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!
2022 NBA Playoffs: 15 Must-See Plays From the First Round
The 2022 NBA Playoffs began on April 16th following the conclusion of the play-in tournament – which saw the Brooklyn Nets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, and New Orleans Pelicans advance as the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds. It was an exciting end to the regular season.
Since then, the NBA playoffs haven’t disappointed as we’ve witnessed a very tight race in the Western Conference. The Eastern Conference has been a little more lopsided, but it has still been filled with a wide range of iconic moments and buzzer beater winners – several, in fact.
As of Monday, the Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, and Milwaukee Bucks are all one game away from advancing in the East. The Warriors can say the same in the West, but the other three series are knotted up at two games a piece – and those series can go either way.
15 Plays That Sum Up the NBA Playoffs So Far
Like we mentioned above, the 2022 NBA Playoffs has already seen its fair share of iconic moments – including monster slams, ferocious blocks, nifty steals, clutch shots, and what some people refer to as circus plays. It has definitely been one to remember, thus far.
Several players have emerged as leaders for their team and they’ll continue to dominate as the playoffs continue. Luka Doncic, Donovan Mitchell, Jimmy Butler, and Nikola Jokic each have more than 30 points per game, though Doncic has only played in one game due to injury.
In the meantime, Brandon Ingram, Jalen Brunson, and Jayson Tatum are all close behind, averaging at least 29.7 points per game. Don’t worry, you’ll get to see most of those players in our top-15 plays through the first four games of the First Round. It’s the NBA Playoffs, baby!
15. Cameron Payne Throws It Down Hard
This play happened on April 24th during Game 4 of the New Orleans Pelicans vs. Phoenix Suns first round series. Cameron Payne, a guard for the Suns, uses the screen to create some space, which gives him enough room to take the ball to the rim. From there, the rest is history.
Payne finished the game 3-10 with 8 points, 1 assist, and 1 block in 18 minutes of play. His dunk brought some life to his team during the third quarter, but it wasn’t enough to help his team past the Pelicans. The series is currently tied 2-2 after the Pelicans evened the series up at home.
14. Thaddeus Young Puts Joel Embiid on Skates
This play happened on April 23rd during Game 4 of the Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors first round series. Thaddeus Young, a forward for the Raptors, received the ball at the top of the key before tip-toeing and dancing around Joel Embiid, who couldn’t quite hang with the handles.
Young finished the game 6-9 from the field with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block in 30 minutes of play. His 13 points led all bench players and helped the Raptors avoid elimination. They won 110-102, but are still down 3-1 in the series as they attempt a comeback.
13. Patrick Beverley With the Incredible Circus Play
This play happened on April 21st during Game 3 of the Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Memphis Grizzlies first round series. Patrick Beverley, a guard for the T-wolves, reached into his bag of tricks to pull off this circus play – which includes a Curly Neal tribute and a pass to himself.
Beverley finished Game 3 5-13 from the field with 14 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks in 34 minutes. His play wasn’t enough to lift Minnesota to a win as they fell to 1-2 on the series, but they eventually tied the series up in Game 4. Beverley had 17 points in the victory.
12. Landry Shamet With the Posterizer on Hayes
This play happened on April 22nd during Game 3 of the Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans first round series. Landry Shamet, a guard for the Suns, received a pass from Chris Paul in transition. Despite Jaxson Hayes zeroing in on defense, Shamet slammed it down.
Shamet finished the game 2-7 from the field with 5 points and 3 assists in 30 minutes of action. His monster slam led to an and-one, three-point play when he hit the free throw. The Suns went on to win Game 3, bringing the series to 2-1 in the Suns’ favor, but they then dropped Game 4.
11. Donovan Mitchell Shows No Regard for Davis Bertans
This play happened on April 21st during Game 3 of the Dallas Mavericks vs. Utah Jazz first round series. Donovan Mitchell, a guard for the Jazz, was looking to provide a spark of energy with his team down 13 points. He uses the screen, splits the defense, and finishes the dunk.
Mitchell finished the game 10-21 from the field with 32 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1 block in 39 minutes of play. His team played well offensively, but their defensive struggles led to a loss in Game 3. They got their revenge in Game 4, tying the series at 2-2. This could go to Game 7.
10. Devin Booker Sinks a Buzzer Beater From the Logo
This play happened on April 19th during Game 2 of the Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans first round series. Devin Booker, a guard for the Suns, was looking to give his team a five-point lead heading into halftime, which he did with a ridiculously long buzzer beater from the logo.
Booker finished the half with 31 points, but failed to score more than that after suffering an injury. He finished with 31 points off 12-19 shooting, adding 2 rebounds and 1 assist before leaving the game. The Suns lost that game, won Game 3, and lost Game 4 with the series tied at 2-2.
9. Brandon Ingram Shakes the Rim Despite Contact
This play happened on April 24th during Game 4 of the New Orleans Pelicans vs. Phoenix Suns first round series – a series filled with highlights. Brandon Ingram, a forward for the Pelicans, had his team up 3 in the third quarter, but added to the lead with this ridiculous posterizing dunk.
