second period happened. The Oilers scored three straight goals to take a 3-0 lead into the third period. They did the same thing in the third period to complete the 6-0 Game 2 shutout. Oilers’ goalie Mike Smith saved all 30 shots he faced and Evander Kane had two goals.
3. Artemi Panarin & Frank Vatrano Earn Three Points Each in Game 2
The Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers needed every hour of rest they got after a Game 1 that went to three overtimes. With that said, both teams came out with energy – Andrew Copp (Rangers) and Jake Guentzel (Penguins) each scored in the first period.
The Rangers started to pull away in the second period with goals by Ryan Strome and Chris Kreider, but Pittsburgh responded with a goal by Sidney Crosby. Two more goals in the third period – Artemi Panarin and Frank Vatrano – gave the Rangers an impressive 5-2 victory.
2. Jake Oettinger Records First Career Playoff Shutout in Game 2
The Calgary Flames earned a shutout victory over the Dallas Stars in Game 1, but the Stars got their revenge in Game 2. Thanks to 29 saves by the 23-year old goalie Jake Oettinger, Dallas evened up the series with a 2-0 shutout win in Game 2 – the perfect response.
Joe Pavelski scored his first goal of the NHL playoffs nearly eight minutes into the first period to give Dallas a 1-0 lead. Their second goal came with just over one minute left in the game – a Michael Raffl goal. The Stars had 36 hits in the game, while the Flames finished with 35 hits.
1. Cale Makar Scores Game-Winner in Overtime
We’ve already talked about the first overtime thriller in the 2022 NHL Playoffs, but that wasn’t the only one. The second one came on Thursday, May 5th between the Colorado Avalanche and Nashville Predators. Remember, the Avalanche completely blew the Predators out in Game 1.
Game 2 was a different story. Nathan MacKinnon scored early in the first, but Yakov Trenin quickly answered in the same period. Things were quiet the rest of the game, until Cale Makar nailed this game-winner a little over eight minutes into the overtime period. It was a classic!
The NHL Playoffs Are Only Just Beginning
I hope you’re prepared for an exciting 2022 NHL Playoffs because they’ve already delivered an exciting first two games. As of Friday morning, the Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche are the only two teams with a 2-0 series lead. All other teams are currently tied 1-1 in the series.
It has been nothing short of spectacular with plenty of goals being scored and plenty of fights, which is what the NHL Playoffs are all about. Players are playing harder than they’ve ever played before, all in hopes of raising that coveted Stanley Cup above their heads in due time.
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The playoffs continue on Friday and throughout the weekend, so be ready for plenty more highlights as each game is bound to have several. Intensity is at an all-time high this season and players are going to continue fighting for the ultimate prize – we hope your favorite team wins!
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