The Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is underway as of Tuesday night. Familiar territory finds the Stars as the Seattle Kraken skate into Dallas and take Game 1 in overtime. Big storylines filled the last round as unfamiliar teams made their way into the Second Round. The defending Stanley Cup champions are out, along with the President’s Trophy winner.
There will now be a Stanley Cup Champion for the first time since 2006 with the final 8 remaining teams. This Second Round started off with a thriller after Joe Pavelski’s 4-goal effort wasn’t enough.
We’ll look back at the First Round along with looking ahead to the Second Round.
The First Round
Toronto has finally done it. The Maple Leafs win a playoff series for the first time since 2004. That snaps the longest drought without a playoff series win. Their opponent in Round Two is even more shocking. Everyone picked the Boston Bruins as odds-on favorites to win the Stanley Cup. The Second Round was all but guaranteed after holding a 3-1 Series lead. The Florida Panthers shocked the world and eliminated the Bruins. That series is one for the history books as the best team in NHL regular season history lost to a team that finished with 43 points less than them. It took overtime in Game 7 to do it, but now the Panthers are on a 4-game win streak after a Game 1 win in Toronto. The Stars finished off the Minnesota Wild in 6 games but now face a 0-1 series deficit.
Dismal Start to Round 2
No team in the entire season scored 4 goals in the 1st period until Tuesday night. Joe Pavelski returned and scored the series opener in his first game back. The Stars held a 1-0 and 2-1 lead, but a massive response from the Kraken equaled a 4-2 lead for them at the ends of the 1st and 2nd periods.
Joe Pavelski scored twice in the 3rd for his 4th goal of the game. He became the oldest player in NHL history to record 4 goals in a playoff game, passing Maurice “Rocket” Richard. No one else on the Stars scored a goal as the Kraken won Game 1 in overtime.
The Stars are now looking down at a 0-2 series hole if they don’t win the next game. Like the series with the Wild, the Stars lose Game 1 in overtime. They look to rebound in Game 2 on Thursday.
A New Champion
There will be a new Stanley Cup champion this year for the first time since at least 2006. Three of the last 8 teams have never won the Stanley Cup, with 2 of those being recent expansion teams. Only 2 of the remaining teams have a Stanley Cup title this century. It is a refreshing pace change and anyone’s Stanley Cup this year.
The next game is not necessarily a must-win, but for all intents and purposes, it is. Losing the first two games at home is critical. A Game 2 victory will at least tie the series. Pavelski is a big part of this team, but other depth players must step up. Game 2 is a pivotal one for the Stars, who cannot afford to go down 0-2.
Photo: Dallas Stars Twitter