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Five things to know about the National Hockey League playoffs

The Battle of Alberta keeps giving us fireworks, McDavid remains elite and all eyes will be on St. Louis.

The Battle of Alberta keeps giving us fireworks, McDavid remains elite and all eyes will be on St. Louis.

Here are five things to know as we head into Saturday's post-season action:

BATTLE OF ALBERTA GIVES US MORE GOALS

While it didn't quite reach the levels of goal-scoring insanity as Game 1's 15 combined did, Game 2 still saw plenty of pucks finding the back of the net Friday as the Edmonton Oilers evened up their series with the Calgary Flames 5-3.

Trailing 3-1 early in the second period, the Oilers exploded for four unanswered goals, including a shorthanded marker from Zach Hyman midway through the final frame that proved to be the game-winning goal.

Like a throwback to the battles that raged between these two teams in the 1980s, this sixth edition of the Battle of Alberta in the playoffs has seen the offensive skill on both sides highlighted in a big way.

Through two games, the two teams have combined for 23 goals with the Flames just outscoring the Oilers 12-11.

MCDAVID JOINS ELITE COMPANY

Oilers superstar captain Connor McDavid scored and added an assist in Edmonton's victory Friday and in doing so, joined some elite company.

His two-point game gave him 20 points so far during this post-season (six goals, 14 assists), making him the fastest active player to reach that mark in a playoff run and the fastest since Mario Lemieux in 1992.

Additionally, the four-time Art Ross Trophy winner extended his post-season multi-point streak to five straight games.

Only Darryl Sittler in 1977, Tony Currie in 1981, Wayne Gretzky in 1983, Dale Hawerchuk in 1993 and Evgeni Malkin in 2009 have gone on runs of five or more consecutive games that saw them record more than one point in a playoff game.

CAROLINA CAN'T STOP WINNING AT HOME

The Carolina Hurricanes blanked the New York Rangers 2-0 Friday to take Game 2 of their second-round series.

Considering how they've performed thus far this post-season, the result shouldn't come as a surprise as the victory improved the Canes to a perfect 6-0 at home.

The flip side to this is that Carolina has yet to win a road playoff game this year, but with home-ice advantage on its side again this series it may not matter.

SHESTERKIN OUTDUELED AGAIN

A point of concern for the Rangers as things shift to Madison Square Garden for a couple games beginning Sunday is that Igor Shesterkin, the Vezina and Hart Trophy finalist, hasn't been the best goalie in the series.

Both Shesterkin and Hurricanes goalie Antti Raanta faced 21 shots on Friday, but the difference was Raanta stopped all of the ones he faced, while Shesterkin allowed one goal.

Granted, he was put in a tight spot as Brendan Smith beat him on a shorthanded attempt all alone in front of the net, but the margin of error has been so razor-thin in this series so far that conceding just one goal is enough to flip a game.

Raanta's shutout comes on the heels of his solid Game 1 performance that saw him stop 27-of-28 shots. Shesterkin made 24 saves of the 26 attempts he faced in that contest.

The Rangers will be hoping Shesterkin becomes the better goalie over their next couple games to help them turn things around.

SATURDAY NIGHT IN ST. LOUIS

In a bit of odd schedule-making, the only game on deck in the Stanley Cup playoffs Saturday is Game 3 between the Colorado Avalanche and Blues in St. Louis.

The Avs are coming off their first defeat of the playoffs as the Blues handily defeated them in Game 2, 4-1.

For St. Louis, it will be hoping to make the most of its stolen home-ice advantage and keep some of the momentum from Game 2's win going.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 21, 2022.

The Canadian Press




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