Ingram finished the game 11-23 from the field with 30 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists in 36 minutes of action. Along with Jonas Valanciunas’ 26 points and CJ McCollum’s 18 points, the Pelicans tied the series up 2-2 with a 15-point victory in Game 4. It all continues on Monday.
8. Donovan Mitchell’s Last-Second Alley-Oop to Rudy Gobert
This play happened on April 23rd during Game 4 of the Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks first round series. Donovan Mitchell, who’s on this list for the second time, had the ball with 15.0 seconds left, down by one. Instead of taking it himself, he lobbed it to Rudy Gobert for the slam.
There were still 11.0 seconds left on the clock, but the Jazz defense stood strong and held tight for the victory. Mitchell finished the game with 23 points and 7 assists, while Gobert finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds. The win tied the series up at 2-2 with Game 5 on Monday night.
7. Thanasis Antetokounmpo Channels His Inner Giannis
This play happened on April 22nd during Game 3 of the Milwaukee Bucks vs. Chicago Bulls first round series. The Bucks were enjoying a 30-point lead with just over two minutes left, which is usually when Thanasis Antetokounmpo enters the game. And he made use of his limited time.
Thanasis, Giannis’ younger brother, channeled his inner Giannis when he drove to the basket and brought the house down over Patrick Williams. He missed the and-one free throw attempt, but finished the game 2-3 from the field with 4 points, 1 assist, and 1 steal in the Game 3 victory.
6. Spencer Dinwiddie Has No Respect for Rudy Gobert
This play happened on April 21st during Game 3 of the Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks first round series. Spencer Dinwiddie, a guard for the Mavericks, received a pass with his team up 13 points early in the third. He drove to the basket with space and dunked it over Rudy Gobert.
Gobert, known for his shot-blocking ability, couldn’t stop the hammer as Dinwiddie slammed it down with authority. He finished the game with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals in 41 minutes, helping his team win 126-118 with Luka Doncic out. The series is now tied 2-2.
5. Devin Booker Hits Shot, Fist Bumps Baby
This play happened on April 19th during Game 2 of the Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans first round series. Devin Booker was going off, which we briefly mentioned above with his 31 points in the first half. This shot was another buzzer beater in the first quarter of the same game.
Booker was feeling it this game and the Suns likely would’ve won if he didn’t get injured. It was looking like he could go for 50 at least, but things went south when he left the game early. The Suns collapsed and the Pelicans took over late. That tied the series and it remains tied today.
4. Back-to-Back Clutch Threes for Maxi Kleber
These back-to-back plays happened on April 18th during Game 2 of the Dallas Mavericks vs. Utah Jazz first round series. Maxi Kleber, who was struggling from long range towards the end of the season, made back-to-back three-pointers to bring his team from down two to up four.
It was a much-needed six-point swing and ultimately gave the Mavericks the momentum they needed to secure a Game 2 victory, despite not having Luka Doncic available. Kleber finished the game 8-11 from long range, putting up 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists in the victory.
3. Karl-Anthony Towns Has No Chill
This play happened on April 16th during Game 1 of the Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Memphis Grizzlies first round series. Karl-Anthony Towns, a center for the T-wolves, wanted to prove his team belonged in the playoffs, which he did with this monster slam over Jaren Jackson Jr.
KAT finished the game with 29 points off 11-18 shooting, adding 13 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 block to help put his team up 1-0 in the series. Anthony Edwards was also impressive, putting up a game-high 36 points with 6 assists. It has been an interesting series and is currently 2-2.
2. Joel Embiid’s Buzzer Beater Win
This play happened on April 20th during Game 3 of the Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors first round series. Both teams were tied at the end of regulation and remained tied at 101 with just 2.6 seconds remaining. That’s when Joel Embiid hit the dagger three-pointer for the win.
The buzzer beater capped off an impressive 33-point outing for the MVP finalist. He shot 12-20 from the floor and 3-8 from long range, adding 13 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block in the win. His play put his team up 3-0 in the series, but the 76ers failed to close out the series in Game 4.
1. Jayson Tatum’s Buzzer Beater Win
That brings us to another buzzer beater – one that happened on April 17th during Game 1 of the Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics first round series. The Celtics were down by one point with 12 seconds left, but had the ball after a missed shot by Kevin Durant. That’s when this happened.
Jaylen Brown drives the ball, but doesn’t get anywhere. He finds Marcus Smart on the other side of the court, who starts to drive before finding Jayson Tatum near the bucket. A quick spin move gives Tatum enough space to lay the ball in with no time left on the clock. What a play.
Looking Ahead as the NBA Playoffs Continue
The 2022 NBA Playoffs continue with several teams looking to close out the series early this week. At the conclusion of the first round, the playing field will be down to eight teams and action will resume on May 2nd and 3rd. From that moment, we all know anything can and will happen.
Last week, I gave my personal predictions for the NBA Playoffs. I had the Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, and Utah Jazz advancing in the West. I also had the Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, and Philadelphia 76ers advancing in the East.
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If you’d like to see who I had advancing from there – and ultimately who I had winning it all – check out our playoff predictions in the link above. Better yet, let us know what your predictions are. Who knows, maybe our predictions look similar and maybe we can both be right this year!
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