In perhaps the most unique night in the NHL in recent memory, the New York Rangers, Minnesota Wild, and Los Angeles Kings all advanced in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with Game Seven victories on Wednesday.
The Rangers were able to hold off one of their rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, with a 2-1 victory at Madison Square Garden. New York got the go-ahead goal from Daniel Carcillo, and goalie Henrik Lundqvist did enough to hold off Philadelphia. Lundqvist was mobbed by teammates after the win.
"We played a really strong series," said Lundqvist. "I think we were the better team. We pushed the pace almost every game. We definitely earned this one."
The Rangers will face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals.
At Pepsi Center in Denver, the Wild needed an overtime goal from Nino Niederreiter, who scored off a 2-on-1 break, to beat the Colorado Avalanche in dramatic fashion, 5-4. Minnesota received a major boost in the third period when Jared Spurgeon fired a superb shot past Semyon Varlamov with 2:27 remaining to keep the Wild alive. It's the first playoff series win for Minnesota since 2003.
The Wild will travel to Chicago on Friday to face the Blackhawks in the Western Conference Semis.
The best was saved for last, though, as the Kings defeated the San Jose Sharks, 5-1, after falling 3-0 in the series. It was a dramatic turn of events, as the Kings were embroiled in a tight game through two periods at SAP Center. The Kings scored two empty net goals against their rivals, but the story for L.A. was the rebound performance from Jonathan Quick. The superstar goalie conceded a combined 12 goals in the first two games, but became more of a force in the next five, allowing just nine total goals.
Los Angeles will face the Anaheim Ducks, their local rival, in the Western Conference Semis on Saturday.